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General Assembly

In the prevailing complex economic and financial climate, the work of the Economic and Social Council took on particular relevance, with its specialized discussion forums — the Annual Ministerial Review, the Development Cooperation Forum and the high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions among them — uniquely tailored to address social ills endemic to a world emerging from sharp downturn, the General Assembly heard today as it took up the Council’s 2010 annual report.
To tackle the challenges posed by a constantly evolving global communications environment, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, today told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) that the Department of Public Information was applying a strategic approach, upgrading operational infrastructure, and adopting new information and communications technologies.
More than a quarter century after its adoption, the objectives of the Convention against Torture had yet to be achieved, and the entire human rights treaty body system was slowed under a backlog of reports from Member States, the Third Committee was told today. The Committee began its discussion on human rights by focusing on international efforts to prevent the use of torture, in the absence of the Special Rapporteur on the issue, who was unable to be present due to other commitments.
The patchwork of national and regional controls over the conventional weapons trade lacked the global support needed to reduce the millions of arms currently in circulation, delegates heard today in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), along with the introduction of two draft resolutions aimed at countering that deficit.
Calling upon States to “reconnect with the values” of the Convention against Torture, Claudio Grossman, Chairperson of the Committee against Torture, emphasized at Headquarters today the imperative of fighting attempts to make torture acceptable, particularly during emergency situations.
The implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should not be obscured by a discussion about whether or not it is a legally binding document and should be regarded as a “political, moral and legal imperative” without qualification, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told today, as it began its discussion of indigenous issues and the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.
Given the myriad challenges still facing least developed countries, small island developing States, and landlocked developing countries due to multi-dimensional global crises, the international community must work to establish a new, targeted and action-oriented programme of action at the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries next May, several speakers stressed today.