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General Assembly, noting grave financial situation of UN Palestine relief agency, calls for institutional strengthening through UN regular budget financing

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Sixty-fifth General Assembly
86th Meeting (AM)

Text Adopted by Vote of 123-1 (Israel); Also Adopts Resolutions on Eliminating Malaria, Particularly in Africa; Cooperation with African Union; HIV/AIDS Meeting

Taking note of the “grave financial situation” of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the General Assembly today requestedSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue to support the Agency’s institutional strengthening through the provision of financial resources from the United Nations regular budget.

Acting on the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), the Assembly adopted, by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with no abstentions, a resolution reiterating that UNRWA’s critical financial situation was causedin part by structural underfunding, as well as rising expenditures resulting from the deterioration of the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in the region. (See Annex I).

Also, while calling on the Agency to continue its management reform process, the Assembly stressed that approval of funding for UNRWA for the biennium 2012-2013 and for future bienniums, was subject to justification in the context of the proposed programme budget for the relevant bienniums and consideration thereof by the General Assembly.

That action took into account the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening the UNRWA’s management capacity (document A/65/705), in which henotes that total programme requirements had been underfunded by an average of 12 per cent over the last four bienniums, and that, with refugee numbers approaching 5 million, UNRWA faced a funding shortfall of $63 million for 2011. The report describes the Agency’s efforts to strengthen its donor base and past efforts by the General Assembly to put UNRWA operations on a more secure financial footing.

Accordingly, it concludes that to achieve the objectives of implementing UNRWA’s mid-term strategy over the period 2010-2015, thus providing refugees with improved basic services in line with national and international norms, including those set by the United Nations, the Assembly should: take note of the perilous cash-flow situation faced by UNRWA; and request the Secretary-General to propose increased funding from the regular budget on an incremental basis over the next four bienniums.

The following delegations subsequently informed of their intention to vote in favour of the draft resolution: Armenia, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guyana, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Mauritania, Spain, Swaziland and the United States.

Among the three other texts taken up today, the Assembly adopted without a vote a resolution entitled “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2015” (document A/65/L.70).

Introducing that text on behalf of the African Group, Ellen Azaria Maduhu (United Republic of Tanzania) said that it sought to recognize the progress that had been made in fighting malaria. In 2010, funding for malaria had reached an unprecedented $1.8 billion, she said, noting however that the target for the year had in fact been $6 billion. As a result of the increased funding, more African households owned and were sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and the number of people protected by “internal residual spraying” in sub-Saharan Africa had increased from 13 million in 2005 to 75 million in 2009.

She said the resolution noted that, despite those improvements, many countries — mostly in Africa — continued to have “unacceptably high” burdens of malaria. It urged the international community, the United Nations and all other stakeholders to participate in the funding and the implementation of the Global Malaria Action Plan, and requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the resolution, specifically on progress to achieve the 2015 Abuja Declaration and related targets, at the Assembly’s sixty-sixth session.

The Assembly also adopted a wide-ranging resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union (document A/65/L.68), by which it recognized the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for regional organizations, including the African Union, when undertaking peacekeeping operations under the world body’s mandate. It also welcomed the launch in 2010 of the Joint Task Force on Peace and Security of the United Nations and the African Union, as an important framework for furthering the strategic partnership between the Secretariat and the African Union Commission, and called for the full implementation of the agreed terms of reference of the Task Force.

By other terms, the resolution called on the United Nations system and the African Union to develop close cooperation and concrete programmes aimed at addressing the problems posed by landmines, illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, and transnational organized crime, in particular, trafficking in drugs and people, within the framework of the relevant declarations and resolutions adopted by the two organizations. The text also welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, and welcomed the appointment of an Assistant Secretary-General to head up the office, with a view to intensifying, improving and better coordinating United Nations engagement with the African Union in existing and emerging areas of cooperation in peace and security and political and humanitarian affairs.

Introducing that resolution on behalf of the African Group, Milan J.N. Meetarbhan ( Mauritius), said cooperation, at all levels, was the key to unlock the opportunities of sustainable growth and development across the world. Both the African Union and the United Nations had among their founding principles holistic world development, and thus, the two must work together towards that goal. While welcoming that the cooperation between the two had intensified in recent years, he said that the strategic relations between them needed to be enhanced to promote a more effective partnership that embodied the principle of mutual respect when addressing world challenges.

In other action, the Assembly adopted a decision presented by its President approving the list of civil society representatives that would participate in the high-level meeting on a comprehensive review of the process achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the relevant Political Declaration, to be convened from 8 to 10 June (The list of civil society participants is contained in document A/64/CRP.4).

The General Assembly will convene again at a date and time to be announced.


Vote on Strengthening UNRWA

The draft resolution on strengthening the management capacity of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (document A/65/422/Add.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel.

Abstain: none.

Absent: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Spain, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United States, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

For information media • not an official record