Statement by H.E. Mr. Shigeki Sumi
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the 65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
On Agenda Item 118: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
6 December 2010
At the outset, allow me to express my deep gratitude to H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, for convening today’s meeting to discuss one of the most crucial tasks now under way in the General Assembly, the revitalization of its work. I also wish to thank the Co-Chairs of the previous Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, H.E. Ms. Sanja Stiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia, and H.E. Mr. Jorge Arguello, Permanent Representative of Argentina, for their excellent work contained in the report A/64/903, including the resolution A/RES/64/301. I extend a warm welcome as well to the Co-Facilitators in this process, 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, with whom I intend to cooperate closely in order to advance the work on the most pressing issues.
The General Assembly, with the participation of all Member States, is the most representative organ of the United Nations. Except under those circumstances described in Article 12, paragraph 1, of the UN Charter, the General Assembly is empowered to address all issues and questions which fall under the responsibilities assigned it by the Charter. Japan has been devoting serious efforts to advancing the process of revitalization of the General Assembly and continues to contribute to the activities conducted to that end.
It is our firm hope that the relationship 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 the mutual coordination among the major organs will further be enhanced and strengthened as the revitalization process goes forward.
Japan highly appreciates the submission of annual reports by the Security Council to the General Assembly and the regular consultations between the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly. Japan welcomes the annual report of the Security Council prepared by Nigeria. We commend the effort made by Nigeria to interact with non-Council members in the preparation of the annual report for this year. As formulated in the resolution in A/RES/64/301, such interaction has taken place more often in recent years. In addition, this year’s annual report was prepared in line with the presidential note on the Council’s working methods (S/2010/507).
In the selection of the Secretary-General, the UN Charter clearly provides distinct roles and responsibilities for the Security Council and the General Assembly. In that connection, we should focus our discussions on the role of the GA in ensuring transparency of the process, taking into account past GA resolutions and existing practices.
Japan would like to recall in that regard the language in GA resolution A/RES/51/241 which asserts, “Without prejudice to the prerogatives of the Security Council, the President of the General Assembly may consult with Member States to identify potential candidates endorsed by a Member State and, upon informing all Member States of the results, may forward those results to the Security Council”. In addition, GA resolution A/RES/60/286 states that “the General Assembly also encourages formal presentation of candidatures for the position of Secretary-General in a manner that allows sufficient time for interaction with Member States, and requests candidates to present their views to all States members of the General Assembly”. In following up the resolution A/RES/64/301, it will be useful to conduct a stocktaking regarding past experiences of implementation of these GA resolutions in order to facilitate our discussion.
We are well aware of the necessity of strengthening the institutional memory of the PGA Office and have welcomed the efforts deployed by the current and past Presidents of the General Assembly to reinforce the role and functions of the President and the office. Recognizing the importance of the issue, Japan is prepared to join in further discussion as to how to realize this objective in an efficient and cost-effective manner within the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.
In the 64th session of the General Assembly, we also discussed strategies for the GA to raise public awareness concerning its activities. Possible ideas were presented, such as strengthening of the relationship with the Department of Public Information or the United Nations Correspondents Association. It is Japan’s position, however, that the most critical means to enhance the visibility of the General Assembly is for the body to work effectively towards addressing the world’s challenges. By the same token, we need to provide the press with accurate information of their interests. As we are all aware, the President of the Security Council conducts press stakeouts after almost every consultation. To raise the profile of the work of the General Assembly, therefore, the President of the Assembly, chairs of the main committees and other interested parties such as the facilitators of particular events or resolutions should perhaps be encouraged to hold more frequent press stakeouts and press conferences.
Looking forward to constructive and fruitful discussions in the meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Group to be convened by the Co-Facilitators, my delegation reiterates its commitment to contribute to revitalizing the work of the General Assembly.