9 October 2015, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by Mr. Jan Pirouz Poulsen, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, 70th UNGA – Second Committee Revitalization: Discussion on working methods
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
We welcome this discussion today of working methods, Mr Chair, as a testimony to your engagement, and that of the Bureau, to ensuring the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of our Committee, not least in the context of the successful outcomes from Addis Ababa and New York. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development establishes a new paradigm that will guide our joint efforts for years to come. To follow up to the new and transformative 2030 Agenda, business as usual is not an option; notably for the Second Committee to which the substance of the 2030 agenda – global eradication of poverty and sustainable development – is at its very core.
Time is too short to reorganize the Second Committee for this session, but we need to begin reflection on the agenda of the Second Committee and to rethink the items so that the Second Committee embrace the future – the 2030 Agenda – and move beyond the past. Our aim should be to have a new agenda for the next session of the Second Committee in place, an agenda which fully corresponds to the needs of an effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This will necessitate a comprehensive discussion, possible jointly with the ECOSOC and the 3rd Committee, on how to best avoid duplication of our respective agendas. Provision for such a review is provided for in the recently adopted plenary resolution on Revitalizing the work of the General Assembly which recalls the need to avoid duplication and overlap of the agendas of the General Assembly, especially its Second and Third Committees, and that of ECOSOC, and calls for “proposals for the further biennialization, triennialization, clustering and elimination of items on the agenda of the Assembly”.
We have considered such rationalisation at various occasions, but reflecting these considerations in practice has become indispensable following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. We have agreed to approach issues pertinent to people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership in an integrated manner. We have highlighted that the SDGs and targets, including the means of implementation, are integrated and indivisible, and the importance of interlinkages between goals. We have declared that never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad policy agenda. The resolutions of the Second Committee should also reflect this new integrated and indivisible agenda, beyond business as usual.
We look to you Mr Chairman and to the Bureau for leadership in this process which should lead to a specific proposal, as called for by the General Assembly; a process which may run in parallel to, and beyond, the negotiations of resolutions. We trust the PGA and the President of ECOSOC will also provide guidance to the process.
Pending this discussion on the way forward, we should consider using language in the thematic resolutions that would not perpetuate current working arrangements, thereby pre-empting potential adjustments to the 2nd Committee’s agenda.
Generally, we see a stronger role for the Bureau in ensuring the policy coherence of the Second Committee by proposing measures that would counter the current tendency of increased fragmentation and proliferation of, often repetitive, resolutions at the sub-issue level. Such measures would also provide considerable savings in terms of human resources and ease logistic constraints. We would welcome any steps that could already be undertaken in the current session towards that objective.
Another area where we see a need for strong Bureau guidance is in ensuring that the Committee implements decision 65/530, including by keeping to the deadlines set by the Bureau. Our collective experience in past sessions has proved that missing deadlines, either when introducing resolutions or when finalizing negotiations, can seriously hinder our work. If deadlines pass without agreement being reached, we believe procedural texts should be pursued. In this connection, we appreciate that the Bureau has issued procedural guidelines for the exceptional extension to deadlines.
Proclaiming new international days / years or decades should only be proposed in line with the corresponding ECOSOC guidelines, including the necessity of securing the financing and organization of such proclamations before they are agreed by the GA.
Finally, while fully respecting the mandate of the 5th committee over budget issues, basic information on possible cost implications of draft resolutions proposals of the 2nd committee should be made available at an early stage in order for delegations to take the best informed decision during negotiations, and not, often to surprise of involved parties, at the moment of adoption of texts. This issue should be brought up and solved in close cooperation between the Bureau and the Secretariat.
Under your leadership we are confident that we will conclude successfully and efficiently the work of this committee. The European Union and its Member States are ready in the weeks and months to come, to consider all ideas from member states on how to improve the working methods and practices of the Second Committee and prepare for an effective and efficient follow-up in the Second Committee to the 2030 Agenda. We believe that this 70th session is a unique window of opportunity for us to begin to engage in a review of the agenda of the Second Committee to ensure its continued relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process..
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