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Anotated Agenda Items of the 63rd session:

121. Pattern of Conferences

A resolution entitled “Pattern of conferences” was adopted by the General Assembly at its twelfth session, in 1957, under the agenda item entitled “Budget estimates for the financial year 1958” (resolution 1202 (XII)). Since 1962 the item has been included in the agenda of the Assembly at its seventeenth, eighteenth, twentieth to twenty-seventh and twenty-ninth to sixty-second sessions.

At its twenty-ninth session, in 1974, the General Assembly established the Committee on Conferences, composed of 22 Member States (resolution 3351 (XXIX)).

At its forty-third session, the General Assembly decided to retain the Committee on Conferences as a permanent subsidiary organ composed of 21 members to be appointed by the President of the Assembly, after consultations with the chairmen of the regional groups, for a period of three years (resolution 43/222 B) (see also item 107 (g)).

Since its forty-third session, the General Assembly has considered the item annually (resolutions 44/196, 45/238, 46/190, 47/202, 48/222, 49/221, 50/206, 51/211, 52/214, 53/208, 54/248, 55/222, 56/242, 57/283 A & B, 58/250, 59/265, 60/236 A & B & 61/236.

At its sixty-second session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that, as far as possible, all requests for conference services for the meetings of regional and other major groupings of Member States were met (resolution 62/225, sect. II.A, para. 5), and to continue to explore innovative ways to address the problem and to report thereon to the Assembly through the Committee on Conferences (sect. II.A, para. 6); also requested the Secretary-General to take measures to improve the planning of conference resource allocations so that the bodies entitled to meet “as required” received adequate conference services (sect. II.A, para. 7); requested the Secretary-General to continue to explore means to increase the utilization of the conference centre of the Economic Commission for Africa, bearing in mind the headquarters minimum operating security standards, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its sixty-third session (sect. II.A, para. 12); requested the Secretary-General to report regularly to the Committee on matters pertaining to the calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations during the construction period (sect. II.B, para. 4), and to ensure that implementation of the capital master plan would not compromise the quality of conference services provided to Member States and the equal treatment of the language services (sect. II.B, para. 5); requested the Secretary-General to ensure the compatibility of technologies used in all duty stations and to ensure that they were user-friendly in all official languages (sect. III, para. 5); further requested the Secretary-General to complete the task of uploading all important older United Nations documents onto the United Nations website in all six official languages on a priority basis (sect. III, para. 6); requested the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that measures taken by the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management to seek the evaluation by Member States of the quality of the conference services provided to them, as a key performance indicator of the Department, provided equal opportunities to Member States to present their evaluations in the six official languages (sect. III, para. 8) and to continue to explore innovative ways to systematically capture and analyse feedback from Member States and committee chairpersons and secretaries on the quality of conference services (sect. III, para. 10); requested the Secretary-General to keep the General Assembly apprised of progress made in integrated global management (sect. III, para. 11); requested the Secretary-General to continue to take steps to improve the quality and accuracy of meeting records in all six official languages (sect. IV, para. 8); noted with concern the continued high level of late submission of documentation by author departments, and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-third session, through the Committee on Conferences, on impediments, if any, to achieving full compliance with the ten-week and six-week rules for the issuance of pre-session documents, including, where appropriate, proposed measures to address such impediments (sect. IV, para. 9); requested the Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing special arrangements governing the recruitment of temporary assistance staff in the language services at the four main duty stations, and to submit a report thereon to the Assembly at its sixty-third session through the Committee on Conferences (sect. V, para. 4); requested the Secretary-General to address, as a matter of priority, the high vacancy rate in the interpretation and translation services at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, especially the chronic difficulty in staffing the Arabic Interpretation Unit (sect. V, para. 5); requested the Secretary-General to hold competitive examinations for the recruitment of language staff sufficiently in advance so as to fill current and future vacancies in the language services in a timely manner, bearing in mind the persistent situation at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, and to inform the Assembly at its sixty-third session of efforts in that regard (sect. V, para. 6); requested the Secretary-General to continue to address the issue of succession planning by enhancing internal and external training programmes, developing staff exchange programmes among organizations and participating in outreach to institutions that train language staff for international organizations (sect. V, para. 8); requested the Secretary-General to continue to seek evaluation by Member States of the quality of the conference services provided to them (sect. V, para. 10); requested the Secretary-General to take the steps necessary to enhance translation quality in all official languages, in particular for contractual translation, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its sixty-third session (sect. V, para. 12); noted the performance measurement matrix proposed by the Secretary-General in response to the request to develop a comprehensive methodology for performance measurement and management from a full-system perspective, and looked forward to receiving the indicators for all duty stations beginning in 2008 (sect. V, para. 14); and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-third session on the experience, lessons learned and best practices of the main duty stations in performing quality control of contractual translations, including on requirements relating to the number and appropriate level of the staff needed to carry out that function (resolution 62/225, sect. V, para. 16).

DOCUMENTS:
a Report of the Committee on Conferences for 2008: Supplement No. 32 (A/63/32)
b Report of the Secretary-General on the pattern of conferences (resolution 62/225), A/63/119; and draft revised calendar of conferences and meetings for 2009 (A/63/119/Add.1)
c Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the audit of the existing special arrangements governing the recruitment of temporary assistance staff in the language services across the four main duty stations (resolution 62/225), A/63/94 (also relates to item 131)
d Letters dated 8 and 15 September 2008 from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences to the President of the General Assembly (A/63/352 & Add.1)
e Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

 

REFERENCES:
...for the sixty-second session (agenda item 131)
  Report of the Committee on Conferences for 2007: Supplement No. 32 (A/62/32)
Report of the Secretary-General on the pattern of conferences (A/62/161 & Corr.1 & 2 & Add.1 & Add.1/Corr.1
Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (A/62/473)
  Summary records A/C.5/62/SR.5 & 16
Report of the Fifth Committee A/62/535
Plenary meetings A/62/PV.79
Resolutions 62/225