Commitment to Ethics and Transparency

Since his election in June 2016, President Thomson has committed to running his Presidency in the most open and transparent manner possible.

Member States worked in close contact with the Presidency of the General Assembly in order to strengthen the accountability, transparency and institutional memory of the Office. Resolution 70/305 on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and its annexes, adopted on 13 September 2016, have been welcomed as a milestone and breakthrough on this process.

For the first time in history, on 13 September 2016, Ambassador Thomson became the first president to take an oath of office in which he solemnly declared to truthfully perform the duties and exercise the functions entrusted to him as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations in all loyalty, discretion and conscience, and to discharge these functions and regulate his conduct with the interest of the United Nations only in view and in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Code of Ethic for the Presidency of the General Assembly, without seeking or accepting any instruction in regard to the performance of his duties from any Government or other source external to the Organization.

 

General Assembly Seventieth session 118th plenary meeting President of the 71st session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson takes oath of office Minute of silent prayer or meditation Closing Plenary Meeting of the 70th Session of the General Assembly

©UN Photo: Oath of Office

General Assembly Seventieth session 118th plenary meeting President of the 71st session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, with grand daughters Grace Thomson, aged 7 and Mirabelle Thomson, aged 5 Minute of silent prayer or meditation Closing Plenary Meeting of the 70th Session of the General Assembly

©UN Photo: Oath of Office

Code of Ethics for the President of the General Assembly

In the understanding that a Code of Ethics for the President of the General Assembly is an important part of the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, and that such a Code of ethics will strengthen the capacity of the President of the General Assembly to exercise his or her duties and responsibilities whilst enhancing his or her moral authority, integrity and credibility, Annex 2 of Resolution 70/305 on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly contains the Code of Ethics for the President of the General Assembly. The President has requested the members of his office to abide by the same principles and obligations and to bear its content in mind during the discharging of their mandate in the service of the General Assembly.

Code of Ethics for the President of the General Assembly

 

1. The President of the General Assembly (hereinafter referred to as “the President”) in performing his or her duties and responsibilities as an elected official, fully in line with the United Nations Charter and the General Assembly Rules of Procedure, shall at all times from the date of election observe the highest standards of ethical conduct.

2. The President shall perform his or her duties and responsibilities in an impartial and equitable manner and in full honesty and good faith.

3. The President shall avoid any action which might result in or create the appearance of:
a) The use of the office of the Presidency or resources attached thereto for private gain;
b) Giving unwarranted preferential treatment to any state, organization or person;
c) Impeding the work of the Organization, or taking a preferential, biased or prejudged approach;
d) Affecting adversely the confidence of Member States in the integrity of the work of the Organization.

4. The President shall engage with Member States in a consultative and cooperative manner, while at the same time refraining from receiving or accepting instructions from any individual, governmental or non-governmental organization or group whatsoever.

5. The President shall avoid any situation involving a conflict between his or her own personal or private interest and the interests of the Presidency or the United Nations.

6. The President shall ensure the greatest possible transparency in the utilization of property, premises, services, and resources made available for the discharge of the functions of the office, and ensure that they are used only for the official business of the Presidency, and not for other purposes.

7. The President shall ensure the greatest possible transparency in any external activities, or any commercial dealings, to protect against conflict of interest. Holding of any commercial office during his or her term in office is not compatible with the post of the President.

8. In the event that the President considers that a conflict of interest may arise, he or she shall recuse himself or herself from handling the matter and, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, appoint an Acting President in relation to that matter or meeting.

9. In the fulfilment of his or her mandate the President is accountable to the General Assembly.

10. Any reference to the President in this Code shall also include members of his or her office while in the exercise of their functions as members of the Office of the President of the General Assembly.

11. Nothing in this Code shall preclude the President or members of his or her office from being seconded from their government or from retaining the privileges, immunities and diplomatic status granted by a Member State.

Information on finances

The PGA is committed to openness relating to the financing of his office which comes from two sources. President Thomson is the first PGA who will finance his office solely through resources provided for in UN regular budget and the OPGA Trust Fund thus increasing transparency and reducing risk:

UN Regular Budget

In the UN Regular Budget, member states have allocated 326,400 USD annually to OPGA to cover hospitality, official travel and other expenditures relating to the PGA’s official responsibilities. Expenditures from the regular budget are managed on behalf of the OPGA by the Executive Office of DGACM in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

Donations in support of OPGA

Donors can directly support the work of the PGA through contributions channelled through the UN system, including to the dedicated PGA Trust fund, which is regulated by UN rules and procedure. PGA 71 will report publicly on contributions made to the fund.

It should also be noted that General Assembly Resolution 70/305: “Stresses the importance of the contributions of Member States to the Trust Fund in support of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, and in this regard notes with appreciation contributions that have been made to the Fund, encourages Member States to continue to contribute to the Fund, and to allow for unspent contributions from previous sessions to be made available for succeeding terms”

Contributions to the OPGA Trust Fund for the 71st session:

Date Contributor  Project Commitment
August 2016 Government of India General administrative, logistical and management support USD 250,000
September 2016 Government of Pakistan General administrative, logistical and management support USD 25,000
September 2016 Government of Timor Leste Support for SDGs, Oceans, Climate Change USD 200,000
September 2016 Government of People’s Republic of China General administrative, logistical and management support USD 300,000
September 2016 Government of United Arab Emirates General administrative, logistical and management support USD 100,000
September 2016 Government of State of Qatar General administrative, logistical and management support USD 250,000
November 2016 Government of Kuwait General administrative, logistical and management support USD 150,000

This section will continue to be updated periodically.

Roll over of contribution balances in the fund from previous sessions:

Session Contributor Roll over contribution
70thsession

(Sep 2015 – Sep 2016)

 

Government of Kazakhstan USD 15,207
Government of People’s Republic of China USD 62,674
Previous GA sessions Government of State of Qatar USD 9,297
Government of United Arab Emirates USD 59,664
Government of Luxembourg USD 1,175
Government of Republic of Korea USD 1,564
Government of Slovenia USD 2,540
Government of Italy USD 36,728


Information on Travel

The PGA discloses information about any official visits he undertakes overseas.

To date, the PGA has travelled on official visits to:

From 13 June 2016 (election) to 13 September 2016

  • China and India, 24 – 29 August 2016, (supported by Governments of China and India)

From 13 September 2016 (assumption of office) onwards

  • Colombia, 25 – 27 September 2016, (supported by Office of the President of the UN General Assembly in cooperation with Government of Colombia)
  • Ecuador, 17 – 20 October 2016 (supported by the Secretariat of Habitat III)
  • Morocco, 14 – 17 November 2016 (supported by OPGA Trust Fund and the Kingdom of Morocco)
  • Europe (France, Monaco, Austria, Italy, Hungary), 18 – 28 November 2016 (supported by OPGA Trust Fund, the Governments of Monaco and Hungary and UN Agencies based in Rome and Vienna)
  • Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, 13 – 20 January 2017 (supported by OPGA Trust Fund, Governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and the World Economic Forum)

Information on the staff of the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly

The staff of the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly are identifiable through their biographies on the website. The overall composition of the Office is as follows:

  • OPGA 71 currently has 37 team members, of which 19 are female and 18 male
    • 18 staff are seconded from member states
    • 8 staff are provided for by regular UN budget (3 administrative assistants, 3 from the senior executive team and 1 senior advisor and 1 spokesperson)
    • 4 staff are recruited through voluntary contributions to the OPGA Trust Fund
    • 4 secondments from the UN system – UNICEF, World Bank, UNFPA, and UNDP
    • 1 staff  is provided through the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme
    • 2 UN interns

Respect for balanced gender and geographical representation

Another aspect of President Thomson’s pledge to strengthening openness and transparency during his tenure is the commitment to ensure full respect for a balanced gender and geographical representation in the Office of the President of the General Assembly, with the aim of securing equal opportunities for women and men from all regional groups and bearing in mind the need to secure the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

Information on the Trust Fund of previous sessions of the General Assembly

GA Session Contributor  Project Commitment
64thsession

(Sep 2009 – Sep 2010)

Government of Norway Thematic Debate on Disarmament USD 50,134
Government of Algeria Thematic Debate on Disarmament USD 10,000
Government of Egypt Thematic Debate on Disarmament USD 10,000
65thsession

(Sep 2010 – Sep 2011)

Government of the Republic of Korea Staffing USD 126,500
Government of Italy Staffing USD 265,000
Government of Slovenia Thematic Debates during 65th session, including on Least Developed Countries USD 7,060
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Thematic Debates for the preparation of 4th Least Developed Countries Conference (including other thematic debates during the 65th session) USD 59,700
MacArthur Foundation Thematic Debate on International Migration and Development USD 37,178
67thsession

(Sep 2012 – Sep 2013)

 Government of Qatar  USD 100,000
Government of Luxembourg For initiatives in the area of the reform and revitalization of the UN USD 12,872
Government of People’s Republic of China General administrative, logistical and management support USD 300,000
Government of Turkey General administrative, logistical and management support USD 60,000
Government of Japan USD 6,471
68thsession

(Sep 2013 – Sep 2014)

Government of Italy To support Post-2015 Development Agenda USD 50,000
Government of Antigua and Barbuda Concert USD 47,164
69thsession

(Sep 2014 – Sep 2015)

 Government of United Arab Emirates  General administrative, logistical and management support  USD 50,000
Government of South Africa General administrative, logistical and management support USD 50,000
70thsession

(Sep 2015 – Sep 2016)

Government of Turkey High-Level Thematic Debates USD 50,000
Government of People’s Republic of China General administrative, logistical and management support USD 300,000
Government of Ireland Staffing USD 114,038
Government of Denmark High-Level Thematic Debates USD 365,593
Government of Germany General administrative, logistical and management support USD 56,150
Government of Kazakhstan High-Level Thematic Debate on UN, Peace and Security USD 15,207