Sommaire: 8 October 2010, New York - Statement by the European Union at the 65th United Nations General Assembly Second Committee: Working Methods
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Iceland, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The EU would like to thank you for your letter of 29 September 2010 and for taking the initiative to hold this timely discussion on the working methods of the Second Committee. We extend our gratitude to the members of the Bureau for presenting a very useful non-paper.
Last December, at the closing session of the Second Committee, the EU already welcomed the reflection that was initiated by the former Bureau and we are glad to see this issue still on our agenda. The Second Committee is an important universal forum for discussion of economic, social and environmental issues and the EU is eager to consider ways to better organize its work, to make it more relevant, effective and efficient.
As pointed out in your non-paper, our experience in past sessions has proved that missing deadlines, both to introduce resolutions and to finalize negotiations, can seriously hinder our work. In addition, the coincidence of important parallel processes outside the Second Committee, and the repetition of debates already held in ECOSOC, have often created duplications and worked against an efficient management of the Second Committee's time. These are only some examples of areas where our Committee can do better. The EU believes that even limited changes and our collective commitment can make an important difference in terms of improving the quality and added value of our work.
Having this in mind, in general terms, the EU welcomes the suggestions contained in your non-paper as steps in the right direction. In particular, the EU is ready to support measures that could have an immediate positive impact in our work during the current session. In addition, at this stage, we would like to underline the following:
- To begin with, we believe that full compliance with existing rules and an adequate follow-up of recommendations made by the General Assembly, most notably in its resolution 64/301 on the revitalization of its work, would already constitute an important step forward.
- The EU is also ready to consider the review of practices for submission of draft proposals, particularly with a view to meeting deadlines, as proposed in the non-paper. We could look into suggestions such as applying a one-time deadline for the submission of all drafts, as well as giving clear guidelines for facilitators on what to do if negotiations are not on schedule. Resolutions could be transmitted to the next session or made procedural if they are not agreed on time. Also, as recalled in the non-paper, we believe that the quality of our work would improve with more focused proposals.
- From a substantive point of view, the agenda of the Committee could be reviewed in terms of relevance of topics discussed and eventually determine whether any items can be biennialized or triennialized, or even deleted, as recommended in resolution 64/301. Also in relation to this, careful consideration could be given to improving the division of labour between the Second Committee and ECOSOC, to avoid overlaps and duplications. As the non-paper rightly points out, this suggestion is particularly timely considering the launch of the review process of resolution 61/16 on ECOSOC.
- In order to allow for a more efficient use of our time, the EU welcomes the steps taken by the Bureau to reduce the number of special events. In the same vein, we would welcome discussing some of the proposals contained under point 2 of the non-paper, such as merging or "clustering" debates around specific themes.
Finally, we understand that some of these measures may require careful consideration and additional consultation among Member States. We would welcome your personal involvement in such consultations as well as further consideration of this topic under the existing agenda item on "Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly".
Our collective commitment will be necessary to make progress in this important matter. The EU stands ready to continue working on this issue under your guidance and in cooperation with all the members of the Committee in the weeks to come, with the aim to reach a consensual and positive outcome during this session.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.