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6 October 2016, New York – Statement by the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the United Nations General Assembly 71st Session on Agenda Item 120, 121: Implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations; Revitalization of the work 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 Candidate Countries 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 Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

Thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s plenary meeting. We look forward to working with you on the negotiations of this resolution throughout the coming weeks. I would like to thank the President of the 70th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, for his oversight of and engagement in the GA Revitalization process of the 70th session. I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the previous Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, the Permanent Representatives of Croatia and Namibia, H.E. Mr Vladimir Drobnjak and H.E. Mr Wilfried Emvula, for their excellent work. We wish the new Co-Chairs success for this year and express our support for the upcoming work, in the hope of continuing the significant progress made in the last session.

Mr. President,

The last two resolutions on Revitalising the GA have been ground-breaking. Resolution 69/321 paved the way for a more transparent SG Selection process this year, which has improved the public image and accountability of the UN. The selection process of this landmark year is still underway and, we hope, will find the most suitable candidate for the job. We are grateful to you, Mr President, for the nomination of two Special Advisers, Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas and Ambassador Sofia Borges, to facilitate the outcome of this process. Resolution 70/305 also contains significant new elements that strengthen 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, the release of a written handover summary of best practices and lessons-learned to the PGA’s successor and to Member States in a standardized format, and the preservation of records and institutional memory during the PGA’s term in office by the use of existing record-keeping and archiving facilities. Also noteworthy is the agreement on the release 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 your office, and of the individual Oath of Office, as we already witnessed a few weeks ago when you, Mr President, assumed the position. 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. Another aspect worth highlighting is the new progress in 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. All these and other elements agreed upon in the resolution just adopted will ensure that the public image of the United Nations in general and the Office of the PGA in particular are boosted.

Effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its core, remains key to us. The strengthening of the Organisation, based on effective and sustainable funding – in line with real capacity to pay, and increasing the efficiency of its functioning – on which there is scope to do more, remain our top priorities. In this context, we continue to be committed to revitalization and to supporting efforts aimed at strengthening the role and authority of the GA, in line with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions. This is especially needed in the context of the global challenges the world is facing today. At the same time, we wish to reiterate that it is imperative that concrete steps are taken, at all levels, to spend more wisely, to deliver in new ways, and to ensure that the Organisation lives within the agreed budget levels. An unceasing effort to find new and creative ways to work is essential to achieve more effective delivery of mandates and sustainable use of resources.

We believe that revitalization can be ensured only when the GA takes relevant action on issues of common concern to the international community and produces results. By doing so, it lives up to its role as one of the principal organs of the UN. Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly is clearly foundational for the overall reform of the United Nations.

Focusing on the negotiations ahead of us, we believe that the emphasis on this session’s resolution should be on consolidating the work achieved so far, and we remain committed to working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the workings of the General Assembly. In this regard, enhancing the role of the General Committee to support the work of the General Assembly could be helpful and needs to be further explored.  Further streamlining the work of the different Committees and between the Security Council and the GA is still needed.

Finally, let me emphasize the important role the Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of General Assembly plays. I would like to assure you that the EU and its Member States will continue to engage in a constructive manner in the proceedings of the Ad Hoc Working Group.

I thank you.

* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  • Ref: EUUN16-120EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: General Assembly - Plenary
  • Date: 06/10/2016

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