|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
Reaffirming General Assembly as Pre-eminent Forum for Global Debate,
Incoming President Previews ‘Heavy Agenda’ for Sixty-Fifth Session
Outlines Assembly’s Main Tasks: Ensuring Achievement of Millennium Development
Goals; Reinstating United Nations Central Role; Promoting Sustainable Development
With countries gradually recovering from the global economic and financial crisis, the General Assembly had the duty to deliver results in its pursuit of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, reforming United Nations power structures and promoting sustainable development, incoming Assembly President Joseph Deiss stressed today as he opened the 192-member body’s sixty-fifth session.
In remarks following a moment of silence, Mr. Deiss, of Switzerland, reminded delegates that the issues to be discussed were too serious for that obligation not to be the primary motivation. “Multilateralism does count,” he said. The Assembly was the pre-eminent forum for global debate, and as such, must be the place for a convergence of efforts to establish — and assume — global governance. Too often, the public viewed the Assembly as a “talk shop” with no real impact. However, the sixty-fifth session would show that it could make a difference. In that context, he urged moving beyond national concerns and working in truth for the common good.
Turning to the agenda for the sixty-fifth session, he said the Assembly’s first focus would be to ensure achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. With Heads of State and Government expected in New York on Monday for a high-level meeting on the Goals, “we do not have the right to fail”, he stressed. The Goals, despite the global economic crisis, were within reach and the Assembly’s work in the coming week must result in a genuine plan of action to ensure that the ambitious targets set in 2000 were reached.
Next, the Assembly must reaffirm the central role of the United Nations in global governance, he explained, which meant that its actions must have broad legitimacy and result from inclusive processes, with improved mechanisms for information, consultation and cooperation between the Organization and other actors. It must move forward decisively with internal reform, notably for the Security Council, a matter requiring decisions that enjoyed broad support.
Finally, the Assembly must promote sustainable development, he said, noting that vulnerability to disasters and threats to biodiversity were just some of the environmental challenges affecting all States and requiring concerted efforts. Environmental issues would figure prominently on the agenda, which would include a high-level meeting on biodiversity during the week of the Millennium Development Goal summit. Indeed, it was crucial to increase awareness for economic structures that respected the environment and future generations.
Efforts in those areas would be essential contributions towards peace and security, international cooperation and friendship among peoples, he asserted. Such actions, in turn, would enable progress in matters regarding human rights, development, humanitarian aid, disarmament and counter-terrorism, as well as in the areas of health and the environment.
“My vision is of a strong General Assembly, which should be the main forum for global debate,” he said. “My door is open. I offer you my leadership so that progress can be made.” With that, he urged delegates to overcome their rivalries for the benefit of humanity.
In other business today, the Assembly authorized the following United Nations programmes and bodies to meet during the sixty-fifth session on the strict understanding meetings be accommodated within available facilities and services: Committee on Relations with the Host Country; Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Disarmament Commission; Independent Audit Advisory Committee; International Criminal Court — Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute; and the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (document A/65/337).
Finally, delegations took note of a letter from the Secretary-General to the Assembly President, informing the Assembly that six Member States were in arrears in payment of their financial contributions to the United Nations, under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter (document A/65/359).
[According to Article 19 of the Charter, a Member State in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization will have no vote in the Assembly, if the amount of those arrears exceeds the amount of the contributions due from the preceding two years.]
The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.
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