General Assembly

General Assembly: 99th plenary meeting, 76th session…

General Assembly: 99th plenary meeting, 76th session

The General Assembly adopted four consensus resolutions today on global health, zero-tolerance for sexual abuse and justice for victims of sexual violence, with the latter surviving four separate attempts to alter its language around multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls.

By that resolution, titled “International cooperation for access to justice, remedies and assistance for survivors of sexual violence”, the Assembly condemned all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and outlined a series of measures for Member States to take effective action, in line with international law.

The four amendments — each defeated handily in recorded votes — sought to delete preambular paragraph 8, as well as references to intimate partner violence in preambular paragraph 16, to women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in operative paragraph 2(a) and extensive wording around sexual and reproductive health‑care services in operative paragraph 6.

Introducing the measures, Nigeria’s representative said they aim to make the text more balanced, consensual and representative of the wider United Nations membership and not just a group of States.  He urged Assembly delegates to vote in favour of them to restore balance to the resolution.

In his lengthy retort, Sierra Leone’s representative said his delegation and Japan led open and transparent negotiations for over five months.  All were able to express their views, including Nigeria, which was part of the core group.  The final text represents a fine balance among the positions expressed, he said, and is based on agreed language.

On that particular point, Egypt’s delegate pointed out that copying, pasting, compiling and altering language from its sources — regardless of context — cannot be considered agreed language.

In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 16 September as the International Day for Interventional Cardiology, inviting all Member States, the United Nations, global, regional and subregional organizations, and all stakeholders to observe it in accordance with national priorities.

By a resolution on global health, the Assembly decided to hold a one-day high-level meeting — convened by its President during the seventy-eighth session, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) — aimed at mobilizing political will for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, which would result in a political declaration to that effect.

By a final resolution titled “United Nations action on sexual exploitation and abuse”, the Assembly noted with concern that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed those in vulnerable situations to increased risks of this abuse and limited the United Nations capacity to provide victims and Member States with assistance.  It urged the Secretary-General to continue to prioritize preventative action across the United Nations and called on him to scale up efforts to create a harmonized approach.  “Accountability is a core principle of this text,” said Egypt’s representative, who introduced it.

Also today, the Assembly heard briefings by the current and former chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission, who updated on progress made across the subsidiary body’s bridging and convening roles, as mandated by the twin resolutions of the Assembly and the Security Council adopted in 2016.

The Assembly also held its seventh, eighth and ninth rounds of balloting to elect a member from the Eastern European States to the Economic and Social Council.  Having failed to choose a candidate with the requisite two-thirds majority, the Assembly decided to hold the next balloting round later in its seventy-seventh session on a date to be determined.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.