Following six (6) weeks of intensive discussions and negotiations, the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Friday, November 16, successfully concluded its work for the main part of the Seventy-Third (73rd) session of the UNGA.
The Committee, under the chairmanship of Liberia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., adopted a total of thirty-six (36) draft resolutions and four (4) draft decisions on a broad range of global issues.
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations, the issues captured under sixty-three (63) agenda items included decolonization, review of peacekeeping operations and special political missions, relief for Palestinian refugees, atomic radiation, assistance in mine action; as well as the peaceful uses of outer space.
Delivering his concluding statement as chair of the Fourth (4th) Committee, Ambassador Kemayah revealed that due to heavy workload, the Committee held a total of twenty-eight (28) formal meetings instead of the twenty-six (26) meetings envisaged in its adopted program of work; and heard from hundreds of high-level speakers from within the United Nations System, Member States, and other organizations which demonstrated keen interest in the work of the committee. "We welcomed the presence this year of a number of senior officials; including the President of the General Assembly Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, and Under-Secretaries-General from various United Nations Departments. States have been represented by high- level officials from capitals and permanent representatives. All delegations demonstrated a keen interest in ensuring that the international community remains seized with the important political and decolonization matters before this Committee." Ambassador Kemayah stressed.
The Liberian Envoy, who hailed the important contributions that the Fourth (4th) Committee makes to the debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), attributed the success of this year's session to the diligence, commitment and cooperation of members of the Bureau; as well as the exceptional work of the Secretariat. He thanked the Under Secretary for General Assembly and Conference Management, Ms. Catherine Pollard and her team; including meeting services staff, translators, Interpreters and press officers for their indispensable support to the success of the Committee's work.
Speaking further at the occasion, Ambassador Kemayah expressed appreciation for the opportunity to serve: “Before adjourning our meeting, I wish to express, on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia, the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia, to whom I pay great tribute for the confidence reposed in me to serve, and in my own name, heartfelt appreciation to all delegations for the cooperation and support they have extended to me in carrying out my duties as Chair of this Committee. I also want to extend my special and sincere gratitude to the African Group for giving me the opportunity to chair this august committee. I am indeed indebted to you all for the constructive approach and flexibility you have demonstrated throughout the session. This, in turn, has permitted the work of the Committee to move forward with all due efficiency as expected by the Assembly.”
Adjourning to a thunderous applause and standing ovation from Member States, Ambassador Kemayah announced that the Fourth Committee will meet in 2019 at its resumed session to consider the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations under agenda item 56; and elect its Bureau for the seventy-fourth (74th) session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the course of the work of the Committee, and at the end of his concluding statement, Ambassador Kemayah received numerous praises for his splendid performance as chair of the Fourth Committee; especially, the skillful, impartial and effective manner in which he conducted the proceedings of the Committee.
The Chairmanship of the Fourth Committee is the first for Ambassador Kemayah since assuming his duties at the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, and a long wait for Liberia; coming fifty-seven (57) years after the late Ambassador and former President of the United Nations General Assembly, Her Excellency Angie Brooks Randolph, chaired the Fourth Committee during the 1961 Session of the General Assembly.
Ambassador Kemayah was assisted by Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Ireland as Vice Chairs, whilst the Plurinational State of Bolivia served as Rapporteur.
The Fourth Committee is one of six (6) main Committees of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and comprises one hundred ninety three (193) Member States of the United Nations with equal representation.