20/12/2002
Press Release
GA/10126



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

79th Meeting (PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONCLUDES MAIN PART OF FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION;


ADOPTS RESOLUTION PROVIDING SUPPORT, DIRECTION FOR UN REFORM


Text ‘Significant Achievement’, Says Assembly President;

Cooperation with OSCE, HIV-AIDS Follow-up among Other Issues Addressed


The General Assembly concluded the main part of its fifty-seventh session this afternoon with the adoption of resolution supporting the Secretary-General’s proposals for strengthening the United Nations.


In the resolution, noted President Jan Kavan (Czech Republic) in his closing remarks, the Assembly had provided direction on how to proceed further with the reform process.  Many of the proposed actions would strengthen the impact of the Organization’s work, especially in economic and social fields, through a revised 2004-2005 programme budget to better reflect the Organization’s new priorities, through rationalization of its work and its information services, streamlining management, clarification of the roles and responsibilities in technical assistance and many other measures that will make the United Nations more focused, efficient and effective.


Its adoption, he added, had been a significant achievement, in that it represented an important stepping stone for the future work and deliberations in the continuous process of reforming the Organization.


By the terms of the resolution entitled "strengthening of the United Nations:  an agenda for further change", the Assembly, among other things, endorsed the Secretary-General's decision to entrust the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa with the responsibilities of coordinating and guiding the preparation of Africa-led reports and inputs, as well as coordinating the interdepartmental task force on African affairs to ensure coherence and an integrated approach for United Nations support to Africa.


Also, the Assembly approved the transfer of resources allocated to the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries and those from the current Office of the Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, to the new Office of the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, and requested the Secretary-General to ensure that the new Office is reflected in the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005 with the allocation of adequate resources for its expanded mandate. 


Among the Secretary-General's proposals that the Assembly took note of is one for a shorter, more strategic medium-term plan that is linked to the budget outline.  In that connection, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit a more detailed proposal to it, through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for consideration at its fifty-eighth session.


The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to submit, as soon as possible, but not later than at its fifty-ninth session, for consideration in the context of human resources management, a study on ways to promote General Service staff to Professional posts.


In other action, by a vote of 147 in favour to none against with three abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Madagascar), the Assembly adopted a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (Annex II).  In doing so, the Assembly remained deeply concerned at the failure to achieve a settlement of the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict despite the intensified dialogue between the parties and the active support of the Minsk Group of the OSCE and called on the sides to continue their efforts to achieve an early resolution of the conflict, based on international law. 


That action came following the adoption of an amendment to that resolution, by a vote of 37 in favour to 2 against (Armenia, South Africa) with             100 abstentions (Annex I).  Speaking before the vote, Armenia’s representative said that the amendment was a deliberate attempt by Azerbaijan to pose a compulsory framework and to prejudice the outcome of the ongoing peace negotiations.  It virtually forced the Member States to take sides in a conflict that was under negotiations, he said. 


In other action, the Assembly decided to convene a day of high-level plenary meetings devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of its twenty-sixth special session and the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.  The session will be held immediately following the general debate of its fifty-eighth session, on a date to be decided by the Assembly during its current session.


By another resolution, the Assembly appealed to the international community, United Nations bodies, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations to allocate substantial new resources, including through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for developing countries, particularly in Africa, to enable them to implement fully the plan of action, adopted in Abuja, for the "Roll Back Malaria" initiative. 


The Assembly also adopted a resolution by which it requested the Secretary-General to work closely with organizations of the United Nations system and with the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force to develop a comprehensive ICT strategy for the United Nations system.


By another text, the Assembly decided to include "Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa" as a sub-item under the single agenda item on the development of Africa, entitled "New


(page 1b follows)


Partnership for Africa's Development:  progress in implementation and international support", beginning at its fifty-eighth session. 


It also noted with concern that, notwithstanding some progress made towards restoring peace and stability in the African region, the challenges of conflict prevention and post-conflict development remain daunting, and the progress in effectively implementing the recommendations in the peacemaking, economic, social and other areas as contained in the Secretary-General's report remains slow and uneven. 


The Assembly also decided to bring the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa to a close, and call on the international community, including the United Nations system, to channel its support for Africa's industrialization effort within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).  It also expressed disappointment that, despite the first such Decade in the 1980s and the Second Decade (1993-2002), limited progress has been made in the industrialization of Africa.


In addition, this afternoon, the Assembly appointed the Congo, France, India, Japan, Russian Federation and Zambia to serve on the Committee on Conferences for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2003.  The appointment of a seventh member was postponed.


Texts were introduced by the representatives of Pakistan, Azerbaijan and the Philippines.


Explanations of vote were made by the representatives of the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, South Africa, Egypt, China, United States, Algeria, Venezuela (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Canada, Australia and Japan.


Background


The General Assembly met this afternoon to take up a number of draft resolutions and recess its current session.


A note by the Secretary-General on the appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences (document A/57/108) states that since the terms of office of Chile, Equatorial Guinea, France, Japan, Namibia, the Philippines and the Russian Federation will expire on 31 December, it will be necessary for the Assembly President at the current session to appoint seven members to fill the resulting vacancies.  The members so appointed will serve for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2003.


A draft resolution entitled, "2001-2010:  Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa" (document A/57/L.70) would have the Assembly appeal to the international community, United Nations bodies, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations to allocate substantial new resources, including through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for developing countries, particularly in Africa, to enable them to implement fully the plan of action for the "Roll Back Malaria" initiative.


The Assembly would also call for joint comprehensive efforts between Africa and the international community to ensure that, by 2005, several targets are achieved.  Among them, is the target of ensuring that at least 60 per cent of those suffering from malaria have prompt access to and are able to use correct, affordable and appropriate treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. 


In addition, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to conduct in 2005, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, developing countries and regional organizations such as the African Union, an evaluation of the measures taken and progress made towards the achievement of the mid-term targets, the means of implementation provided by the international community in this regard and the overall goals of the Decade, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its sixtieth session.


By the terms of a draft resolution on information and communication technologies for development (document A/57/L.71), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to work closely with organizations of the United Nations system and with the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force to develop a comprehensive information and communication technologies (ICT) strategy for the United Nations system.  In doing so, he should take into account several elements, such as encouraging the system-wide application and use of ICT to strengthen the United Nations capacity to create, share and disseminate knowledge, and to help make the United Nations more efficient and effective in the delivery of services to Member States.


Another draft resolution (document A/57/L.69) would have the Assembly decide to include "Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa" as a sub-item under the single agenda item on the development of Africa, entitled "New Partnership for Africa's Development:  progress in implementation and international support", beginning at its fifty-eighth session.


Also, the Assembly would note with concern that, notwithstanding some progress made towards restoring peace and stability in the African region, the challenges of conflict prevention and post-conflict development remain daunting, and the progress in effectively implementing the recommendations in the peacemaking, economic, social and other areas as contained in the Secretary-General's report remains slow and uneven.  It would urge Member States, as well as the international community, to strengthen their efforts towards effectively implementing the recommendations in all the areas mentioned in the Secretary-General's report.


A draft resolution on the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (document A/57/L.68) would have the Assembly decide to bring the Decade to a close, and call on the international community, including the United Nations system, to channel its support for Africa's industrialization effort within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).  It would also express disappointment that, despite the first such Decade in the 1980s and the Second Decade (1993-2002), limited progress has been made in the industrialization of Africa.  Further, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to include the topic of industrialization in Africa in his consolidated annual report to the Assembly on the implementation of NEPAD.


By the terms of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe  (OSCE) (document A/57/L.72), the Assembly would, among other things, remain deeply concerned at the failure to achieve a settlement of the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict, despite the intensified dialogue between the parties and the active support of the Minsk Group of the OSCE, and call on the sides to continue their efforts to achieve an early resolution of the conflict, based on international law.


An amendment (document A/57/L.73) to that text would have a new operative paragraph added after operative paragraph 25, which would read "Fully supports the activities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in and around the Nagorny-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and welcomes cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in this regard."


A draft resolution on follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:  implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (document A/57/L.67) would have the Assembly decide to convene a day of high-level plenary meetings devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of its twenty-sixth special session and the implementation of the Declaration, to be held immediately following the general debate of its fifty-eighth session, on a date to be decided by the Assembly during its current session.  It would also decide that the statements in those meetings should not exceed five minutes each.


The Assembly would also decide that an informal interactive panel discussion will be held in parallel with the afternoon plenary meeting and that it will have as its theme "Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS:  from policy to practice -- progress achieved, lessons learned and best practices"; the Chairman of the panel will orally present a summary of the discussions in the informal panel to the Assembly at the end of the debate in plenary meeting.


In addition to a number of other decisions regarding the organization of the meetings, the Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive and analytical report on progress achieved in realizing the commitments set out in the Declaration, with a view to identifying problems and constraints and making recommendations on action needed to make further progress for consideration by the Assembly at its fifty-eighth session, and, in this context, underline the importance of the continuing refinement of the core indicators developed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and approved by its Programme Coordinating Board.


A draft resolution submitted by the President of the Assembly entitled, "Strengthening of the United Nations:  an agenda for further change" (document A/57/L.74) would have the Assembly decide that the creation of a partnership office as part of the effort to enhance cooperation in the work of the Organization with the private sector should be subject to its resolutions    55/215 of 21 December 2000 and 56/76 of 11 December 2001 (both entitled "Towards Global Partnership").


The Assembly would also endorse the decision of the Secretary-General to entrust the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, who will report directly to him, with the responsibilities of:  coordinating and guiding the preparation of Africa-led reports and inputs, particularly support for the NEPAD, by the United Nations system and the international community, and the coordination of global advocacy in support of NEPAD; and coordinating the interdepartmental task force on African affairs to ensure coherence and an integrated approach for United Nations support to Africa, including following up the implementation of all summit and conference outcomes related to Africa and addressing gaps and initiating reports on critical issues affecting Africa.


In addition, the Assembly would approve the transfer of resources allocated to the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries and those from the current Office of the Adviser for Special Assignments in Africa, to the new Office of the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, and request the Secretary-General to ensure that the new Office is reflected in the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005, with the allocation of adequate resources for its expanded mandate.


The Assembly would also:  concur with the intention of the Secretary-General to establish a panel of eminent persons, reflecting a diversity of views, to review the relationship between the United Nations and civil society; stress that the terms of reference of such a panel should underscore the intergovernmental character of the United Nations; and decide to consider the recommendations of the panel through the respective intergovernmental process.


Among the Secretary-General's proposals that the Assembly would take note of is the one for a shorter, more strategic medium-term plan that is linked to the budget outline.  In that connection, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit a more detailed proposal to it, through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for consideration at its fifty-eighth session.


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to submit, as soon as possible, but not later than the fifty-ninth session of the Assembly, for consideration in the context of human resources management, a study on ways to promote General Service staff to Professional posts, analysing the effects on non-represented and underrepresented countries, while ensuring the implementation of

equitable geographic representation and aligning the procedures and qualifications of the General Service to the Professional category examinations to those of the national competitive recruitment examinations.


In addition, the Assembly would welcome the intention of the Secretary-General to conduct a systematic evaluation of the impact, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of all activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI), and request him, with assistance from the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), to proceed as quickly as possible in this regard and to report on progress made to the Assembly at its next session, through the Committee on Information at its twenty-fifth session.


Action


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted, as orally corrected, the draft resolution entitled, "2001-2010:  Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa" (A/57/L.70).


MUHAMMAD HASSAN (Pakistan) introduced the draft resolution on information and communication technologies for development (A/57/L.71), which he said was an important step forward towards developing a comprehensive ICT strategy for the United Nations system.  One of the elements that needed to be taken into account in developing that strategy was encouraging the system-wide application and use of ICT to strengthen the United Nations capacity to create, share and disseminate knowledge, and to help make the United Nations more efficient and effective in service delivery to Member States.


Among the other elements, he said, were mainstreaming and integrating ICT more fully into development and technical cooperation activities of the organizations of the system, and building collaborative networks and communities of practice among those organizations.


The Assembly adopted that text without a vote.


Following that, it adopted the draft resolutions on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (A/57/L.69) and the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (A/57/L.68) without a vote.


YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) introduced the amendment to the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and OSCE.  Before doing so, he said that he profoundly regretted that the statement made in the plenary meeting on        22 October this year by the representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE had covered the entire range of questions facing the OSCE, but did not mention a serious problem that was being dealt with by the OSCE, namely, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 


As a result of that conflict, he said, 20 per cent of the territory of his country was still under occupation.  Azerbaijan was the only State in the OSCE area whose territory was occupied by a foreign State -- by Armenia.  It was his country that had been compelled to cope with a humanitarian emergency that had caused the exodus of some 1 million refugees and displaced persons, the victims of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Armenia.  He had proposed the amendment not to

replace operative paragraph 26, but as a new operative paragraph embracing the United Nations agreed language.  He appealed to all Member States to vote in favour of the amendment contained in A/57/L.73. 


Speaking in explanation of vote, VSEVOLOD GRIGORE (Republic of Moldova) wanted to explain his delegation’s position on operative paragraph 20 of the draft resolution, which addressed the necessity of resolving the Transnistrian conflict –- one of the few remaining “frozen conflicts” in Europe, and the long-awaited completion of the withdrawal process of the foreign troops from the territory of his country.  His delegation had made a number of concrete and constructive proposals on paragraph 20.  He regretted that it had not been possible to achieve the wording he had suggested.  Those amendments would have allowed for a more balanced text that fully reflected the complex nature of the decisions and discussions the of Porto OSCE Ministerial Meeting regarding his country.


His delegation eventually accepted the compromise wording of operative paragraph 20 proposed by the Portuguese OSCE Chairmanship.  Nevertheless, he was not in a position to co-sponsor the text. 


MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia) noted that operative paragraph 26, dealing with the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict, contained language agreed by all parties to the conflict.  It was entirely based on the relevant paragraphs of the Statement of the OSCE Ministerial Council, adopted by consensus in Porto on 7 December.  The amendment was a deliberate attempt to pose a compulsory framework and to prejudice the outcome of the ongoing peace negotiations.  It virtually forced the Member States to take sides in a conflict that was under negotiations. 


Azerbaijan referred to the conflict in different ways in different forums, he said.  In one forum, it grossly misinterpreted the issue as a religious conflict between the Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis, thus striving to get advantage by playing on the religious feelings of Islamic countries.  In other circumstances, Azerbaijan fervently emphasized the principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, while failing to address the right of peoples to self-determination, the fundamental principle in the conflict.  He found the amendment totally unacceptable and would vote against it, and urged all Member States to do the same.


REVAZ ADAMIN (Georgia) said his country had always been vocal in supporting the resolution.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE was of paramount importance for the resolution of conflicts and stability in the OSCE area.  The framework and principles for cooperation between the organizations had to be rooted in the objective assessment of the situation.  Although the draft before the Assembly achieved that goal in many respects, it contained a number of flaws.  Paragraph 22 supported the desire of the parties to complete negotiations regarding Russian military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki during the withdrawal, and noted that the OSCE experts' visit to Gudauta was a milestone for the speedy and legal transfer of the Gudauta facilities. 


The wording of the paragraph was quite far from reality, he said.  The desire on the part of the Russian Federation to engage in the negotiations was virtually non-existent.  While the dismantling and withdrawal of the Russian military base from Gudauta should have been completed by July 2001, it was still operating.  While modalities for the termination of the Russian military bases in

Batumi and Akhalkalaki should have been completed by the end of 2000, they remained unresolved due to the irresponsible behaviour of the Russian side, which had suspended negotiations without explanation.


Those violations should have been reflected in the wording of paragraph   22, he said.  The paragraph could not be construed as tacit approval of the failure of the Russian Federation to end the illegal presence of its troops in Georgia through constructive negotiations.  In the continued obstruction in the negotiations, Georgia reserved the right to protect its national interest.  The appreciative wording in paragraphs 22 and 23 on the OSCE involvement in the peace process in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia was also a deviation from reality.  Paragraph 23 failed to mention the proposals on distribution of constitutional competencies between Tibilisi and Sokhumi, the so-called Boden document, which was the central issue in the United Nations peace process in Abkhazia, Georgia. 


The amendment was adopted by a vote of 37 in favour to 2 against (Armenia, South Africa) with 100 abstentions (Annex I).


The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on OSCE Cooperation (A/57/L.72) by a vote of 147 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Madagascar) (Annex II).


HENRI RAUBENHEIMER (South Africa) pointed out that while voting for the amendment, it had been his intention to abstain.


AHMED EL-SAID RAGAB (Egypt) said that having fully studied the draft resolution, he felt that it was better to stick to the original text, because it corresponded to the language of the OSCE Summit Declaration adopted in Istanbul in 1999 with the parties to the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict, and also conformed to the OSCE’s Communiqué of        28 November 2000.  Second, the draft revolved around cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, and not on the settlement of any regional disputes.  Third, the text did not take sides, but only welcomed the OSCE’s efforts to foster an atmosphere of confidence and trust.  Therefore, he abstained in the vote on the amendment. 


WANG DONGHUA (China) said that he voted in favour of the amendment because it was in conformity with the resolutions adopted by the Security Council.  Conflicts between States should be resolved politically between them.


Ms. PLAISTED (United States) said the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group decided to abstain on any amendment to the text proposed by the Portuguese chairmanship of the OSCE.  At the same time, that in no way changed their commitment to helping the parties achieve a peaceful settlement of their dispute.


ENRIQUE MANALO (Philippines) introduced the draft resolution on HIV/AIDS (A/57/L.67) and said that he hoped it would meet with the approval and support of the Assembly.


The Assembly was informed that, should it adopt the draft resolution, it was the understanding of the Secretariat that the one-day plenary meeting and the half-day meeting for the Panel would be convened the first working day immediately following the end of the general debate.  Services and facilities for those meetings would be provided from the overall existing provisions approved for the Assembly at its fifty-eighth session.

The draft resolution on follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:  implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (A/57/L.67) was adopted without a vote.


Following that, Assembly President JAN KAVAN (Czech Republic) introduced the draft resolution on ”Strengthening of the United Nations:  an agenda for further change.”  He noted that operative paragraph 4 should follow operative paragraph   5 in all languages.  With the text, he said, the Assembly would be providing guidance and direction on how to proceed with the reform process put forward by the Secretary-General.  The Assembly would be providing general endorsement of the Secretary-General’s reform proposals.  He hoped the text had the full support of Member States and would be adopted by consensus.


ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that he had joined the consensus on the draft resolution because, despite its shortcomings, the text was generally satisfactory and would provide for the strengthening of the Organization.  The reform of the United Nations was a matter for everyone.  The results could have been better and the support of the Assembly for the reforms would be more decisive if negotiations had been begun on a different footing.  Now that it was going to be adopted and, hopefully, promptly implemented, it was necessary to draw lessons from the exercise undertaken over the past three months.


The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution A/57/L.74, as orally corrected, without a vote.


LUIS ANTONIO NIÑO GÓMEZ (Venezuela), on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countrues and China, reiterated his appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report and extended his full support for the reforms outlined in that report.  The report had suggested a number of improvements on which the United Nations should focus.  For the Group, from the outset of the negotiations the framework for work had focused on the need to ensure that none of the reforms should negatively affect the negotiating capacity of the developing countries.  The report deserved comprehensive and holistic consideration by Member States.


ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the resolution just adopted was an important milestone in the continuing United Nations reform process.  Today, the Assembly had decided to reinforce the implementation of the development agenda and reaffirmed the United Nations’ strong focus on Africa.  The Assembly had given a renewed mandate to the Secretary-General to strengthen the Organization.  Implementation must start today.  There was no time to lose in strengthening the activities of the United Nations.  She commended the President’s leadership during the negotiations, for the reform process was anchored in the joint efforts of the Secretary-General and the Assembly President to move things forward.


PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said the Secretary-General had put forward an “agenda for change”, not a detailed blueprint.  The resolution just adopted embraced the course that the Secretary-General had chartered, encouraged him to implement actions within his managerial purview and commissioned processes across a broad agenda to develop the details of how desired improvements could be implemented.  It was his wish that more had been accomplished.  The text was more defensive than warranted, particularly with regard to the Secretary-General.  There was much work to do and the preparation of the next budget was a critical next step.  The Secretary-General had challenged Member States to anticipate a

more strategic budget that aligned resources with priorities and identified outdated activities for discontinuation.  The resolution urged the Secretary-General to do just that.


He had no doubt that the Secretary-General and his senior managers would pursue the agenda for management and efficiency measures that they themselves had set out.  Improving conference services, restructuring the Department of Public Information, strengthening the effectiveness of the field presence and an array of people management improvements were among the many issues that the Secretariat could implement within its managerial prerogative.  Many of the most complex issues identified by the Secretary-General remained to be resolved in detail, such as how best to improve the planning and budgeting system.


JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said that developing a coherent response to the Secretary-General’s proposals over a short time was a formidable challenge.  He was disappointed, however, that it had not been possible to bring the President’s text directly to the Assembly, as had been intended.  Not all of Australia’s proposals had been incorporated in the text and there were parts where much bolder action was justified.  Australia was ready to accept the outcome of the President’s process and the compromises which the President and the facilitators had laboriously worked out in dialogue with Member States.  He deplored, however, the lapse back into the worst habits of bloc-to-bloc negotiations for which the Assembly had been infamous.


The world in which the United Nations operated was constantly changing and the United Nations needed to be sufficiently flexible to respond to it, he said.  Too often, the Assembly’s usual ways of doing business led to inaction, rigidity and atrophy.  The contention in the resolution that reform of the Organization encompassed the revitalization of the General Assembly could not be truer.  With the resolution, the Assembly was saying that the Secretary-General was going in the right direction.  On several fronts, especially those within his purview, it was now up to the Secretary-General to go forward.  He looked forward to the  2004-2005 programme budget, which would be not only shorter and more strategic, but would also better align the Organization’s limited resources with its priorities.  The adoption of the resolution advanced the Secretary-General’s efforts to improve the Organization and create new momentum.


KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) expressed his continued support for the Secretary-General in promoting United Nations reform to make the Organization more effective and relevant.  The strengthening of the United Nations also encompassed reforming the Security Council and revitalizing the Assembly.  He looked forward to the active involvement of the heads of those two bodies in upcoming reform discussions.


PATRICK KENNEDY (United States) said that to remain vital and relevant, any organization must reevaluate itself.  The United Nations was no different.  The Secretary-General’s report had provided a road map for continued improvement and he supported it wholeheartedly.  The resolution was a sign of support to the Secretary-General.  While he would have preferred something shorter, the text was relevant and fair.


In a concluding statement, General Assembly President JAN KAVAN (Czech Republic) said that one of the most important issues had been the discussion on the strengthening of the United Nations system.  In the draft resolution just adopted, the Assembly had provided direction on how to proceed further with the reform process.  Many of the proposed actions would strengthen the impact of the Organizaiton’s work, especially in economic and social fields, through a revised 2004-2005 programme budget to better reflect the Organization’s new priorities, through rationalization of its work and its information services, streamlining management, clarification of the roles and responsibilities in technical assistance.  The adoption of the resolution had been a significant achievement, representing an important stepping stone for the future work and deliberations in the continuous process of reforming the Organization.


The discussion on the follow-up to the Millennium Summit reaffirmed the Assembly’s commitment to the implementation of objectives and goals contained in the Millennium Declaration, he said.  Despite uneven progress, he was hopeful that Member States would be able to address gaps in implementation.  The resolution adopted last Monday outlined the way the review of the implementation and follow-up to the Millennium Summit would be structured in years to come.  A high-level plenary meeting on the comprehensive review of the Millennium Declaration was being proposed for the Assembly’s sixtieth session -– five years after adoption of the Millennium Declaration.  The review of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals should be considered within the framework of the integrated and coordinated follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.


Throughout the session, the Assembly had paid special attention to the most urgent issues of developing countries, particularly those in Africa, he said.  Successful outcome of the high-level meeting on NEPAD in September and deliberation on issues related to the African continent, such as the causes of conflict and promotion of peace and sustainable development, and the fight against malaria, had contributed to greater awareness by Member States and the international community on those issues. 


The Assembly had also devoted significant time to the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic he added.  The resolution adopted called for a high-level plenary meeting during the Assembly’s fifty-eighth session to review the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.  He emphasized the importance of the participation of civil society and the private sector in the process.  He promised to build on the endeavours of his predecessors in their efforts to make the work of the General Assembly more efficient and the meetings more interesting.


He said he was determined to continue the process of the revitalization of the Assembly’s work.  There was still much room for improvement.  The immediate task was to adopt the basic elements for determining the duration and opening date of the General Debate.  In that regard, he planned to convene informal consultations on the topic in January.  Beginning in January, he would chair two important working groups.  The open-ended ad hoc working group of the General Assembly on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of major United Nations conferences would focus on concrete recommendations to contribute to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.  As for the open-ended working group on Security Council reform, although no major breakthrough was expected, given the importance of the issue deliberations of the working group would produce at least an agreement on some basic principles.


The Assembly would also devote attention to the prevention of armed conflict, he said.  He had appointed an extended group of facilitators that would also be instrumental in drafting of the resolution.  He intended to launch the drafting process under his chairmanship in mid-January, with a view to finish negotiations in April. 


In closing, he acknowledged the valuable participation of delegates in the meetings of the plenary and the main committees.  He expressed sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Frechette, for their dedication to the successful work of the Organization.  He also thanked the Vice-Presidents and Secretariat representatives.  


(annexes follow)

ANNEX I


Vote on Amendment to OSCE


The amendment to the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which inserts a new operative paragraph (document A/57/L.73) was adopted by a recorded vote of 37 in favour to 2 against, with 100 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Georgia, Honduras, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan.


Against:  Armenia, South Africa.


Abstaining:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Panama, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen.


(END OF ANNEX I)


ANNEX II


Vote on Cooperation between UN, OSCE


The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/57/L.72) was adopted by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to none against, with       3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  None.


Abstaining:  Armenia, Belarus, Madagascar.


Absent:  Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.


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