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1955 to provide continuous review and evaluation of the effects of ionizing radiation on humans and their environment. Radiation in this context covers both natural and man-made (i.e., from atmospheric and surface nuclear explosions) environmental radiation, and medical and occupational exposures. The Committee submits annual progress reports and occasional comprehensive reports to the General Assembly. The United States is a member of UNSCEAR, whose membership is appointed by the General Assembly President in consultation with regional groups.
The 40th session of UNSCEAR met May 13–17 in Vienna. Members considered chapters for a future report to the General Assembly on the effects of ionizing radiation. On the basis of documents prepared by the UNSCEAR Secretariat and further discussion, the Committee decided to undertake studies in the following fields: doses from natural sources of radiation, especially radon; doses from man-made sources of radiation in the environment; medical radiation exposures; occupational radiation exposures and trends; effects of radiation exposures on plants and animals in the environment; epidemiological studies of radiation effects in human populations; effects of radiation on the developing human brain from prenatal exposure; dose and dose rate effects of radiation response; mechanisms of radiation carcinogenesis; possible stimulatory effects of low doses of radiation; hereditary effects of radiation in human populations; and perception of radiation risks.
The Committee, using experience developed in various international organizations and scientific bodies, kept under consideration the concepts and methodologies for comparative assessment of effects and risks in interactions of toxic chemicals and radiation.
New and Renewable Sources of Energy
The UN Committee on Development and Utilization of New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE) was established by the General Assembly in 1982. The Committee is open to participation of all UN members. It recommends guidelines for UN organs and subsidiary bodies on new and renewable sources of energy, on the basis of the 1981 Nairobi Program of Action, and carries out the Nairobi Program of Action by mobilizing resources for implementation. The Committee meets every other year; its most recent session was in 1990.
To limit the expansion of the UN bureaucracy in this field, the United States has opposed, from the outset, establishment of the Committee or any other permanent institutional arrangements for implementing the Nairobi Program of Action. A number of states, including the United States, have called for the elimination of this Committee or its merger with the Committee on Natural Resources.
At its 1990 session, the Committee adopted, inter alia, a resolution on the convening of an intergovernmental expert group
in 1991 to assess and review the program of action. The United States did not attend the expert group meeting held in July in New York. The Committee adopted no resolutions in 1991.
UN Institute for Training and Research
The UN General Assembly established the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in 1965 as a result of a U.S. initiative embodied in earlier General Assembly resolutions. UNITAR was established to enhance the effectiveness of the UN system by training delegates to the United Nations in the operation of the UN system, its governing bodies and issues, as well as through research on UN system issues.
Headquartered in New York, UNITAR is an autonomous UN institution managed by an Executive Director who is appointed by the Secretary General after consultations with a Board of Trustees. Incumbent Executive Director Michel Doo Kingue (Cameroon) has directed UNITAR since 1983. UNITAR also has a liaison office in Geneva.
The Board of Trustees, which provides policy guidance and direction, is appointed by the Secretary General in consultation with the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. In 1991 the Board consisted of 16 appointed members, who serve in their personal capacities; the last U.S. Board member stepped down in 1989.
At the time of UNITAR's establishment, the General Assembly directed that it be wholly dependent upon voluntary contributions. When UNITAR began experiencing financial difficulties in the early 1980s, however, the United Nations began subsidizing UNITAR's operations in a variety of ways. In 1986, as a result of the inability of UNITAR and the General Assembly to resolve UNITAR's long-term financial problems, the United States ceased making contributions to UNITAR. The United States also publicly announced that UNITAR functions do not justify its continuation as a separate institution.
The UNITAR Board of Trustees held its 29th regular session from May 13–17 in New York. At this session, the Board: concluded that the activities of the UNITAR Geneva office were important, relevant and should continue; adopted the 1991 General Fund Budget of the Institute; took note of Special Purpose Grants projects being implemented in 1991 and related program support activities; considered issues concerning preparation of the 1992–1993 work program; established a Program Committee; was briefed by a delegation of the Atlanta Council for International Cooperation concerning cooperation between UNITAR and Atlanta-based institutions; and decided to hold a special session in September to discuss the future of the Institute.
In implementing a requirement for an independent report on UNITAR contained in resolution 45/219 of 1990, UNITAR contracted Francis Blanchard, former director general of the International Labor Organization, to study UNITAR's mandate and activities. At the Board's special session September 9–11, members concluded the report contained interesting ideas which could contribute to solving the difficulties faced by the Institute.
The report was also presented to the UNITAR Executive Director, the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the 46th General Assembly. It attempted to justify the continued operation of UNITAR, with recommendations aimed at restructuring to meet UN needs better and avoid duplication with other agencies. Among the report's recommendations: refocus UNITAR's mandate to emphasize training rather than research; focus training on areas of international cooperation, for UN personnel and for peacekeeping, while transferring out energy-related activities; bring UNITAR under the aegis of the UN University (UNU); secure annual funding for the Institute through inclusion of budget line of $2 million in the regular UN budget; and proceed with the sale of its building when the real estate market improves and explore other options in the meantime.
The report was not well received by the ACABQ (of which the United States is a member). The ACABQ agreed with the need for major change, but asked for further clarification to justify UNITAR's continued existence. It suggested that the Secretary General be requested to provide a report to the 47th General Assembly, which would better analyze all UN training and/or research institutes, define UNITAR's role within that analysis, consult with UNU about possible association with UNITAR and develop proposals to handle UNITAR's debt (estimated at $10.1 million as of December).
General Assembly Action
The United States, in support of ACABQ recommendations, voiced opposition to many of the Blanchard report recommendations, most specifically the proposal for a $2 million budget line in the regular UN budget. In the end, the United States was successful in obtaining language in the resulting resolution that required a serious review of UNITAR's feasibility and maintained funding strictly through voluntary contributions.
General Assembly resolution 46/180 set out "interim measures" for 1992, whereby UNITAR would focus its activities on training, reevaluate the post grade of its director, and rent or sell the headquarters building. The Secretary General was requested to produce a report in 1992 that analyzes all UN research/training institutes and rationalizes UNITAR's role in that context; analyzes options for location of the Institute and resolution of its debt; presents specific proposals on the Institute's future, including financing and staffing levels; presents the results of consultations with UNU on possible association with the Institute; and analyzes the feasibility of the Institute's role in peacekeeping training. The resolution also asked the Secretary General and UNITAR to consider, in consultation with the ACABQ, financial mechanisms to finance the General Fund of the Institute.
The UN University (UNU), founded in 1973, is a nondegreeconferring postgraduate institution which coordinates studies on a range of issues of significance to the United Nations such as nutrition, energy, and development. A number of American scholars collaborated on UNU projects during 1991. The UNU is supported by voluntary contributions. Its headquarters is in Tokyo, and Japan is its principal benefactor. The United States, as a government, did not contribute to UNU during 1991 and did not play a role in its activities.
Chapter XI of the UN Charter sets forth responsibilities of states for the "administration of territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government." These “non-selfgoverning territories” are considered annually by the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Committee of 24 or C-24), and by the General Assembly's Fourth Committee. The Committee of 24 makes suggestions and recommendations to the Fourth Committee regarding implementation of UN General Assembly resolution 1514 of 1960 (Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples), specific issues affecting the decolonization process, and the activities of specialized agencies and other UN bodies in those territories.
The United States, which is firmly committed to self-determination for all peoples, has consistently opposed many resolutions emanating from the Committee of 24. The United States disagrees with the view of many C-24 members that independence is the only possible outcome of self-determination. The U.S. view is buttressed by General Assembly resolutions 1514 and 1541 of 1960, which explicitly recognize that other legitimate outcomes are free association with an independent state or integration with an independent state. The United States also objects to C–24 condemnation of administering power military bases in non-self-governing territories; whether military bases interfere with the right of selfdetermination can be decided solely on a case-by-case basis. The United States has consistently opposed C-24 resolutions calling for specialized agency cooperation with, and assistance to, "national liberation movements."
Despite these disagreements, the United States continued to cooperate with the Committee of 24 during 1991, participating in its meetings as an observer and submitting to it reports on the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.