Sumario: EU Speaking Points - Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalization (6 April 2006)
Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalization, 5th Session; Statement by Minister Alexander Marschik, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union.
• On behalf of the European Union I would like to thank you for convening this thematic debate focusing on the substance of debates and resolutions of the GA as well as its overall relevancy.
• We believe that the participation of the President of the GA in our last meeting has given us much food for thought and proved very useful for our future work.
• Building upon what we said in our previous interventions let me briefly set out some ideas shared by the European Union regarding the substance of debates and resolutions and the relevance of the work of the GA.
• The EU suggests that the GA may hold more interactive debates on issues of global relevance and urgency. We would consider two to three thematic discussions after the main part of the GA Plenary as very beneficial. Together with the proposal for a theme for the general debate, the President elect of the General Assembly could propose, in consultation with the General Committee, topics for thematic debates for consideration by the Member States. We express our hope that future Presidents of the GA will propose thematic debates, as President Eliasson has done this year.
• We believe that major thematic debates should not be duplicated amongst different UN bodies. We might consider the coordination meetings between the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the ECOSOC with the Secretary General's participation as a good starting point for coordinating thematic debates among these three principal organs with the aim of avoiding unnecessary duplication.
• Naturally, the choice of themes will be decisive in encouraging both, media interest and high-level attendance. The EU is of the opinion that thematic debates can be a very effective vehicle for spurring media involvement and thus conveying its work to the wider public.
• We encourage Member States to focus their interventions in both, thematic debates as well as plenary meetings of the GA, on a few key issues which could be identified by the Secretariat in consultation with the President of the General Assembly or the chairs of the Main Committees.
• We further encourage Member States to make concise oral statements no longer than ten minutes. Longer statements should be distributed in written form. This would equally help delegations to focus on issues of main concern and redirect the Assembly towards debating issues rather than serving as a host for consecutive monologues.
Substance of resolutions
• In our previous interventions the EU argued to increase efforts for making the content of resolutions more concise, implementable and action-oriented. Repetition should be avoided by encouraging new operational elements and reducing the number of preambular paragraphs in resolutions.
• As to ensure the practical importance and the relevance of the GA resolutions their implementation should be better and more effectively monitored and followed-up. In this context the EU welcomes the proposal of the Secretary General in para. 37 of his report "Mandating and delivering" which suggests that the Secretariat may provide information - similar to that on budget and programming implications - on the implementation status and evaluation of previous resolutions dealing with the same issues, on how these resolutions would complement existing structures, conferences, reports and activities and on how the resolution would serve the UN's overall aims. Delegations which intent to table draft resolutions should be strongly encouraged to take into account the Secretariat's mandate implications assessment in order to ensure that new resolutions have a clear added value to the existing mandates.
• In order to avoid duplications and repetitive resolutions we encourage Member States to increasingly feed their contributions into thematic debates or, alternatively, into thematically related resolutions.
Interaction with outside actors
• The Cardoso report called for a more outward looking UN emphasizing that the participation of civil society, including NGOs, the private sector and academia could effectively strengthen the work and relevance of the UN. The EU shares this view and believes that building upon the Cardoso report the above mentioned actors could channel their input through informal thematic discussions of the GA's Main Committees. The EU would welcome an increased participation of NGOs from developing countries.
• The EU recognizes the value of parliamentary meetings at the UN as a meaningful contribution to the UN deliberative process and sees merit in closer cooperation between the UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union as a unique global parliamentary forum (cf. para. 171 WSO). Such an enhanced cooperation would help to bridge the gap between the UN and national as well as regional parliamentary assemblies.
Greater public visibility
• The EU believes that the authority of the GA could be enhanced by greater public visibility and transparency.
• The EU commends the current President for his efforts in this direction and believes that the support by the Secretariat and in particular its Department of Public Information should be continued according to existing practice.
• We might also want to consider means to create a more media-friendly environment in order to increase potential media coverage of GA meetings. The media would perhaps cover more GA meetings, if the Journal's announcements would include not only the agenda item but also an indication of the subject of discussion. Identification of speakers during GA meetings could help journalists quoting resources.