Statement by Mr. Takahiro Nakamae
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the
Revitalization of the General Assembly
27 March 2012
At the outset, let me extend my sincere gratitude to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly, for his strong leadership in this important process of revitalization of the General Assembly.
I would also like to congratulate H.E. Mr. Alexander Lomaia, Permanent Representative of Georgia, and H.E. Mrs. Susan Waffa-Ogoo, Permanent Representative of Gambia, on the assumption of their duties as Co-Chairs of this Working Group.
My appreciation goes as well to the previous Co-Chairs, H.E. Mr. Dalius Cekuolis, Permanent Representative of Lithuania, and H.E. Mr. Camillo Gonsalves, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for their dedicated work during the last session.
As the body in which all 193 United Nations Member States participate, the General Assembly is universally recognized as the most representative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly is mandated to address any issues and questions falling under its responsibility in accordance with the UN Charter, except as provided in Article 12.1.
The United Nations is expected to play a central role in global governance. The revitalization of the General Assembly is thus a matter of high importance. Through close consultation among Member States, we must make steady progress towards achieving feasible and realistic results on this matter.
At this first meeting of the Working Group for this session, let me present Japan’s general views on several key points.
First, it is essential to strengthen the relations between the General Assembly and the other principal organs of the United Nations.
With respect to the General Assembly’s relations with the Security Council, it is worth noting that, while the Security Council bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, it does not exclude the General Assembly from addressing issues of peace and security as stipulated in the Charter. When the Council fails to fully exercise its functions as we witnessed in the case of Syria, the General Assembly may come in to play a complementary role.
Such function of the General Assembly highlights the necessity of establishing a better relationship between the two organs. Making full use of the annual reports submitted by the Security Council to the General Assembly and the regular consultations conducted between the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly is one practical way of proceeding in this regard.
As for the Economic and Social Council, we consider that there is room for streamlining the work of the Second and Third Committees of the General Assembly and of that of ECOSOC as fora for drafting various resolutions. With a view to realizing an effective follow-up of the forthcoming Rio+20, efforts to rationalize the work of both organs would be desirable.
My second point concerns public awareness. With a view to enhancing its visibility, the General Assembly must, first and foremost, demonstrate to the people of the world that it is an organ that is capable of addressing current global issues in a timely manner and of producing result-oriented outcomes which are duly implemented and followed up.
In this regard, the holding of thematic debates on relevant current issues, such as that scheduled to be held on 12 April on disaster risk reduction, is most welcome. Having recently commemorated the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake which struck our country on 11 March last year, Japan will actively engage in the debate in order to contribute towards the building of a resilient society around the world, sharing the experiences and lessons learned from the disaster.
In tandem with efforts to make the work of the General Assembly more substantive, it is essential to provide the media with accurate information on matters of interest to the general public. The President of the Assembly, chairs of the main committees and other interested parties are encouraged to conduct more frequent press encounters, following the example of the Presidency of the Security Council.
Thirdly, Japan is keenly aware of the need to reinforce the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, by accumulating good practices observed in the efforts undertaken by current and past Presidents of the Assembly.
In this connection, the issuance of the PGA Handbook by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland in cooperation with H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th session of the General Assembly, is highly commendable. The compilation of a user-friendly and practical handbook for reference is a welcome effort. In the Security Council context, a comprehensive handbook on the Council’s working methods of the Security Council has been compiled under Japan’s initiative.
In light of the considerable importance of this issue, Japan looks forward to having constructive discussions aimed at further enhancing the role of the General Assembly in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Japan is committed to making an active contribution to that end.