20 February 2017, New York – Statement delivered by H.E. Ms. Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of Delegation, Chargé d’affaires a.i., on behalf of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly General Debate on the Revitalisation of the General Assembly
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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, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Thank you, Co-Chairs, for convening this first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly. I would also like to thank H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, for his valuable remarks.
At the outset, let me congratulate H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobjnak on his now second reappointment as co-chair which is a testament to his and H.E. Mr. Wilfried Emvula’s excellent work done in the Ad Hoc Working Group of the 69th and the 70th sessions of the General Assembly. I would also like to congratulate H.E. Ms. Lana Zaki Nusseibeh on her appointment as co-chair for the 71st session of the General Assembly. We look forward to engaging constructively also in this year’s working group and wish you success for the work ahead.
We have seen ground-breaking achievements in the last two resolutions this working group has produced. Resolution 69/321 paved the way for a more transparent and inclusive selection process of the Secretary-General, which has improved the public image of the UN. Resolution 70/305 contains significant new elements that strengthen the accountability, transparency and institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, including the release of detailed information on the finances and activities of the PGA’s office, the release of a summary of best practices and lessons-learned to the incoming PGA and to Member States, the preservation of records, the vetting of contributions through the UN Ethics Office, and the channelling of non-in-kind contributions through the UN Trust Fund. Particular progress was also made by introducing an Oath of Office to be taken by the PGA, and by establishing a Code of Ethics to be observed by the PGA and members of his office. All these and other elements will ensure that the effectiveness and transparency of the United Nations in general and the Office of the PGA in particular are boosted.
Turning towards the work that lies ahead, we believe that the emphasis on this session’s resolution should be consolidating the work achieved so far. Effective multilateralism with the United Nations at its core remains key to the European Union and its Member States. In the context of the global challenges we face, strengthening the UN, while ensuring it has adequate funding from member states in line with their capacity to pay, and increasing the efficiency of its functioning, remain our top priorities. It is imperative that concrete steps are taken, at all levels, to spend more wisely, to deliver in better and more efficient ways, and to ensure the organisation lives within the agreed budget levels. An unceasing effort to find new and creative ways to work is essential to achieve a more effective delivery of mandates and sustainable use of resources. With this in mind we continue to be committed to the revitalization process and to supporting efforts aimed at strengthening the role and authority of the GA, in line with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions. The first steps that the SG has taken in this regard are promising and warmly welcomed.
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. In this context, we welcome the process of the Alignment of the work of the General Assembly and ECOSOC on the 2030 Agenda for which the Permanent Representatives of Australia and Argentina have been appointed to lead the consultations. We look forward to this process delivering tangible results, including reprioritization and the elimination of overlap where necessary.
We would like to recall the urgent need to take steps towards the rationalization of the agenda of the General Assembly and the ECOSOC to eliminating duplication and overlap and promoting complementarity in the consideration of similar and related issues. We would also like to re-emphasize the need to further examine the biennialization and triennialization of items, as well as their clustering or elimination, including through the introduction of a sunset clause, with the clear consent of the sponsoring State or States. Improving the working methods of Committees, streamlining and standardizing will lead to their more efficient work, which is more needed than ever in these times of global challenges. Leadership and bold action of the Chairs and the bureaus of the Main Committees is of great importance 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. We also look forward to enhancing the coordination of the scheduling of high level meetings with the view to optimizing their number and distribution throughout the year, while bearing in mind the need to preserve the integrity of the General Debate.
Finally, let me emphasize once more the important role of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of General Assembly. 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.
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