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Statement by Mr. Hiroshi Onuma
First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
On agenda item 137: Pattern of Conferences
Main Part of the Sixty-Seventh Session
United Nations General Assembly
6 November 2013
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, I wish to thank Ms. Chamithri Jayanika Rambukwella, Chair of the Committee on Conferences, Mr. Tegegnework Gettu, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management and Mr. Jean Christian Obame, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), for introducing their respective reports on this agenda item. In the following statement, I wish to share my delegation’s views on these reports.
My delegation recognizes that maintaining an appropriate quality of conference services in the United Nations is essential for proper decision making by the Member States. Yet we believe that those services should be provided in the most efficient and effective manner. The Secretariat should not stop seeking efficiencies in delivering conference services through the introduction of new cost-saving measures. At the same time, Member States should refrain from adding unnecessary conference resource requirements when deciding the modalities of new meetings in General Assembly resolutions.
My delegation believes that the Committee on Conferences (CoC) for 2013 had meaningful discussions on various subjects in September, including Paper Smart, the utilization of conference-servicing resources and facilities, integrated global management (IGM) and matters related to translation and interpretation.
With regard to Paper Smart, Japan wishes to continue and deepen the discussion which had taken place during the CoC in September, taking into account both the fact that a large number of pilot Paper Smart meetings have already been held and the enhancement of efficiencies through the savings that have been proved therein. My delegation also wishes to stress the premise that the promotion of Paper Smart should ultimately contribute to a reduction of the total cost of conference services.
With regard to the utilization of conference-servicing resources, Japan welcomes all the various initiatives introduced by the Secretariat to increase utilization rates, however, in addition to these initiatives, Japan deems it important to consider taking more concrete and practical measures to reduce the costs of conference services, such as planning fewer meetings and shortening the durations of meetings.
With regard to integrated global management, Japan strongly supports the efforts of the Secretariat to realize further savings by applying the proximity rule and encourages its further efforts to apply this rule in a more rigorous and comprehensive manner.
With regard to matters related to translation and interpretation, Japan is concerned that the Secretariat has on some occasions changed agreed text of both draft and adopted resolutions beyond purely grammatical and editorial reasons, and would like to stress that the Secretariat has no power to make any changes of a substantive nature to the texts agreed by the Member States.
Japan is ready to engage in discussions on various subjects including the aforementioned issues, taking into account all additional information to be provided by the Secretariat.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that my delegation will participate constructively in the discussions during the informal consultations on all aspects of this agenda item and I hope we will reach a positive conclusion by consensus.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.