General Assembly: 95th Plenary Meeting, 75th Session
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Peacebuilding Commission should strengthen alliances, Secretary-General’s fund must have greater resources, speakers say in General Assembly debate.

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Organ also Adopts Resolutions, Decisions Including on Zone of Peace, Reliable Global Transport for Sustainable Development

The General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted two resolutions and three decisions today after debating the annual report on the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund. Meanwhile, consideration of a draft resolution to establish a Permanent Forum of People of African Descent was rolled back to a later date.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolutions “Zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic”, introduced by Uruguay’s representative, and “Strengthening the links between all modes of transport to ensure stable and reliable international transport for sustainable development during and after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”, introduced by Turkmenistan’s delegate.

It decided to authorize the Preparatory Committee for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries to hold an additional half-day meeting to act on a draft outcome document to be recommended to the Conference scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar, from 23 to 27 January 2022.

It also decided to reschedule to its seventy-sixth session the Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, which it previously postponed on 13 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, acting on the recommendation of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), it adopted a set of proposals aimed at revitalizing the work of that body.

Procedural matters stalled action on the draft resolution “Establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent”, submitted by the President of the Assembly. Through that text, the Assembly would establish the Permanent Forum as a consultative platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent.

Meeting annually, alternatively in Geneva and New York, the 10-member body would provide expert advice and recommendations to the Human Rights Council, the Main Committees of the General Assembly and the wider United Nations system. It would also consider the elaboration of a United Nations declaration on the promotion, protection and full respect of the human rights of people of African descent.

By a vote of 47 in favour to 66 against, with 19 abstentions, the Assembly rejected a motion — put forward by the representative of the United States — to defer consideration of the text to give delegations time to consider oral and written amendments, some of which were only circulated earlier in the day.

Delegations then debated whether the text, presented under agenda item 70(a) on the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, should be reallocated to agenda item 70(b), which deals with the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The meeting, which was twice suspended, was eventually adjourned, with the Assembly to revert to the issue at a date to be announced.

The annual joint debate on the report of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Secretary-General’s report on the Peacebuilding Fund featured presentations by the representatives of Canada and Egypt, the former and current Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission respectively, who emphasized its growing advisory role vis-à-vis the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

Speakers applauded the Peacebuilding Commission for the way it swiftly adapted its working methods amidst the pandemic. They also encouraged the 31-member intergovernmental advisory body to further deepen its relationship not only with other United Nations organs, but also with regional and subregional organizations. Several delegates warned, however, that the Peacebuilding Fund is underfunded. They appealed for the Fund, overseen by the Secretary-General, to receive adequate, predictable and sustainable financing, with some delegates proposing that a wider net be cast to attract new donors.

Also speaking today were representatives of Mexico, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Gambia (on behalf of the African Group), Ecuador, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, United Kingdom, El Salvador, Kenya, Bangladesh, France, China, Liechtenstein, India, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Netherlands, Philippines and Lebanon, as well as the European Union and the African Union.

The representatives of the United Kingdom and Argentina spoke in exercise of the right of reply.