General Assembly Adopts 5 Resolutions, 1 Decision Including on Conservation of Marine Biological Diversity, Eliminating Sexual Violence in Conflict
Addressing a range of items on its agenda, the General Assembly today adopted five resolutions and one decision, including texts on the Law of Sea, on the establishment of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict and on achieving peace in Africa by 2020.
In adopting, without a vote, a 46-paragraph resolution titled “Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa” (document A/69/L.63), the Assembly called upon the United Nations system, the international community and all partners to support the efforts of African countries to promote political, social and economic inclusion. It also called upon the United Nations system and Member States to support the peace consolidation mechanisms and processes, including the Panel of the Wise, the African Union Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Framework and the continental early warning system, and called upon Member States to assist post-conflict countries, at their request.
Speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the representative of South Africa said the text demonstrated the commitment of Member States to support the efforts of African countries to achieve the goal of a conflict-free continent and to end all wars there by 2020.
After the text’s adoption, Rwanda’s representative, speaking for the African Group, said that, although the United Nations had been established in response to threats to peace and security and to save generations from the scourge of war, conflicts affected people in many countries today. Many African countries had become a “theatre of conflict”, with those situations comprising two thirds of the Security Council’s agenda.
Continuing, he said that, as the Organization celebrates its seventieth year, peace and not war should be the focus. As such, the root causes must be addressed and it was important to invest in strong, national institutions to establish the foundations of good governance to ensure ownership of the process of creating societies resilient to conflict. He expressed hope that the post-2015 development agenda would significantly contribute to that goal.
The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a resolution on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): progress in implementation and international support (document A/69/L.64/Rev.1), which was introduced by the delegate of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77. The resolution highlighted challenges, including the fight against poverty, youth unemployment and rising inequality, he said, adding that the resolution emphasized that falling direct investment was a major challenge for the continent. The text stressed that addressing Africa’s special development needs should be given due attention in the post-2015 development agenda, the third International Conference on Financing for Development and the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Also by the text, the Assembly recognized the profound socioeconomic impact of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It expressed concern about the ongoing adverse impacts, particularly on development, of the world financial and economic crisis, and about the negative consequences of the uneven global recovery, the increasing challenges posed by climate change, drought, land degradation, desertification, the loss of biodiversity and floods, and the serious challenges those impacts pose to the fight against poverty and hunger.
Among other items, the Assembly encouraged African countries to accelerate the achievement of the objective of food security and nutrition in Africa, and to strengthen and expand local and regional infrastructure and to continue sharing best practices with a view to strengthening regional and continental integration. It welcomed the increasing efforts to improve the quality of official development assistance (ODA) and increase its development impact and invited all of Africa’s development partners to support African countries in promoting and maintaining macroeconomic stability, to help African countries to attract investments and promote policies conducive to attracting domestic and foreign investment.
Also by the text, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to promote greater coherence in the work of the United Nations system in support of NEPAD, on the basis of the agreed clusters of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa, and in that regard, called upon the system to continue to mainstream the special needs of Africa in all its normative and operational activities. It further requested the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly at its seventieth session.
The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a resolution (document A/69/L.75), introduced by Argentina’s representative. By the text, the Assembly decided to proclaim 19 June of each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, she said, noting that the date marked the anniversary of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1820 (2008). Recognizing the Day also meant a focus on the victims, she said, adding that by adopting the text, “we are telling them their lives are important to us”.
After the vote, representatives of the Republic of Korea, Japan and Spain expressed their support for the text, emphasizing that States must bolster efforts to end sexual violence in conflict and to hold perpetrators accountable.
The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See expressed his delegation’s reservations on preambular paragraphs 1 and 2, which, respectively, recognized General Assembly resolutions 61/143, 62/133, 63/155, 64/137, 65/187, 67/144 and 69/147, and all its previous resolutions on the elimination of violence against women and Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013) and 2122 (2013) on women and peace and security, and all relevant Council resolutions on children and armed conflict, including resolutions 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012) and 2143 (2014), and preambular paragraph 5, recognizing the importance of providing timely assistance and increasing access to health care and other multisectoral services for survivors of sexual violence and of promoting their rehabilitation and non-stigmatization.
Turning to the Law of the Sea, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution entitled, “Development of an international legally-binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction” (document A/69/L.65). In that regard, it also considered a Statement submitted by the Secretary-General on programme budget implications of the draft resolution (document A/69/922).
Speaking in explanation of position following the consensus adoption, the representative of Turkey said that his delegation had supported the resolution. However, that support could not be considered as a change of Turkey’s position on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The representative of the European Union delegation said that it was pleased to join consensus on the resolution. With regard to the programme budget implication statement, the estimates presented for 2016-2017 did not prejudge the Secretary-General’s submission to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) or the Fifth Committee. Those estimates should, therefore, not be perceived as being endorsed by Member States. The revised estimates in budget would be scrutinized by the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee in the usual way during the seventieth session, he said, stressing that nothing done today should be seen as pre-empting the adoption of a programme budget for 2016-2017.
The representative of Venezuela recalled that his delegation was not a party to the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, and therefore, noted that the elements outlined in the resolution did not apply to his country unless expressly allowed by his delegation. The issue of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction should be regulated by a specific international instrument distinct from the 1982 Convention, he stressed. That Convention should not be seen as the only legal framework that governed legal issues regarding the oceans, and was not a “universal instrument”. His delegation repeated a reservation first made at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and said that joining consensus could not be seen as a shift in his delegation’s position on the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The representative of Colombia reiterated his delegation’s commitment to the sustainable use of marine resources in the high seas. Colombia, which bordered two marine conservation areas, said that his country had joined consensus in order to lay the groundwork for a commission that would sit under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Its support did not imply acceptance of the provisions contained in that Convention, and could not be interpreted as a change of position in that regard.
The representative of Uruguay said that the Spanish translation of the resolution’s text was incorrect, and requested that the necessary corrections be made.
With regard to reports from its committees, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a decision entitled “Revised provisional programme of work and timetable of the First Committee for 2015”, contained in a Report of the First Committee (document A/69/946). The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a resolution on the Financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/69/L.45), contained in a report of the Fifth Committee (document A/69/934), endorsing the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ relating to the Mission and authorizing its financing in line with those recommendations.