|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
Closing Sixty-Fourth Session, General Assembly President Urges Concrete Actions
to Ensure Body’s Objectives Are Met, Decisions Respected, Authority Reinforced
In Close Vote, Assembly Decides to Adjourn Debate on European Union’s
Participation in Work of United Nations, Defers Text on Matter to Next Session
Encouraged by political leaders’ strong support for the United Nations as the centre stage of dialogue and collective action to address the world’s multiple challenges, outgoing General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki today implored the 192-member body, as the only global organ with a truly global agenda, to continue to innovate, build consensus and implement its resolutions to “stem the erosion of its authority”.
Providing an overview of the Assembly’s sixty-fourth session, Mr. Treki, of Libya, said a main priority of his presidency had been to ensure that deliberations took place in the spirit of cooperation. “I am glad that we fulfilled that promise,” he said, but underscored that the task had not been easy. Indeed, the United Nations had been sidelined or underutilized on several crucial issues. Tapping the Assembly’s full potential would enhance its authority and ensure its decisions were respected and implemented.
Pleased with the Assembly’s work on a host of issues, he congratulated delegates on finalizing the outcome document for the high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, set for 20 to 23 September. That summit would be crucial for renewing commitment and mobilizing efforts to achieve the Goals. “We must fulfil that pledge to lift the world out of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and social and economic inequalities”, he said, which would enable the Assembly to “turn a new page” in efforts to achieve sustainable development for all peoples and regions.
He went on to observe that thematic debates, an important feature of the session, had helped to solidify common approaches to pressing issues on the Organization’s agenda. One such debate, on disarmament, had supported collective efforts in that field, while another, on peacekeeping — a first for the Assembly — had examined, among other things, the nexus between security and development. The Assembly had played a constructive role in supporting a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and begun a review of the Peacebuilding Commission, a process which could produce more results-oriented recommendations in the future.
The format of informal meetings also had been usefully employed during the session to foster discussions on various issues, said Mr. Treki, noting for example that, in another first, combating global maritime piracy, with a focus on the situation in Somalia, had been considered in a high-level Assembly meeting. That discussion had provided an extensive exchange of views on an issue that had been the domain of the Security Council. The Assembly also had launched a Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, and considered the issue of water in a high-level interactive dialogue.
He said that another significant area of activity focused on revitalizing the Assembly, and he noted that the deliberative body had maintained a diverse agenda, become more vibrant and was active year-round. “Investing in its continued revitalization is in the interest of all,” he said, urging Members to match expressions of support with actions to ensure that objectives were met. It was also important that Members played a meaningful role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General. He had presented his views on how to strengthen the institutional memory of the Office of the General Assembly President, he said, expressing hope that recommendations on the review of its budget would be followed up.
Turning to other areas of the Assembly’s work, he said he was pleased that the body had operated in a cooperative, consensual manner on the issue of Security Council reform, saying that for the first time, proposals had been put to paper. While positions remained far apart, he urged States to find a genuine compromise acceptable to all. Consensus reached on system-wide coherence showed that the Assembly delivered when there was political will to reach agreement, while the establishment of “UN Women” would hopefully strengthen efforts for gender equality. A special meeting in August on flooding in Pakistan, as well as an emergency meeting, in January, to mobilize support for Haiti, showed the United Nations continued relevance as a convening world body. The Assembly could and should play a more active role in supporting efforts to reach an early and fair deal on climate change.
Noting efforts to enhance coordination at various levels in the Organization, he underscored that his “excellent rapport” with the Secretary-General had helped to advance various objectives. He also had maintained regular contacts with the Presidents of the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, and had informed States about discussions with the Security Council President through letters, a practice that had received positive feedback and allowed for more cooperation between the two bodies.
With that, he expressed thanks for the support that had been extended to him and his Office, commending delegates on the coordinated manner in which they had approached their work this year. Following a moment of silence, Mr. Treki then invited to the podium the President of the sixty-fifth session, Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, and passed him the traditional gavel.
Also today, the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 76 in favour to 71 against, with 26 abstentions, adjourned its discussion on a draft resolution put forward by Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, related to the Union’s participation in the work of the United Nations (document A/64/L.67), and subsequently decided to defer consideration of that text to its sixty-fifth session. (For details of the vote, see Annex)
In lively debate preceding that action, speakers representing the African Group, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and various small island developing States requested more time to analyse the text and its implications, arguing that it would alter the working methods of the Organization and interaction among States. The United Nations Charter was based on the equality of sovereign States, they stressed, and Governments must be sure the draft upheld those principles. Given the proposal’s importance, they supported the convening of open and transparent consultations, as was the usual practice.
Introducing the draft resolution, Belgium’s representative said the text aimed to enable the European Union to continue to effectively support the United Nations on the basis of its new internal arrangements, following the Treaty of Lisbon’s December 2009 entry into force. Under the Treaty, new arrangements had been established for the Union’s external representation. The role previously exercised by the Union’s rotating Presidency had been transferred to permanent structures, including the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Union delegations.
In recent months, many contacts had taken place to explain the main changes and their implications for the European Union, he said. His delegation had taken on board many comments and suggestions and the draft aimed to meet the concerns expressed. Yesterday, three final revisions had been suggested that could ensure broad support for the text.
By the terms of the draft, the European Union would retain its Observer Status in the General Assembly, he said, without rights belonging to Assembly members, such as voting. The proposed changes would not affect the intergovernmental character of the United Nations. Their main effect would enable the European Union’s new permanent interlocutors to represent that bloc effectively in the Assembly.
Continuity of representation would help interaction with other United Nations partners, and permit more effective Union contribution to the Organization, he continued. The European Union understood the interest of other organizations that were following or could follow such intergovernmental processes. It was up to each organization to decide on the arrangements for its external representation and for the Assembly to take action on any such requests.
Participating in the debate were the representatives of Lesotho, Suriname, Nauru, Venezuela, Iran and the United Kingdom.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 September, to open its sixty-fifth session.
Vote on Adjournment of Debate
The adjournment of debate on the draft resolution on participation of European Union in the work of the United Nations (document A/64/L.67 as revised) was adopted by a recorded vote of 76 in favour to 71 against, with 26 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan.
Abstain: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Gambia, Honduras, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates.
Absent: Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Egypt, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.
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