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*, 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.
I thank you for convening today’s first Joint Debate during the 75th Session on the item "Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly". We were very encouraged by your earlier statements, Mister President, that this important file would be amongst your key priorities during your mandate. You can count on the EU’s continued strong support.
I would like to use the opportunity to congratulate, Permanent Representative of Ghana, Ambassador Pobee, and the Permanent Representative of Slovakia, Ambassador Mlynár, for their excellent work and dedication in steering the process as co-chairs of the Ad-hoc working group during the previous session. A session heavily impacted by the Covid pandemic, and which therefore did not allow us to make the progress we had hoped for.
I would also like to congratulate Ambassador González López, Permanent Representative of El Salvador, to her appointment and Ambassador Mlynár, to his re-appointment as co-Chairs. Our group stands ready to work closely with both of you towards making this 75th session about achieving tangible and concrete results in revitalising this body and aligning its work with the one of ECOSOC.
In this regard, we also commend your early appointment, Mister President, of the co-facilitators for the alignment process. Warm congratulations to the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Ambassador Fatima, and the Permanent Representative of Slovenia, Ambassador Bavdaž Kuret.
We consider these two distinct processes as closely intertwined and therefore strongly encourage close consultation and coordination throughout the session, which would contribute to achieving the desired synergies for both the GA and ECOSOC by better aligning the work of both bodies with the 2030 Agenda.
Some progress on alignment has been achieved in previous years, but regrettably, the process has stalled during the previous session. The EU stands ready to remain engaged and to explore ways on how to achieve better synchronization of the revitalization and the alignment process as to achieve some progress during this session.
In this regard, we strongly welcome your commitment, Mister President, to meet before the end of the year with the co-facilitators, the President of ECOSOC, the Chairs of the Main Committees and the General Committee, to discuss a work plan, as well as your encouragement to explore an early start of the Alignment Process.
Mister President, this 75th session is indeed a critical one. It is critical for 3 main reasons:
Firstly, the world is watching how serious we are about shaping the UN in way as to allow it to make tangible progress on priorities that have a direct positive impact on our citizens. We believe that collectively we should and can do a better job in streamlining our work.
GA Revitalization is clearly inter-linked with the overall reform of the UN and the GA as the only intergovernmental body with universal membership and given its broad mandate has a central role to play in responding to global challenges. Our group continues to support efforts aimed at strengthening the role and authority of the GA.
Secondly, we cannot ignore the severe impact Covid19 has had and continues to have on the work of the GA and its committees, forcing many processes to be either scrapped, limited to technical roll-overs or be moved to the virtual space. When interpretation services are lacking and physical voting is excluded the ability of delegations to make their voices sufficiently heard is severely limited. Covid19 clearly took us by surprise and we must ensure we are better prepared for a crisis like this in the future.
This means that we must adopt measures aimed at not only preserving the business continuity of this body, which includes the full respect to multilingualism, but also ensuring the inclusiveness of our process through the strong engagement of civil society and other stakeholders.
Against this background, we look forward to the briefing by the Secretary General to the Ad Hoc Working Group during the 75th session on his “an analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of the GA” as agreed in Resolution 74//303 (OP4).
Thirdly, it will be during this session that the process for the selection and appointment of the next Secretary General will be launched. The EU remains fully committed to ensuring a transparent and inclusive process, in line with the provisions agreed in Resolution 73/341, building upon the landmark resolutions 69/321 and 70/305.
Mister President, let me conclude by emphasizing the unique opportunity the 75th session provides to make progress amidst the challenges we are facing. COVID 19 proves that we need to improve and modernise the way in which we work.
Before closing, I would also like to express the support of the EU and its Member States to the draft decision contained in document A/75/L.7/Rev.1.
Thank you for your attention.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.