Press Releases

    13 September 2004

    Fifty-Eight General Assembly Submits Provisional Agenda, Work Programme to Forthcoming Session

    NEW YORK, 10 September (UN Headquarters) -- The fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly this morning submitted to the forthcoming session the provisional agenda as well as the programme of work for the Assembly’s plenary meetings.

    For the first time, the provisional agenda is organized under headings corresponding to the priorities of the Organization as contained in the medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005. 

    Those priorities are: maintenance of international peace and security; promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development in accordance with the resolutions of the Assembly and recent United Nations conferences; development in Africa; promotion of human rights; effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts; promotion of justice and international law; disarmament; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and organizational, administrative and other matters, which also contains cross-cutting issues.

    The agenda and programme of work were contained in document A/58/864, Section II and Annex I respectively. Annex I was orally revised in the Assembly’s General Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, 8 September (see Press Release  GA/10250) on the proposal of the representative of the Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union), to the extent that agenda item 46 (Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields) be considered in a joint debate with item 56 of the draft agenda (Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit).

    At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly’s President, Julian Hunte (Saint Lucia), expressed, on behalf of the Assembly, the deepest sympathy to the Governments and the peoples of the countries of the Caribbean, in particular the Bahamas, Grenada and Cuba, for the tragic loss of life and extensive material damage that had resulted from the recent hurricanes in the area. Currently Jamaica, Cuba and the United States were threatened by another hurricane, he said. He also expressed the hope that the international community would show its solidarity and respond promptly and generously to any request from the countries in the Caribbean for assistance.

    In response, the representative of Grenada expressed gratitude for the President’s intervention and gave an overview of the damage the killer hurricane “Ivan the Terrible” had caused, as it had destroyed 90 per cent of his country.  He said the vulnerability of small island developing States (SIDS) to natural disasters was an “Achilles heel” over which they had no control, “but which nature in its supremacy, sometimes benevolent, sometimes destructive, dispenses as the threatening sword of Damocles”.  He said that issue was directly related to the economic vulnerability of those States, which must be seriously addressed.

    In other business, the Assembly was informed that Benin, Cape Verde and Mauritania had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.  [That article stipulates that if a Member States’ arrears equal or exceed the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years, that Member State would have no vote in the General Assembly.]

    The next meeting of the General Assembly will take place on Monday, 13 September, at 3:00 p.m.

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