Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
On Agenda Item 121: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
1 December 2011
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, allow me to express Japan’s gratitude to the Co-Chairs of the previous Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Dalius Cekuolis, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania, and H.E. Mr. Camillo Gonsalves, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for their dedicated work culminating in the report A/65/909, including the resolution A/RES/65/315. I wish to welcome at the same time the newly nominated Co-Chairs in this process, H.E. Mr. Ombeni Y. Sefue, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, and H.E. Mr. Alexander Lomaia, Permanent Representative of Georgia, to whom I pledge Japan’s close cooperation in the efforts to resolve the highest-priority issues.
One strongly anticipated outcome of revitalization of the work of the General Assembly is the strengthening of relations between the General Assembly and the other principal organs of the United Nations such as the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, as well as of the mutual coordination among the major organs.
In this regard, the submission of annual reports by the Security Council to the General Assembly and the conduct of regular consultations between the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly are invaluable. This report is one of the main instruments for cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council.
In close dialogue between H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th session of the General Assembly, and H.E. Mr. Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, Permanent Representative of Portugal and then-President of the Security Council, a plenary meeting of the General Assembly for the examination of the report was organized separately from the Security Council reform agenda for the first time in fifteen years, in order to focus the work solely on the activities of the Security Council. Japan welcomes such efforts to promote intensive interaction with the membership at large. Such interaction has occurred more consistently in recent years, in accordance with resolution A/RES/65/315, and we are pleased to note that Presidential Note 507, on the Council’s working methods, was also consulted for guidance in the preparation of this year’s annual report.
In the appointment of the Secretary-General, distinct roles and responsibilities are clearly provided for the Security Council and the General Assembly in the Charter. In that light, Japan highly appreciates the smooth process by which the Security Council and the General Assembly appointed H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon for the second term as Secretary-General. We believe that it is essential that the focus of our discussion be on the role of the GA in ensuring transparency of the process on the basis of past GA resolutions and existing practices, such as A/RES/51/241, which suggests the possibility for the President of the General Assembly to consult with Member States to identify potential candidates without prejudice to the prerogatives of the Security Council, as well as A/RES/60/286, which provides the option for the General Assembly to hold a formal presentation of candidatures for the position of Secretary-General in a manner that allows sufficient time for interaction with Member States. As we proceed with the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, a review of our experience in implementation of the relevant GA resolutions will contribute to a more meaningful discussion in this area.
The need to reinforce the institutional memory of the PGA Office is well recognized. In this context, we welcome the efforts undertaken by current and past Presidents of the General Assembly to reinforce the role and functions of the President and the Office, including, most recently, the PGA Handbook issued by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland in cooperation with H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th session of the General Assembly. In light of the importance of the issue, Japan is prepared to take active part in the discussion aimed at attaining this objective in an efficient and cost-effective manner within the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.
With respect to strategies for the General Assembly to raise public awareness regarding its activities, it is Japan’s view that the most crucial measure of the value of the General Assembly in the eyes of the public is its degree of effectiveness in addressing global challenges. In tandem with vigorous efforts to solve such issues, it is essential to provide press outlets with accurate information that is pertinent to the interests of the general public. The President of the Security Council currently holds a press stakeout after almost every consultation. To bring greater attention to the work of the General Assembly, the President of the Assembly, chairs of the main committees and other interested parties, such as the facilitators of particular events or resolutions, should make similar efforts to publicize General Assembly activities and achievements by having more frequent press encounters and press conferences.
We anticipate constructive and results-oriented discussions in the meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Group to be convened by the Co-Facilitators, and take this opportunity to reaffirm Japan’s commitment to contribute positively to the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.