REMARKS ON THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S FIVE YEAR ACTION AGENDA AT THE INFORMAL MEETING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 25 January 2012
We have come to the conclusion of a remarkable meeting of the General Assembly during which the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the members of the Assembly on his vision and priorities for his second term in office.
At the outset, let me pay tribute to the Secretary-General for sharing with the Assembly his bold, focused and forward-looking action agenda for the next five years. The content, depth and breadth of his envisaged actions are remarkably relevant for the effectiveness, efficiency and smooth-functioning of the United Nations. As this universal global body is experiencing the unfolding of a world with all its complexities and challenges, prospects and potentials, I believe the Secretary-General has courageously articulated a set of action points that addresses the way our organization, and in particular this Assembly, needs to respond to an ever-evolving global scene.
In presenting his action agenda, he has shown wisdom and leadership identifying very clearly and appropriately what are the priorities of the United Nations for the next five years.
In his well-balanced briefing, the Secretary-General has presented five “generational opportunities” – to use his words – and two “primary enablers”- also his term – which he had earlier crafted in his speech before the General Assembly last September. That “five plus two” compact received wide-ranging appreciation and was considered as the right priorities for our actions. Now, he has brought before us the action agenda that is needed for their realization.
The Secretary-General’s five “opportunities” - sustainable development, prevention, UN’s core business, world’s nations in transition and women’s and young people’s agenda – truly reflect the needs of our time. For each of these critically relevant areas, he has chosen several action points that he believes would translate ‘opportunities” into realities.
Of these, my particular attention has been drawn to the area of “sustainable development’ as that also gets special focus in my own priorities as the President of the Assembly. Actions for the MDGs, the climate change and post-2015 development vision incorporated under the Secretary-General’s first of five priorities are very clear and need our longer term focus over the years.
Disaster risk reduction that is included under the Secretary-General’s second priority is one of the four priority areas of my Presidency and offers an opportunity for beneficial synergy. His early action on preventing conflict includes mediation that has been my core focus since I have taken office. It seems that, Mr. Secretary-General, there is a lot of scope for joint action by two of us. I believe there is considerable merit in the idea of convening a World Humanitarian Summit as presented under UN’s core business. Also, in that area, nuclear safety and security, small arms, counter-terrorism and organized crime need to be addressed in a determined manner.
As various parts of the world increasingly confront the diversity of governance challenges, the Secretary-General’s call for “an age of accountability” is very timely and necessary.
I would like to specially commend the Secretary-General for his fifth area that involves working with women and young people. Given the potential of the difference it would make, this is an area which needs this organization’s whole-hearted attention. The Secretary-General’s leadership in this area would also underscore the top priority that the UN accords to equality and participation.
Obviously, ensuring women’s equal participation at all decision making levels should be a key agenda of the organization. Security Council resolution 1325 has already provided the needed mandate to the international community for that. In accordance with the current session’s resolution, women’s political participation in particular should get our special attention as we experience major shifts in governance structures in all parts of the world.
Getting the young people truly engaged in the global agenda makes it essential that the UN initiates action to make their participation real, direct and meaningful. No more tokenism in case of young people.
The two “enablers” identified by the Secretary-General – partnership and strengthening of the United Nations –, if realized effectively, can equip our organization to truly benefit from the “synergy dividend” that those would potentially generate. Initial phase of “Delivering as One” has now stood the test of time and got positive experience at the country level. I believe that its next phase with attention to managing and monitoring for results would enhance UN’s effectiveness in national programmes. It is worth mentioning that we also need to avoid bureaucracy to enable the implementation of this ambitious plan.
I am happy that a number of delegations have presented encouraging comments and positions after the Secretary-General’s presentation. While I offer my own, I would encourage all Members-States to provide the Secretary-General the support – political, financial and material- to pursue implementation of his action agenda during the current term of office.
I salute you, Secretary-General, for your vision and for your leadership. I wish you the best of luck in achieving your praiseworthy action agenda.
* * *