1. This Second Informal Note builds on the first Note (Annex I) circulated by the President of the General Assembly on 15 October 2003, with a view to advancing work, and taking decisions on matters relating to the revitalisation of the General Assembly.

2. The first Informal Note, prepared as a background paper for open-ended plenary consultations on 17 October 2003, provided a review and assessment of more than a decade of revitalisation initiatives. Taken together, these initiatives touched upon the broad range of revitalisation issues. The Note also proposed a framework in which existing decisions and new proposals on revitalisation might be considered, and provided a non-exhaustive list of issues member states might consider in this context.


3. The open-ended informal plenary consultations, coming shortly before the opening of the debate in Plenary on 27 October 2003 on the of the cluster of items which included item 55: "Revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly", provided the opportunity for an important preliminary exchange of views on the issues.

4. The informal consultations were well attended. Delegations engaged in a frank and open exchange on the reform issue, and in particular, offered their views on the President's Informal Note, which they considered to be a good basis to begin consultations. The President was encouraged by, and commented on, the positive approach member states had taken to the consultations, an indication that they were evidently determined to make progress on the critical issue of revitalisation of the General Assembly.


5. Member states demonstrated their active interest in, and commitment to, the revitalisation of the General Assembly in the Plenary debate that took place 27-28 October 2003, when the revitalisation issue was discussed in a cluster of reform issues including Item 57: United Nations Reform: measures and proposals; Item 58: Restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields; and Item 59: Strengthening of the United Nations System: Reports of the Secretary General.

6. Some sixty-one delegations participated in the debate, to articulate their views on issues including: cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council; strengthening the Office of the President; the role of the General Committee; issues relating to the Main Committees; the possible inclusion of civil society in the work of the Assembly; and programme implementation and effectiveness, including the implementation of resolutions.

7. The President provided his assessment of the debate on Item 55 on 31 October 2003 (Annex II). He was pleased, overall, that many of the issues raised in the debate had also been identified in the first Informal Note, an encouraging sign that he had appropriately captured [reflected] the views of member states on salient issues concerning revitalisation of the General Assembly. The debate also served to confirm that revitalisation of the Assembly was an urgent and important issue for member states.

8. The President had indicated, in his first Informal Note, that he would appoint Facilitators to assist him in the revitalisation exercise. He took the opportunity, during his assessment of the debate, to announce the names of the six Permanent Representatives he had appointed. They are:

1. H.E. Mr Abdallah Baali, Permanent Representative of Algeria
2. H.E. Mr Stafford O. Neil, Permanent Representative of Jamaica
3. H.E. Mr Dirk Jan van der Berg, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands
4. H.E. Mr Kishore Mahbubani, Permanent Representative of Singapore
5. H.E. Mr Roman Kirn, Permanent Representative of Slovenia
6. H.E. Mr Dumisani Shadrack Kamulo, Permanent Representative of South Africa

9. The President also indicated that he would present to a resolution on Revitalisation of the Work of the General Assembly before the substantive part of the Fifty-eighth session concludes in December 2003.


10. The overall framework for action outlined in the 15 October 2003 Informal Note appears to have been broadly accepted by Member States. It will be recalled that this framework groups revitalisation issues into two clusters:

1) Enhancing the authority and role of the General Assembly; and
2) Improving the working methods of the General Assembly.

At the same time, it was recognised that the two clusters of issues are substantively linked.

11. The next steps in the revitalisation process have now been considered, drawing on the contents of the first Informal Note, the comments made in the open-ended informal plenary consultations, the statements made in the plenary debate on Item 55, and the President's assessment of that debate delivered on 31 October 2003.

12. In considering a framework moving the revitalisation exercise forward and for taking decisions on concrete and implementable outcomes in a systematic way, it would be important to begin by identifying areas and possible elements that might eventually form the basis of a Working Text for negotiation.

13. Convergence of agreement among Member States is evident on a number of the salient issues that have emerged, some of which have overwhelming support. Such issues might be agreed at this stage, and might be included in the Working Text. A determination might then be made on the course of action to be taken to bring to conclusion other issues needing further review and discussion before decisions are taken.

14. It would be important to this exercise for member states to reaffirm that the revitalisation of the General Assembly must be addressed under the two clusters proposed. For ease of reference, salient areas and elements that have emerged to date are presented below for the further consideration of Member States, under the two clusters of issues proposed in the first Informal Note. Elements that may be considered for inclusion in the Working Text are attached as Annex III.
(i) Enhancing the authority and role of the General Assembly

a) The central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations and the need to take the action necessary to enable it to carry out its responsibilities more effectively

b) The relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council, including areas of complementarily between the two organs

c) The relationship between the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other principal organs of the General Assembly

d) The role of the Presidency of the Assembly, including in relationship to other organs and entities of the United Nations system

e) Strengthening the Office of the President

f) Advocacy measures that should be taken in respect of the work and decisions of the General Assembly so that they can be more widely known

g) Action that might be taken at the national, regional and international levels for the implementation of resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly

h) Ensuring democratic decision-making and restoration of the principles of Article 18 of the Charter

(ii) Improving the working methods of the General Assembly

a) Using the General Committee more effectively

b) Scheduling the work of the General Assembly over a longer period during the Session

c) The nature and function of the Plenary of the Assembly

d) A possible thematic approach to the work of the Assembly

e) Reducing the length of the Assembly's agenda

f) The further clustering, triennialization and biennializaiton of agenda items

g) Rationalising the work of the Main Committees

h) The significant volume of documentation requested and prepared on behalf of the Assembly.


15. If delegations are in a position to indicate that the general approach outlined above seems acceptable, the President will request the Facilitators to conduct consultations on this basis. The cooperation of Member States in the consultations the Facilitators will undertake on behalf of the President is critical to the satisfactory outcome of our work in this important area. The President would urge member states to engage in a dynamic and open process with the Facilitators for this purpose.

UN Headquarters
12 November 2003




Office of the President of the General Assembly
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