– CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the two previous Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, the Permanent Representatives of Georgia and Gambia for their efforts and commitment. I would further like to thank the President of the General Assembly for his appointment of the Permanent Representative of Egypt to be in charge of the Ad Hoc Working Group established by GA Resolution 66/294. We would also welcome the appointment of another co-chair, in accordance with traditional arrangements, and encourage the PGA to continue to seek candidates for this important role.
The European Union and its Member States continue to support effective multilateralism with the pivotal role of United Nations. We remain committed to efforts aimed at strengthening the role and the authority of the GA, in line with the Charter and the relevant resolutions, and based on realistic assessment and effective use of available funding. These efforts should in our view underpin the General Assembly through revitalization of its work and through making its work more effective. We are of the opinion that increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the General Assembly is intertwined with the broader scope of the United Nations reform.
We welcome the adoption of resolution 66/294. We take this opportunity to underline again the importance of the implementation of all resolutions of the General Assembly, including on the revitalization of its work. We look forward to the establishment of the Ad Hoc Working Group, in accordance with op. 2 of the previously mentioned resolution. The Ad Hoc Working Group itself could and should lead the GA revitalization process by showing an example of efficiency and effectiveness, inter alia by focused discussions, an in-depth non-repetitive work, submitting more concise, focused and action-oriented resolutions.
We thank the Chair for preparing a draft updated inventory/chart and hope that this will provide for the meaningful continuation of the review by the Ad Hoc Working Group of the inventory of GA resolutions on revitalization.
The GA revitalization process has brought some very positive results, in particular in the context of thematic debates. We would very much welcome that the PGA would put in place consultations with Member States on the possibilities for achieving, where appropriate, results-oriented outcomes in such debates. In this connection we recall the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Working Group that at the beginning of each session, the General Committee, following recommendations from the President of the General Assembly, shall recommend to the Assembly a programme of, and format for, interactive debates on the items on its agenda. The Ad Hoc Working Group could explore the interrelation of the thematic and interactive debates.
There is a variety of events organised in the framework of the General Assembly per annum. We are of the view that, in order to assure true impact of these endeavours, their number and distribution throughout the year should be carefully considered. In particular, a too high number of High-Level events can undermine their significance and lead to overburden of the General Assembly work programme. We are therefore in favour of an ambitious but realistic approach, which would guarantee that those events that take place bring real added value and are result-oriented. We reiterate the invitation to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, in particular in his capacity as the Chair of the General Committee, and the Chairs of the Main Committees, in consultation with Member States, to enhance the coordination of the scheduling of high-level meetings, especially of those which are being scheduled near the general debate.
We welcome efforts aimed at increasing visibility and transparency of the General Assembly’s work, in particular, through increased interaction with the civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. We note that the ODS has been fully operational and accessible, that a range of options including online access, knowledge management, and video training is being implemented through and by the PaperSmart team.
We recognize the importance of the interaction between the GA and international or regional fora and organizations dealing with global matters of concern to the international community and the benefits to be drawn from such interaction. In this regard, we recall the idea conveyed by the President of the General Assembly with regard to informal meetings of the plenary before and after G-20 preparatory meetings and the annual Heads of State or Government Summit as well as his proposal to launch a process leading to the establishment of an effective consultative framework between the GA and international financial and trade institutions, as well as groupings such as the G-20, and are interested in an update in this regard.
With regard to further improvement of information sharing, briefings by the President of the General Assembly on his recent activities, including official travels continue to be an appreciated practice that serves from our perspective as a valuable source of information and transparency for the broad Membership.
In the context of working methods, we have been advocating for rationalization of the agendas of the GA and its Committees. We are of the view that the Main Committees and the General Committee should further examine opportunities for biennialization and triennialization of items, as well as their clustering or elimination, where appropriate. In this regard, an adequate leadership of the President of the GA, the Chairs and the bureaux of the Main Committees remains of particular importance. We look forward to the briefings by the Chairs of the Main Committees on the discussions on the working methods.
The key issue of the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly has now been discussed for over two decades. In this regard, there is a very substantive historical memory of our deliberations that should be readily accessible as it would facilitate our preparations for each and every session as well as, hopefully, contribute to better understanding of various positions and concepts. We would therefore suggest that a dedicated web-site devoted to the General Assembly revitalization is established in order to preserve the memory of the process. The web-site could follow the model of the web-sites of the Main Committees and contain important related official letters and notifications to the Permanent Missions, statements, reports, resolutions, etc.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that the EU and its Member States will continue to engage in a pragmatic manner in the proceedings of the Ad Hoc Working Group with a view to further revitalize the General Assembly.
I thank you.