In the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the General Assembly
New York, 26 February 2010
I am pleased to welcome you to the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group during this session. In the context of reform and strengthening of the United Nations, revitalization of the General Assembly is a major priority for Member States. I am sure that under the guidance of the co-facilitators, Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia and Ambassador Jorge Argüello, Permanent Representative of Argentina, and with your active cooperation, we will achieve further substantive progress on this matter, building on the significant advances that were achieved during the last session. Let me also take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador and Ambassador Morten Wetland of Norway for their excellent stewardship of the Working Group during the last session.
In the General Debate in September and subsequently during the plenary discussion on revitalization of the General Assembly in November, Member States underlined the urgent need to enhance the central responsibility of the United Nations in world affairs, specially the General Assembly’s role in addressing issues relating to international peace and security, development, human rights, climate change, and other areas of genuine concern to the international community. Towards that end, Member States committed to engage in a meaningful effort to bolster the work of the the General Assembly, which is the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. You would agree that revitalization of the General Assembly is primarily a political issue, and in order to achieve our objectives, all Member States will be required to muster the necessary political will to bring about the necessary changes.
Our efforts to revitalize the General Assembly are not limited to this Working Group. It is a much wider effort that encompasses the entire mandate and agenda of the Assembly and is closely linked to several other processes that we are engaged in from system wide coherence to the reform of the Security Council to the review of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. The thematic debates that I have proposed to hold during this session will provide an added opportunity to Member States to debate some of the most pressing issues and challenges in a more interactive, inclusive, effective and timely manner. This will enhance the General Assembly’s working relationship with other United Nations bodies, non-governmental organizations and civil society, as well as boost the General Assembly’s public outreach.
Excellencies, distinguish delegates
Last year, among other things, the Working Group adopted an important report containing specific proposals and a way forward, as well as a substantive resolution. This provides us with a basis to advance on the most relevant issues during this session.
Member States have reiterated the need to achieve the right balance among the principal organs, particularly between the General Assembly and the Security Council. I have held regular meetings with the Presidents of the Security Council and the Presidents of the Economic and Social Council, in order to ensure increased cooperation and coordination between our work programmes. I see a positive momentum and readiness for increased coherence and synergy between the principal organs. I have kept the Member States informed of these interactions. Let me add that I have also had a regular and fruitful interaction with the Secretary General on the major priorities of the organization.
Another issue to which Member States continue to attach importance is the role of the General Assembly in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General. I believe that the Security Council and the General Assembly could work in partnership in order to make this important decision in a transparent manner.
Last year’s resolution also notes the importance of strengthening the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly in order to enable him/her to carry out the functions which Member States have entrusted upon him/her. In this regard I will submit views to this Ad-Hoc Working Group for its consideration.
Excellencies, distinguished delegates
In September, world leaders provided full political backing to multilateralism and the United Nations as the best means to effectively address the global challenges. Our mission here is to fulfill that promise. Collectively we can succeed. I wish you all the best in this work.