Nations General Assembly Presidency
in the Light of the Caribbean Candidacy
Message from H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan
President of the Fifty-seventh Session of the United Nations General
Intersessional Meeting of Prime Ministers of Caricom
in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
14 February 2003
General Carrington, Ladies and Gentlemen,
is a great honor and privilege for me to address the Intercessional
Meeting of Caribbean Community today.
I would like to thank you, especially Your Excellency Secretary
General Carrington, for your kind invitation and the Ambassador
of Grenada to the United Nations Lamuel Stanislaus for all the
necessary arrangements connected to my travel. It gives me the
invaluable opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts about
the work of the UN General Assembly.
myself come from a relatively small country - the Czech Republic.
The first contacts of my homeland with the region came several
hundred years ago with the originally Czech Moravian Church settling
in many of the Caribbean countries. I can only hope, that in not
too distant future we will be able to renew similarly rich cultural
origin in a small country in the heart of Europe helps me to understand
the problems of small countries face to face with the global competition.
I also know that this is exactly the reason why these countries,
more than any other, need well functioning international organizations
based on mutual understanding and cooperation. The United Nations
based on sovereign equality of its members shall always play the
principal role in this regard. I am doing my best in the course
of my presidency to try to make the General Assembly an equally
comfortable home for everybody.
think, that this role of the UN will be even more strengthened
next fall and it will be from many points of view in your hands.
It is your region that will have the honor to choose the next
General Assembly President. Therefore, let me present you our
work at the presidency of the General Assembly.
considers the substantial autumn part of the 57 UNGA to be a success
and to some extent the return to normalcy after the previous session
so affected by the horrific events of the 11 September 2001, although
issues of Iraq and situation in the Middle East are high, and
will remain high for still some time, on the political agenda.
would like to start with the recollection of priorities of this
Enhancement of peace and security
- strengthening of the international coalition against international
- contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
Promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development in the
accelerating process of globalization
- effective and sustained follow-up to the Conference on Financing
for Development in Monterrey, World Summit for Sustainable Development
in Johannesburg and preparation for the implementation of a number
of the development goals of the Millenium Declaration
- support to a broader access to information and communication
technologies, namely for education, good governance and health
Strengthening the role of the United Nations with focus on:
- better policy coherence through enhancing partnerships between
the UN, Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and other development
- enhanced cooperation between the General Assembly, the Security
Council and ECOSOC, as well as the Secretary-General.
Reform of the United Nations
- enhancement of the effectiveness of the work of the United Nations
on the basis of the Road map towards the implementation of Millenium
- revitalization of the General Assembly,
- facilitation of discussion on the Security Council reform.
the autumn part of the 57th UNGA session, the activities focussed
on arranging debates on the absolute majority of items on the
agenda, while in the remaining part of the year they will concentrate
above all on the priorities of the Czech presidency as I outlined
of the 1st Part of the General Assembly Session
Let me now turn to the assessment of the main session of the General
Assembly which ended last December. As to organisational issues,
one should note:
· a shorter general debate;
· that time efficiency of meetings has improved due to
timely start of meetings and well organised conduct of business;
· that fewer meetings were held (only 78 plenary sessions
compared to 92 in 2001) due to for example, holding joint discussions
on substance related topics (one for the Report of the SG on the
work of the Organisation and follow-up activities to the Millenium
Summit and one for Security Council report and SC reform) and
thus contributing to a greater effectiveness of the meetings.
of the issues may seem to have marginal relevance and low political
importance, but in our view they are an important element of improving
functionality and cost efficiency of the UN.
year the President of the GA was for the first time elected in
advance, (two months before taking on the office, this year it
should be full three months in advance). I, therefore, had more
time to prepare for the office, get acquainted with the work of
my predecessor and already consult for example the Secretariat
on a number of issues. As a result of these extensive consultations,
it became possible, for the first time in its history, for the
General Assembly to approve its complex programme of its main
work till the end of the year already in early September.
of the major tasks of the important autumn part of the General
Assembly session was the consideration of the report of the UN
General-Secretary "The strengthening of the UN: agenda for
further change". The text of the resolution setting the further
course for the reform processes and strengthening of the organization
was worked out under our guidance. The unanimous approval of the
resolution was perceived as an unquestionable success, though
some elements of the reform proposal of the SG will have to be
I also presented a draft resolution on the report of the UN Secretary-General
"The Implementation of the Millennium Declaration".
This resolution was also adopted by a consensus and it proposes
the holding of a summit to deal in whole complexity with the state
of implementation of the objectives of the Declaration at the
60th UNGA session in 2005.
57th UNGA dealt in detail with problems of the African continent.
The high-level plenary session on the New partnership for Africa's
development focussed on discussing the possibilities of international
support for this initiative, in particular on the part of the
General Assembly President also opened a discussion on revitalizing
the work of the General Assembly. The discussion focussed on the
rationalization of the UN, on greater effectiveness of its work
and on revitalizing plenary debates. This discussion will continue
for the rest of our mandate and I assume that many of its aspects
will be inherited by your Presidency.
new element in the GA work was the organization of a panel entitled
"Afghanistan a year after" attended by representatives
of the UN, NGOs and mass information media. The event was a success
and the UNGA presidency was asked to organize such panels more
often. We will almost certainly organise such a panel on the widest
possible aspects of a struggle against terrorism, starting with
targeting its roots, which includes extreme poverty, unsolved
political problems and other ingrediences which lead to the emergence
of feelings of frustration, powerlessness, anger and sometimes
even more radical, fundamentalist responses preparing ground for
for the upcoming period
First priority of the Czech Presidency will be to continue to
seek consensus on a new implementation mechanism in the recently
created working group on integrated and coordinated fulfilment
and follow-up to the main UN economic and social conferences and
summits. Under the leadership of the UNGA president an open-ended
working group has been formed to deal with streamlining of existing
structures for monitoring the implementation of
major conferences by various UN bodies and organizations. Results
of such working group should inter alia contribute to more efficient
fulfilment of development goals, rationalization of work of the
UNGA, its Committees, functional Commissions and ECOSOC and thus
contribute to strengthening the UN role in the area of development
the second part of the mandate, the UNGA presidency will focus
on the open-ended working group on prevention of armed conflicts.
The newly created group of facilitators under our leadership has
now began to concentrate its efforts on the draft resolution reflecting
positions and interests of Member States in the field of conflict
prevention. It should also enhance mechanisms for conflict prevention.
The president will seek consensus or at least a majority agreement
on the draft resolution by the end of April.
the scope of third presidency priority, concerning strengthening
the UN role, I plan to continue to conduct high-level meetings
with the representatives of the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund and to prepare a High-level dialog on the implementation
of the conclusions by the FfD Conference which should take place
in October 2003 already under the new President. Regular contacts
and informal information exchange will be continued with the Presidents
of ECOSOC and of the Security Council.
under the leadership of the president 57th UNGA the work on the
revitalization of the General Assembly will continue. I shall
also continue to chair the Open-ended Working Group on Security
Council Reform during the spring session and facilitate discussion
on the issue of equitable representation and increase in membership
of the Security Council but I have no illusion that the working
groups will be able to find a consensus despite the fact that
the reform of the Security Council is so obviously badly needed.
There is a clear lack of political will in many capitals and this
effectively blocks a meaningful progress on the main reform. Without
a major political breakthrough, which is not on the horizon, there
can be no early resolution of this matter which will be also inherited
by my successor. At the same time it has to be acknowledged that
the working group will also focus on the question of working methods
and transparency of work of the Security Council and in this field
I believe a progress can be achieved.
our view, 57th GA has further strengthened the position of its
President who is expected to take initiatives on increasing number
of topics (be it UN reform, SC reform, revitalisation of the GA,
follow-up activities to the Millenium Summit, integration of UN
follow-up conferences, prevention of conflicts or the issue of
conclusion, let me also mention that our Presidency is in close
touch with my country and with our region. I believe that the
work of the Presidency is today so complex that it could succeed
next year only if the Caribbean Community will be prepared and
able to provide the next presidency, your presidency - with cooperation
and full support for the implementation of major UN goals in economic,
social, and many other areas.
I look forward to hear your comments and suggestions, which will
help me to ascertain better the opinion of member countries and
of this region in particular. I am deeply convinced that everybody's
ideas can be interesting and inspiring, regardless of the size
of the country he or she represents. And I am a strong believer
in the concept of an open sincere dialogue. It seems to me that
continuous dialogue on crucial issues attempting to reach a consensus
while respecting different views best describes my perception
of the GA Presidency.