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Agenda item 53
Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly

Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr. Jan KAVAN
President of the United Nations General Assembly

13 November 2002

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Colleagues

Let me start by distinguishing the two closely interrelated, yet separate agenda items, both discussed in the format of the informal consultation this week: agenda item 52: Strengthening of the United Nations system, which is associated with the report of the Secretary-General "Strengthening of the United Nations: an agenda for further change" (A/57/387) and agenda item 53: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly where the key document is the Note by the President of the 56th session of the General Assembly on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (A/56/1005).

As I mentioned, both agenda items are interrelated and share some common issues. Together with the reform of the Security Council, they constitute the pillars of the efforts to make our Organization more efficient and better prepared to deal with challenges ahead.

For our consultations, the document A/56/1005 - the Note by the President of the 56th General Assembly on the GA revitalization will serve us as the base. It contains a range of issues discussed during the previous sessions. I wan to emphasize, however, that any new suggestions by Member States are most welcome.

Furthermore, I would like to bring your attention to the need to set a formula for the opening and duration of the GA general debate, which are required by a number of Member States. The idea of fixing the date for the general debate was included in the Memorandum of the Secretary-General for the General Committee this year (A/BUR/57/1). The General Committee recommended that idea to the General Assembly, and the GA approved this recommendation of the General Committee. I plan to submit a draft resolution on this topic in the near future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Facilitators have been of great assistance to my predecessors in the GA revitalization efforts, and therefore I have decided to re-establish the group of facilitators as early in the session as possible. I am grateful to Amb. Mahbubani of Singapore and Amb. Kumalo of South Africa for deciding to continue their work on this important issue. Further, I have appointed Amb. Schori of Sweden, Amb. Gallegos Chiriboga of Ecuador and Amb. Kerim of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as new facilitators. I will continue to use the expertise of Amb. Kmonícek who has worked as the facilitator for the Eastern European Group during the past session.

With regret I see some of the most able contributors to the revitalization process leave the group of facilitators. Please allow me therefore to express my greatest appreciation to the outgoing facilitators, Amb. Lévitte of France and Amb. Valdés of Chile, whose input to the revitalization efforts has been invaluable. I am very pleased that they have decided to share their experience and insight with us today.

I look forward to hear their concrete proposals and I expect that we will consider them very seriously and build on them in our future deliberations of this important topic.

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