Agenda item 52 - Strengthening of the United Nations system
Concluding statement

by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan, President
of the Fifty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly

1 November 2002

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Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just heard the last speaker in the plenary debate on the Agenda Item 52 on "Strengthening of the United Nations System". Before I adjourn the meeting, let me make some concluding remarks.

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have participated in the debate, for your attentive and thoughtful observations. It was a very rich and interesting debate, we have listened to 71 statements with various views and numerous constructive and well-grounded suggestions. Despite the diversity of comments, almost all statements have had many points in common. I would like to briefly summarize some of the points that prevailed in many speeches. It seems to me that we have already found a common ground of understanding, which could serve us as a starting point for the up-coming informal consultations.

I have heard strong support, for example, for the following perceptions:
1) appreciation of the Secretary-General for coming forward with a comprehensive set of new reform proposals and for his continuing effort in making the UN more productive, efficient and effective,
2) recognition of the need to a holistic approach to all Agenda Items that are related to the UN reform, namely revitalization of the General Assembly and the integrated follow-up to global conferences, so that the changes which are being introduced under different Agenda Items, complement each other and pull together in the same direction,
3) UN development agenda clearly remains at the center of the work of the United Nations and the next programme budget would better reflect the priorities agreed to at the Millennium Assembly, as well as at other UN conferences,
4) the implementation plan to strengthen the effectiveness of the Organization's presence in developing countries was generally welcomed
5) general agreement was also expressed on go-ahead with the reform measures that are within the competence of the Secretary-General.

I was particularly pleased to realize:
Firstly - that it will not necessarily be difficult to formulate an agreed position of Member States to many proposals put forward by the Secretary-General where authorization by the General Assembly is needed,
Secondly - all delegations that expressed their concerns and reservations to some proposed actions, did so in a constructive manner. It made me believe that we will have a constructive process of consultations and negotiation before us.

As I promised at the beginning of the debate, I would now like to advise you that I have appointed Vice-President of the General Committee H.E. Mr. Abdul Mejid Hussein, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, to assist me in leading the process of informal consultations. Moreover, we both will be assisted by the following facilitators:

H.E. Mr. Movses ABELIAN
Permanent Representative of Armenia

H.E. Mr. Iftekhar Ahmed CHOWDHURY
Permanent Representative of Bangladesh

H.E. Mr. Luis Gallegos CHIRIBOGA
Permanent Representative of Ecuador

H.E. Mr. Denis Dangue RÉWAKA
Permanent Representative of Gabon

H.E. Mr. Mochamad Slamet HIDAYAT
Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of Indonesia

H.E. Mr. Stafford O. NEIL
Permanent Representative of Jamaica

H.E. Mr. Mohamed BENNOUNA
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco

H.E. Mr. Dirk Jan van den BERG
Permanent Representative of the Netherlands

Permanent Representative of New Zealand

H.E. Mr. Munir AKRAM
Permanent Representative of Pakistan.

They all kindly agreed to facilitate communications between the presidency and the membership during the process of informal consultations and negotiations of the text of a resolution. Through - what I will call - a very informal out-reach, and beyond any formal structures, they will work towards a kind of expanded transparency. Each delegation can contact any of the facilitators regardless of regions or sub-regions and could share with him its concerns, ideas and suggestions any time. I already asked the facilitators to conduct as many bilateral consultations with Member States as possible. They will not stand between me and you, just the contrary, they will assist me and the Vice-President to learn about many more of your ideas then we would find out relying only on 24 hours a day and on our human capacity.

I would also like to announce that the open-ended informal consultations will begin on Monday, 4 November in the afternoon. On Monday we will consider the issues of public information, development and social and economic issues (these will be the first themes - Chapter II A and C, all of Chapter III and parts A and B from Chapter IV). Basically we will deal with proposed actions 1 and 6 through 18. Then next informal meetings are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday and we will announce the themes for discussion on Monday.

I have listened to your statements very carefully and on the basis of your interventions during the informals, I plan to submit to you the first draft of the resolution which will reflect your views, sometime after mid November. I would like to reiterate that the process will be transparent and informals will continue as long as needed. I also would like to assure you that my door will remain open for everybody during the whole process.

I repeat my conviction expressed at the beginning of this debate that we should be able to agree on the text of the resolution before Christmas. Next GA session we will concentrate on some of the more detailed work, which would need to be carried out by experts in the respective committees. I am genuinely looking forward to your close cooperation.

Thank you for your attention.

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