8 October 2015, New York – Statement delivered by Charles Whiteley, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Third Committee Items 106 & 107: Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice and International Drug Control
– As delivered-
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 the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Allow me to warmly thank H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the PGA and his Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Tomas Christensen, for their presentations and tireless efforts in making the OPGA more transparent and accountable. Our gratitude also goes out to Mr. Edmond Mulet, Chef de Cabinet of the SG, as well as to Ms. Catherine Pollard, USG for General Assembly and Conference Management, for their valuable information provided today.
Efforts to strengthen the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly are of great importance and are to the benefit of all of us. With the evolving work load of the General Assembly, the EU and its Member States are firmly committed to identifying and implementing possible improvements in support of the work of the General Assembly and in the effective and efficient functioning of the OPGA, including the strengthening of its institutional memory.
General Assembly resolution 69/321 notes that the Ad Hoc Working Group recognizes the increased workload of the Assembly. We remain ready to discuss constructively measures that may help to provide clear terms of reference for the Office and enhance its functioning based upon previous recommendations of the Ad Hoc Working Group that seek to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the General Assembly, taking into consideration ongoing budgetary constraints.
The Secretary-General has repeatedly emphasized that there is no tolerance for corruption at the United Nations or in the name of the United Nations. As the Secretary-General has stated, all of us have a responsibility to work together to make sure that this Organization, its officials, and its representatives comply fully with all relevant rules and regulations, and carry out their duties with full transparency before the eyes of the world. We need to strive to uphold the highest level of integrity and ethical standards throughout the UN.
In this regard, let me thank the Secretary-General for convening a Task Force to review the functioning of the OPGA and its recommendations recently issued. We look forward to discussing them in the upcoming months, including financial arrangements and budgetary impact.
Let me mention an already existing and useful tool with regard to strengthening the institutional memory of the OPGA, namely the “PGA Handbook: a practical guide to the United Nations General Assembly”, which was written under the former PGA Joseph Deiss and which compiles basic information about the GA and its procedures and practices.
Resolution 69/321 encourages the President of the General Assembly to continue the practice of periodically briefing Member States on his or her activities, including official travel. We see this as not only a valuable source of information and a part of the institutional memory of the OPGA, but also an important act of transparency for the Member States. As Chair of this principal body of the UN, with its universal membership, it is paramount that the President of this assembly embodies transparency and accountability for all stakeholders. We welcome the regular press briefings carried out by the current President of the General Assembly as well as his active use of communication tools such as social media, and the President’s Blog for timely accounts of the President’s daily business. We encourage the President of the General Assembly to continue his efforts in making these tools more accessible, as it has been the case for the web page devoted to the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.
Enhancing the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly is of great importance so as to ensure coherence and continuity of General Assembly activities. In this regard, I would like to stress the importance for outgoing Presidents to brief their successors on the lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage them to share their views and recommendations also with the Ad Hoc Working Group. Structural solutions should be also explored in order to enhance the institutional memory. We stand to gain from the experience of past Presidents through the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly, as with all stakeholders, and we remain ready to explore options that allow the General Assembly to make the best use of its former Presidents’ experience.
As this is our final thematic meeting of this session’s Ad Hoc Working Group, I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the two Co-Chairs, and wish to assure them of our willingness to engage in the most constructive manner possible when discussing the draft resolution.
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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