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UNGA 47 outcomes important for Australia

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No. m233 Date 23 December 1992



The 47th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 47) had been very successful from Australia's point of view, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Gareth Evans, said today. The General Assembly is due to adjourn in New York on 23 December (24 December AST).

Senator Evans said that a key theme of his General Debate statement at the United Nations in September had been the importance of 'Preventive Diplomacy' and Australia played a crucial role in the General Assembly's adoption by consensus of a resolution which encourages the Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations Secretariat's preventive diplomacy


"The adoption of a consensus resolution on strengthening the coordination of the United Nations humanitarian emergency assistance was another important outcome of the session," he said. "The resolution included Australia's proposal for the Secretary-General to consult governments on ways and means of improving further the United Nations' capability in the

areas of prevention and preparedness in relation to national disasters and other emergencies."

A further significant development was a consensus resolution commending the Chemical Weapons Convention. The negotiation of this instrument was the major disarmament achievement of 1992, and one in which Australia played a leading role. This was complemented by record positive support for a resolution jointly sponsored by Australia, New Zealand and Mexico in support of a comprehensive test ban and the consensus adoption of a

resolution endorsing the UN Register of Conventional Arms Transfers.

"One of the other most important outcomes of UNGA 47 was the creation of the Commission on Sustainable Development which was called for by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio last June," Senator Evans said. "The Commission, which will meet for the first time in New York in 1993, will have 53 members representing all geographic regions and Australia is a candidate for election to the Commission.

"Australia also continued to give a high priority at UNGA 47 to international human rights issues. We worked actively for the adoption by consensus of a strong resolution addressing the human rights situation in Burma and took a strong stance in supporting a resolution condemning the massive violation of human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Australia was also

active in reaching agreement on the agenda for the 1993 World Human Rights Conference and warmly welcomes the successful launch of the International Year of the World's Indigenous People."

Senator Evans said that the establishment of a peace-keeping reserve fund designed to provide

immediate funding for start up costs for peace-keeping operations was a usefiil start in meeting an Australian objective in this key area.

Another major development, in which Australia was instrumental, was the adoption by consensus of a resolution which requests the International Law Commission to begin drafting a statute for an International Criminal Court.

"Expectations of the United Nations system are now immense, and the recent session demonstrated that there is a collective will to meet such challenges," Senator Evans said. "Australia played an active and very constructive role in advancing this process."