Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

REMARKS ON AGENDA ITEM: 121
REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

New York, 1 December 2011

 

Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Our meeting today is of special significance. More than ever before, events around the world necessitate a strong and responsive General Assembly.

To meet the current global challenges, and to fulfill its central role as envisaged by the UN Charter, the General Assembly must be revitalized and empowered. Through our join efforts, we can ensure the Assembly remains efficient, competent, and viable.

In this regard, I thank His Excellency Mr. Mr.Dalius Cekuolis, Permanent Representative of Lithuania, and His Excellency Mr. Camillo Gonsalves, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and Grenadines, for their able stewardship of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly during the sixty-fifth session.

Under their guidance, the Working Group’s report A/65/909 and the resolution A/RES/65/315 were adopted in a timely manner.

These two documents will guide our discussions this session.

I would also like to thank His Excellency Mr. Alexander Lomaia, Permanent Representative of Georgia, and His Excellency Mr. Ombeni Y. Sefue, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, for accepting to serve as co-chairs for the ad hoc working group this session. I look forward to working with them, and wish them well as they carry out their important responsibilities.

“Revitalization of the General Assembly” is of course not a new issue. It has been on our agenda since early 1990s. Discussions to date have embraced different views.

Some have focused more on technical and administrative issues, such as how to improve the Assembly’s working methods and how to rationalize the agenda of the Assembly, to strengthen it efficiency.

Others have highlighted the urgent need to revitalize the Assembly’s political role and its authority as defined by the UN Charter. Concerns have also been expressed for the importance of each principal organ to strictly undertake its mandate according to the UN charter, with prospects of coordination between the General Assembly and the other United Nations organs.

In my view, as we embark on our discussions this session, some legitimate questions emerge:

How can we translate our decisions into action? 

Too many resolutions and decisions adopted by the Assembly are yet to be implemented.

How can we further empower our Assembly?  

The General Assembly should not be restricted to a venue for deliberation.  Rather, it’s a place for finding solutions, responding to challenges, and building global consensus on issues of shared concern.

And to date, we have seen notable developments on a number of fronts.

The practice of electing the president of the General Assembly at least three months before he or she takes office now enables President-elects to better to prepare for the session.

Similarly, supporting the prerogative of the President to organize informal thematic debates has brought the Assembly closer to contemporary pressing issues in matters of global debate.

While there has been consensus on the need to support the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, [I believe that this support should extend to further strengthening the political role of the PGA in the global arena, with particular attention to the President’s potential role as a mediator.

Progress is yet has to be achieved, unfortunately, in areas, including the procedure for the nomination of the Secretary-General; the working methods of the Assembly; and the implementation of General Assembly resolutions.

It is also worth noting here that the process of General Assembly revitalization is interlinked with other important processes that fall under the wider umbrella of the “United Nations Reform”.

This becomes very clear when we discuss, for example, the need for further enhancement of cooperation among the United Nations’ principle organs.

We are also reminded of the need to address every element of the reform exercise with equal attention, and to consider where the issue of GA revitalization lies in this process. I would say that GA revitalization lies at the core of this discussion. An able, determined and efficient General Assembly is an Objective as well as a means to achieve that.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As one of my four key pillars this session, “UN reform and revitalization” reflects our shared goal of a stronger United Nations, and our deep commitment to an organization that is better able to shoulder its global mandate.

I mentioned in my first address to this Assembly, I intend to build on the achievements of the 65th session to strengthen the global governance architecture. I would reaffirm, here, the central role of the General Assembly in global governance.

Since assuming my responsibilities as a President, I have also stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination among the UN’s principal organs.

I have held regular interactions with the Presidents of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

And I have been working very closely and cooperatively with Mr. Ban, to bring together the Secretariat and the Assembly on key issues of shared concern. I believe that this coordination shall further strengthen the ability of our organization to undertake its mandate. In this regard, we conducted a timely and successful visit to Libya this month. I am determined to continue this constructive practice throughout my Presidency.

In closing, I would urge you, the Member States, to maintain the necessary strong political determination for achieving progress in revitalizing the Assembly.

I expect today’s debate to reflect a clear willingness to move forward on the major initiatives before us.
I encourage you in this session, to approach our annual resolution on the General Assembly on revitalization, with a spirit of innovation and creativity.

I wish you a productive meeting. Thank you.

 

 

 

* * *