Photo: NorwayUN/Kjersti Mosli.Photo: NorwayUN/Kjersti Mosli

GA: Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly

5/10/2013 // This statement on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly was delivered by Ambassador Geir O.Pedersen.

 Mr. Chair,

Firstly let me express appreciation on the constructive way you are guiding our deliberations. Revitalization of the UN General Assembly is an incremental, but important process. A more effective and well-functioning General Assembly is an essential contribution to further strengthen the UN.

The political interest and follow-up of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly can be, at best, described as uneven. Last month, the GA adopted a historic resolution on adopting the Arms Trade Treaty, and the signing ceremony will take place already the next month. In this case, a GA resolution made a fundamental difference. In addition, the ATT resolution was short and concise, which is far from the case for many of the GA resolutions.

Yet, it is evident that yearly and repetitive resolutions, cannot mobilize the needed political interest or attention. Therefore, Norway remain convinced that such resolutions would be best served if they were not tabled every year. My delegation reiterates that resolution adopted by the GA stands until otherwise decided.

The consultative process behind the GA resolutions varies greatly. Some are adopted after transparent and inclusive deliberations, while other are presented on a more “take it or leave it” basis. Perhaps some resolutions might have mobilized broader support and commitment, if the prior consultative process had been more open.  Furthermore, it would make sense to take a critical look on the extensive reporting obligations which flow from many of these resolutions, which often are considered by Member States as a burden.

Consideration of resolutions is very much linked up to the agenda of the GA. For an outsider the structure of the agenda does not make much sense. We agree with the proposal to organize the agenda in thematic clusters as is the case in the First Committee. Likewise, we reiterate the need for sunset clauses for new initiatives.

Norway recognizes that high-level summits, meetings and debates, contribute in augmenting the political profile of the GA. Last year’s high-level meeting on the Rule of law was important in raising awareness of RoL for peace, good governance and sustainable development. Norway looks forward to important high-level meetings this fall, such as the one on nuclear disarmament. At the same time we should be mindful that too many high-level events may eventually devalue their political value and relevance. As a general rule, Norway believes that key events should be linked up to the Ministerial Week of the GA, but meetings could be held at political level if required. We remain to be convinced on the utility of introducing a separate high-level week during the spring session. 

Let me say a few words on today’s topic. Norway shares the view that all Member States have a stake in the process of selection of the Secretary-General. This process should be transparent and inclusive while taking duly note of the UN Charter.  The close working relationship between the Secretary General and the Security Council makes it imperative that the members of the Council have full confidence in him or her. At the same time, we should explore ways to further involve the broader membership in the selection process.

An important message from our meeting Tuesday is the need to elect Chairs of the main Committees well in advance of their sessions. We must not repeat the delays experienced last year, and Norway hopes that a fair, balanced and transparent rotation arrangement between the regional groups for chairing the main committees can be agreed on as soon as possible.

Lastly, the issue of revitalization of the UN GA cannot be viewed in isolations from our deliberations on reforming other parts of the UN. In particular, we should take into consideration the ongoing deliberations on improving the working methods of the ECOSOC while bearing in mind the need to do away with costly and unnecessary duplications.




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