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"The European Union has been strong and vocal supporter of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ reform vision from the beginning, so we are gratified that the UN General Assembly has taken concrete decisions today to make the UN more fit for purpose, and better able to deliver on the mandates entrusted to it," said EU Ambassador to the UN João Vale de Almeida. These decisions on UN reform and enhancements to the UN's peace and architecture will have a significant impact on the UN's work in the field in the years to come. "We are satisfied that our hard work and continued dialogue with our UN partners helped produce these positive results, and we look forward to further advancing the implementation of the reform measures," said Ambassador Vale de Almeida. "The UN is moving in the right direction to be able to deal more effectively with global challenges," he added.
On UN Reform
Today, the General Assembly agreed on the next steps to implement the Secretary-General’s reform agenda. On the management reform, UN Member States decided on several key changes in the structure and functioning of the management departments of the UN Secretariat, which will bring more effectiveness, efficiency and coherence, and will strengthen transparency and accountability within the organization. Also today, the UN took a crucial step towards more decentralization and delegating authority and decision-making closer to the point of delivery. One of the most important achievements is the improvement of service delivery to the field, which is of particular importance for peacekeeping operations.
The General Assembly also adopted a resolution that will enhance the UN peace and security architecture, enabling the organization to better focus on conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. This decision implements resolution 72/199 of the General Assembly on peace and security, as well as the recent twin resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council on the review of the peacebuilding architecture – an important landmark in recognizing that the Member States need to work better together to sustain peace at all stages of conflict, and in all its dimensions. The reform of the peace and security pillar will contribute to this important objective by restructuring the current Departments of Political Affairs and of Peacekeeping Operations to improve coherence, synergies and, ultimately, responsiveness to the challenges on the ground. One major achievement is the reinforcement of the Peacebuilding Support Office, which from now on will better serve its bridging role between the peace and security, development and human rights pillars of the United Nations.
The changes above will have a significant impact on the UN’s work in the field, and its efficiency in the years to come. The EU remains committed to this process, and looks forward to advancing the implementation of the reform measures. At this stage, more remains to be done – a next crucial step will arrive this fall, when the reform of human resources management at the UN will have to be decided. The EU continues to trust the Secretary-General's vision, and stands ready to work with all partners to achieve a successful outcome.
On UN Peacekeeping Budgets
The General Assembly also adopted today by consensus the UN peacekeeping budgets for July 2018 – June 2019. UN Member States (UNMS) agreed on a total amount of $6.69 billion, which also includes financing for the upcoming elections in the DRC. This is a successful outcome, reached after long and intense deliberations, during which the aim was to allocate adequate resources while maintaining a good balance between efficiency and quality of the peacekeeping missions. EU priority missions have been adequately financed. In the current context, and with an imperative to increase the UN's efficiency, the EU’s objective was to apply financial discipline while ensuring that missions are fully able to address the difficult realities on the ground. One of our main priorities was to provide missions with the necessary resources to fulfil their human rights mandates, and we are satisfied that these objectives have been met. It was a challenging process where various interests were at stake; the EU played a crucial role in reaching a balanced outcome that reflects the main concerns of all parties involved. This included facilitating dialogue in a spirit of compromise and multilateralism, and bridging the gaps between the various positions of our partners.