Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Ad-hoc Working Group: Revitalisation of the General Assembly

New York, 06/05/2020 - 00:17, UNIQUE ID: 200507_19
Statements on behalf of the EU

5 May 2020, New York - Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Informal meeting of the Ad-Hoc-Working Group on the Revitalisation of the General Assembly

Distinguished Co-Facilitators, Excellences, colleagues,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North 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, and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

Let me start by thanking the co-facilitators for convening this virtual meeting and consulting the whole membership on the way forward, as well as for your opening remarks. Thanks also to the 5C Chair for delivering his assessment on ‘best practice’ from his committee, which we believe serves as very useful guidance for our work here.

The EU continues to attach great importance to the GA Revitalisation file and the objective of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the GA by streamlining the work and the agendas of this body and of its 6 committees, in particular the 2nd Committee.

We consider it particular important in the year of the UN’s 75th anniversary, in which we aim to adopt a substantial and forward-looking Declaration which underlines the urgent need for strengthening multilateralism and for keeping this organization fit for purpose and well-positioned to deliver to the benefit of our citizens. Both objectives have gained even further relevance in times of the Covid19 pandemic in terms of sharpening our focus on main priorities and tools needed to deliver.

With Agenda 2030, we already have our toolbox – aligning the work of the GA and its committees with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs is an essential element of the overall Revitalisation agenda and hence deserves our full collective support. Especially right now.  

It is up to us to using the current crisis, which has already brought so much suffering and upended our daily life as well as our work here, to focus our minds on the key policy priorities – delivering to the people of the UN - and adapt our working methods. 

Listening to the Chair of the 5th Committee – a Committee usually not the most receptive to change –, we see that positive and long-overdue change is possible. The 5th Committee has adapted its working methods and practices in a fast manner - based on a  realistic and pragmatic approach and a spirit guided by cooperation and compromise. Chapeau to the Chair and all 5C delegates! We would encourage delegations to see 5C as a role model. 2020 – the year of the UN’s 75th Anniversary – should be one of action and tangible progress.

This said, we all share the view that virtual meetings cannot properly substitute interacting and negotiating with each other face to face. Given the latest guidance received, physical meetings will not be possible before July. Against this background, full-fledged negotiations on a resolution seem unlikely.

However, we believe it is worth exploring a ‘third way’ between a simple roll-over and full-fledged negotiations which corresponds to our commitment and ambition to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of this body, and can find consensus amongst the whole membership .

The EU would be ready to support a streamlined resolution – and last year has shown that this is possible – which focuses on our key challenges, while leaving in-depth negotiations to the next session. For a start, we would advocate for resuming the process by convening the 2 outstanding informal thematic dialogues to have a basis for a potential text.

The EU will continue to play its constructive role and stands ready to support the co-facilitators in finding a way forward.

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