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Updated On: Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Economic and Social Council Adopts Draft Resolution Seeking Accelerated Progress in Economic, Social Sectors of Non-Self-Governing Territories

Content by: UN General Assembly

The Economic and Social Council adopted a draft resolution on support to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories today, requesting that the specialized agencies and other parts of the United Nations system take steps to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of the Territories.

By a vote of 15 in favour to none against, with 12 abstentions, the Council adopted the draft resolution titled “Support to Non-Self-Governing Territories by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document E/2018/L.17).

Walton Alfonso Webson (Antigua and Barbuda), Chair 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, introduced the draft resolution.  He highlighted that the text points out the extremely fragile economies of the small Territories as well as their vulnerability to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, cyclones and rising sea levels.

By the terms of the text, the Economic and Social Council urges those specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system that have not yet provided assistance to Territories to do so as soon as possible on a case-by-case basis.  Further by the text, the Council requests the United Nations system and regional organizations to strengthen existing support and to formulate appropriate programmes of assistance to the Territories on a case-by-case basis, within the framework of their respective mandates.

The Council also requests that the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system provide information on a number of areas, including:  environmental problems facing Non-Self-Governing Territories; the impact of natural disasters on them; ways and means to assist the Territories fight drug trafficking, money laundering and other illegal and criminal activities; and the illegal exploitation of the marine and other natural resources of the Territories.

Speaking before the vote, the representative of the United States said that his delegation would abstain from the vote, explaining that whereas his delegation agreed with the principle that the United Nations could provide useful support to the Territories, the text was in conflict with the constitutional arrangements of the United States.

In other business, the Economic and Social Council also took up two reports titled, respectively, “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document E/2018/70) and “Information submitted by the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system on their activities with regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document E/2018/56).

Mr. Webson (Antigua and Barbuda) introduced the reports, noting that the former report lists specialized agencies and international organizations to which the provisions of General Assembly resolution 72/93 of 7 December 2017 apply and that are invited to submit information on action taken in order to implement the relevant resolutions.  The latter report includes information on assistance provided to those Territories affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in 2017.

He said that it is worth noting that in 2018, the Regional Seminar on Decolonization organized by the Special Committee in Grenada from 9 to 11 May was held under the theme “Implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Non-Self-Governing Territories: social, economic and environmental challenges”.

The Economic and Social Council will meet again on a date and time to be announced.

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