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13 September 2016, New York – Statement delivered by Mr. Gerton van den Akker, Counsellor Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, United Nations General Assembly 71st Session on the adoption of the resolution on the revitalisation of the General Assembly

– Check against delivery –

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The European Union and its Member States welcome today’s adoption of the resolution on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.

We would like to thank the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, for convening today’s plenary meeting and for his engagement in the GA Revitalization process. We owe further thanks to the Co-Chairs, H.E. Mr Vladimir Drobnjak and H.E. Mr Wilfried Emvula and their teams, who very ably led the negotiation process. Without their personal involvement, wisdom, good sense of humour and extraordinary patience these results would not have been possible. We thank also the UN Secretariat, in particular Mr Georg Zeiner, and other colleagues from the UN Secretariat engaged in the process for their useful involvement. We would like to highlight the constructive atmosphere throughout the negotiations and thank all the negotiating partners for their engagement in revitalizing the General Assembly.

The resolution we have just adopted contains some significant new elements and would not have been possible without the flexibility shown by all UN Member States engaged in the negotiations.

This resolution can be seen as a milestone in strengthening the accountability, transparency and institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly. In particular, this includes the release of detailed information on the finances, official travel, staffing and activities of the PGA’s office, a standardized format for the written handover summary of best practices and lessons learned to be transmitted to the PGA’s successor and made available to Member States, the preservation of records and institutional memory during the PGA’s term in Office by using existing record keeping and archiving facilities, and new efforts to create equal opportunities for men and women, and to ensure a gender balance throughout the UN system and in the Office of the President of the General Assembly, and obtain information on the sources of funding and staffing of the PGA’s office. Another element worth highlighting is the agreement on the provision of financial disclosures on assumption and completion of the PGA’s duties, in line with the existing UN financial disclosure programme. In addition, we agreed that all contributions have to be vetted through the UN Ethics Office and for non-in-kind contributions to be channelled through the UN Trust Fund. Particular progress was also made in other areas, such as the establishment of a Code of Ethics to be observed by the President of the General Assembly, including the members of his or her office, and of an individual Oath of Office to be taken by him or her. This is complemented by the decision to enhance cooperation and interaction between the Permanent Missions and the United Nations Secretariat through an interactive and comprehensive dialogue. All these and other elements agreed upon in the resolution in front of us will ensure that the public image of the United Nations in general and the Office of the PGA in particular is boosted.

Mr President,

On 18 July of this year the Council of the European Union adopted its priorities for the 71st session of the General Assembly. These priorities reaffirm the EU’s commitment to the principles and purpose of the UN Charter and recognise the need for the reform and reinvigoration of the global governance systems, of which the revitalization of the General Assembly is a key component. It is with this in mind that I wish to signal our readiness to remain constructively engaged in this process.

I thank you.

  • Ref: EUUN16-107EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum:
  • Date: 13/09/2016

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