Remarks by H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at meeting of the General Committee
10 February 2016
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, you all very welcome to this meeting.
We have now entered the second half of the 70th session of the General Assembly.
This meeting therefore is to look ahead at the next six to seven months;
to review the implementation of mandates arising from General Assembly resolutions and decisions and to discuss the next steps on a number of other key issues.
First, on mandates.
Two weeks ago, I shared an update with the chairs of the regional groups, on the co-facilitators that I have appointed so far to take forward different mandates.
I also met with them to review that document and I invited them to share any suggestions they might have.
Since then, based on those discussions, I appointed:
- the Ambassadors of Italy and the Maldives as co-facilitators for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States;
- the Ambassadors of Cyprus and of Peru as co-chairs of the Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea;
- and lastly, the Ambassadors of Jordan and Ireland as co-facilitators for the preparations of the High-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants.
I want to thank all colleagues who have taken up my request to facilitate different processes and I wish them all the best in carrying out their work.
Of course, I stand ready to assist them as required in whatever way I can.
A number of appointments still remain to be made on:
- the regular process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea;
- the commemoration of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- and the High-level UN Conference in Fiji to support implementation of SDG 14 in 2017.
I hope to be able to announce these appointments in the near future.
In relation to the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, I am convening a formal debate will take place this Friday and I am also proposing a short, procedural resolution on this subject.
Finally, in relation to follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, I held an informal meeting of the General Assembly last Friday to hear views from member States on the Secretary-General’s report on this matter.
The report received a broad welcome from the membership, as a good basis for moving forward.
Many member States also expressed the view that the High Level Political Forum and the entire UN intergovernmental system would benefit from decisions over the coming months on a limited set of issues addressed in the report.
I agree with this analysis and intend to appoint facilitators in the coming weeks to take this matter forward.
Turning now to a number of other key issues before us this session.
First, on elections.
Elections for the next President of the General Assembly, for the next President of ECOSOC and for the seats of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council will be scheduled respectively for 13, 14 and 28 June.
Second, on the selection process for the position of the next Secretary General.
Four candidates have already been officially presented – Mr Srgjan Kerim, presented by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Ms Vesna Pusic, presented by Croatia; Mr Igor Luksic, presented by Montenegro and Mr Danilo Turk, presented by Slovenia – and others are in the pipeline.
Information on the official candidates has already been circulated and is also available on my website, which will be updated throughout.
In the week of the 11th April, I intend to conduct the first round of informal dialogues with candidates that have been formally presented by then.
These dialogues will provide candidates with the opportunity to present their candidatures and for Member States to ask questions.
I am of course committed to ensuring transparency and inclusivity throughout.
The meetings therefore will be open and webcast live and I will write to member States in the coming weeks to share all relevant details on the meeting format.
Third, as you know I will hold three high-level thematic debates in April, May and July, which, on this anniversary year, will address each of the pillars of the United Nations.
I am encouraging member states to participate at the highest possible level. I will be sending out invitations to Heads of State and Government for the first debate in the next few days and I am also inviting all official candidates for the position of UN Secretary General to attend.
I will hold a dedicated briefing for member states on the preparations for the three events during the week of 22 February.
Finally, I wish to address a matter that I would like this Committee to take forward.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development marks a major departure from the way we have previously approached development issues.
Now, we must all adapt and respond to it and that includes the General Assembly and ECOSOC.
Part of this requires that the HLPF become as effective as possible – a matter I addressed just a moment ago.
But another part relates to the agendas of the General Assembly and its committees, as well as the work of ECOSOC.
Paragraph 24 of Resolution 69/321 on revitalization of the work of the General Assembly recalls the need “to avoid duplication and overlap of the agenda of the General Assembly, especially of its Second and Third Committees, the ECOSOC, and its subsidiary bodies, and the HLPF”.
I would like this Committee to take this matter forward with a specific focus on the 2030 Agenda; on how the General Assembly and ECOSOC agendas effectively address the entire 17 SDGs while preserving the integrated nature of this Agenda.
This is about non-duplication, developing synergies and ensuring coherence across the work of the plenary, committees and ECOSOC.
It can help us to manage the workload we place on Permanent Missions; to ensure our follow-up system is as efficient, relevant and effective as possible, and that it helps us to drive implementation where it matters most – at the country level.
I propose that this work be led by 5 members of this Committee including the Chairs of the second and third committees and the President of ECOSOC and also advancing geographical diversity.
It should build on the work already being undertaken by the second and third committees.
Once the five lead-members have been confirmed, I will meet with them to discuss how they might take this work forward, including on how to engage the wider membership.
With that, I would like to open the floor to hear your views on this issue and on any of the issues I have just raised.