31 October 2003

Third Committee Approves Six Draft Resolutions on Social Development, Women's Issues, Disabled Persons, Indigenous People, Crime Prevention

NEW YORK, 30 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) approved six draft resolutions this afternoon, covering issues related to social development, the advancement of women, disabled persons, indigenous peoples and crime prevention and criminal justice.

A draft approved on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/58/L.9/Rev.1) would have the General Assembly urge developed countries that had not done so to make concrete efforts towards achieving the target of providing 0.7 per cent of their gross national product as official development assistance to developing countries.

By that draft's terms, the Assembly would also underline the responsibility of the private sector at the national and international levels, including small and large companies, regarding not only the economic and financial aspects, but also the developmental, social, gender and environmental implications of their activities.                                                                                                                                          

In an attempt to increase the representation of women within the United Nations, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the improvement of the status of women in the United Nations (document A/C.3/58/L.19), which would have the General Assembly request the Secretary-General to continue to develop innovative recruitment strategies to identify and attract suitably qualified women candidates.  The Secretary-General would also be strongly encouraged to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices on his behalf, especially in matters related to peacekeeping, economic and social development, as well as operational activities, in order to reach the target of 50/50 gender balance by 2015. 

In this connection, the Committee also approved a draft on the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/58/L.20), which would have the General Assembly express its disappointment that universal ratification of the Convention had not been achieved and urge all States that had not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so. 

In other action today, the Committee approved a draft on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (document A/C.3/58/L.27), which would have the General Assembly encourage governments to support the Decade by, in consultation with indigenous people, seeking means of giving indigenous people greater responsibility for their own affairs and an effective voice in the decisions on matters that affect them. 

A draft resolution approved on the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons:  towards a society for all in the twenty-first century (document A/C.3/58/L.8) would have the General Assembly urge governments to, in collaboration with the United Nations system, give special attention to the rights, needs and well-being of children with disabilities and their families in the development of policies and programmes, including the implementation of the Standard Rules.

Another draft approved by the Committee on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/58/L.13) would have the General Assembly reiterate the need to strengthen further the capacity of the Institute and urge the States members of the Institute to make every possible effort to meet their obligations. 

Under the item on crime prevention, the Committee also took note of reports of the Secretary-General on the preparation for the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/58/87); on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfers of funds of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of origin (document A/58/125); and on promoting the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto (document A/58/165).

The Committee is expected to reconvene at 10 a.m., tomorrow, to continue its consideration of racism and racial discrimination, as well as issues related to self-determination.


Today, the Third Committee is expected to take action on draft resolutions on issues related to the World Summit for Social Development, social development, crime prevention, the advancement of women, and indigenous issues.

The Committee is also expected to continue its general discussion on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination and the rights of people to self-determination.

For background information about today's general discussion, please see Press Release GA/SHC/3751 of 24 October.

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