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New York, 10 February 2012


Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank each of you for your participation in today’s informal discussion on the internal working methods of the Fifth Committee.

Ambassador Tommo MONTHE of Cameron, Chairman of the Fifth Committee could not participate in today’s informal discussion, as he is travelling. I would take this opportunity, however, to recognise Ambassador Monthe’s excellent support, and I look forward to working with him as we move forward.

I am happy to see present with us today the Chairman of ACABQ Mr. Collen Kelapile and the Controller Ms. Maria Eugenia Casar as well as the Secretary of the Fifth Committee Ms. Sharon Van Buerle.

We are all aware of the longstanding need for review of the Fifth Committee’s internal working methods. I am very pleased at the overwhelming response in your presence today. It demonstrates our collective conviction on this issue.

I would highlight clearly, from the beginning, that the informal discussions we will hold on the internal working methods of the Fifth Committee will be owned and steered by you, the Member States. My intention is simply to provide an informal opportunity to facilitate a robust exchange of ideas among the Member States. This informal discussion could contribute to an intergovernmental deliberation situated in the framework of the Fifth Committee. Your views today shall provide the critical and essential guidance for taking this initiative forward. Being the bulwarks of the Fifth Committee, you the Member States are best placed to determine the course we shall undertake.

You are aware that the Main Committees of the General Assembly are obligated to review their working methods on a periodic basis. The time now is opportune for the Fifth Committee to consider its organizational matters, in an enlightened and participatory manner. In doing so, I believe, the Member States will be able to rationalize and optimize the Committee’s deliberations to bring greater efficiency and timeliness to its work.

The tradition of consensus has served us well over the years, despite the multiple challenges inherent in this process. Issues such as the submission of reports, inputs, services and archival assistance to the Committee shape its deliberations and outcomes. Transparency and direct access to field information by the Fifth Committee can bring a qualitative shift to its work. A look into these issues can lead us to meaningful findings in our quest today.

Another critical aspect is the implementation and execution of the Fifth Committee’s resolutions and decisions by the Secretariat. Resolutions implemented according to their spirit, in an accountable, transparent and timely manner, and with proper reporting on their progress, would further strengthen mutual trust between the Secretariat and the Member States.  The role of the Secretariat, as a repository of norms, rules and practices, and its support to the Committee is crucial to fulfilling the objectives of efficiency and effectiveness. 

I expect and encourage you to reflect on these and related issues for the benefit of the Committee and this Organization.

As President of the General Assembly, I assure you of my commitment and availability in facilitating this discussion in an informal, open and inclusive manner.

I would now open the floor and look forward to hearing your valuable ideas and thoughts.