COVID-19: UNGA to adopt 'silence procedure' voting due to lockdown

by IANS |

United Nations, March 25 (IANS) General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has proposed voting on essential matters through a "silence procedure" of unanimity while the UN headquarters is under a virtual lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic and meetings are not possible.

India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin welcomed the proposal made on Tuesday saying, "Extraordinary situations require innovative solutions which remain true to spirit of international cooperation."

Under Muhammad-Bande's proposal sent to all permanent representatives, draft decisions proposed by him in consultation with the General Committee will be circulated to all members under the "silence procedure."

If no one breaks the silence - that is, responds to it - within 72 hours, the decision would be considered adopted and the General Assembly would make a note of it when it reconvenes, the proposal said.

The General Committee is made up of the General Assembly's president, the chairpersons of the six main committees, and the 21 vice presidents including the five permanent members of the Security Council. (India is currently not a member of the General Committee.)

The "silence procedure" will be used till the end of May, the proposal said.

Muhammad-Bande's proposal was itself sent as a draft decision under the "silence procedure" and will be considered adopted if there is no response to it by Friday noon, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Akbaruddin said he appreciated "the consultative approach" taken by Muhammad-Bande "in working with states to suggest a procedural way forward."

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