General Assembly President stresses central role of UN in global governance

General Assembly President Joseph Deiss

31 March 2011 – The United Nations and its General Assembly have a central role to play in shaping a global governance structure that is efficient, open and representative, the President of the 192-member Assembly said today.

“The United Nations enjoys unique legitimacy,” Joseph Deiss said in a lecture delivered in Geneva. “The UN is a Charter-based organization, with purposes and principles, membership and organs, and a budget that are clearly defined.”

At the same time, Mr. Deiss, who made reaffirming the UN’s central role in global governance the theme of last year’s General Debate in New York, added that there are several aspects to consider for the UN to fulfil its central role in the global governance system and thus avoid being marginalized.

First, a strong UN requires a decisive effort to revitalize the General Assembly, to reform the Security Council and review the work of the Human Rights Council.

A second aspect is to strengthen the UN’s economic bodies, particular the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Thirdly, it is necessary to find the appropriate means of communicating, consulting and cooperating with the new actors that have emerged from the private sector, civil society and academic bodies and think tanks, which are playing an increasing role in shaping today’s global world.

Mr. Deiss announced that he will convene an informal debate of the Assembly in June to further reflect on the architecture and the functioning of the global governance system.

“My vision is of a strong United Nations with a strong General Assembly, which should be the main forum for global debate,” said the President.

“With this condition fulfilled, Geneva – as a significant part of the United Nations system – will be in a position to serve as a platform to further shape and influence global governance in its areas of excellence, such as human rights, migration and trade.”


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