European Union External Action

EU Statement - United Nations Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization: Working methods of the General Assembly

New York, 27/03/2019 - 20:34, UNIQUE ID: 190327_22
Statements on behalf of the EU

27 March 2019, New York - Statement by Gerton van den Akker, Chief of Staff, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly 2nd Thematic Debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly: Working methods of the General Assembly

—As delivered — 



I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, 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.

All protocol observed. 

For us, revitalization means a General Assembly more streamlined, more accountable, and more effective at dealing with the issues currently on its agenda. In this regard, we are of the view that enhancing the efficiency of the working methods of the General Assembly is key to the revitalization of its role and authority. Today's thematic meeting is thus of particular relevance as it focuses on realistic and practical improvements of the work of the General Assembly, and by extension, a critical component of the overall reform and improvement of the United Nations as a whole.

Therefore, we believe that GA Revitalisation can and should not be seen in isolation from other ongoing and related processes, such as the intergovernmental consultation process related to the alignment of agendas of the GA, ECOSOC & their subsidiary bodies and the HLPF and other fora in light of 2030 Agenda, as well as ongoing efforts to bring the work of other Committees more in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. We should therefore ensure to synchronise these processes as much as possible and mutually-reinforcing. We should – indeed - practice what we preach and avoid overlap and duplication. 

On the issue of working methods, we wish to recall the need to take steps towards the rationalization of the agenda of the GA and of the ECOSOC with a view to eliminating duplication and overlap and promoting complementarity in the consideration and negotiation of similar and related issues. There is a strong need to address synergies, coherence, and complementarity of the GA, ECOSOC and Committee agendas. We therefore actively support the work of Ambassadors Chatardová of the Czech Republic and Lopes de Jesus Pires of Timor-Leste on the Alignment process. 

Allow me to stress here as well that the EU and its Member States would be in favour of introducing a placeholder paragraph in the draft resolution on GA revitalization and wait for the outcome of the Alignment process to be included. The success of the 2030 Agenda in fact requires the UN to operate horizontally, connecting issues across the breadth of its work and should – in addition - be looked through the lens of the entire UN System. In order to achieve the 2030 Agenda there is a need to move forward with this change of mindset – especially in a year where we take stock and reaffirm our commitment to the 2030 Agenda at the highest level. 

Furthermore, we support the co-chairs in their efforts to streamline the draft GA Revitalisation resolution and not to reopen previously-agreed language. We would also like to strongly encourage them to propose guidelines to minimise the number of side events during the General Debate with the aim reducing the current overload. 

The EU and its Member States look forward to continued active participation of the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, including in his capacity as Chair of the General Committee, and the Main Committees to enhance coordination of high-level meetings to optimize their number, relevance and scheduling while bearing in mind the need to preserve the integrity of the General Debate. We believe that concentrating high-level events in a specific period of time, will increase political magnitude of the meetings and encourage more intense high-level participation from Capitals. The General Committee could play a useful role in this process.

Focusing on the practical side of the everyday functioning of the Member States and Main Committees, we want to stress the importance of making use of electronic services as much as possible in order to save resources, energy and paper. 


In order to ensure revitalization we must take concrete actions. The implementation of the resolutions of the General Assembly create public visibility and generate awareness in regard to the ability of the General Assembly to fulfil its mandate and deliver on the issues of common concern to the international community. This is especially important in view of the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Finally, let me say that we have made major progress within the process of Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, in which the Ad Hoc Working Group has played an important role. The EU and its Member States will continue to engage in the most constructive way possible in the following proceedings of the Ad Hoc Working Group, and look very much ahead to the next two thematic debates organized in this group's capacity. 

I thank you.

North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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