General Assembly: 98th Plenary Meeting, 75th Session

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17-Aug-2021 01:23:13
General Assembly adopts texts on role of rapid technological change in achieving sustainable development, high-level meeting on universal health coverage.

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Divergent Views on Process for Screening, Selecting Civil Society Groups to Participate in Upcoming Health Summit Force Votes on Two Proposed Amendments.....>>

The General Assembly adopted two resolutions today, one on the impact of rapid technological change on realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and another endorsing details for a forthcoming high-level meeting on universal health coverage, following an exchange of views among delegates over the screening process for civil society participation in the latter.

The need to accelerate action on universal health coverage has become extremely evident in recent years, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Guyana’s representative, speaking also for Japan, as co-facilitators of discussions on the resolution “Scope, modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting on universal health coverage” (document A/75/L.120). Recalling that talks held on the screening process for non-governmental organizations are reflected in the resolution, she said “L.120” seeks to bring together a wide range of partners at the planned high-level meeting, including the critical inclusion of civil society groups.

In adopting “L.120” without a vote, the 193-member organ decided that the one-day meeting shall be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on the third day of the Assembly’s general debate at its seventy-eighth session. Regarding the event’s details, the Assembly decided that the meeting will, among other things, convene multi-stakeholder panels and approve an action-oriented political declaration.

By the terms of operative paragraph 10, it requested the General Assembly President to draw up a list of representatives of relevant non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector — besides those already in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council — who may participate, taking into account the principles of transparency and equitable geographical representation, with due regard for gender parity. It further requested the President to submit the list to Member States for their consideration on a non-objection basis and to bring it to the Assembly’s attention for its final decision on participation in the meeting.

Prior to the resolution’s adoption, delegates exchanged divergent views on the process, laid out in operative paragraphs 10 and 11, for screening non-governmental organizations. Separate recorded votes were called on two proposed amendments, each suggesting the deletion of elements in operative paragraphs 10 and 11.

By a recorded vote of 64 in favour to 43 against, with 33 abstentions, the Assembly adopted an amendment (document A/75/L.124) introduced by the United Kingdom’s delegate. In doing so, it decided to delete operative paragraph 11, by which the Assembly would have requested the Secretariat to assist its President, “with the support of other relevant entities of the United Nations system, as appropriate, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO), in drawing up the list referred to in paragraph 10 above, through screening and evaluation of the requests to ensure relevance to attend the high-level meeting”.

By a recorded vote of 23 in favour to 82 against, with 28 abstentions, it rejected an oral amendment put forward by China, also on behalf of Belarus, Iran, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela, that proposed the deletion in operative paragraph 10 of the phrase: “and to bring the list to the Assembly’s attention for its final decision on participation in the high-level meeting”.

The Assembly will reconvene in plenary at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 26 August, to consider its agenda item on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, and take action on two draft resolutions.

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