STRENGTHENED GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEEDED ‘TO FIND GLOBAL SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL PROBLEMS’ PRESIDENT SAYS, AS REVITALIZATION OF WORK DEBATED

26 November 2007
GA/10662

STRENGTHENED GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEEDED ‘TO FIND GLOBAL SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL PROBLEMS’ PRESIDENT SAYS, AS REVITALIZATION OF WORK DEBATED

26 November 2007
General Assembly
GA/10662
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

56th & 57th Meetings (AM & PM)

STRENGTHENED GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEEDED ‘TO FIND GLOBAL SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL PROBLEMS’

PRESIDENT SAYS, AS REVITALIZATION OF WORK DEBATED

 

Assembly Also Declares 20 February World Day for Social Justice;

Adopts Resolutions on Diamond Certification Scheme, International Criminal Court

Emphasizing the General Assembly’s role as the United Nations chief decision-making –- and most democratic -- organ, delegations today grappled with ways to breathe new life into the 192-member body, and agreed that a revitalized Assembly was key to promoting a more effective multilateralism.

Launching the debate, Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said that, “to promote effective multilateralism, to find global solutions to global problems, it is incumbent upon all of us to bolster the authority and international standing of this Assembly”.  He added that for the past 16 years States had been trying to “impart a new vigour” into the Assembly, and it was now time to ask about the ultimate objective:  how could efficiency be enhanced?  At the opening of this year’s general debate, he had urged delegates to engage in dialogue over monologue, focus on substantive results and exemplify such behaviour through greater cooperation and mutual respect.

Indeed, States were the “driving force” behind the Assembly’s success, and by systematically tackling challenges, they could make the Assembly more effective and relevant to the public.  The relationship between the Assembly and other United Nations organs must be complementary, not competitive.  In that regard, he had met with the Presidents of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, and had promoted interaction with civil society and the private sector.

The Assembly’s outreach with those and other important constituencies, including the media, must be developed, he explained.  Moreover, the Assembly President’s budget should be financed entirely from the regular budget, as that would enhance the Office’s accountability to Member States.

At the heart of revitalization, however, lay implementation of existing General Assembly resolutions.  Recalling that States had decided to create an ad-hoc working group to evaluate and assess the implementation of existing resolutions, Mr. Kerim said the group could consider steps to improve working methods such as finalizing a repository of best practices and updating the rules of procedure.

The representative of the United States agreed, saying that the working group provided a new opportunity for States to take ownership of the Assembly’s credibility, and ability to respond to real world issues.  The Assembly’s capacity had been squandered on “debates of minutia” and its relevance undermined by its inability to reach closure on issues.

To help stem its “slide towards irrelevance”, the Assembly must be guided by the working group’s mandate, as the best way to enhance efficiency was through implementing relevant resolutions.  In that regard, he highlighted the clear need to rationalize the Assembly’s programme of work and discard outdated debates.  Greater cooperation among the principal United Nations organs would enhance the Assembly’s ability to carry out its responsibilities, and reduce “inter-organ power struggles”.  Those recommendations, contained in previous resolutions, provided ample material for achieving lasting reform.

Pakistan’s representative offered additional ideas, such as according the Assembly a greater review role in peace and security and creating a monitoring mechanism to give the Assembly an advisory role in implementing adopted decisions.  Furthermore, he supported efforts to strengthen the Assembly President’s Office and said the President should be authorized to request special briefings on any issue from the Presidents of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary-General.

Algeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said improvements to the Assembly’s working methods were only a first step towards restoring and enhancing its authority, including in the maintenance of peace and security as outlined in Charter articles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 35.  His delegation would oppose any reform proposal that sought to contradict that objective.

While satisfied with progress in implementing previous decisions -– including improvement of the transitional arrangements between outgoing and incoming Presidents –- he said genuine revitalization could not avoid addressing the main issue behind the non-implementation of Assembly resolutions:  a lack of resources to that end.  Encouraged by States’ ability to reinvigorate discussion on the mandates review, he hoped the issue of providing resources would be addressed in a similar manner.

Following its wide-ranging discussion on revitalization, the Assembly held a brief debate on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, which culminated with the adoption of a resolution, introduced by the representative of Kyrgyzstan.  By the text, the Assembly declared that, from its sixty-third session, 20 February would be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

Also by the text, the Assembly invited all Member States to devote that special day to the promotion, at the national level, of concrete activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, held in Geneva in 2000.  At those meetings, political leaders pledged to create, in a framework of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, a national and global environment favourable to social development, to eradicate poverty, enhance productive employment and reduce unemployment, and foster social integration.

The resolution recognized the need to consolidate further efforts in those priority areas, as well as in the area of gender equality, particularly since globalization and interdependence were opening new opportunities through trade, investment and technological advances for worldwide economic growth, while at the same time there remained real challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries and some countries with economies in transition.

In other action, the Assembly wrapped up its annual debate on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict with the adoption of a resolution welcoming the important contribution of the Kimberley Process.  The scheme, initiated by African diamond-producing countries, was set up in 2003 to disrupt the smuggling of the precious gems, which have financed some of the world's bloodiest civil wars.

The text noted with satisfaction that the implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme “continues to have a positive impact in reducing the opportunity for conflict diamonds to play a role in fuelling armed conflict and would help to protect legitimate trade and ensure the effective implementation of the relevant resolutions on trade in conflict diamonds”.

It also welcomed the admission in 2007 of Liberia, Turkey and the Congo, and recognized the increased involvement of civil society organizations, in particular those from producer countries, in the Kimberley Process.  It also welcomed the recently launched European Commission-led initiative to address the issue of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire by engaging all relevant stakeholders, including Ivorian parties, to enhance control and monitoring of the trade in rough diamonds in their territories, enhancing regional cooperation to strengthen compliance with the Process, and supporting applicant countries in the West Africa region in their efforts to join it, as called for in Security Council resolution 1643 (2005).

During the Assembly’s debate on the matter, the representative of Namibia said 65 per cent of the world’s diamonds –- worth over $8 billion -– were sourced from Africa each year.  In southern Africa, the diamond industry employed more than 38,000 people, and some 10 million people worldwide were either directly or indirectly supported by that industry.

Namibia owed its socio-economic advancement to exploiting mineral resources, especially diamonds, which accounted for 70 per cent of its export earnings, 12 per cent of its gross domestic product and 8 per cent of Government revenue, he said, noting that, in last year alone, the country produced diamonds worth approximately $700 million.  Every Namibian diamond purchased on the world market represented “food on the table and provision of essential social services, including health care”, he said, encouraging donors to continue helping diamond producing countries build their capacity to implement controls and monitor trade “from mine to export”.

The final text adopted by the Assembly today had the world body welcome the 2006-2007 report of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and welcome the States parties as well as States not parties to the Rome Statute –- the Court’s founding decree -- that had become parties to the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the ICC, and call upon all States that had not yet done so to consider becoming parties to that Agreement.

Further by that resolution, the Assembly encouraged States to contribute to the Trust Fund established for the benefit of victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court and the families of such victims, and acknowledged with appreciation contributions made to that Fund thus far.  The Assembly held a debate on the Court’s report on 1 November.

Participating in the debate on Assembly revitalization were the representatives of Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Malaysia, Tunisia, Cuba, India, Egypt, Peru, Senegal, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Yemen, Brazil, Nicaragua, Viet Nam, Japan, Liechtenstein, Nepal, Guinea, Indonesia, Honduras, Colombia and San Marino.

Speaking on follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits in the social, economic and related fields were the representatives of Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Cuba, Egypt, Belarus, Nepal, Kuwait and Kazakhstan.

The representative of Kyrgyzstan introduced the draft resolution on the World Day of Social Justice (document A/62/L.15), and the Observer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union also addressed the Assembly on that topic.

When the Assembly took up matters regarding the role of diamonds in conflict, it was addressed by the representatives of Botswana, United States, India, Canada, Russian Federation, Australia and Angola.

The Observer for the European Community introduced the draft resolution on that item (document A/62/L.16).

The representative of the Netherlands introduced the draft resolution on the report of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (document A/62/L.13).

The representative of the United States spoke in explanation of position before action was taken on that text.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, 29 November, to hold its annual debate on “the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East”.

Background

The General Assembly met today to discuss several key agenda items related to the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

Among the documents the Assembly is to consider is a letter dated 19 June 2007 from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/62/211), sent in his capacity as Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Group.  The letter contains a press release on the launch of the OIC’s $10 billion Poverty Alleviation Fund at the thirty-second annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank on 29 May 2007.

Also before the Assembly is a 10 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representatives of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to the Secretary-General (document A/62/486), transmitting a copy of the Managua Declaration:  The Gulf of Fonseca, a zone of peace, sustainable development and security.  The Declaration, signed 4 October by the Presidents of those countries, outlines “a new era of collaboration” to address and resolve issues relating to the Gulf of Fonseca through open and constructive dialogue.

The Assembly is also to consider an 8 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the Secretary-General (document A/62/488), on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  The letter contains the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China at their thirty-first annual meeting, which reviewed developments in the international economic situation and activities undertaken in the context of the United Nations development agenda.

Also before the Assembly is an 18 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the Secretary-General (document A/62/507-S/2007/636), in his capacity as Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Group in New York.  The letter contains the Final Communiqué of the 2 October 2007 Annual Coordination Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

A 23 October 2007 letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the General Assembly (document A/62/511), also before the Assembly, contains the background note issued in advance of the 24 September 2007 high-level event on climate change.  It also contains the Chair’s summary, which the Secretary-General had presented at the closing.

The Assembly also has before it a 4 April 2007 letter from the Permanent Representative of Spain to the Secretary-General (document A/62/71-E/2007/46), transmitting a summary of the 1 to 2 March Intergovernmental Conference on Middle-Income Countries, held in Madrid.  Among other things, the Conference concluded that efforts to define an approach for aid to the least developed countries had not been accompanied by similar efforts to respond to the specific needs of middle-income countries.  Participants had underlined the need to bridge that gap.

Also before the Assembly is the Secretary-General’s report on the role of the Economic and Social Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits, in the light of General Assembly resolutions 50/227, 52/12 B, 57/270 B and 60/265 (document A/62/89 – E/2007/76), which provides an overview of the major areas of progress and challenges vis-à-vis that issue, and proposes steps to address such challenges.  It also highlights opportunities that the new functions of the Council –- notably the annual ministerial review, the biennial Development Cooperation Forum and the specific event of the General Assembly on development –- provide for advancing the integrated and coordinated follow-up of conferences.

By a text on the World Day of Social Justice (document A/62/L.15), the Assembly would recognize that social development and social justice are indispensable for achieving and maintaining peace and security among nations, and that, in turn, those conditions cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security.  The Assembly would also decide to declare that, starting from its sixty-third session, 20 February would be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

A draft resolution on the overview of United Nations activities relating to climate change (document A/62/L.11) requests the Secretary-General to submit by 25 January 2008 a comprehensive report on that topic.

Also before the Assembly is a 5 June 2007 letter from the Permanent Representative of China to the Secretary-General (document A/62/88) transmitting China’s National Climate Change Programme, released 4 June 2007.  The Programme reflects China’s policies and actions to comprehensively address climate change.

The Secretary-General’s report on detailed proposals for streamlining United Nations contractual arrangements (A/62/274) addresses observations of the International Civil Service Commission on proposed contractual agreements.  It incorporates the substance of A/61/857 on the topic, and includes elements from subsequent consultations with staff representatives.  It also addresses requests from the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the General Assembly.

The report discusses streamlining contractual arrangements under one set of staff rules, which would simplify the contractual framework, and thereby make it more cost-efficient to administer and transparent for staff members.  It includes observations by the International Civil Service Commission, which note that the Secretary-General’s proposal is consistent with the Commission’s recommendation to phase out the use of 300-series appointment of limited duration. 

The report also examines streamlining contractual arrangements by reducing types of appointment, and highlights use of temporary, fixed-term and continuing appointments.  It further describes an implementation timeline, premised on the assumption that the General Assembly approves the Secretary-General’s proposals to streamline contractual arrangements and the amendments to the Staff Regulations during the sixty-second session.  It also addresses financial implications of implementing one staff contract.

The report recommends that the General Assembly approve the new contractual arrangements and amendments to Staff Regulations.  In the area of peacekeeping operations, it notes that requirements arising from the change in contractual arrangements for staff from the 300 series to the 100 series would be reflected in the proposed 2008/2009 budgets for peacekeeping operations. 

Regarding the programme budget, the Assembly is requested to approve the requirements arising from the change in contractual arrangements from the 300 series to the 100 series –- which amount to $1.9 million for the 1 July 2008 to 31 December 2008 period –- under the provisions for special political missions of the 2008/2009 biennium proposed programme budget.

Also before the Assembly is a 17 October 2007 letter from the Permanent Representative of Tajikistan to the Secretary-General (documentA/62/492-S/2007/616), on behalf of the Permanent Missions which are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization:  China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  The letter contains the Bishkek Declaration of the Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, held 16 August 2007.

The Assembly also had before it the provisional programme of work for the Sixth Committee (document A/C.6/62/L.21) and the Third Committee (document A/C.3/62/L.86).

Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict:  breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts (document A/62/L.16), which would have the 192-nation body recognize the “devastating impact” of conflicts fuelled by rough diamonds, and that continued action to curb the trade in such gems is imperative.  To that end, it would recall that the elimination of illicit diamonds from the legitimate trade is the primary objective of the African-led Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.

The text would have the Assembly welcome the important contribution of the Kimberly Process and recognize that the Scheme could help ensure the effective implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds, and act as a measure to prevent future conflicts.  Further by the text, the Assembly would stress the widest possible participation in the Scheme, and warmly welcome the admission this past May of Liberia to the Process.

The Assembly was also set to consider a draft resolution on the report of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (document A/62/L.13).

Assembly President Statement

General Assembly President SRGJAN KERIM, of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said States’ efforts “to impart a new vigour” into the Assembly had been ongoing for over 16 years, and it was now time to ask about the ultimate objective:  how could nations enhance the efficiency of the Assembly?  The 2005 outcome document had reaffirmed the Assembly’s central position as the chief policymaking organ, and recognized its role in codifying international law.  He urged States to live up to that mandate.

To promote more effective multilateralism, States must bolster the Assembly’s standing, he continued, adding that at the opening of the general debate, he had urged the body engage in dialogue rather than monologue, focus on substantive results, and exemplify such behaviour through greater cooperation and mutual respect.  He thanked States for “delivering” through their active contribution and proposals.

Indeed, States were the “driving force” of the Assembly’s success and he encouraged such initiative, he said.  By systematically tackling challenges, the Assembly could make itself more effective and relevant to the public.  In that regard, he thanked Kyrgyzstan for bringing forward a resolution on social justice, and noted the “cooperative way” in which the Czech Republic and Dominican Republic approached Security Council elections.  He called on all States to continue to work in that manner, enthusiastically, in order to make progress on issues such as climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, and Security Council and management reform.  That meant that, on system wide coherence, for example, the practical success of the “pilot” countries should sway the opinion of the Assembly in New York, not the other way around.

To give States the opportunity to demonstrate renewed leadership on priority issues, he would convene debates on counter-terrorism in December, climate change in February, and management reform in April.

He said the relationship between the Assembly and United Nations organs must be complementary, not competitive.  In that regard, he maintained regular contact with the Secretary-General on substantive issues, met with the Presidents of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, and promoted the Assembly’s interaction with civil society and the private sector.  The Assembly’s outreach with those and other important constituencies, including the media, must continue to be developed, and its message must be consistent and compelling.  Also, commensurate with the President’s role, the President’s budget should be financed entirely from the regular budget, rather than through a makeshift arrangement.  That would enhance the President’s independence and accountability to Member States.

Recalling that States had decided to create an ad hoc working group on the Assembly’s revitalization, and to submit a report, he believed it was particularly important that the Group focus on ensuring that existing resolutions were fully implemented.  Further, it could consider other steps to improve working methods, such as finalizing a repository of best practices and updating the rules of procedure.  The Group would begin considering those and other issues shortly, he said, adding that the Permanent Representatives of Poland and Paraguay had agreed to be co-chairs.  He invited all States to extend their fullest cooperation and offer constructive proposals and practical suggestions.

Revitalization of General Assembly

Statements

JORGE DE LEMOS GODINHO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and candidate countries, supported efforts to strengthen the Assembly’s role and authority, in line with the United Nations Charter, the 2005 World Summit outcome document, and General Assembly resolutions.  Efforts at a practical level were paramount to ensure an overhaul of the Assembly’s performance.  The European Union strongly believed that the Assembly would revitalize itself when it took up issues of genuine concern to the international community, as it was a collective duty to engage in meaningful initiatives and make the Assembly’s work ever more relevant.

It was every State’s responsibility to apply in its daily business what had been agreed in numerous resolutions, he recalled, noting that the Assembly’s revitalization had been ongoing for several years and implementation now was needed.  Implementation would be at the core of the ad hoc working group, whose mandate was to “evaluate and assess the status of implementation of relevant resolutions”, though not all the Union’s positions on revitalization were fully reflected in those resolutions.  Fostering the implementation and consolidation of existing resolutions would “bring real added value” to the Assembly and the United Nations as a whole.  He looked forward to the timely submission of the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report as envisaged in resolution A/RES/61/292.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said the revitalization of the Assembly must be guided by democracy, transparency and accountability, and achieved through consultations.  The improvement of the Assembly’s procedural and working methods was only a first step towards restoring and enhancing its role and authority, including in the maintenance of international peace security as stipulated in articles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 35 of the Charter. 

The Movement would oppose any reform proposal that sought to contradict that objective or could result in undermining the achievements of the Assembly, or raise questions about its relevance and credibility.  The group was “deeply disappointed” that there had been no reporting on the implementation of all previous resolutions of the Assembly’s revitalization, as required by resolution A/61/292.

He said the Movement noted with growing concern continuous attempts by the Security Council to encroach on issues falling within the powers of other principal organs of the United Nations, as had been the case in the Council holding a thematic debate on the effects of climate change (17 April).  The Movement was particularly concerned over the Council’s exercise of norm-setting and establishing definitions in areas beyond its competencies. 

While expressing satisfaction with progress made in implementing previous decisions, including the improvement of the transitional arrangements between its outgoing and incoming Presidents, he said a genuine revitalization of the Assembly’s work could not avoid addressing the main issue of the lack of implementation of all Assembly resolutions and the underlying cause behind it, namely the lack of adequate resources made available to that end.  Encouraged by the fact that Member States hade been able to reach a common understanding on how to reinvigorate the discussion on the mandates review, the Movement hoped the issue of providing adequate resources would be addressed in a similar spirit of mind.  The group also looked forward to the establishment of the open-ended working group on Assembly revitalization, called for by resolution A/61/292.

HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said the key to success in revitalizing the General Assembly was the implementation of resolutions adopted on the matter since 1991.  A status report on those resolutions requested at the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session should be issued, so as to allow for a consideration of a way forward based on what had been implemented in preparation for an ad hoc working group to be established.  Also, the Assembly President should submit proposals on the work plan for the group.

Also, he said the Assembly needed to be aware of current developments to be able to address matters.  The initiative on theme debates, panel discussions and high-level segments with a view towards producing concrete, practical and action-oriented results was welcome.  The themes identified for the current session were also welcome, as was the special high-level segment on climate change.  The issue of climate change should remain a priority for the Assembly.

HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said that his delegation would urge Member States to pursue strengthening the role and authority of the Assembly with due diligence, in order to ensure that the views of the Organization’s wider membership were aligned.  While he stressed the importance of thematic debates in the Assembly, he also stressed the need to ensure the Charter-mandated balance in the work of the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  He also called for greater cooperation between ECOSOC and the Assembly.  Further, the resolutions and decisions of the Assembly should be respected and implemented by all Member States.

On the Assembly’s methods of work, he welcomed the recommendations included in the Secretary-General’s 2006 report on revitalization of the Assembly, including, among others, those calling on Member States to develop resolutions that were more concise and concrete, and to limit their statements in the Assembly and in Main Committees.  At the same time, Tunisia believed that such suggestions did not infringe on the sovereign rights of States to make such general statements or introduce resolutions.  He also reiterated his concern that the Security Council’s report to the Assembly was not more analytical.  Turning to the selection of the Secretary-General, he said that all States should consider examining Article 97 of the Charter, towards ensuring more involvement of the wider membership in that decision.

RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said that the revitalization of the General Assembly was a decisive element for a true reform of the United Nations.  It was not possible to talk about an Organization that was taking more democratic and effective action, if the Assembly did not fully exercise the powers that the Charter gave it.  The process should reaffirm the central role of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations, as recognized by the Charter and the Millennium Declaration.  It was important that, when that process concluded, the Assembly would have strengthened its characteristics of independence and become an organ of comprehensive debate, where the freedom of its Member States to address issues of interest to them were not restricted or limited.

Cuba underscored the need to achieve adequate balance among the principal organs of the United Nations, in accordance with the Charter, he went on.  Member States must also put an end to any attempt to the transfer General Assembly agenda items to the Security Council.  The Security Council needed to abide strictly by the Charter’s provisions, as well as with all resolutions of the Assembly, as the main organ of the United Nations.  It must stop meddling in questions that were clearly understood to be within the functions and powers of the other principal organs and subsidiary bodies of the Organization.   Cuba was concerned at the establishment of rules and definitions by the Council exceeding its competence and disregarding that, in accordance with the Charter, the General Assembly had the primary responsibility for the progressive development of international law and its codification.  To avoid such irregularities and set precedents within the United Nations system, the Presidents of the Assembly, the Council and ECOSOC should carry out regular debates and coordinate among themselves with regard to their agenda and work plans, so as to establish increased coherence and complementariness.

The lack of implementation of numerous resolutions of the General Assembly should be eradicated, he added.  The revitalization of the Assembly should not be a mere bureaucratic process exposed to the interests and whims of a few rich and powerful countries that tried to impose unilateralism, and only used multilateralism for their interests.

AJAI MALHOTRA ( India) said that the Assembly was the Organization’s chief deliberative and policymaking body, and that its revitalization should therefore aim to restore the 192-nation body to its Charter-mandate “position of primacy”.  Such revitalization must also ensure that the Assembly itself addressed the development challenges facing the majority of its Member States.  Once revitalized, the Assembly must set the global agenda, especially on economic and financial issues.  He said that, while recent efforts to trim the Assembly’s workload and reduce the volume of documentation were welcome, streamlining procedures alone was not the answer; central to the revitalization issue was a focus on substantive measures aimed at restoring and enhancing the role and authority of the Assembly to the position originally envisaged for it by the Charter.

“But the General Assembly can hardly be revitalized while its role, prerogatives and authority are being undermined by encroachment of its agenda by the Security Council,” he said, declaring that the Charter-mandated balance between the two organs must be respected.  India was particularly concerned that the Council was holding thematic debates on issues that fell within the purview of the Assembly or ECOSOC.  And while he called for further efforts to revamp the Security Council’s report to the Assembly and enhance other areas of substantive cooperation between the two, he cautioned against “an overzealous attitude” that might find the Assembly “intruding into areas that are primarily the core competence of other United Nations bodies.”

MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), associating himself with the statement of Algeria on behalf of NAM, said that revitalization of the General Assembly should take place through full implementation of resolutions on the issue.  Priorities included:  increasing the Assembly’s role in the election of the Secretary-General, enhancing its role in conflict prevention and settlement, overseeing the Security Council’s representative nature and promoting its capacity to address cases where the Council failed to act.

In the same context, he said, it was imperative to enhance the Assembly’s capacity to put principles in place to govern the contribution assessments for the budgets of the Organization, and to ensure that the principles of justice and equality embodied in the rule of “one country one vote” were maintained.  The ad hoc working group should be looking at the proposals of Member States that aim to lay down the implementation framework for previous resolutions on Assembly revitalization and discuss follow-up, which should include a mechanism to ensure their implementation, even if that meant amending the United Nations Charter.

VITALIANO GALLARDO ( Peru), noting that States had decided to remove challenges imposed by the cold war, said no country today could manage globalization alone.  Each State had a responsibility to guide the United Nations work with clarity and vision, and to resolve questions of peace, security, environment, human rights and international law, among other issues -- an enormous task.  Such a process must always be owned by States, as there could be no revitalization without a political willingness to achieve agreement and take constructive decisions.  Moving forward on climate change issues, the partnership for development and counter-terrorism strategies, were substantive issues with which the Organization must grapple, if it was to maintain its importance.

In recent years, the Assembly had been threatened by other organs, he said, noting it had been necessary, at times, for the Assembly to convene new debates.  States must be concerned with the Assembly’s working methods, which could involve organizing a better system of organs that informed the Assembly on various issues.  Perhaps that also meant the Assembly would hold fewer debates.  Further, the body must ask whether it could organize a more interactive meeting format.  Negotiating certain resolutions, though necessary, perhaps made the Assembly less transparent.  Could public opinion be reflected in its debates?  It was important to raise such issues.

He saw the Assembly’s work take shape along three lines:  prioritizing the work; developing a cooperative approach to working with other organs; and developing ways to make working methods more efficient and widely disseminated.  He welcomed Paraguay and Poland as co-chairs of the working group.

PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said that the vitality of the General Assembly was measured by the results it achieved in relation to its goals.  The revitalization of the Assembly should be an inquiry into the efficiency and relevance of its working methods, and the effectiveness of its proposed actions.  Further, he expressed concern at the delay in publication of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolutions relative to revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, noting that both Member States and the Secretariat must implement all resolutions if the Assembly were to remain relevant.  He called for a mechanism that would monitor the implementation of resolutions, and for the strengthening of the General Assembly President’s Office.

To fulfil its responsibilities, he said, the Assembly should take up issues that mobilized international public opinion more frequently and recommended direction to the Secretary-General and other United Nations organs, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as to Member States.  A proactive General Assembly would contribute to better balance and cooperation among the Organization’s principal organs.  Deliberations must not take place in a half-empty hall.  To that end, the President of the General Assembly might suggest time limits for each speaker at the start of each session, so that all had the opportunity to express their views in a timely manner.

Further, he noted that, as a facilitator for General Assembly revitalization during the sixty-first session along with the Ambassador of San Marino, he had consulted with Member States and produced a report on the issue that could serve as a basis for current and future deliberations.  He called for the open-ended working group to be to set up so that it could conduct open, transparent and inclusive discussions in the interest of all nations and peoples represented in the Organization.

GUSTAVO ALVAREZ ( Uruguay) said that the Assembly was the United Nations top deliberative and policymaking body, despite the fact that it had appeared to be “in decline” in recent years.  That trend had been attributed to the Assembly’s “seemingly endless and outdated agenda”, its failure to address current issues in a timely manner, and its watered down decisions.  At the same time, the Assembly had failed to fully undertake its Charter-mandated responsibilities, especially those regarding mattes of international peace and security.

The Assembly must reduce the number of items on its agenda; particularly those that “everyone knows have lost their relevance,” he said.  The Assembly must reshape its work to be more relevant, in line with successful thematic debates that had been held during its current and previous sessions.  Member States must also look more closely at the operating mandates of the Main Committees.  Further, they must consider enhancing the Assembly’s relationship and cooperation with non-governmental organizations and civil society.  Uruguay would support all efforts to strengthen the body and ensure that its decisions were fully implemented, especially the mass of previously adopted decisions that were currently languishing.  It would also work to eliminate diplomatic obstacles and ensure a better use of existing resources.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said United Nations reform should be geared towards consolidating the global community in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, noting there should also be a focus on enhancing effectiveness.  She had recently met with United States university students, and the new generation wished to see the United Nations more effective and responsible.  The Assembly’s greater role would promote genuine democracy in international relations, and while progress to improve efficiency had been made, that process should not replace reforms aimed at increasing the Assembly’s authority.

Recalling the sixty-first Assembly President’s efforts to increase that body’s visibility, she said informal thematic debates had offered States excellent opportunities to debate some of the most pressing challenges.  She commended the role of the two facilitators in revitalizing the Assembly’s role. As their report had shown States’ strong desire for revitalization, it was thus important to implement all resolutions on that issue.  She also highlighted the current President’s idea to convene debates on climate change and Security Council and management reform.  She hoped the Secretary-General’s update report on the implementation of resolutions would be a good basis for further deliberations, and called on the Assembly President to establish an ad hoc working group on revitalization.  She hoped progress would be made under his presidency.

ANDREI DAPKIUNAS ( Belarus) said that the question of revitalizing the General Assembly was a priority for Belarus.  Earlier negotiations blocked substantive proposals that could have reinforced the central role of the Assembly in setting the agenda.  Consultations must be put back on a constructive track.  He expressed concern at the delay in the Secretary-General’s report on revitalizing the General Assembly.  The Belarusian delegation had analyzed implementation of General Assembly resolutions on its revitalization, and found that important provisions of previous resolutions had not been fully implemented.  He said that future resolutions should be result-oriented, transparent and inclusive of all Member States wishing to participate.

He proposed the following items which enjoyed support from the majority of delegations during previous negotiations:  the Assembly should play a greater role on matters of peace and security, receiving periodic analytical reports from the Security Council for consideration; a fair and orderly rotation among existing regional groups should be used for selection of the Secretary-General; the Assembly should receive media coverage in balance with that of other principal organs; the Main Committees should have time limits for considering agenda items; delegates could make short statements in the Assembly with the opportunity to provide longer written ones; the Assembly President should be afforded protocol services commensurate with the Secretary-General’s; Assembly vice-presidents should be more engaged in consultations on the most important agenda items; and fair regional representation must be restored to the General Committee.

AHMED HASSAN HASSAN MOHAMED ( Yemen) said that all Member States participated on an equal footing in the Assembly, and revitalization of that body should aim to enhance its stature and limit encroachment on its work by the Security Council.  At the same time, he said Yemen believed that the Council’s work was increasingly being hampered in crucial matters by the use of the veto.  To that end, the Assembly should more actively assert its role, as mandated by the Charter, in such matters.  Moreover, as the Organization’s most representative body, the Assembly could draw on the wider membership when the Council could not, or would not, act.  Revitalizing the Assembly would also require eliminating redundancy in its work, as well as that of other main organs.  He called for speedy completion of the Secretary-General’s report on the status of implementation of Assembly resolutions.

ALEJANDRO WOLFF ( United States) hoped that today’s sparse attendance did not reflect a lack of interest in the subject at hand.  He recalled the conclusions of the high-level panel on threats, challenges and change, which noted the Assembly’s capacity had been squandered on “debates of minutia”.  Its inability to reach closure had undermined its relevance.  Unfortunately, those shortcomings also had threatened to undermine the General Assembly reform process, and the item under consideration today risked falling victim to the same deficiencies it sought to rectify.

Few recommendations of the facilitators could change the prevailing “business as usual” mindset, he said, as States had witnessed the passage of resolutions containing texts that had not been revised in decades.  The Assembly’s potential slide towards irrelevance had been reflected in the situation of Palestine.  The most vocal proponents of outdated resolutions were currently involved in a process in Annapolis that he hoped would lead to a lasting peace.  He had seen efforts to reform the Security Council, and reforming the greater United Nations system must also include meaningful reform of the General Assembly.

The ad hoc working group provided a new opportunity for States to take ownership of the Assembly’s credibility, and its ability to respond to real world issues.  The Assembly must be guided by the working group’s mandate:  to evaluate and assess the implementation status of resolutions on revitalization.  Indeed, the best way to enhance efficiency was through implementing relevant resolutions.  In that regard, he highlighted the clear need to rationalize the General Assembly’s programme of work, calling on States to discard outdated debates.  Greater cooperation among the principal organs would enhance the Assembly’s ability to carry out its responsibilities, and also help to reduce inter-organ power struggles.  States should not adopt resolutions on outdated topics.  Those recommendations, contained in previous resolutions, provided ample material for achieving lasting reform.  It was now time to follow that path and create a body that could form consensus on issues of great importance.  His delegation looked forward to working with others to achieve concrete reform.

PIRAGIBE TARRAGO ( Brazil) said that restoring the vitality of the Assembly demanded the strengthening of the authority and role of that “chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations”.  It also meant organizing and conducting its work in a manner consistent with its proper, central place in the debate of, and the search for, solutions to the pressing problems on today’s international agenda.

It was time to implement decisions already agreed upon, he went on.  The Assembly was clearly empowered to discuss issues pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security, without prejudice to the prerogative of the Security Council.  One possible vehicle for that could be the thematic debates that had been initiated as a result of the efforts to revitalize the Assembly.  The President of the Assembly could suggest an increased number of topics related to international peace and security to be discussed by the membership.  Such an exercise would strengthen the indispensable dialogue between the Council and those on whose behalf it acted.  The Council would benefit from the valuable inputs offered by delegations, while the Assembly would enhance the participation of Member States in making better-informed decisions that might affect their direct legitimate interest.

On the selection of the Secretary-General, he said that full compliance with the relevant paragraphs of resolution 60/286 would allow the General Assembly to become more involved in the selection process.  When the right time came, it would be especially important that, as agreed, such selection be as inclusive and transparent as possible.  The Organization would also benefit from a serious consideration of the invitation extended to the Council to update the Assembly on steps it took in that regard.

Behind those concrete measures lay the notion of checks and balances among the principal organs of the United Nations, he went on.  The Organization would be strengthened if a truly complementary and mutually reinforcing relationship was set up with proper balance among the organs, in accordance with the Charter.  The optimum functioning of the system envisaged in the Charter would be facilitated by a meaningful reform of the Security Council.  A more representative and transparent Council would support a vital and active General Assembly, just as a revitalised Assembly would invigorate its trust in an effective and responsive Council.

JAMIE HERMIDA CASTILLO ( Nicaragua) said that reform of the General Assembly was an integral element of overall United Nations reform, and had been highlighted in the outcome of the 2005 World Summit as a key way to promote multilateralism and improve the Organization’s overall effectiveness.  At the same time, the Assembly must continue its efforts to strengthen the work of ECOSOC.  It must also undertake its Charter-mandated responsibilities in matters involving international peace and security, especially where the Security Council had failed to act.  He went on to stress the need to revamp the Assembly’s agenda and ensure better management of time and resources.  Such efforts and attention to detail, especially to the work of its subsidiary bodies and main Committee’s, would be particularly helpful for small and medium-size delegations that often did not have the capacity to attend conflicting or overlapping meetings.

NGUYEN TAT THANH ( Viet Nam) said the Assembly’s revitalization constituted one of the most essential elements of the Organization’s comprehensive reform and should be given priority.  Initial improvements made over the past 16 years should be extended on such critical fronts as periodic meetings between the Presidents of the Assembly and the two Councils, the holding of topical thematic debates during the Assembly’s main session, and the streamlining of the Assembly’s work.  Also, cooperation and coordination should be consolidated between the Assembly and other principal United Nations organs, international institutions, civil society, Main Committees and subsidiary bodies in compliance with their respective functions and powers to maximize efficiency and avoid overlap or duplication.

Further, he said the rationalizing and streamlining of the Assembly agenda must remain a priority, with the interests and concerns of all the members taken into account, particularly that of developing countries in the fields of international peace and security, development and human rights.  Due attention should be paid to the consolidation of reports to ensure quality and reduce heavy burdens on States.  To revitalize the Assembly, Members must display the political will and determination to do so.  Therefore, a working group on the matter should be established, as proposed during the Assembly’s last session, so as to identify appropriate and practical ways to move the process to fruition.

YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said the General Assembly played a central role in making decisions and implementing United Nations reform, adding that States must consider strengthening the body as a vital issue.  Four points required priority attention.  First, he encouraged the Assembly to actively discuss the most relevant issues, and, in that regard, he fully supported the convening of major thematic debates and panel discussions.  Indeed, the 12 to 24 November debate on the Security Council’s report and the question of equitable representation in that body had contributed to raising political momentum to forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations on reform.  Japan also fully supported the climate change panel discussion, to be held in February, adding that thematic debates must be prepared well in advance in order to be useful.

He urged States and the Secretariat to improve the Assembly’s work, with a view to making the Assembly more constructive.  Rationalizing its agenda and streamlining resolutions would help the Assembly focus on priority issues and relay action-oriented messages.  To improve coordination among the principal United Nations organs, he said consultation among the Presidents of the General Assembly, Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary-General should be strengthened.  He fully supported the practice whereby the Secretary-General provided briefings to the Assembly, and welcomed regular meetings of the Security Council President and the Assembly President.

Stressing the importance of implementing what had already been agreed upon, he said meaningful revitalization of the Assembly was possible through timely implementation of decisions adopted.  Messages of request by the Assembly must be clear for effective implementation, and mandates emerging from General Assembly resolutions must not be outdated.  It was significant that States had agreed to give fresh impetus to mandate review.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said there was limited value in the nearly traditional exercise of negotiating some resolution on how to revitalize the Assembly.  The recent past, in particular, had demonstrated that the efforts would maybe produce some small political sparks, but could not bring about real political change.  The real problem with revitalizing the Assembly was implementation, and more concretely, lack thereof.

The importance of leadership was one key important lesson learned, he continued.  The Assembly was a politically more relevant body when headed by someone willing to lead and give guidance.  The Presidency was not a protocol function, but a position of leadership and political responsibility.  Consultations should be held on how to improve the mechanisms of nominating and appointing Assembly Presidents.  Proposals were already on the table for holding informal meetings with persons interested in the position and for compiling briefing materials, as an example.  A concrete outcome on that one matter would be a good result.

Finally, he said he would like to see a dynamic Assembly session with a focus on priority issues already outlined.  Informal plenary sessions should be frequent, with a list of topics and questions Members should address with regard to the issue.  The Secretary-General should continue to give briefings, and under-Secretaries-General should do so as well on an informal basis, since they complained of lacking opportunities for interaction with the Assembly.

LILA MANI POKHREL ( Nepal) said that the Assembly’s revitalization was one of the key unfinished aspects remaining on the overall reform agenda of the United Nations.  Indeed, as other delegations had noted, the outcome of the 2005 World Summit was a “sad reminder” that there had not been much movement on strengthening the Assembly during the past two years.  Member States must bolster the Assembly’s deliberative, legislative and decision-making functions, and likewise ensure that its functions were not undermined or taken over by bodies inside –- or outside -- the United Nations.  He added that the Assembly could only be revitalized by ensuring that its agenda focused on more timely and important issues.  Indeed, the recent high-level dialogue on climate change showed how much the Assembly could do to focus the world’s attention on pressing issues.

He went on to say that Nepal supported strengthening the Assembly President’s Office, including coming up with a more regular or institutionalized mechanism for consultations between the Assembly President and the heads of the other organs of the United Nations.  Among other things, he also emphasized the need to ensure that the President’s office was provided with increased resources, and the need to strengthen the mechanism to implement the Assembly’s decisions and resolution.

FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan) aligning himself with Algeria’s statement on behalf of NAM, looked forward to the appointment of new facilitators to guide the Assembly’s work.  Revitalization was a political –- not procedural –- issue, and he called for achieving consensus in areas where divisions persisted.  Pakistan was concerned that the Assembly’s effectiveness had been eroded, and continued to urge full implementation of previous resolutions on revitalization.  Consultations should be conducted in a transparent, holistic manner.

Noting that the Secretary-General’s report, requested in resolution 61/292, had not been made available, he restated Pakistan’s desire to see a substantive report that addressed the lack of implementation on revitalizing the Assembly.  As the chief policymaking organ, the Assembly must be enabled to play that role effectively.  The United Nations was seemingly failing to play a lead role in world affairs, due in part to the lack of an agreed vision among Member States.  At the crux of revitalization was strengthening the Assembly’s authority, prerequisites for which included:  full respect for the Assembly’s role; an end to the Security Council’s encroachment on issues within the Assembly’s purview; a renewed commitment to implement decisions on a non-selective basis; and provision of adequate financial resources to implement all mandated activities.

Among ideas to be considered, he said the Assembly should be accorded a greater review role in peace and security.  A monitoring and implementation mechanism could be established for the Assembly to advise on the implementation of various decisions adopted.  Further, he would welcome regular briefings by the Secretary-General to the Assembly, noting also that the Assembly should exercise closer examination of Security Council decisions.  Finally, the Assembly’s role in financial management over all United Nations decisions and expenditures should be bolstered.  A key reason the Assembly’s credibility had been eroded was non-implementation of its resolutions.  He urged States to explore the idea of establishing monitoring mechanisms.  He supported efforts to strengthen the Assembly President’s Office, and recommended that the Secretary-General brief the President bimonthly.  The President also should be authorized to request special briefings on any issue from the Presidents of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary-General.

ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW ( Guinea) said that, in spite of the “delicate and complex” nature of the subject, his delegation was pleased to see such interest in revitalizing the Assembly and ensuring that body maintained its Charter-mandated position as the Organization’s chief deliberative body.  His delegation also welcomed the recent holding of thematic debates on climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, and religious and intercultural understanding, among others.  The Assembly’s efforts to more readily involve civil society and representatives of non-governmental organizations in its work were also a testament to its increasing universality.

At the same time, Guinea believed that the Assembly President’s Office should be strengthened, and that the Assembly’s function should be protected from encroachment by other main bodies, especially the Security Council.  Turning to the revitalization of the Assembly’s subsidiary bodies, he said the time had come for the General Committee to be reactivated, so it could make more concise and precise decisions regarding the Assembly’s agenda.  All its decisions should be taken in an open and transparent manner, in line with the Organization’s overall priorities.

R. M. MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia), associating his delegation with the statement made by Algeria on behalf of the NAM, said efforts at revitalizing the General Assembly should aim at strengthening its role as the principal deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.  Only when certain fundamental factors were properly addressed could the Assembly be considered revitalized.  One obvious necessity was the implementation of Assembly resolutions; strong efforts had to be made in that direction.  Full implementation of all past resolutions on revitalization was needed at the earliest opportunity.

Revitalization also entailed realigning the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council, in a spirit of partnership and in full respect of their mandates under the Charter of the United Nations, he continued.  A revitalized Assembly had to show that it could address important issues in a proactive way; in that regard, holding thematic debates was a welcome development.  Synergies would be promoted through dialogue and cooperation with ECOSOC, while a revitalized Assembly would offer support and guidance to the recently established Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council.

In realizing a strong Assembly, Member States had to demonstrate political will, he said.  Implementation of previous resolutions on revitalization was supported by Indonesia, which shared concerns that the role of the Assembly had to be restored after having diminished over the years.  A new, substantive and comprehensive resolution would be supported by Indonesia.  A more streamlined and action-oriented resolution should come out of the Assembly; its work in the different committees should be planned and organized efficiently with focused discussions.  Repetitive and overlapping mandates should be avoided, although rationalization of work should not be at the cost of substantive matters.

IVÁN ROMERO MARTÍNEZ ( Honduras) highlighted the importance his country granted to the issue at hand, commending the General Assembly President for including it on the agenda.  The goal of the revitalization process must be to reassert the role of the General Assembly, as conferred on it by the United Nations Charter.  He agreed with those who had recalled the lack of a report on the matter, as that could have shown the achievements attained or outlined a clear direction for work.  Progress had been made, and he greatly appreciated work done by the facilitators.  He was certain that work would continue in other fields.

Mandate review was an important goal, he continued, noting that the rationalization of items and adoption of coherent policies would make a united response possible.  Mandate review could rationalize resources currently scattered throughout the Organization.  Further, it was important to refine the working agenda, re-programme the Main Committees and improve their working methods.

His delegation had said in the past that revitalization must respond to the need to restore a balance of powers among the Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.  In that regard, it would be fitting to establish, perhaps informally, a coordination mechanism to ensure communication.  The proliferation of resolutions and lack of a mechanism to ensure compliance was disturbing.  Honduras would continue to take part in negotiations designed to strengthen the Organization, and aspired for a solidly committed United Nations.

CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said greater progress could be made in revitalizing the Assembly through the new thematic debates and through more structured and interactive work between the Assembly and States, perhaps beginning a month before Assembly sessions.  The agenda should continue to be rationalized, and the number of items on it reduced.  Added value should be introduced into deliberations and resolutions by minimizing repetitive language.  The Secretary-General’s reports should focus on recent developments and on action-oriented suggestions.

She said the imbalance in the main bodies of the Organization should be redressed.  The Assembly should be given a more active role in matters related to peace and security, while other bodies should avoid encroaching on items under the Assembly’s competence, such as human rights and international humanitarian law.  Communications between the Assembly and Security should improve, and the Presidents of the Assembly and two Councils should hold regular meetings.

Implementation of the Assembly’s resolutions was another area needing greater efforts, she continued.  A report by the Secretary-General on that matter would be useful.  And finally, the revitalization process should include a greater participation for the Assembly in the election of its own President and of the Secretary-General.  Various alternatives could be considered, such as the presentation of candidates a year ahead of time for the Secretary-General, to be then elected by either secret or open ballot.  Also, an ad hoc working group revitalization should be established.

DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) reiterated the importance of Assembly reform in all its aspects.  After spending a long time on the issue, he strongly believed that States were ready for a “truer form” for the Assembly.  He highlighted the need to reform working methods, noting also that the Assembly’s relationship with other organs must be made more direct.  It was important to ensure that the Assembly was “the centre stage” for planning.  Thanking all States for their support, he hoped this year would be the year for a strong reform of the Assembly.

Follow-up to United Nations Conferences and Summits

Ahead of the Assembly’s debate on integrated and coordinated follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, NURBEK JEENBAEV ( Kyrgyzstan) introduced a draft resolution on the World Day of Social Justice (document A/62/L.15).  He said that the 2005 World Summit and the Assembly’s twenty-forth special session had focused on maintaining and promoting global social development and recognizing the social well-being of all people, “period”.  Participants at those events had declared social development as a priority for the new century, and had built on the commitments made at the Millennium Summit and the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development, which had encouraged a global dialogue on international, as well as national, social justice.

He said that, while States had been devoting more time and attention to developing adequate social policies, it was still necessary to recognize that social inequalities in various corners of the globe remained the key obstacle to development and socio-economic progress.  It was becoming clear to all that matters of social policy must be addressed in a consolidated manner, based on cooperation among all Member States.  His delegation was convinced that adoption of the present resolution would focus even greater attention on realizing the commitments made at Copenhagen and the Millennium Summit, and show support for the principles of solidarity, tolerance and the interests of all peoples and populations across the globe towards the “formation of a world policy of social justice”.

JORGE LEMOS de GODINHO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that Heads of State and Government gathered at the 2005 World Summit had pledged to further the goals outlined at the Millennium Summit and other major United Nations conferences.  The European Union would welcome subsequent positive actions and initiatives, including the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council and the Working Group on Mandate Review, among others.  It also welcomed progress made so far in the area of management reform and the adoption of the global counter-terrorism strategy.

While he went on to welcome recent reform efforts regarding ECOSOC, he stressed that the Union was committed to strengthening that body as the central mechanism for the system-wide coordination and the integrated implementation of follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.  He added that the Union looked forward to further discussions on the adaptation of the Council’s work, including its organization of work, agenda and current working methods.

Turning to development matters, he pledged his delegation’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and its continued support to developing countries implementing their national development strategies through, among others, increased and more effective aid, debt relief, trade and innovative finance mechanisms.  He went on to highlight the Union’s commitment to promote the wider aims of the 2005 Summit, including in the areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation, turning back the ravages of the AIDS virus, and promoting the rule of law.  On human rights, he said the Union would like to see a stronger and improved system of special procedures following the individual mandate review that was to get underway during the sixth session of the Human Rights Council.

GEORGINA CHABAU ( Cuba), associating herself with Pakistan’s statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noted the approaching midway point for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The number of people living in extreme poverty had reached 2.5 billion, while 10.1 million children had died before their fifth birthday, mainly due to preventable causes.  The number of people who died last year from HIV/AIDS reached 2.9 million, while the guarantee of environmental sustainability by 2015 was far from reality.

Moreover, the so-called development agenda for the poorest nations remained far from being achieved, she said, noting that their critical economic problems continued to grow.  Some 50 per cent of the poorest populations held barely 1 per cent of the wealth.  Indeed, inequalities continued to grow among and within countries, and the “have nots” were becoming increasingly poorer.  The right to development was still a “pipedream” for the poorest nations.

She said lasting solutions to issues such as external debt, foreign direct investment and international trade also were pipedreams.  Official development assistance continued to decrease.  In 2006, official development assistance accounted for 0.3 per cent of the gross national product of developed countries.  External debt continued to mount.  Developing countries accounted only for one-third of international trade, while their marginalization in the market increased.  Paradoxically, more than $1 trillion was devoted each year to military spending, while another $1 billion went to advertising.  The Goals could be achieved; however, the industrialized world lacked the political will to correct the structural inequalities of the international order.

It was time for States to seriously think about developing countries’ situations as a result of that unequal world order, she said.  It was essential for developed countries to meet their commitments, undoubtedly the major challenge to overcome.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said that, despite United Nations efforts in the area of development, many conference and summit decisions in the economic and social fields lacked adequate implementation.  Developed countries did not abide by commitments to provide sufficient financial resources to development activities, meaning that developed countries linked financing with their political agendas.  There was also a growing trend to separate environmental issues –- particularly climate change -– from sustainable development, the long-term implications of which would be reflected in a broadening rich-poor gap.  That would not affect Egypt’s full support to efforts to address challenges raised by that phenomenon.  Efforts of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General must focus on reaching a substantive agreement between developed and developing countries.

Mechanisms for implementing and following up on decisions existed within the Assembly and ECOSOC; however there was a lack of political will to achieve them, he continued.  Developed countries ignored their human rights situations, intentionally focusing on those in developing countries.  That contributed to mistrust among the general membership.  The United Nations ability to follow up on various international and regional developments must be strengthened, notably through reforming –- and providing financial resources to -- the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).  He affirmed the need to address the issue of transparency, considering that DESA should equally share the same support requested by the Political Affairs Department.

On the implementation of summit outcomes on the status of women, he said States had lost their way and had not focused on the development needs of women and equating women with men in the fields of education and health, among other fields.  In the follow-up to conferences and summits, increasing the efficiency of the United Nations services would encourage States not to issue new mandates that would contradict those of other bodies.  It was important to avoid linking the budget with reform, and essential that the Assembly effectively implement its resolutions and respect prior agreements, including the Rio and Johannesburg principles.

YURU YAROSHEVIC ( Belarus) said that his delegation welcomed management and organization measures that had been adopted to promote ongoing reform of the United Nations.  Secretariat reform had also taken a “constructive turn”, especially with the progress achieved in setting out procedures on the system-wide mandate review, procurement, and on improving and updating information and communication technologies and services at Headquarters and in the field.  At the same time, it was important to recognize that staff and management resources of the United Nations Office in Nairobi should be upgraded to the level of the other United Nations headquarters, particularly in light of the important development commitments that the United Nations had made to the continent.

On the Human Rights Council, Belarus supported the universal peer review mechanism and efforts to streamline special procedures.  He went on to express concern about some aspects of the “one United Nations” programme, and warned that widespread adoption of that concept, which placed a single agent in charge of the Organization’s various activities at country-level, might actually lead to certain development activities getting lost in the shuffle.  Belarus was also concerned with the tenuous relationship of some States with the Bretton Woods institutions and other international financial organizations, and would call for such agencies to deal with all States in an equitable manner.

SURESH ALE MAGAR ( Nepal) said States had made commitments in various summits and conferences to advance socio-economic development, noting the Millennium Declaration, which had produced the Millennium Development Goals.  They had identified major principles, including those of global partnership and national ownership in development.  Mixed progress had been seen, and it was important to accelerate efforts.

Nepal attached great significance to the United Nations role in implementing the outcomes of such summits and conferences, and supported increasing ECOSOC’s engagement in advancing the socio-economic agenda.  He encouraged regional commissions and specialized agencies, funds and programmes to strengthen country development programmes.  Moreover, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization could play more effective roles in implementing the outcomes of major summits and conferences.  Indeed, 2008 would be a defining moment for the development agenda, as States would review progress made in implementing the Goals.  The Assembly would undertake a midterm review of the Almaty Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries.

Nepal attached importance to those and other events, and was committed to integrating internationally agreed development goals into its national policies, he said.  Indeed, the interim plan focused on people-centred development, and emphasized good governance and poverty reduction.  He hoped Nepal’s development partners would provide enhanced support.  The peace process in Nepal was also making significant strides.  The decades-long conflict had ended with achievements, including the acceptance of a democratic framework for marginalized groups.  Such developments were vital to paving the way for better implementation of the agreed goals.  In closing, he said States could make poverty history, if they acted in concert.

EQBAL FAHAD THANYAN AL GHANIM ( Kuwait) said two years after the commitments made at the Assembly’s World Summit and seven years after world leaders had unanimously approved the Millennium Summit, serious challenges and dangers, including poverty, hunger and the spread of deadly diseases, were still threatening people across the globe.  The upcoming follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development would provide an opportunity to assess progress towards implementation of those commitments, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.

She said Kuwait, for its part, had made “good progress” in translating the commitments and resolutions of the 2005 Summit into tangible results.  It had also achieved the Millennium Development Goals, most notably in the fields of education, health and the advancement of women’s roles in society.  Kuwait had also devised policies that promoted “uplifting the society and realizing more progress –- social and economic –- as well as raising the standard of living per capita”.  Turning to the international scene, she said it was regrettable that so many people lived on less than $2 a day, and called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Bretton Woods institutions to reduce the restrictions imposed on the exports of developing countries and to promote a more just and equitable international trade system, with poor and least developed countries in mind.  Those organizations should also enhance the participation by developing countries in their work.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said concerted multilateral action was needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Kazakhstan was committed to its obligations to reach those Goals; it constantly implemented long-term development strategies to ensure that it joined the ranks of the most competitive economies.  Landlocked developing countries faced enormous challenges and constraints, with high trade transaction costs representing the main cause of their marginalization.  It was important to ensure the implementation of decisions and recommendations of major international trade and development conferences, so that small and vulnerable economies could enjoy the benefits that had been promised at those conferences.

Social development issues were key to preserving global peace and security, and Kazakhstan believed that such issues should remain among the priority items on the agendas of the principal bodies of the United Nations, she said.  The World Day of Social Justice, an initiative of the delegation of Kyrgyzstan, would draw attention to the importance of social development and achievement of social justice around the world.  She commended the Secretary-General’s commitment to a more transparent and accountable Secretariat, with the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity.  Measures undertaken by the Secretary to improve the United Nations procurement system were noted positively; as an emerging donor country, Kazakhstan was interested in improving procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries.

ANDA FILIP, Permanent Observer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said members of Parliament could play an extremely important role in building national political support for international action.  The United Nations stood to gain considerably by ensuring that parliaments had a full, undistorted understanding of its activities and processes.  It was with that understanding the General Assembly had adopted, a year ago, and by consensus, a bold and forward-looking resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (document A/61/6); it encouraged the two bodies to cooperate closely in such fields as peace and security, economic and social development, international law, human rights, and democracy and gender issues.

Mr. Filip recalled the establishment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of a dedicated parliamentary Committee on United Nations Affairs, enabling parliaments to contribute to developing a parliamentary dimension to the work of the Organization.  He then summarized a number of activities undertaken by the Inter-Parliamentary Union to support the strengthening of the United Nations system in the wake of last year’s General Assembly resolution; for example, the Committee on United Nations Affairs had participated in a discussion last month in Geneva with the President of the Human Rights Council.  Last week, tremendous interest had been shown in a hearing, convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Office of the President of the General Assembly, on the theme of reinforcing the rule of law in international relations.  The Inter-Parliamentary Union remained committed to developing a strategic partnership with the United Nations, guided by proposals set forth in a policy paper endorsed by member parliaments in October and due to be circulated in the General Assembly soon.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote a draft resolution on World Day of Social Justice (document A/62/L.15).

The Role of Diamonds in Conflict

KAREL KOVANDA, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission and 2007 Chairman of the Kimberly Process to the General Assembly, said that since the start of the Kimberley Process in the late 1990s, there had been a dramatic turnaround in the security situation of several diamond-producing countries, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Côte d’Ivoire represented the only current case of conflict diamonds, with its diamond trade prohibited by Process rules and a Security Council embargo.  This year had seen significant seizures and prosecutions relating to conflict diamonds and smuggling, showing that the Process was protecting the legitimate diamond industry.

He discussed two examples of successful partnership this year, noting first that, in Ghana, a plan of action to control the informal sector was being implemented.  The European Community, South Africa and the United States had supported additional monitoring and technical assistance.  This year in Brussels, it was agreed to move to a system of risk-based monitoring of exports.  Ghana continued to work on registering informal miners and estimating production levels, with support from the United States, European Community and the World Diamond Council.

Turning to Liberia, he said Kimberley Process participants and observers -- including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Canada and Sierra Leone, among others -- had worked with Liberia to advise, train and equip the Government Diamond Office.  In March, the Process sent its third expert mission to Liberia, in close cooperation with the United Nations sanctions panel, and found that the country met Kimberely Process requirements.  Those findings were reported to the Security Council, which then lifted the diamond embargo.  Liberia was admitted to the Kimberely Process on 4 May.

Those two stories continued the positive history of the Kimberley Process, he explained, noting that the continued interest in the Kimberley Process demonstrated its credibility.  The Process had welcomed Turkey and the Republic of Congo this year, and remained open on a non-discriminatory basis to all countries able to fulfil its requirements.  Civil society’s involvement had been broadened with a record number of non-governmental organizations attending Plenary, including those from producer countries.

On monitoring, he said progress had been made.  In the last four years, over 50 on-the-ground inspection visits had been carried out to Kimberley Process participants and applicants.  Although the peer review system was voluntary, virtually all participants had demonstrated their openness to scrutiny.  For the first time, the Process released its production and trade statistics in order to increase its transparency.  On the technical side, work to identify profiles of diamond production had continued, and he expected further efforts to place diamond identification techniques on a sound scientific basis.

On artisanal alluvial diamond mining, he said controlling that situation involved particular challenges, and a working group had assessed each country’s controls in light of Kimberley Process recommendations.  He believed there was a real possibility for the Process to support a regional approach to diamonds in West Africa, while in South America he saw “promising signs” of regional collaboration to control diamond production.

He said a 2006 review had concluded that the Kimberley Process had been effective in curbing illicit trade in conflict diamonds, but noted that reforms were needed for it to adapt to new challenges and increasing demands.  Many of them had been carried out:  a compilation of rules, a more transparent website and the formalization of two of its working bodies, among them.  Thanks to the work of Government, industry and civil society, the Process remained among the most inspirational examples of how to break the link between natural resources and conflict, he said.  Indeed, it was vital to conflict prevention and deterrence.  The European Community had worked closely with the Sanctions Committees in the cases of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, and looked forward to deeper cooperation with the United Nations.

SAMUEL OUTLULE ( Botswana) said that the Kimberly Process, which played a critical role in international efforts to break the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict, had, and deserved, the global community’s “resolute support and unwavering commitment”.  He reiterated that, for most developing countries, natural resources should be a blessing rather than a curse, and were the common heritage of the people of such countries, as well as a source of hope for a better future.  Botswana had begun turning that hope into a reality by ensuring that all mineral rights were vested in the State.  The Government continued to use the revenue from such minerals, especially diamonds, to boost education programmes, health care, housing and road-building, among others.

At the same time, he acknowledged that so-called “conflict diamonds” sparked fighting in many places, particularly on the African continent, and continued to be a concern.  However, Botswana was pleased that, because of the international community’s strong support and initiatives such as the Kimberly Process, significant strides were being made to halt and prevent the illicit diamond trade.  “Today, we, the diamond producers, exporters, importers and consumers have committed ourselves to the highest standards set for diamond trade,” he declared, praising commendable progress in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, to ensure that diamonds would never again be used as a source of destruction and suffering.  Specifically, he was optimistic that, with the continued help of the international community, Liberia, which could now be counted among the countries meeting the basic requirements of the Kimberly Process, would continue on its steadfast path to full post-conflict recovery and sustainable development.

ROGER YOUNG ( United States) said that his delegation was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution, and stressed that the international community had much to be proud of in the Kimberly Process.  With that Scheme, the international community now had the tool to head off conflicts and promote stability in relevant parts of the world.  It also represented what could be accomplished when Governments joined forces with civil society and private sector partners.  He went on to applaud the ongoing activities of the European Union to strengthen the Kimberly Process and to tighten global and regional restrictions on diamond smuggling, especially from Côte d’Ivoire.  The United States also appreciated how far Liberia had come, from a time when diamonds had financed destruction and devastation to today, when the gems were a critical driver of socio-economic development in that country.  The United States looked forward to working closely with India, incoming Chair of the Kimberly Process, as well as incoming Vice-Chair Namibia, on ways to further strengthen and ensure implementation of that important initiative.

AJAI MALHOTRA ( India) said that it was crucial to end the illicit trade in diamonds, both to stem the misuse of wealth generated for armed conflict and to protect the legitimate international trade in diamonds.  The issue of natural resources fuelling conflict should be seen through the perspective of an overall development agenda.  Efforts needed to be made at all levels of the supply chain, including processing, trading and purchase by consumers, as well as at the supply source.  He called the Kimberly Process “an innovative and useful mechanism”, as it addressed all those areas, affirmed the sovereignty of States, and included the entire international community in its approach.  Major diamond trading and processing countries, like India, supported its full implementation.

He welcomed the decisions taken at the Brussels plenary of the Kimberly Process, particularly the need for strong government oversight of rough diamond trading and manufacture.  As chair of the process in 2008, India would strive to implement the decisions taken in Brussels by working with the Kimberly Process working groups and committees, and would aid Process members to build effective internal controls on the production, processing and trade of rough diamonds, to protect the livelihood of many people across the globe.  A lasting solution to breaking the link between illicit transaction in rough diamonds and armed conflict required the effective consensual exploitation of natural resources in a way that benefited all segments of society, he said.

KAIRE MUNIONGANDA MBUENDE ( Namibia) said by breaking the link between the legitimate diamond trade and conflict diamonds, the Assembly was making a clear statement that clean diamonds contributed to prosperity.  He hoped that similar efforts would be made, so that other natural resources, including oil, timber, gold, copper and water did not fuel conflict.

He said 65 per cent of the world’s diamonds –- worth over $8 billion -– were sourced from Africa each year.  In southern Africa, the diamond industry employed more than 38,000 people.  At the global level, about 10 million people were either directly or indirectly supported by the industry.  Namibia owed its advances to exploiting mineral resources, especially diamonds, which accounted for 70 per cent of its export earnings, 12 per cent of its gross domestic product and 8 per cent of Government revenue, he said, noting that last year alone the country produced diamonds worth approximately $700 million.  Every Namibian diamond purchased on the world market represented food on the table and provision of essential social services, including health care.

Against that backdrop, he reiterated Namibia’s full commitment to the Kimberley Process, through which his country had made remarkable progress in a short period of time to control conflict diamond flows.  He encouraged donors to continue helping diamond producing countries build their capacity to implement controls and monitor trade “from mine to export”.  For its part, Namibia had put in place a robust regulatory regime to protect its industry from conflict diamonds, and established a Protected Resources Unit within the police to prevent smuggling.

HEIDI HULAN (Canada) noted the improvements that had been made to the Kimberley Process under the European Commission’s tenure as chair, including the implementation of the three-year review’s recommendations, the near-completion of a first round of peer review visits, and the adoption of the Brussels Declaration on internal controls and the Brussels Initiative on diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire.  She welcomed the Republic of Congo, Liberia and Turkey into the Process, and highlighted the impressive improvements Ghana had made in its system of internal controls over rough diamonds.  Canada also welcomed the participation in the Process by Liberia, which had established rigorous import and export controls, and had made its first official diamond exports since the removal of United Nations diamond sanctions.  Emerging regional cooperation to stem the illicit movement of rough diamonds in West Africa and South America was also welcome, as it was one of the most promising means of strengthening the international community’s capacity to monitor and control that movement.

One of the unique features of the Kimberley Process -- and one of the keys to its success –- was the innovation and flexibility seen in its constant self-examination and improvement in the four years since it began, she said.  That spirit should be maintained, so the remaining gaps in its controls system could be identified and closed.  The Process should also be steadfast in taking timely and effective action to address emerging crises.  To this end, Canada encouraged the Process to further develop its internal capacity to expose and address new cases of trading in conflict diamonds that may emerge in the future.  It also recognized the crucial role the non-governmental organization observers had played in the monitoring.  Noting that the United Nations had for years approached the larger issue of natural resources and conflict on a case-by-case basis, she strongly encouraged the Organization to consider a more comprehensive approach to its work.

DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV ( Russian Federation) said the Kimberley Process had moved forward in achieving its purposes, and today was “a complex organism”, implementing functions essential to its participants.  As its growing impact depended on ensuring the universality of its membership, it was important to broaden the circle of participants, and he welcomed the decisions of Liberia, Turkey and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join the Process.

Today’s discussion reflected the momentum achieved during the last year; however, much remained to be done, particularly in revitalizing work to carry out decisions vis-à-vis the certification Scheme.  He supported efforts to strengthen control measures, noting that the peer review system for certification was an important instrument.  Indeed, the planning and conduct of review visits was vital to ensuring implementation of the Scheme’s minimum requirements.

His country’s State agencies and diamond sector would do their utmost within the United Nations, the Kimberley Process and on a bilateral basis to prevent the use of rough diamonds to fuel conflicts, he explained.  The Russian Federation’s efforts in the last year aimed at establishing new and improved rules and procedures, which must be transparent to participants and the broader public.  In closing, he wished India and Namibia success in their posts, and said his Government had joined the list of the resolution’s co-sponsors.

ROD KEMP ( Australia) said his country was a strong supporter of the Kimberly Process, noting that, after only four years, it had increased transparency and facilitated effective Government regulation of the trade in rough diamonds.  It had remarkable success in breaking the link between that trade and armed conflict, and was evidence of what could be achieved through the collective efforts of Governments, the United Nations, the private sector and civil society.  He further noted that Australia wished to co-sponsor the resolution on that item.

ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said that with the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme now legally valid in 45 countries, the instrument must be supported by an internal control system in each country to give real meaning to each certificate issued by the relevant authority.  Capacity-building to cover regulatory and enforcement capability would be required, particularly in Africa, where 65 per cent of the global diamond trade originated, at an estimated rate of $8.4 billion annually.

He recalled that Angola had pioneered in the launch of the Kimberley Process, and said it had created the Special Diamond Inspection and Safety Body, a special force responsible for the safety of Angolan diamonds in transport between mining sites and buying centres.  The force also controlled security at sorting facilities where diamond parcels were opened, sorted, valued and repackaged for export.  Two commissions had also been created to review mining legislation and ensure the protection of diamond resources.  As a result, production had nearly doubled, from 5 million to 9.5 million carats between 2002 and 2006, with gross income from sales rising from $638 million to $1.2 billion, and Government revenue tripling from $45 million to $165 million.

At the international level, he said Angola had played a pivotal role in the creation of the Association of Diamond Producing Countries of Africa (ADPA).  Angola also chaired the Artisanal Alluvial Producer Working Group, dedicated to ensuring the improvement of internal controls over alluvial diamond explorations and the exchange of good practices.

Following the debate, the Assembly adopted, without vote, the text on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict:  breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict (document A/62/L.16).

Introduction of and Action on International Criminal Court Draft

When the Assembly took up the fourth item on its work programme for the day, FRANK MAJOOR (Netherlands) introduced a draft resolution on the report of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (document A/62/L.13), recalling that the delegations had held a constructive and in-depth debate on the report, presented by the Court’s President on 1 November.  He recalled a few highlights from that discussion, including that many participants had agreed with the Secretary-General that, in the short time the Court had been operational, the five-year old panel had “established itself as the centrepiece of a system of international justice”.

He said the ICC’s report, as well as the Assembly’s debate on the body’s work, had underlined the important role it played in multilateral efforts to end impunity, establish the rule of law, promote and encourage the respect for human rights, and to restore and maintain international peace and security.  The Court’s President had stressed that cooperation between the ICC and the United Nations, as well as cooperation among States and international and regional organizations, was fundamental to the effective and efficient functioning of the Court.  That was especially the case regarding the arrest and surrender of accused persons, the provision of evidence, and relocation of witness and enforcing sentences. 

The resolution under consideration today provided political support for the ICC “as an organization, for its mandate, as well as for the work it carries out”.  The text also served to underscore the importance of the relationship between the ICC and the United Nations, and as a reminder to States and international and regional organizations of the need to cooperate with the Court as it carried out its duties.

Explanation of Position before Action

The representative of the United States said his country’s concerns about the Rome Statute and the ICC were well known, and included the Court’s claimed authority to assert jurisdiction over nationals of States not parties to the Rome Statute, including United States nationals, and the lack of adequate oversight of the Court’s Prosecutor, who could initiate cases without first seeking Security Council approval.  Accordingly, the United States disassociated itself from consensus on the resolution.

The United States had made genuine efforts to work with the resolution’s co-sponsors, and had stated repeatedly over the years that his Government respected other States’ rights to become parties to the Rome Statute.  His delegation had asked other States to respect the United States decision not to become a party.  United States efforts to find common ground reflected a belief that parties and non-parties to the Statute should work together in a spirit of mutual respect to advance their common interests in promoting accountability for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  He was disappointed to find again this year that the resolution’s sponsors did not appear prepared to move forward in that spirit.  Again, sponsors had declined to include language that expressed respect for decisions of some States not to become parties to the Rome Statute, and apparently viewed such a basic expression of respect as inconsistent with their aspiration of universal Court membership.

As a historical matter, the United States found irony in the current emphasis on universality, as it had worked tirelessly during the Rome Conference to convince delegations of the wisdom of an approach to the Court that would have permitted more States to join.  That appeal had been rejected as counter-productive.

He noted with concern the statement in the resolution encouraging States parties to Statute to take the interests, needs for assistance, and the Court mandate into account when relevant matters were being discussed in the United Nations.  It was true that the work between the Court and the United Nations might at times be complementary, noting the Security Council’s decision to refer to the Court the situation on Darfur.  He welcomed the addition of language in the resolution requesting the Secretary-General to report on assistance the United Nations had provided to the Court, particularly on the expenses incurred in connection with such assistance.  That report would provide overdue transparency on such assistance, and he expected it would also address reimbursements received by the United Nations.  His delegation looked forward to receiving the Secretary-General’s report, and intended to review it carefully.  Accordingly, the United States was writing to the Under-Secretary-General for Management to underscore its interest in a thorough review of such issues.

The General Assembly then adopted resolution A/62/L.13 without a vote.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.