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General Assembly adopts 28 draft texts on Fourth Committee's recommendation

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Sixty-fourth General Assembly
62nd Meeting (PM)

Also Approves Text Aimed at Creating Predictable, Equitable Global Response To Pandemics, Fifth Committee Text in Support of African Union Mission in Somalia

Acting on the recommendations of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the General Assembly this afternoon adopted 25 draft resolutions and three draft decisions covering decolonization, outer space, atomic radiation, information and public outreach, the University for Peace, assistance in mine action, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories.

As in recent years,the Assembly took recorded votes on more than halfof the Fourth Committee's draft resolutions during the session. It also adopted a plenary-generated text on global health and foreign policy, as well as a resolution, recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009), on the situation in Somalia.

Taking up 10 decolonization texts, the Assembly adopted five by recorded votes, including one related to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and another to the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (Annexes XIV and XII, respectively).

Once again reaching consensus on a draft resolution on the question of Western Sahara, the Assembly called upon all parties to cooperate fully with the United Nations Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy and with each other, and to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution related to Tokelau, acknowledging General Fono's decision that consideration of any future act of self-determination by Tokelau would be deferred due to the failure of the referendums in February 2006 and October 2007 to produce a two-thirds majority required to change Tokelau's status.

The Assembly also passed by consensus a draft decision on the question of Gibraltar, by which it urged the Governments of Spain and the United Kingdom, while listening to the interests and aspirations of Gibraltar, to reach a definitive solution to the question. It also welcomed the recent successful trilateral ministerial meeting of the Forum for Dialogue in Gibraltar, on 21 July, and the shared commitment to make progress in six new areas of cooperation.

Nine draftresolutions related to the Middle East, with all requiring recorded votes. One, affirming the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), was adoptedby a recorded vote of167in favour to 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Fiji, Vanuatu). (For details of the vote, see Annex III).

Three additional UNRWA-related texts were adopted, on persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities, on assistance to Palestine refugees, and reaffirming that the Palestine refugees were entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom.

Also by recorded votes, the Assembly adoptedfive draftresolutions on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian and other peoples in occupied Arab lands.

By one of those texts, adopted by a vote of 92 in favour to 9 against(Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States), with 74 abstentions (Annex V), the Assembly deplored those Israeli policies and practices that violate the human rights of Palestinians and other Arabs of the occupied territories. It requested that the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories continue to investigate such policies and practices since 1967, especially violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, by urging States that had not yet become parties to the international treaties governing the uses of outer space to consider ratifying or acceding to those treaties in accordance with their domestic law, as well as incorporating them into national legislation.

Also by consensus, the Assembly adopted two draft resolutions and a draft decision relating to information. By the terms of one draft resolution, the Assembly requested the Department of Public Information to pay particular attention to poverty eradication, conflict prevention, sustainable development, human rights, HIV/AIDS, combating terrorism and the needs of the African continent.

In further action, the Assembly adopted texts on the effects of atomic radiation, the University for Peace, assistance in mine action, and a draft decision on revitalization of the Assembly's work, all without a vote. It also took note of the Fourth Committee's reports on a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects and programme planning.

Following action on its Fourth Committee texts, the Assembly adopted the resolution on Financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863. By its terms, the Assembly appropriated $75.64 million to the Special Account for the support provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia for the 2008/9 period, and $213.58 million for the 2009/10 period, inclusive of $138.80 million previously authorized by the Assembly at the sixty-third session and in addition to $6.10 million previously appropriated, also at the sixty-third session.

The Assembly next held a brief debate on "global health and foreign policy", adopting a consensus resolution on that issue, by which it underscored that global health was a long-term objective -- local, national, regional and international in scope -- that required sustained commitment and closer international cooperation beyond emergency. It welcomed the coordinated international response to the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, and acknowledged, with serious concern, that global influenza vaccine production was insufficient to meet anticipated need in pandemic situations, notably in developing countries.

As for follow-up actions, the Assembly, by the text, urged States to consider health issues in the formulation of foreign policy and encouraged both States and academic institutions to increase training of diplomats and health officials, particularly those from developing countries, on global health and foreign policy. It also requested the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, to submit a report to the Assembly's sixty-fifth session, which would examine how foreign and health policy coordination could be strengthened at national, regional and international levels. That report would also make recommendations to the Assembly's high-level plenary meeting in September 2010.

Introducing the resolution, South Africa's representative said it underscored the need for stronger coherence at various intergovernmental process levels. In that context, he stressed the importance of creating a more predictable, equitable global framework to effectively respond to current and future pandemics and to finalizing the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework for the Sharing of Influenza Viruses and Access to Vaccines and other Benefits, under the leadership of WHO's Director-General.

In final business, the General Assembly decided to postpone the election of two members of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, appointment of members of the Consultative Committee of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and consideration of the report of the Credentials Committee, originally scheduled for Monday, 14 December.

The Rapporteur of the Fourth Committee, Khalid Mohammed Osman Sidahmed Mohammed Ali, of Sudan, introduced that body's reports.

The representative of Turkey spoke in explanation of position on Fourth Committee texts.

Also speaking during the Assembly's debate on global health were the representatives of Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Thailand (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Saint Kitts and Nevis (on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), China, Japan, United States, Mexico and Bangladesh.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 11 December to discuss the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict.