20 December 2004

General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution Approving Work Plan for Commemoration of Organization’s Sixtieth Anniversary

Measure Outlines Format, Organization of High-Level Millennium Review

NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations General Assembly today approved a multi-stage work plan ahead of the high-level commemoration of the Organization’s sixtieth anniversary -- kicking off on 14 September 2005 with a three day mid-term review of worldwide progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

Unanimously adopting a resolution on the format and organization of the Assembly’s work from late June through mid-September, delegations agreed that the culminating High-Level Millennium review would be held from 14 to 16 September, and follow the basic format and structure of the 2000 Millennium Summit:  three days of plenary debate, comprising two meetings per day, and four round-table discussions, each covering the meeting’s agenda on the internationally agreed development goals, and the global partnership required for their achievement.

Four years ago, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration at the conclusion of the United Nations Millennium Summit, setting out a blueprint to build a better and safer world for the next century through collective security and a global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals aimed at a series of ambitious targets, ranging from halving extreme poverty, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and to providing universal primary education, all by 2015.

Last May, the Assembly decided to hold in New York in 2005 -- at the beginning of its sixtieth session -- a ministerial-level meeting to review implementation of the Declaration, as well as the integrated follow-up to other major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

With that aim, the Assembly decided by today’s action, to hold a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (following-up the 2002 United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico), on 27 and 28 June 2005, in New York, immediately prior to the high-level segment of the 2005 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in order for the Dialogue’s recommendations to be considered during the preparatory process for the Millennium review. The Assembly also decided to hold a meeting on financing for development within the framework of that review.

Today’s measure also facilitated the change of venue for the Economic and Social Council’s 2005 substantive session from Geneva -- where it is held every other year -- to New York on an exceptional basis. The resolution further decided that Geneva would be the venue for the Council’s 2006 and 2007 substantive sessions in order to resume the traditional New York/Geneva rotation in 2008.

Further by the text, the Assembly decided that for its sixtieth session, the traditional general debate would be held from Saturday, 17 September to Friday, 23 September; and from Monday, 26 September to Wednesday, 28 September 2005, on the understanding that those arrangements in no way created a precedent for future sessions.

The resolution also noted that prior to the High-Level Plenary, the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliament would be convened in New York from 7 to 9 September 2005 at United Nations Headquarters.

Also by the text, the Assembly requested its President, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, to organize informal interactive hearings in June 2005 in New York with representatives of civil society and private sector organizations, as an input to the preparatory process for the High-Level Plenary. It also strongly urged Member States to take positive interest in the formal and informal meetings during the run-up to the Plenary, and to engage actively, at the highest level of government, with a view to reaching a successful outcome.

The Assembly further looked forward to the submission of a comprehensive five-year progress report focussing on the implementation of the relevant decisions taken by the international community since the Millennium Declaration and the international conferences and special sessions relating to the least developed countries, HIV/AIDS, financing for development and sustainable development.

Introduction of Draft

Introducing the draft resolution, Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) told delegations that a report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budgetary implications of the plans would shortly be issued in the six official languages as document A/59/615. The text was the outcome of month-long intensive consultations, and was designed to set the general timetable for the high-level Millennium review. It would also help heads of State and government begin preparing for the important event.

He said that some outstanding issues, including the event’s co-presidency, speakers lists, as well as the practical modalities for the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, would have to be decided in early 2005. The modalities for the informal interactive hearings with civil society set for June, and the participation of observer delegations -- namely the observers from Palestine and the Holy See -- would also be specifically addressed in a later resolution. The negotiations would remain open-ended, inclusive and transparent, leading to a comprehensive outcome document.

Following the adoption of the text, the President said that the action reaffirmed the Assembly’s commitment to fully shoulder its responsibility for organizing the meeting.

Following the draft’s adoption, the representative of the Netherlands -- speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States -- and the Observers for Palestine and the Holy See expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by the Assembly President and other facilitators in negotiating the text. However, the two observers expressed concern over their omission from the draft, which should not set a precedent for the Assembly’s future work.

The observer for Palestine, specifically, recalled that her delegation had the right to be included, in conformity with the Assembly’s resolution 250, which had given Palestine the same rights and privileges as any other State, but without the right to vote. It was to be hoped that the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State would soon be realized, and that the Palestinian head of State would participate in the September 2005 event.

The Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday 20 December to take up the reports of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

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