meeting of the General Assembly open ended Ad Hoc Working Group
on the Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and Follow-up
to the Outcomes of Major UN Conferences and Summits in the Economic
and Social Fields
Remarks by the President of the General Assembly
is a pleasure to open this first meeting of the open ended ad
hoc Working Group on the integrated and coordinated implementation
of and follow-up to the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits.
Many eyes are turned towards us and expectations are high. I am
glad that we are starting our work early and I seek your cooperation
in making this exercise a success.
working group meets at a critical juncture in the work of the
United Nations. It comes at the moment when we are gearing ourselves
to make real the promises of the UN conferences since the nineties.
Our challenge is to concentrate and intensify our efforts, energize
our commitments and help improve the lives of poor people everywhere.
the past decade, numerous UN conferences and summits resulted
in clarifying and setting the development goals. International
community has fully agreed on development agenda and means of
its implementation. It is now time to engage ourselves in search
for the most effective mechanism for monitoring and review of
the progress achieved in implementing the goals of the Millennium
Declaration and other conferences. We have to do our utmost in
supporting the coordinated implementation at the country level
and ensuring that the development goals are achieved in a due
time. Let me reiterate, in this context, that credibility of the
United Nations is based not only on its ability to articulate
political goals but also, and primarily, on its ability to mobilize
political will for their implementation.
challenge before us, however, goes well beyond ensuring a well-coordinated
approach. We also will need to look at how we can carry forward,
in our work at the UN, the new approaches and spirit that permeated
the major UN conferences. How can the meetings of our General
Assembly and ECOSOC engage policy makers and a wealth of actors
and institutions, as the conferences did? How can we bring to
them the energy and dynamism that will capture international attention,
that would build the political will and momentum for action? How
can they continue to approach trade, finance and development together,
as the Monterrey Conference did? How can the UN carry forward
the commitments, partnerships and alliances that emerged at the
recent conferences? How can our policy development work have greater
impact on the implementation of development goals?
that sense, our work should help to give shape to the future work
of the UN in development. Drawing from the experience of the conferences,
it has to be a UN which is clear and focused, which draws on best
talent, which encourages unified efforts, which promotes the cross-fertilization
of ideas, which works to engage policy makers and development
practitioners, which brings together the deep reservoirs of good
will and energy, wherever they exist among governments, in multilateral
institutions, in civil society and the private sector, to the
cause of development.
do not expect our working group to come up with a brand new architecture
or a broad philosophical approach on how we complete the tasks
ahead. The Assembly has asked our working group to produce "concrete
recommendations" to ensure an integrated and coordinated
follow-up to UN conferences and summits. We have to aim to produce
simple and practical recommendations that will make our work in
the UN more relevant and ensure it affects conference implementation.
believe that it would be important, if we could agree, from the
outset, on a few specific areas where we think we can make progress.
Let me mention a few:
First, we need to build on the two track approach to conference
follow-up - how to build an integrated and coordinated response
to conferences, paying attention to the common themes, goals and
commitments that have emerged, and at the same time, how to preserve
the specificity, the core issues and constituency of each conference,
so that these two tracks reinforce each other. The follow-up to
the Millennium Declaration, the outcomes of the Monterrey and
Johannesburg conferences will also need to be taken into account
in this overall approach.
Second, we have to seek ways as to how to better organize the
work of the General Assembly plenary and of its second and third
committees. For instance, the Assembly should be able to address
in a more focused and coherent way, challenges such as globalization
and poverty eradication, which cut across the economic and social
areas. Likewise, we need to look at finance, trade and other issues
addressed in Monterrey, and to the various components of sustainable
development, in a more holistic way. I hope that our work will
help us agree on a streamlined agenda for the 2nd and 3rd committees
and the plenary. This will also support the on-going efforts to
Third, it is important that we define more clearly the respective
roles of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and its functional commissions
in the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits. We already
have an idea of what such sharing of tasks should be. The Assembly
should provide overall policy guidance and reviews of progress
made towards the MDGs and other conference goals at high political
level. ECOSOC promotes coherence and consistency within the UN
system and among its subsidiary machinery. The Council is also
a crucial link between the intergovernmental policy guidance and
the work of funds and programmes. Its commissions have a crucial
contribution on the core issues of conferences. For instance,
in the follow-up to Monterrey, a number of areas need to be clarified,
such as how the meetings of the Council best complement those
of the General Assembly. Another area for our deliberation is
to determine how the General Assembly can best serve its role
as the chief intergovernmental body for conference follow-up.
Fourth, we must find ways to ensure that our work at the intergovernmental
level supports the implementation of conference goals and commitments.
How can our policy guidance support implementation in the countries?
How can it, in turn, be enriched by experience from the field?
How can the implementation be better monitored, reported and reviewed?
How can our intergovernmental bodies most effectively dialogue
with the UN organizations and guide their work? How can we continue
to engage and guide partnerships?
Finally, we need to define modalities and arrangements for reviews
of conferences, not on the basis of automaticity but with a clear
vision for producing more efficient policy response to new challenges
and advancing the overall development agenda.
sincerely believe that if we are able to achieve concrete advances
on these few fronts, we will have made a significant beginning
in a process.
is imperative that we complete our work by the end of May. This
way, we will not overlap with the preparations for the ECOSOC
session and meet the deadline of 27 June set by the General Assembly
for submitting the report of the working group.
we are here to elect the two Vice-Chairmen of the Working Group.
I understand that you have informally agreed to entrust Ambassador
Effah-Apenteg of Ghana and Ambassador Jean de Ruyt of Belgium
with these responsibilities. I am confident that they will lead
us to important advances for the UN.
should also start reflecting on the workprogramme of the working
group. I have circulated a tentative list of issues that could
be addressed. It has been, in large part, derived from General
Assembly resolution 57/270 and the structure of GA resolution
50/227. The Secretariat has also blocked a number of dates, from
which you will be able to choose for the sessions of the working
group. I would suggest that you devote next week to informal consultations
to discuss the workprogramme of the working group. Setting out
this road map will help plan better and allow us to use the limited
time at our disposal in the most efficient way.
I wish you full success in this important exercise and assure
you of my personal commitment to these objectives.