15 March 2007
General Assembly
GA/10579

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Plenary

88th Meeting (PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY GIVES SUPPORT TO SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PROPOSALS


TO RESTRUCTURE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING, DISARMAMENT

 


Two Resolutions Adopted Without a Vote;

Ban Ki-moon Praises Texts as ‘Good Beginning to Our Work Together’


Responding to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposals, the General Assembly today expressed its support for his plans to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and strengthen the Organization’s capacity to advance the disarmament agenda.


Acting against the backdrop of a rapid increase in the number and complexity of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Assembly, by the first of two resolutions that were adopted without a vote this afternoon, supported the establishment of a new Department of Field Support as part of restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, noting the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint an Under-Secretary-General to head it.


In that connection, the Assembly also called upon the Secretary-General to take full account of the views of Member States, including those expressed in the current session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations -- scheduled to conclude tomorrow -- in particular the need to guarantee unity of command, promote integration of efforts and strengthen operational capacities both a Headquarters and in the field.


By the second text, the Assembly supported the establishment of an Office for Disarmament Affairs, with a High Representative at the rank of Under-Secretary-General at its head, who would report directly to the Secretary-General and be part of the policy decision-making in the Secretariat.  At the same time, the Assembly would maintain the budgetary autonomy and integrity of the existing structures and functions of the current Department for Disarmament Affairs, while stressing that the Office would fully implement relevant mandates, decisions and resolutions of the Assembly.


The peacekeeping resolution requested the Secretary-General to submit, as soon as possible, a comprehensive report, detailing the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the set-up of the Department of Field Support, for consideration and decision by the Assembly during its current session, in accordance with established procedures.  By the second text, he was asked to submit a report on financial, administrative and budgetary implications arising from the appointment of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and implementation of the mandates assigned to the Office for Disarmament Affairs.


In that connection, the President of the Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain), said that the drafts expressed the Assembly’s political support, while giving procedural guidance from Member States to the Secretary-General.  The restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would be decided by the membership through the established procedures of the Assembly, after the submission of the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report, which should take full account of Member States’ views, particularly the need to guarantee the unity of command and the safety and security of all personnel in the field.  The report should also take into account the relevant Assembly resolutions to ensure effective management and to establish clear lines of accountability and responsibility.


“Today, I see the adoption of these two resolutions as a good beginning to our work together,” Mr. Ban said following action on the texts.  “Now, we can embark on a reform initiative with one voice -- a collaboration based on mutual trust.  Rest assured that I shall continue to consult Member States in a spirit of openness and transparency.”


He said that, on the basis of today’s texts, he would proceed with the necessary appointments, in consultation with Member States.  He intended to submit the reports requested by the Assembly, the peacekeeping one by mid-April, “making clear the number of posts and structure of units envisaged in both Departments, and the reporting lines within and between them”.  The Department of Field Support would be created by realigning responsibilities and resources from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Office of Mission Support, as well as from the Department of Management.  “I am convinced that, in this way, together, we will strengthen the capacity of the Organization to manage and sustain peace operations.


Statements in explanation of position after the vote were made by representatives of Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), United States, Republic of Korea, Chile, Venezuela, Pakistan, Guinea-Bissau, Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Japan, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), Uganda, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Sudan and Yemen.


Also today, the Assembly took note of the fact that Chad and Dominica had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.  [Under that Article, countries whose arrears equal or exceed the amount of their dues for the preceding two years lose their right to vote in the Assembly.]


Background


The General Assembly met this afternoon to take action on two draft resolutions related to the reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department for Disarmament Affairs (document A/61/L.54 and L.55).


Shortly after taking office on 1 January, the Secretary-General proposed splitting the Department of Peacekeeping Operations into a Department of Peace Operations and a Department of Field Support, and creating an Office for Disarmament Affairs to replace the Department for Disarmament Affairs.  The restructuring initiative was outlined in more detail on 14 February in his letter to the President of the General Assembly, which was also sent to all Permanent and Observer Missions to the United Nations.


The Secretary-General’s proposals to strengthen the capacity of the Organization to manage and sustain peace operations are outlined in annex I to the letter. The proposed realignment includes measures to better align authority, responsibilities and resources presently assigned to various Secretariat departments. The Secretary-General writes that fully implementing such proposals will lead to better planning, faster deployment and a more responsive system of support to tens of thousands of United Nations peacekeepers in the field, and lead to the more effective, efficient and transparent use of resources placed by Member States at the Secretariat’s disposal to implement legislative mandates.


Noting the urgency for reform, the Secretary-General states that since the issuance of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the “Brahimi report”) in 2000, reforms had enabled the Department to confront the enormous challenges of the past six years. Despite the diligent efforts of colleagues in peacekeeping, however, the surge in demand had dramatically strained the system.  Such overstretching came at a time the Organization could least afford it – as it planned for new peace operations in Darfur and elsewhere.  Moreover, the Secretary-General’s consultations with Member States appeared to indicate consensus on one stark reality:  the current approach to mounting and sustaining peacekeeping operations in the field would not sustain the explosive growth in the demand for, and complexity of, those operations without significant change. 


While the creation of two Under-Secretary-Generals –- where one exists now –- means a new set of challenges, it is important to enable the two departments to fulfil their specialized responsibilities, while ensuring that, where the operational needs exist, they act as one in an integrated manner, at all levels.  The Secretary-General intends to empower and hold accountable the Department of Field Support in undertaking the administration and management of field personnel, procurement, information and communication technology and finances for peace operations.  That consolidation would lead to more effective, coherent and responsive support to field operations, more efficient management of Member States’ resources, and clearer lines of responsibility and accountability.


However, the Secretary-General’s proposals could only succeed if the envisaged realignment preserved the principles of unity of command and integration of effort.  To ensure such unity at the Headquarters level, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support will report to, and receive direction from, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations on all issues falling under the purview of United Nations peacekeeping.


To conclude, the Secretary-General states that while, at first glance, his proposals might appear a radical overhaul of the way the Secretariat is structured and organized to support peace operations, they represent the continuation and culmination of the collective efforts of Member States to address the fundamental issue of how the Organisation could carry out the responsibilities and task mandated in support of international peace and security.


In annex II, on advancing the disarmament agenda: a new approach, the Secretary-General states that the new approach will lead to greater visibility of disarmament and non-proliferation issues.  The new Office will have a stronger impact in support of Member States’ efforts to address the threats and challenges that are before the international community.


Referring to the failure of the 2005 review conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament and the need for new impetus for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,  Mr. Ban proposes replacing the current Department for Disarmament Affairs with a new Office headed by a High Representative for Disarmament Affairs - a proposal that would give the Office stronger impact, flexibility and a direct line to Mr. Ban himself.


“This deeply alarming situation makes clear the need to revitalize the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda through a more focused effort,” he writes. “I believe in the need for a greater role and personal involvement of the Secretary-General in this regard.”


Furthermore, he writes that the elements set out in the proposals help to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the expectations of how he or she will play a leadership role in providing the policy direction and guidance necessary to ensure the implementation of General Assembly resolutions in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.  Full implementation of such proposals would strengthen existing synergies across the field of peace and security, and simultaneously help to build more functional and effective cooperation with Member States -- as well as with global and regional intergovernmental organizations.


According to the annex, the functions of the High Representative would be focused on four core areas: policy development and coordination functions in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects in support of the Secretary-General; advocacy of disarmament and non-proliferation issues with Member States and civil society; promotion and support of multilateral efforts on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons; and promotion and support of disarmament efforts in the field of conventional disarmament, especially major weapons systems, small arms and light weapons, and landmines.  Moreover, proximity to the Secretary-General will allow for a strengthened advocacy role in mobilizing political will to overcome the stalemate in disarmament and non-proliferation.  On administrative and financial matters, the proposal would be implemented within existing resources.


Action on Drafts


Introducing the draft on Strengthening the Capacity of the Organization in Peacekeeping Operations (document A/61/L.54), General Assembly President Sheikha HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA (Bahrain) said that the text expressed the Assembly’s political support, while giving procedural guidance from Member States to the Secretary-General.  It also provided that restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, referred to in operative paragraph 2, would be decided by the membership through the established procedures of the Assembly.  That would happen after the submission by the Secretary-General of the comprehensive report referred to in operative paragraph 3.  The report should take full account of Member States’ views, particularly the need to guarantee the unity of command, and safety and security of all personnel working in the field.  Likewise, the report should take into account the relevant Assembly resolutions, such as resolutions 60/266 and 60/268, as well as others, in order to ensure the effective management of those operations and to establish clear lines of accountability and responsibility.


Further by the draft, it would have the Assembly support the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the establishment of a Department of Field Support and note the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint an Under-Secretary-General to head that Department.  It would also request the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report, as soon as possible, elaborating on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support -- including functions, budgetary discipline and full financial implications and taking into account, inter alia, the recommendations of the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services.


The President said the draft on the strengthening of the capacity of the Organization to advance the disarmament agenda (document A/61/L.55), would allow the Secretary-General to appoint a High Representative at the rank of Under-Secretary-General to head the new Office for Disarmament Affairs.  Further, it would provide the Secretary-General with the political support needed for him to discharge his duties in a flexible and effective manner, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter.  It would also request the Secretary-General to submit a report -- following the appointment of the High Representative and as soon as possible -- on the financial, administrative and budgetary implications arising from the appointment of the High Representative and implementation of mandates assigned to the Office for Disarmament Affairs.


The Assembly then adopted both resolutions without a vote.


Following adoption of the texts, RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said he steadfastly supported the efforts of the Secretary-General to improve the management of the Organization and to strengthen its ability to deliver its programmes effectively.  For that, the Non-Aligned Movement believed that the restructuring of the Secretariat in the disarmament field would enhance the capability and effectiveness of the office to deliver its mandate.  He was confident that the new Office, headed by a High Representative at the rank of Under-Secretary-General, would continue to maintain the budgetary autonomy and integrity of existing structures and functions of the current Department for Disarmament Affairs.  Its status under the direct supervision of the Secretary-General would convey a clear and firm message to the international community on the need for a more focused effort, as well as determined leadership at the highest level of the Secretariat to revitalize the disarmament agenda.


What the Assembly had now accomplished was a first major step towards further procedural considerations, as the restructuring of the Secretariat in the disarmament field would require comprehensive intergovernmental participation.  The Non-Aligned Movement looked forward to consensual support on the draft framework resolution before the Assembly to enable Member States to swiftly embark on further undertaking that would contribute to the functioning of the new office.  The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed its readiness to continue to participate in the process actively and constructively.


Turning to the second draft, he said he strongly supported all efforts aimed at improving the organizational ability to manage peacekeeping operations effectively and efficiently, with a view to achieving the key objectives outlined in the reform agenda.  The Non-Aligned Movement supported the draft, which provided guidance for further elaboration of the restructuring proposal for consideration and decision of the Assembly, in accordance with established procedures.  The Non-Aligned Movement continued to stress the need for adherence to the guiding principles for that exercise, namely the preservation of unity of command in Missions at all levels, coherence in policy and strategy, clear command structures, importance of coordination with troop-contributing countries, and ensuring the safety and security of United Nations personnel.  In that regard, the Non-Aligned Movement called upon the Secretary-General to take full account of the views of Member States, including those expressed in the 2007 session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.  The Movement looked forward to the discussions on the detailed proposal to be submitted by the Secretary-General within the framework of the Special Committee, the Fifth Committee and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  The Non-Aligned Movement fully supported the objectives of the Secretary-General in addressing the challenge of peacekeeping operations.


MARK WALLACE ( United States) welcomed the adoption of the framework resolutions that supported the Secretary-General’s proposed reorganization of the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. In light of ongoing challenges facing the international community and the clear responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the Charter, the United States endorsed the Secretary-General’s efforts to manage the United Nations.  Member States shared a collective responsibility to support his managerial prerogatives to reorganize the United Nations to strengthen its capacity to manage and sustain peace and security operations and to bring attention to the disarmament agenda.  The United States had consistently taken the position that the Secretary-General, as Chief Administrative Officer, should have sufficient managerial freedom to act in the best interests of the Organization.  At the same time, Member States shared both the right and the responsibility to hold the Secretary-General accountable for the outcome of his actions.


His country’s support for the resolutions before the Assembly was based on its understanding that the Secretary-General enjoyed managerial freedom, as authorized under the Charter, to make changes he deemed appropriate within the Secretariat, provided there was accountability, he said.  He welcomed the assurance that the framework resolutions preserved his managerial freedom to act in the best interests of the Organization.  He hoped that in the light of the Assembly’s actions today, the Secretary-General would move forward with his managerial priorities in a manner that corresponded to the needs of the Organization and that respected budgetary discipline and efficient and effective use of existing resources.


Welcoming the adoption, CHOI YOUNG-JIN (Republic of Korea) said that the drafts were a balanced reflection of views shared by Member States.  They also enabled the Secretary-General to take initial steps in strengthening the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in carrying out its mandates.


On disarmament, the establishment of a High Representative with increased involvement by the Secretary-General would generate increased momentum in the field.  As for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the United Nations was increasingly being called on to make peace, as well as to keep peace, making the coordination of those activities integral to maintaining international peace and security.  It was thus imperative to give the Secretary-General both authority and flexibility to effectively manage the Secretariat.


ALFREDO LABBÉ (Chile), associating himself with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said he interpreted the approval of the drafts as a vote  of confidence for the Secretary-General, who could now implement his vision of the Secretariat under the mandates given to him.  The texts made it clear that due process of implementation included a revision stage in 2 years and his delegation wished to actively participate in that. 


FRANCISCO JAVIER ARIAS CARDENAS ( Venezuela), associating himself with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that he had confidence in the Secretary-General and welcomed the draft on peacekeeping, as it provided a reference framework for restructuring.  His delegation considered the text a reflection of the concern expressed by the majority of delegations and he awaited further information -- that the Secretary-General would provide -- on the coordination mechanisms between the two departments at the same level.  Simply put, that meant how to guarantee the principle of a unified command, while maintaining the effectiveness of its mandates.  After all, improving the capacity of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had a direct effect on human lives.


MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) supported the Non-Aligned Movement position, saying that Pakistan understood that the real objective of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations reform was to rationalize and strengthen the Department and its capacity at all levels, both in the field and at headquarters. The text was not merely about addressing the problem of “managerial overstretch”.


He was concerned over the lack of clarity in operative paragraph 2 of the draft on peacekeeping, he said, but his delegation had been able to join the consensus on the draft in view of clarifications provided the President of the Assembly in her introductory statement, which underlined that the restructuring would be decided by the membership through established procedures after the submission of the comprehensive report on the matter, taking into account the full opinions of Member States.  He recalled that, in earlier consultations, Pakistan had underlined that if a department of field support was to be created, it would be essential to consider the appointment of a dedicated Deputy Secretary-General to oversee peacekeeping, in order to maintain the unity of command.  It was also important to strengthen operational capacity at all levels, in the field and at headquarters.  Pakistan would further express its views in the debate, once the comprehensive report had been submitted.


He also associated himself with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement on strengthening the disarmament agenda, saying that he trusted that the High Representative to be appointed would help to fully implement the Assembly’s resolutions, decisions and mandates in the largely unfulfilled disarmament agenda.  He hoped he would develop a concrete work plan for the implementation of the agreed objectives of disarmament.


ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said that he was happy that the two drafts had been adopted by consensus.  He also appreciated the efforts to create conditions to ensure a frank, transparent open and cordial discussion on the drafts, which related to central themes of concern to all Member States.  As an African country, Guinea-Bissau was interested in measures to improve the functioning of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  Africa was one of the greatest beneficiaries of peacekeeping operations, and he welcomed the proposals to improve the structure of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  The improvements would provide for better working conditions for the peacekeeping staff.  It was time to pay tribute to all countries contributing troops and to the people risking their lives to ensure that peace triumphed all over the world.  His delegation supported the proposals, for they would help the United Nations, putting at its disposal the tools to fully assume its responsibility in the area of international peace and security.  The reasons underlining the proposals had been clearly explained in the Secretary-General’s letter.


He also welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution seeking to strengthen the efforts in the area of disarmament.  The text would allow the Secretary-General to appoint the High Representative, who would be part of the Secretary-General’s cabinet, giving greater visibility to the disarmament agenda.  Today, the Assembly had been able to give the Secretary-General the tools he needed to fulfil his mission in conformity with the Charter.  In that connection, he also emphasized the responsibility of Member States as owners of the United Nations. Today, they had shown that they could be responsible, contributing to the efforts to strengthen the United Nations.  Happy that consensus had been achieved through constructive dialogue, he was sure that it would set a precedent for the Assembly’s relations with the Secretary-General.


ROBERT HILL ( Australia), also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that peacekeeping and disarmament were both areas of critical importance and he commended the Secretary-General for proceeding in such a timely fashion.  His delegation believed that the Secretary-General was elected to manage and that Member States should not micro-manage the Organisation, though he was pleased that the Secretary-General had taken Member States’ views into account at the early stages.


KENZO OHSHIMA ( Japan), welcoming the adoption of the drafts, said that they showed the Secretary-General’s strong commitment to Secretariat reform, including that of improving management.  Their adoption was also a vote of confidence in the Secretary-General and his reform efforts.  Ensuring budgetary discipline and accountability regarding the budget, procurement, personnel and reporting lines were of utmost importance to his delegation.


It was also appropriate to consider the financial implications of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ restructuring in the context of the whole structure of the Secretariat, he continued.  He appreciated that the Secretary-General’s proposals would be resource-neutral with respect to the programme budget outline for the 2006-2007 biennium.  He acknowledged the importance of the clarification just made, regarding paragraph 3 in the peacekeeping text, which took into account relevant Assembly resolutions on the Department of Peacekeeping Operations reform. 


On the topic of disarmament, he wanted to make it clear that, in paragraph 1 of the text, the reference to “maintaining the budgetary autonomy” did not in any way prejudice the budgetary control and discipline that was ensured by the Controller.


MICHAEL FREIHERR VON UNGERN-STERNBERG (Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, warmly welcomed the adoption of the resolution on strengthening the disarmament agenda, saying that it would give the Secretary-General “the political start signal” on his proposals to realign the Department for Disarmament Affairs.  The reform would allow the Secretary-General to better fulfil his functions as Chief Administrative Officer under the Charter and perform the functions entrusted to him by all bodies and organs in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation.  The current resolution should not be seen in any way as impinging on that role, or seen as a precedent for future administrative changes in the Secretariat.  It was in that spirit that the Union would participate in the consideration by the General Assembly of the reports that would be submitted by the Secretary-General.


Continuing, he welcomed the clarification that budgetary autonomy, structures and functions of the Department for Disarmament Affairs would be maintained.  There should be no budgetary implications arising from the resolution.  Regarding the High Representative, he expressed appreciation for the Secretary-General’s choice to maintain the High Representative at the Under-Secretary-General level, establishing a direct line to the Secretary-General and making him part of the decision-making in the Secretariat.  That would put him in a good position to support the Secretary-General and contribute positively to the visibility of the disarmament agenda.  He also called for making that appointment in a timely manner.


FRANCIS BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) said that he wanted to place on record his gratitude to the Secretary-General for coming out early in his term with the proposals to reform the Department for Disarmament Affairs and Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  The fact that he had succeeded in achieving the adoption of the two resolutions by consensus was a good omen. “This house is not an easy one to convince,” he said.


He supported the position of the Non-Aligned Movement and stressed the importance of the areas of disarmament and peacekeeping.  Blue helmets were the face of the United Nations that the people knew in many parts of the world.  Therefore, it was relevant to seek ways and means of strengthening peacekeeping.  He supported splitting the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in two.  Very often what happened in the field was not well “internalized” at the Headquarters level.  There was a need to have unity, paying particular attention to field operations and their coordination with headquarters.   Uganda, as a troop-contributing country, had a stake in the good operations of the Peacekeeping Department.  Now, the Secretary-General should provide detailed information on peacekeeping restructuring, so that the General Assembly could come up with a final resolution on the matter.


NEGASH KEBRET (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, believed that the Secretary-General needed all the support and flexibility he needed in order to bring about meaningful change.  Moreover, the need to speed up the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ restructuring was more urgent than ever.  In the text, there was also a strong emphasis, among others, on the safety of personnel and consultations with troop-contributing countries.  For its part, Ethiopia would continue to contribute its share as a troop-contributing country.


MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon), associating himself with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Assembly’s adoption was doubly important, as it represented the first time that it had taken a stand since the Secretary-General had taken office and had acted on a proposal coming from him.  It was, likewise, important since it dealt with the Secretary-General’s actions in a field that touched on the essence -- or raison d’etre -- of the Organization.


The Secretary-General had been bold and the proposals were extremely useful for Member States’ discussions, he added.  The message conveyed in today’s adoption was one of unstinting and strengthened confidence in the Secretary-General and in his vision to manage the Secretariat in fields essential to the Organisation.  It was also a tribute and a vote of confidence to personnel in the field, who were sacrificing to ensure that peace could be buttressed, maintained and restored. 


ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) stressed the importance of restructuring two important departments -– the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations -- and thanked the Secretary-General for his timely initiatives.  However, “theoretical” restructuring alone would not fulfil the objectives of the Organization.  Political will was also needed, in particular in overcoming the inertia regarding disarmament.  Also, a large budget for men on the ground was not a source of jubilation, for it testified to the multiplicity of conflicts around the world.  The United Nations should give added momentum to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the development agenda as the way to tackle their root causes.  Reform should be a continuing process, and the reform of the Security Council was especially important.


AHMED HASSAN HASSAN MOHAMED ( Yemen) also welcomed the adoption of the resolutions today.  He associated himself with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement, and said that reform of the Department for Disarmament Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would complete the process of United Nations reform by reinforcing the outcome of the 2005 World Summit.  The positive results achieved were due to the initiative of the Secretary-General and the fact that the President of the General Assembly had supported the consultation efforts.  The cooperation of Member States had led to the adoption of the texts by consensus, and that was a source of pride for all.  His country was in full support of all reform initiatives and all endeavours towards that end.


Thanking the membership as a whole for its support, willingness to listen, and constructive engagement, United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON remarked that, though the consultative process may have been laborious at times, it had benefited all Member States by allowing each to better understand one another and the perspectives shaping their actions and priorities.


“Today, I see the adoption of these two resolutions as a good beginning to our work together,” he said.  “Now we can embark on a reform initiative with one voice -- a collaboration based on mutual trust.  Rest assured that I shall continue to consult Member States in a spirit of openness and transparency.”


In the first resolution, he continued, the General Assembly had asked the Secretary-General for a comprehensive report on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support.  That report was to include functions, budgetary discipline and full financial implications, for consideration and decision by the General Assembly during its sixty-first session, in accordance with established procedures.


He said he had been further called on to take full account of the views of Member States -- including those expressed in the 2007 session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations -- and, in particular, the need to take all measures to guarantee unity of command and to promote integration of efforts and strengthen operational capacities both at Headquarters and field missions.


As indicated in the annex of his letter to the President of the General Assembly dated 15 February, he said he was committed to maintaining unity of command and effort at all levels -- both here and in the field. 


By mid-April, he would submit a comprehensive report covering those aspects, he said. That report would make clear the number of posts and the structure of units envisaged in both Departments, and the reporting lines within and between them. It would further make clear that the Department of Field Support would be created by realigning responsibilities and resources from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Office of Mission Support, as well as from the Department of Management.  He was convinced that, together -- and in that way -- the capacity of the Organization would be strengthened to manage and sustain peace operations.


He would also submit a report on disarmament, as requested by the second resolution, on the financial, administrative and budgetary implications, and the implementation of the mandates assigned to the Office for Disarmament Affairs.  He was determined -- through the work of his High Representative -- to revitalize the disarmament agenda.  On the basis of the General Assembly’s two resolutions, he would proceed with the necessary appointments in consultation with Member States.


“Today marks a new beginning,” he concluded.  “The road ahead will not be without its challenges, but I look forward to working hand in hand with you, as we advance together.”  Promising to make it as free as possible from unnecessary obstacles and detours, he looked forward to the collective journey with confidence.


In her concluding remarks, the President of the General Assembly said that she was pleased that, throughout the consultation process, the membership had been united in providing the Secretary-General with the necessary political support to more effectively discharge the responsibilities and duties of his important office.  A strong Secretary-General was an essential component of a stronger and more effective United Nations.  While preparing to follow up on the consideration of the reports requested in both drafts, she was hopeful that Member States would continue to work together, and with the Secretary-General, to strengthen the Organization to better meet the needs of the world’s peoples.


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