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

EU Statement – United Nations Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalisation: Office of the President of the General Assembly

New York, 09/06/2020 - 19:53, UNIQUE ID: 200609_21
Statements on behalf of the EU

9 June 2020, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the 3rd thematic debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalization: Strengthening the accountability, transparency, and institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly

Dear Mr President, distinguished Co-Chairs,

I have the honour 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 the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

Thank for you convening this 3rd thematic debate on the office of the President of the General Assembly despite the difficult circumstances. The EU was amongst those delegations which supported the idea to convene the outstanding dialogues and ensure everyone’s voice is heard on the four building blocks of the GA Revitalisation process.

Mr President, Co-Chairs,

The EU and its Member States firmly believe that efforts to further strengthen the accountability, transparency and institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly are key if we want to advance on the GA Revitalisation file in its entirety and hence of benefit to the entire UN community.

As the workload of the General Assembly continues to increase, we remain committed to identifying and implementing improvements wherever possible, with the constant aim to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness as well as the functionality of the OPGA.

The achievements made in past years must be consolidated and further built-on, including those achieved last year with streamlined Resolution 73/341, which, introduced the informal interactive dialogue of the UN membership with the candidate for the position of President of the General Assembly,.  The strong engagement shown in the interactive dialogue with the candidate for UN75 back in May, with time dedicated to questions on the candidate’s plans and priorities, are proof of the continued progress made towards revitalising further this body by increasing transparency and accountability.

Beyond institutionalizing the interactive dialogue with the candidate(s) for the post of the PGA, we would in general favour more occasions throughout the session for interactive dialogues between the PGA and the membership in order to take stock of progress made and look ahead at what still remains to be achieved collectively.  

We also commend other agreed measures aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Office of the PGA to cope with the evolving agenda and mandates, including the induction programme delivered to the Office and the secondment of  Member States’ national staff to it. All these initiatives also contribute to preserving the institutional memory of the OPGA, which the EU fully supports.

We would also like to reiterate the need to continue to pursue the integration of the gender perspective across the United Nations system, following the good example set by the Secretary General by aiming to bring gender parity to all levels of the organization by 2028. This ambition should also result in giving equal consideration to women when putting forward candidates for the position of the PGA as well as to striving for both gender and geographic balance within the President’s office.

In this regard, the EU was very happy with the language introduced last year, which sent a strong and important signal. Cultural and linguistic diversity should also be duly taken into account, to reflect some of the core values of the UN, such as multilingualism.  

To conclude, I would like to reiterate the EU’s continued commitment to making further progress across all four main building blocks of GA Revitalisation, including on the OPGA. I would like to close by reassuring the co-facilitators of our continued support and our readiness to contribute in a constructive manner. I thank you.

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