Press Releases

    10 February 2004

    General Assembly Welcomes Offer by Qatar to Host Conference of New or Restored Democracies in November, 2006

    Also Calls for Special Plenary Meeting in 2007 to Assess Progress on Children’s Rights

    NEW YORK, 9 February (UN Headquarters) -- Recognizing that the United Nations had an important role to play in providing support to governments’ efforts to achieve democratization in the context of their development, the General Assembly this afternoon welcomed the proposal of the Government of Qatar to host the sixth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies in Doha from 13 to 15 November 2006 and invited all relevant players to collaborate in its holding.

    Adopting, without a vote, a resolution on the matter (document A/58/L.57), the Assembly also encouraged the intergovernmental follow-up mechanism to the preceding Ulaanbaatar Conference to actively cooperate in the preparatory process for the 2006 forum. The draft was sponsored by Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Ukraine and Yemen.

    Following the introduction of the draft by the representative of Qatar, the Assembly was informed that Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Cambodia, Ecuador, Iceland, Thailand, Oman, India, Republic of Korea, Canada, Burkina Faso, Chile, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Philippines, Costa Rica and Madagascar had joined the list of its co-sponsors. Other co-sponsors included Mauritius, Mali, Republic of Moldova, Djibouti, Egypt and Sudan.

    Turning to its special session on children, which took place in May 2002 as follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children, the Assembly decided, also without a vote, to convene a commemorative plenary meeting in 2007 to evaluate the progress made in implementing the event’s outcome. The draft on the matter (document A/58/L.58), has been prepared bearing in mind that by 2007, several of the time-bound and quantified commitments set out in the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the special session should have been met and that other targets are to be met by 2010 and 2015.

    [Aiming to chart a course for a global movement that would strengthen international actions for the promotion of children’s rights in the twenty-first century and beyond, the special session’s final outcome document -- “A World Fit for Children” -- set out specific targets in the fields of health; education; protection against abuse, exploitation and violence; and concerning the struggle against HIV/AIDS among children.]

    The resolution also addresses the need to ensure full implementation of the Declaration and the Plan of Action, calling on Member States to prepare and strengthen their national action plans and urging all relevant players to lend their full support to the implementation of the special session’s commitments.

    Introducing the draft, Assembly President, Julian R. Hunte (Saint Lucia), said that its adoption would take the international community a step forward in keeping the promises world leaders had made, and in implementing the agenda they had set to better the lives of children and young people. The convening of a commemorative plenary meeting in 2007 and finalization of its organizational matters with Member States, as envisioned under the terms of the draft, would be important to ensure that appropriate action was taken at all levels.

    Speaking in explanation of the vote after the vote, the representative of the United States welcomed the resolution, adopted during the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family. In implementing the outcome of the special session, her country underscored the importance of non-governmental organizations working for children and, in particular, with families.

    In other matters, the Assembly decided to take note of the nomination by its President of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as a member of the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

    The Assembly was informed that, according to a letter from the Secretary-General dated 21 January (document A/58/688), Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Uganda, Vanuatu and Venezuela were in arrears under the terms of Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations.

    Today, the Assembly took note of the fact that since that communication, Antigua and Barbuda had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter. [Article 19 of the Charter stipulates that a Member State shall have no vote in the Assembly if the amount of its arrears in its financial contributions to the Organization equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two years.]

    At the opening of the meeting, on behalf of the members of the Assembly, its President extended his deepest sympathy to the Government and people of Iran for the tragic loss of life and extensive material damage that had resulting from a recent earthquake. He also expressed hope that the international community would show its solidarity with that country and respond promptly and generously to any requests for help.

    In response, Iran’s representative expressed his profound gratitude for the expression of condolences in the wake of death and devastation that had struck the city of Bam. In fact, international response had been “overwhelming”, and the country highly valued the relief assistance and support it had received.

    Also today, the Assembly observed a minute of silence in memory of its President during the fortieth session, Jaime de Pinies of Spain. The representative of Spain expressed his gratitude for the statements of condolence to the Government and people of his country and to the bereaved family of  Mr. de Pinies, by representatives of the Sudan on behalf of the African States, Nepal on behalf of the Asian States, Romania on behalf of the Eastern European States, Ecuador on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, Ireland on behalf of the Western European and other States and the United States on behalf of the host country. Qatar’s representative also expressed condolences on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

    The date of the Assembly’s next meeting will be announced in the Journal.

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