ASSEMBLY DECIDES ALL UNITED NATIONS STAFF AT ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL LEVEL AND ABOVE WILL SUBMIT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

8 September 1998
GA/9431

ASSEMBLY DECIDES ALL UNITED NATIONS STAFF AT ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL LEVEL AND ABOVE WILL SUBMIT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

8 September 1998


Press Release
GA/9431


ASSEMBLY DECIDES ALL UNITED NATIONS STAFF AT ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL LEVEL AND ABOVE WILL SUBMIT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

19980908

Approves Cooperation Agreement with Law of the Sea Tribunal As It Concludes Fifty-second Session by Closing and Deferring Pending Items

The General Assembly this morning decided that all United Nations staff at the Assistant Secretary-General level and above would be required to file financial disclosure statements in respect of themselves and their dependent children.

By adopting without a vote revisions proposed by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to the Staff Rules and Regulations on the status, basic duties and rights of United Nations staff, the Assembly decided that such disclosure should include any substantial transfers of assets and property to spouses and dependent children from any source that might constitute a conflict of interest.

By that action, taken as the Assembly concluded the work of its fifty- second session, the Assembly emphasized that managers were bound by the duties and obligations set out in the new article I of the Staff Regulations and the revised chapter I of the 100 series of the Staff Rules and that their higher- level responsibilities entailed increased accountability.

The representative of New Zealand, speaking on behalf of Canada and Austria, made a statement after that action.

In other business this morning, the Assembly approved an agreement, introduced by the representative of Germany, on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. By that agreement, the two bodies would pursue initiatives to coordinate activities and would arrange for the regular exchange of information.

A statement by the Registrar of the International Tribunal was also made.

In remarks closing the fifty-second session of the Assembly, its President, Hennadiy Udovenko, said that if there was one underlying theme that distinguished this session from others, it was the issue of revitalizing the United Nations. Any such revitalization would be incomplete without the

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reform of the Organization's main organ for the maintenance of international peace and security -- the Security Council. In that regard, persisting disagreement on a number of issues would be resolved only through political will and courage.

Whatever reform might be envisioned, the United Nations could not function effectively unless it was provided with adequate financial resources, he said. The Organization's financial crisis could not be overcome unless Member States fulfilled their obligations under the Charter to pay their assessed contributions in full and without preconditions.

This morning, the Assembly also took note of a letter from the President of the Economic and Social Council on the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields.

Statements were made by the representative of Bangladesh, in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Economic and Social Council; by the representative of Austria, speaking for the European Union and associated States; and by the representative of Indonesia, speaking for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China. The representative of the United States also spoke.

Acting on recommendations of its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), introduced by that body's Rapporteur, the Assembly decided, without a vote, that from the year 2000 the Disarmament Commission's agenda will comprise two agenda items per year, including one on nuclear disarmament. The Commission's substantive session will be reduced to three weeks from its current five weeks. The Assembly also decided that the First Committee Chairman will continue consultations on revitalizing and streamlining that body's work.

Taking up recommendations of its Fifth Committee, the Assembly decided to defer to its next session consideration of the Joint Inspection Unit and of the Fifth Committee's working methods.

Statements were by the representative of Australia, speaking for New Zealand and Canada, and the representative of Indonesia.

In other business, the Assembly authorized the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to meet at Headquarters from 8 to 11 September 1998.

The Assembly then decided to defer to the fifty-third session the following items: question of Burundi; question of Cyprus; improving the United Nations financial situation; financing of the United Nations Operations in Somalia II; financing of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda; financing of the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification

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Mission in Guatemala; and election of judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

It decided to consider discussion concluded on the following items: report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization; report of the Security Council; elections to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs; strengthening coordination of United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief assistance; question of Palestine; international drug control; human rights questions; financial reports and those of the Board of Auditors; programme budget for the 1998-1999 biennium; pattern of conferences; scale of assessments used to apportion United Nations expenses; United Nations common system; and the situations in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Haiti, Central America and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other items it decided to consider closed were the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping operations; and the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

The Assembly further decided to close its discussion of the financing of the following peacekeeping missions and operations: United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East; United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM); activities arising from Security Council resolution 687 (1991); United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO); United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC); United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia (UNCRO), United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) and the United Nations Peace Forces headquarters; United Nations Operation in Mozambique (UNOMOZ); United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG); United Nations Mission in Haiti; United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL); United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT); United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina; United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES); United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH); United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA); and United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA). At the outset of the meeting, the President announced that Seychelles had sufficiently reduced its arrears to below the amount stipulated in article 19 of the United Nations Charter, by which Member States are stripped of their right to vote in the Assembly.

At the outset of the meeting, the President announced that Seychelles had sufficiently reduced its arrears to below the amount stipulated in article 19 of the United Nations Charter, by which Member States are stripped of their right to vote in the Assembly.

He expressed the Assembly's condolences to Bangladesh and China for the loss of human life and the extensive material destruction those countries had suffered from recent floods.

The fifty-third session of the General Assembly will begin tomorrow, 9 September, at 3 p.m.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its fifty-second session. It had before it reports and draft texts from resumed sessions of its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) and from the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). Also, the Assembly was to consider reports and drafts related to the work of the Economic and Social Council; the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; and the Committee on Conferences.

A letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences pertains to a request from the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to meet at Headquarters from 8 to 11 September (document A/52/340/Add.2). The Assembly is asked to authorize the Executive Board to meet, on the understanding that any meeting would have to be accommodated within available facilities and services, so the Assembly's activities were not adversely affected. By Assembly resolution 40/243, no subsidiary organ can meet at Headquarters during a regular Assembly session without explicit authorization.

A note by the Secretary-General submits for the Assembly's approval the text of an agreement on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (document A/52/968). Signed by the Secretary-General and the Tribunal's President, Thomas Mensah, on 18 December 1997, the agreement is to enter into force on the date that the Assembly approves it.

By the terms of the agreement, the United Nations and the International Tribunal would cooperate on matters of mutual concern and pursue initiatives to coordinate activities, whenever appropriate. The two bodies would arrange for the regular exchange of information and documents of mutual interest, but the agreement would not require either to provide information which would violate confidentiality or proprietary rights.

Regarding budgetary and financial matters, the International Tribunal would agree to conform, as far as practicable, to standard practices and forms recommended by the United Nations, which may, upon request, provide advice on financial and fiscal matters with a view towards securing uniformity, according to the agreement. Any amendment would enter into force upon approval by the General Assembly and the International Tribunal. Other areas covered by the agreement include representation, personnel arrangements, conference services and administrative cooperation.

By the terms of a related draft resolution, the Assembly would approve the agreement, which is annexed to the draft (document A/52/L.80). The draft is sponsored by the following States: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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Also before the Assembly was a letter from the President of the Economic and Social Council (document A/52/1022) bringing to its attention Council resolution 1998/46 of 31 July on further measures for the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields. The resolution was adopted in pursuance of Assembly resolutions 50/227 and 52/12 B, inviting the Council to review the composition and working methods of its functional commissions and bodies, as well as recommendations of the Secretary-General relating to reform of the subsidiary bodies.

In that regard, the Council adopted a series of related texts. By the first of these texts, the Council decided that the Commission on Science and Technology for Development shall remain a functional commission of the Council. However, its membership is reduced from 53 to 33. The Committee for Development Planning shall be renamed the Committee for Development Policy and will remain a subsidiary body of the Council. The Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development shall be merged into a single expert body to be named the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for Development. The second contains general suggestions and recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of functional commissions in areas such as working methods, documentation and relationships between functional commissions. The third, concerning regional commissions, contains guidance for improving the regional commissions' contributions and relevance in the reform process of the United Nations.

The Assembly also had before it two reports from its First Committee. By the terms of a draft decision on the 1998 report of the Disarmament Commission, the Assembly would decide that the Commission would continue to play a unique role as the only body with universal membership for in-depth deliberations of relevant disarmament issues (document A/52/602/Add.1). It would also decide that the Commission's agenda, as of its substantive session in the year 2000, should comprise two items per year, including one on nuclear disarmament. The Commission's substantive session would be reduced to three weeks from its current five weeks, and substantive agenda items would be considered in the Commission for three years.

Another First Committee report contains a draft decision on rationalizing the Committee's work (document A/62/612/Add.1). By its terms, the Assembly would decide that from its fifty-third session, the First Committee would make every effort to conduct and conclude its substantive work in not less than 30 meetings and in a time-frame not exceeding five weeks. The First Committee Chairman would continue consultations on revitalizing and streamlining the Committee's work and agenda, and report to the Assembly during its fifty-third session. The Assembly would also decide to include the item in its fifty-third session.

Two Fifth Committee reports contain drafts on the review of the United Nations administrative and financial efficiency. By a draft decision in the first, the Assembly would resume considering the question of improving that Committee's working methods at its fifty-third session (document A/52/746/Add.4).

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Another Fifth Committee report contains a draft resolution by which the Assembly would adopt revisions to article I of the Staff Regulations and take note of revisions to chapter 1 of the 100 series of Staff Rules (document A/52/955/Add.1). Deciding that the revisions would be effective as of 1 January 1999, the Assembly would emphasize that managers were to be bound by the duties and obligations set out in the new article I of the Staff Regulations and the revised chapter I of the 100 series of the Staff Rules and that their higher-level responsibilities entailed increased accountability. [These revisions had been referred to as a draft United Nations code of conduct, during the Fifth Committee consideration of the matter.]

According to the amendments, all United Nations staff at the Assistant Secretary-General level and above would be required to file financial disclosure statements in respect of themselves and their dependent children. By other terms of the draft, the Secretary-General would be requested to prepare rules for particular staff, including finance and procurement officers, and expedite submission of regulations and rules for the Secretary-General, non-Secretariat officials and experts on mission.

By a draft decision on the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), the Assembly would defer consideration of the JIU and include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-third session (document A/52/842/Add.2).

The General Assembly was also expected to close its consideration of items related to the situation in Burundi, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Haiti, Central America and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the question of Cyprus and Palestine. It was also expected to close agenda items on: the Secretary-General's reports on the work of the Organization and on the Office of Internal Oversight Services; strengthening coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance; international drug control; human rights questions; the report of the Security Council; and elections for the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and for vacancies in subsidiary organs.

In addition, it was to close agenda items on improving the Organization's financial situation; administrative and budgetary aspects of peace-keeping operations; financial reports and those of the Board of Auditors; programme budgets for the 1996-1997 and 1998-1999 bienniums; the

scale of assessments for apportioning expenses; and the Organization's pattern of conferences and common system.

The Assembly was also scheduled to close items on the financing -- and in some cases the liquidation -- of United Nations peace-keeping missions and operations as well as the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

The above items are to be included in the provisional agenda for the Assembly's fifty-third session.

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Committee on Conferences

The Assembly, in first considering the letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences, authorized the UNICEF Executive Board to meet in New York 8 to 11 September.

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Next, it turned to a draft resolution on an agreement on cooperation and relationship between the United Nations and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

GERHARD HENZE (Germany), introducing the draft, said that Panama, the Philippines and Sri Lanka had joined the list of co-sponsors, bringing the total number to 41. The draft represented a totally uncontroversial item, he said.

GRITAKUMAR E. CHITTY, Registrar of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, said the agreement found its origin in the draft agreement prepared by the Preparatory Commission the International Seabed Authority and for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Negotiations between the Office of Legal Affairs and the Registry of the Tribunal had proceeded on the basis of the current draft. The negotiations had been constructive and expeditious and had resulted in early agreement upon the terms of the relationship.

The International Tribunal was part of the system for the peaceful settlement of disputes envisioned by the United Nations Charter and given effect by the "Charter for the Oceans", as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea had been termed, he said. The agreement formalized the essential cooperation and interaction between the Tribunal and the United Nations, as foreseen by the Convention provisions establishing the new institutions and entrusting substantial functions to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

He said the approval of the agreement would pave the way for further and more efficient cooperation. It provided, among other things, for the exchange of information and documents between the United Nations and the Tribunal and for cooperation on a range of matters. Those provisions would promote the Tribunal's objective to be a user-friendly, cost-effective and efficient institution. The Tribunal's adherence to those principles was reflected in its rules of procedure and the body had endeavoured to achieve efficiency and effectiveness by setting short-time limits for each step in the proceedings before the Tribunal. The rules provided for prompt hearings and recognized the opportunities which modern technology had to offer in expediting and facilitating proceedings before the Tribunal.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the resolution.

Economic and Social Council

Next, it took note of a letter from the President of the Economic and

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Social Council, to which was annexed the resolution adopted by the Council during its 1998 substantive session on measures for the restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields.

Addressing the Assembly after that action, ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said any United Nations reform initiative, in order to withstand the test of time, must involve the entire membership. The enthusiasm with which Member States had engaged in negotiations was a testimony to the importance of measures to make the United Nations more efficient. The broad participation in the negotiation process, the rich inputs provided by the membership, and the support and contribution of the delegations made that undertaking a success. He considered as exemplary those occasions when the simplistic measure of eliminating bodies considered inefficient had been rejected. Rather, remedies to address the specific problems had been sought, and concrete measures for their improvement had been undertaken.

The review had resulted in an agreement on specific means to streamline and improve the working methods of the subsidiary machinery of the Economic and Social Council, he said. The adoption of the package had resulted in the decrease of the number of members of one of the subsidiary bodies -- the Commission on Science and Technology -- from 53 to 33. The Committee for Development Planning had been renamed the Committee for Development Policy, with retention of its acronym "CDP". He said the review process had also resulted in the termination of the mandates of two subsidiary bodies -- the Commission on Natural Resources and the Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and Energy for Development, and had given rise to a new body, the Commission on Energy and Natural Resources Development (CENRD). He expressed gratitude to all delegations for making the negotiation process successful.

HANS PETER MANZ (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Norway, said the Union saw the intergovernmental machinery as an integral part of the overall reform process, in tandem and mutually supportive with the reform efforts at the organizational and managerial level. The proliferation of the subsidiary machinery of the Economic and Social Council which had taken place over the years had resulted in weakening the Council overall guidance and coordination role. The Union had therefore attached high importance to the review process mandated by Assembly resolution 50/227 on restructuring in the economic and social fields and resolution 52/12 B on United Nations reform, and had sought to contribute substantively to the negotiations. The outcome of the negotiations represented a first step in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the intergovernmental structure.

He hoped the recommendations on the functional commissions' conference follow-up would ensure a better use of their potential within the overall United Nations structure. The proposals aimed at strengthening the coordination role of the Economic and Social Council, as well as rationalization of its subsidiary machinery, remained to be addressed. Focus must now shift to the implementation of those measures.

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RADEN BAGAS HAPSORO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, expressed appreciation to Ambassador Chowdhury for his efforts during the prolonged negotiations. Considerable progress had been made during the review of the mandates, composition, functions and working methods of its functional commissions and expert groups and bodies of the Economic and Social Council. Due to the complexity of the undertaking, further negotiations were needed. While the negotiations had not been easy, consensus on critical issues had been reached. The spirit of partnership and flexibility during the negotiations had been remarkable.

Nonetheless, several critical issues remained to be addressed, he said. The provisions -- included in Assembly resolution on restructuring in the economic and social spheres -- on resources, for example, had been left behind and their implementation had fallen short. It was urgent that that issue be addressed in the near future. The Group of 77 would continue to work to resolve all outstanding issues.

BETTY KING (United States) welcomed the work of the Economic and Social Council. The United Nations had begun to realize the work of that body in 1996, and the Organization's reforms had begun to take effect under the Council's able leadership. More remained to be done, but the measures noted today represented a significant achievement towards enabling the Economic and Social Council to take a leading role in human rights and other crucial areas.

Mr. CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) corrected a sentence in paragraph 13 of the document on the Economic and Social Council currently before the Assembly, to read as follows: "In this regard, the Council encourages the Secretary- General to take into account the implementation of these recommendations in his report under agenda item entitled regional cooperation in 1999."

Reports of First Committee

MILOS KOTEREC (Slovak Republic) introduced the reports of the First Committee.

The Assembly then acted on a draft decision on the 1998 report of the Disarmament Commission regarding the Commission's agenda and working methods for its substantive session.

It then approved a draft decision, without a vote, on rationalizing the First Committee's work.

Reports of Fifth Committee

DJAMEL MOKTEFI (Algeria), Fifth Committee Rapporteur, introduced the report of the Committee on the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and those on the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a decision to resume consideration of the Fifth Committee's working methods at its fifty-third session.

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Following that decision, PENELOPE ANNE WENSLEY (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said their delegations regretted that more progress had not been made on the issue and that a substantive decision had not been possible. The Committee needed to take a good look at itself, a need which had never been greater. If the Committee did not drastically improve its methods, it faced the prospect of future irrelevance.

There were concrete measures that could be taken, she said. Reminders could be sent to all relevant bodies of their roles; the problem of documentation could be addressed; the work of the Committee could be prioritized, and better use of the time could be made. Their delegations had been surprised that, at the final hour, a very modest package of proposals had not been accepted by some delegations. They stood ready to continue to address the problem.

PRAYONO ATIYANTO (Indonesia) said that, rather than being disheartened that consideration of the Committee's working methods had not been concluded, States could be heartened that the subject had received such serious interest from so many delegations. The discussion had not been a perfect one, however, and it was essential to find common solutions which addressed the concern of all. Joint effort to improve the work of the Fifth Committee must continue.

Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in a Committee report regarding revisions to article I of the Staff

Regulations and taking note of revisions to chapter 1 of the 100 series of Staff Rules.

WEN CHIN POWLES (New Zealand), speaking also for Canada and Australia, said she was pleased the Fifth Committee had been able to approve amendments to the Staff Rules and Staff Regulations by consensus before the close of the fifty-second Assembly session. She hoped that the Committee's focus and prioritization would become the norm rather than the exception in its work.

It was important to have a total commitment of excellence from United Nations staff, she said. The amendments just approved chartered the boundaries of expected and appropriate behaviour for persons in positions of responsibility. The principles of integrity, competence and efficiency were enshrined in Article 101 of the United Nations Charter. As the Secretary- General had often said, United Nations staff were the most important resource of the Organization. States would continue to value the professionalism and loyalty to the Secretary-General shown by his hard-working staff.

The Assembly then adopted a decision to defer consideration of the JIU and include the item in its provisional agenda for the fifty-third session.

It then decided to defer to the fifty-third session the following items: question of Burundi; question of Cyprus; improving the United Nations financial situation; financing of the United Nations Operations in Somalia II; financing of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda; financing of the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala; and election of judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for

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Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

It decided to consider discussion concluded on the following items: report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization; report of the Security Council; elections to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs; strengthening coordination of United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief assistance; question of Palestine; international drug control; human rights questions; financial reports and those of the Board of Auditors; programme budget for the 1998-1999; pattern of conferences; scale of assessments used to apportion United Nations expenses; United Nations common system; and the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Haiti, Central America and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other items were the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping operations; and the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

The Assembly also decided to conclude discussion of the financing of the following peacekeeping missions and operations: United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East; United Nations Angola Verification Mission; activities arising from Security Council resolution 687 (1991); United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO); United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC); United Nations Protection Force, United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia, United Nations Preventive Deployment Force and the United Nations Peace Forces headquarters; United Nations Operation in Mozambique (UNOMOZ); United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG); United Nations Mission in Haiti; United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL); United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT); United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina; United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES); United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP); United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH); United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA); and United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA).

President's Concluding Statement

HENNADIY UDOVENKO (Ukraine), President of the General Assembly, said the fifty-second session had been a year of hard work, intensive discussions, momentous decisions and, occasionally, cautious "indecisions". The session had taken place against the background of complex international transformations, where positive trends and promising developments had often been overshadowed by new threats to international peace and security and alarming social and economic upheavals. As deliberations had been held, fresh crises had broken out just as old conflicts and problems had continued to fester, constantly thrusting the Organization into the midst of new complex tasks and challenges.

In the field of international peace and security, the Assembly had made a major step forward by adopting a resolution on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, he said. In a decision designed to further promote the regime of nuclear non-proliferation, the Assembly had adopted a

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consensus resolution supporting the initiative to establish one more nuclear- free zone, in Central Asia. The significance of that step had become even more apparent in light of the recent nuclear tests in southern Asia.

He said the Assembly's continued concern about the situation in the Middle East had found its reflection in the resumption of the meetings of its tenth emergency special session, which had once again brought into sharp focus the issues of settlements, the rights of the Palestinian people and of the observance of international humanitarian law. Another example of the immediate pertinence of the session's work had been the adoption by the Assembly of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The need for international action on the matter had been underscored by the recent series of terrorist bombings in Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and South Africa.

In the battle against the scourge of crimes against humanity, he said the establishment of the International Criminal Court had been a historic step towards making the rule of law the rule of all lands on the planet. It had come as a result of more than two years of intensive preparatory work at the United Nations and had followed over 50 years of sporadic efforts to create such an institution.

The challenge of ensuring sound economic and social development had remained paramount during the work of the fifty-second session, he said. In order to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Assembly had decided to convene next year a special session at the highest level of participation.

During the current session, much attention had been attached to the problem of Africa, he said. The Council had held two meetings dedicated to the situation in that part of the world. There were still problems that continued to negatively impact the situation in many countries of the continent, especially the world's poorest nations. He hoped that the Assembly and other relevant organs and bodies of the United Nations would continue to give adequate attention to Africa's problems.

He said that if there was one single topic, one underlying theme that distinguished this session from others, it was the issue of revitalizing the United Nations. After Secretary-General Kofi Annan had submitted his package of far-reaching measures and proposals to the Assembly, questions related to the renewal of the world Organization had dominated discussions during the session. He wished to take the opportunity to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his unswerving commitment to the cause of reform and his readiness to cooperate closely with the Assembly during its consideration of such a vital subject.

As a result of innovative thinking, a new format of deliberations, the open-ended informal consultations of the plenary, had been introduced, he said. It enabled all delegations to participate in the discussions on the important issue of United Nations reform and to actively contribute to the final outcome. The format had proved its effectiveness and should be preserved during further deliberations on reform matters at the fifty-third session.

He said that although the Secretary-General's proposals had been warmly welcomed by Member States, after almost nine months of further intensive

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consultations, consuming an enormous amount of time, effort and conference services, all that could be shown was a decision to send a considerable bulk of them for additional consideration during the next session. Those delays concerned not only the long-term proposals, but also the Secretary-General's recommendations on vital and urgent measures in the administrative and budgetary fields.

He said that future deliberation on reform issues would serve as a litmus test of the political will of the membership to go ahead with genuine renewal of the Organization and an indication of Member States' readiness to seek mutually acceptable compromises in the true spirit of consensus that had emerged in the course of the main part of the fifty-second session. The same fully applied to the work of the open-ended working group on the reform of the Security Council. It had been rightly said that any reform of the United Nations would be incomplete without the reform of its main organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security -- the Security Council.

But once again, for all the eloquent appeals for change, there had been no visible movement from words to deeds, he said. After meeting 65 times during the current session, the working group charged with preparing a blueprint for transforming the Council was again unable to submit agreed recommendations on any substantive issue related to Security Council reform.

Progress had been made in some areas, but problems remained, he continued. Those included the problem of increasing the Council's representative character without impairing its efficiency. Controversy brewed around the creation of new seats and rotational agreements to fill them, as well as the veto right for current and prospective permanent members. Given those, Security Council reform was probably the most difficult issue faced by the United Nations in its history. Its resolution required more than negotiating skills. It would take political will and courage on the part of States to move ahead to a renewed Council, better able to reflect the realities of the new century and more effectively serve the international community.

Whatever reform might be envisioned, the United Nations could not function effectively unless it was provided with adequate financial resources to carry out its functions, he said. Since Member States annual contributions remained the only source of the regular budget, little could be done to overcome the financial crisis without Member States fulfilling their obligations under the Charter to pay in full and without preconditions.

No conclusive results had been achieved in another ad hoc body, the working group on an Agenda for Peace, he said. A number of significant differences remained in Member States positions. In particular, he referred to the problem of reconciling the principle of national sovereignty with the possibility of launching timely preventive action without obtaining consent of the government concerned. Another issue of controversy was post-conflict peace building. The major sticking point in that area was assigning the key role to the General Assembly. He recommended that his successor continue to consult on the matter during the fifty-third regular session.

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He said he made the above comments on the premise that a measure of critical self-analysis would prove to be more salutary than an attempt at self-congratulation.

He then noted with satisfaction the continuing trend towards strengthening the role of the General Assembly President. As President, he had tried to direct and organize proceedings to expedite deliberations on issues of crucial importance of the Organization. In line with the Assembly's recommendations, he had made every effort to improve coordination with the presidents of other main organs, particularly the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Presiding over the Assembly had been extremely gratifying and challenging. He strongly disagreed with those who viewed the post as mainly ceremonial.

He said he was proud to have been involved in multilateral diplomacy for almost 40 years. Each year had proved to him the ever-growing importance of the United Nations system in today's world and in the years to come. Member States must do everything possible to preserve and strengthen the whole United Nations machinery in all its variety and diversity. In 1945, the Commission that worked to establish the United Nations had said that to be fully effective, the Organization would have to capture the imagination of the world. That was true then and it remained true today, as Member States strove for a new and revitalized universal Organization.

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For information media. Not an official record.