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Zimbabwe to Head Important UN Commission
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zimbabwe's rise at the UN

By William M. Reilly,
May 15, 2007

"...Zimbabwe has been elected to chairmanship of the U.N. Commission for Sustainable Development.

The question remains: why?

The way it works in most of these unwelcome situations is there are regional groupings in the world organization that put up candidates, and nations in those grouping tend to stick with them. Some are pre-committed to support.

In the latest instance, it was Africa's turn to put up a candidate for the post and the group put up Harare's Francis Nhema, minister of environment and tourism of Zimbabwe. He was the candidate endorsed by the African States Group to serve as the chairman of the commission's 16th session next year.

Africa follows a rotation system for submitting candidates and it was Zimbabwe's turn. In a secret ballot late Friday night, Nhema was elected 26-21, with 3 abstentions."

Chinese ambassador congratulates Zimbabwe on being chosen to lead UN commission

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Yuan Nansheng on Wednesday sent a letter to Zimbabwean Minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema to congratulate that he was elected chairman of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

"On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I wish to extend our sincere congratulations to you on the occasion of your election as chairman of UN's commission on Sustainable Development, " Yuan said in the letter to Nhema.

He also expressed his hope that the friendly relations and cooperation between the Chinese and Zimbabwean governments in international affairs develop steadily.

Nhema won an approval to head the UN body in charge of promoting economic progress and environmental protection at the closing of the body's 15th session in New York on Friday.

The voting result by secret ballots was 26 to 21 with three abstentions. Fifty of the 53 commission members voted.

The UN African caucus last month nominated the Zimbabwean minister for the post.

The chair traditionally rotates among regions of the world and it was Africa's turn this year. African countries chose Zimbabwe as its candidate for the one-year tenure and the government in turn nominated Nhema for the post.

The commission was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective followup of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June of that year and implementation of key environmental and development agreements.

Zimbabwe took over from Qatar and is expected to bring various critical environmental issues to the fore during its tenure.

Source: Xinhua

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