Chapter III. General review of the legal activities of the United Nations and related intergovernmental organizations

enabling environment for the capacity building of local authorities and national and local non-governmental and community-based organizations in order to ensure better preparedness in providing humanitarian assistance Furthermore, the United Nations humanitarian organizations were called upon to strengthen the evidence base for humanitarian assistance by further developing common mechanisms to improve the quality, transparency and reliability of humanitarian needs assessments, and to assess their performance in assistance and to ensure the most effective use of humanitarian resources The Assembly also decided to designate 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in order to contribute to increasing public awareness about humanitarian assistance activities worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in this regard

In resolution 63/138, entitled “Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel”, the General Assembly recalled that the primary responsibility under international law for the security and protection of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel lay with the Government hosting a United Nations operation conducted under the Charter of the United Nations or its agreements with relevant organizations It further recalled the inclusion of attacks intentionally directed against personnel involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter as a war crime in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 267 The Assembly further welcomed the report of the Secretary-General,268 and urged all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel, and to respect and ensure respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises States were also called upon to consider becoming parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel269 and to put in place appropriate national legislation, as necessary, to enable its effective implementation The Assembly welcomed ongoing efforts to promote and enhance security consciousness within the organizational culture of the United Nations system, urged the Secretary-General to continue to intensify such efforts at all levels of leadership and staff, and took note of the report entitled “Towards a Culture of Security and Accountability” of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel and Premises Worldwide 270 The Secretary-General was requested, inter alia, through the Inter-Agency Security Management Network, to continue to promote increased cooperation and collaboration among United Nations departments, organizations, funds and programmes and affiliated international organizations in the planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving staff security, training and awareness

In resolution 63/141, entitled “International cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters, from relief to development”, the General Assembly called upon States to fully implement the Hyogo Declaration271 and the Hyogo Frame-267 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol 2187, No 38544

268 A/63/305 and Corr 1

269 A/60/518

270 “Towards a Culture of Security and Accountability” of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel and Premises Worldwide, 9 June 2008, available at www un org/News/dh/infocus/terrorism/PanelOnSafetyReport pdf

271 A/CONF 206/6 and Corr 1, chapter I, resolution 1

chapter III 167

work 2005 2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters 272 The

Assembly took note of the report of the Secretary-General,273 and stressed the importance of strengthening international cooperation, particularly through the effective use of multilateral mechanisms, in the timely provision of humanitarian assistance, including the provision of adequate resources It requested the United Nations system to improve its coordination of disaster recovery efforts, inter alia, by strengthening institutional, coordination and planning efforts in disaster recover, in support of national authorities, and called upon Member States, and invited the private sector and all concerned individuals, to consider increasing voluntary contributions to the Central Emergency Response Fund

On 18 December 2008, the General Assembly adopted, on the recommendation of the Third Committee, resolution 63/147 entitled “New international humanitarian order”, in which the Assembly urged Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to extend cooperation and support to the efforts of the Secretary-General in the humanitarian field, inter alia, through the relevant United Nations agencies and organizational mechanisms set up to address the assistance and protection needs of affected populations as well as the safety and security of United Nations and other humanitarian workers

  1. Environment


    1. Economic and Social Council

    On July 24 2008, the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 2008/25 entitled, “International cooperation in preventing and combating illicit international trafficking in forest products, including timber, wildlife and other forest biological resources” In this resolution, the Council encouraged Member States to continue to provide the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with information on measures taken pursuant to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice resolution 16/1, in conjunction with the report of the Open-ended Expert Group on the subject The Expert Group placed emphasis on the need for a holistic, comprehensive and multicultural approach to preventing and combating illicit international trafficking in forest products

    The Council also adopted resolution 2008/13 entitled “Protection against products harmful to health and environment”, in which the Council invited the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization to continue to update the consolidated list of products whose consumption and/or sale have been banned with respect to chemicals and pharmaceuticals respectively Both organizations were invited to report to the Council during its substantive session in 2010

    272 Ibid , resolution 2

    273 A/63/277

    (b) General Assembly

    On 19 December 2008, the General Assembly adopted, on the recommendation of the Second Committee, twelve resolutions related to the environment, of which four are highlighted below 274

    In the area of sustainable development, the Assembly recognized, in its resolution 63/216 entitled “International Strategy for Disaster Reduction”, the clear relationship between development and disaster risk reduction, response and recovery The Assembly consequently underlined the need for continued efforts in both directions In this context, the Assembly stressed the importance of advancing the implementation of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development275 and its relevant

    provisions and noted the progress made in the development of regional mechanisms for disaster reduction by member States The Assembly further called upon the international community to increase its efforts to fully implement the commitments of the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action and to continue providing adequate financial contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Disaster Reduction

    In its resolution 63/217 entitled “Natural disasters and vulnerability”, the Assembly stressed that, in order to reduce natural hazard vulnerability, including geological and hydrometeorological events, closer and more systematic cooperation, and information-sharing on disaster preparedness among the scientific and academic communities including disaster managers at all levels, should be strengthened The Assembly further emphasized the integration of risk assessments into disaster risk reduction programmes at national and local levels

    In its resolution 63/219, entitled “Convention on Biological Diversity”, the Assembly urged all Member States to fulfil their commitments to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010, and emphasized that this would require an appropriate focus on the loss of biodiversity in their relevant policies and programmes as well as continued financial and technical assistance to developing countries The Assembly stressed the importance of private-sector engagement in the implementation of the objectives of the Convention as well as the achievement of the 2010 target, and invited businesses to align their policies and practices more explicitly with the objectives of the Convention

    In its resolution 63/220, entitled “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its tenth special session”, the Assembly reaffirmed the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the leading global environmental authority, including in the area of sustainable development needs of developing countries The Assembly also took note of the organization’s finding that current environmental degradation poses a serious challenge to human wellbeing and sustainable development, in view of unprecedented environmental changes at all levels 276 The potentially adverse

    274 See also General Assembly resolutions 63/209, 63/210, 63/211, 63/212, 63/213, 63/214, 63/215 and 63/218

    275 Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August–4 September 2002 (United Nations publication, Sales No E 03 II A 1 and corrigendum), chap I, resolution 2, annex

    276 Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development (United Nations publication, Sales No E 07 III D 19)

    chapter III 169

    impact of the current global crisis on sustainable development was also noted The Assembly consequently invited governments to increase their contributions to the...

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