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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Revitalization of the General Assembly


Remarks
Rosemary A. DiCarlo
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York City
December 1, 2011

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(As Delivered)

Thank you Mr. President. The United States would like to thank last year’s co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalizing the Work of the General Assembly, the Permanent Representatives of Lithuania and Saint Vincent and Grenadines, for their excellent work. Their efforts and leadership culminated in the resolution we adopted last session, which serves as a strong basis for our discussions and the continued work by the Ad Hoc Working Group on this topic.

We welcome the new co-chairs, Ambassador Sefue of Tanzania and Ambassador Lomaia of Georgia, and offer them our full support. We also look forward to working with fellow Member States as we consider the best options for revitalizing the General Assembly.

The United States is committed to multilateral engagement and a strong United Nations system. We recognize the important contributions of the General Assembly to fulfilling the mission of the United Nations, and we hope that our discussions and the efforts of the Working Group will be constructive in allowing us to consider how we can improve working methods to better enable the Assembly to carry out its work.

I would suggest that we focus our attention on streamlining and prioritizing the agenda of the General Assembly, which would allow us to better focus on priority issues. To accomplish this end, Member States should consider reviewing existing resolutions biennially or triennially, rather than annually, and should exercise greater discipline in their submission of draft resolutions. Furthermore, adopting resolutions on outdated or obscure topics not only calls our attention away from more pressing matters but also diminishes the credibility of this body.

As part of our efforts to ensure that the General Assembly remains relevant, we should also encourage the more timely publishing of General Assembly resolutions soon after their adoption. Informing others of our work will highlight the important issues we cover and would encourage more expeditious implementation of General Assembly resolutions by member states.

Just as providing information to the world outside of New York is important, the General Assembly would be better served by increased interaction between the heads of the principal organs of the United Nations and the chairs of the Main Committees and the President of the General Assembly. This could perhaps be accomplished by exchanging views and priorities at the start of each new General Assembly session. Greater cooperation and increased coordination among the organs of the United Nations are critical for enabling us to achieve our goal of streamlining agendas and reducing wasteful overlap.

The United States is in favor of the membership gaining a better understanding of the views of potential nominees for Secretary-General. It is our view, however, that the formal process for the appointment of the Secretary-General must follow the procedure set forth in the Charter and thus, should not be altered. The Security Council and the General Assembly are co-equal principal organs of the United Nations, as set forth in Article 7, and each of these organs has its own defined role in the selection of the Secretary-General. This is a process that has served this organization well and will continue to do so.

Mr. President, the United States believes that the areas of streamlining and prioritizing the agenda and increasing interactions among the various United Nations organs provide opportunities where concrete steps can be taken to revitalize the work of the Assembly, allowing it to be more focused, relevant, and better able to address global issues. We look forward to the continued constructive dialogue with the Working Group and our fellow Member States on revitalizing the General Assembly.

Thank you, Mr. President. 



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