Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Second Thematic Debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly

(As delivered)
Thank you, distinguished Co-Chairs,
 
Let me touch upon three salient points with a view to moving the discussion concerning working methods of the GA forward.
           
 
1. (Streamlining the Agenda)
 
First, on sensible streamlining of the agenda of the General Assembly, it is evident that the desire for continued rationalization and streamlining of the agenda is shared by the wider membership, and the need to seriously consider this issue has been consistently recognized, including in the Ad Hoc Working Group’s most recent report, 72/896.
 
My delegation therefore welcomes the efforts of PGA Espinosa, undertaken in concert with the leadership of other major bodies of the Organization, to streamline and synergize the GA’s agenda.
 
We must seize this opportunity to present and pursue outcome-oriented solutions for achieving the biennialization, triennialization, clustering and elimination of items on the GA agenda. We may, for example, take note of the focusing effect of the 2030 Agenda on the alignment process. With clearly established targets in place, the General Assembly’s agenda can be reconciled with the Sustainable Development Goals. Similarly, we may also consider the idea of having achievable targets for biennializing or triennializing a certain number of GA agenda items, to be pursued within the span of each session.
 
This is but one viable option. Consultations could be held with the aim to reach a consensus on such modalities to address the unsustainable expansion of the GA agenda, perhaps as a facet of the alignment process co-facilitated by the PRs of Czech Republic and Timor-Leste. My delegation encourages further discussion among Member States on this and similar outcome-oriented plans of action. 
 
 
2.  (GA Start Date)
 
Second, the opening date of the General Assembly.
 
While this conversation has been ongoing within the Organization since its founding, the increasingly robust work of the General Assembly has given this topic new traction and urgency. My delegation shared its idea to bring the high-level week to the very end of each regular session of the Assembly to allow the serving PGA to exercise full leadership in preparing for the high-level week over which they themselves preside.
 
We additionally take note of the submission of the report of the Secretary-General on this issue, A/73/723, in which the Secretariat highlighted three alternative options for the opening of the GA’s regular session. Among these options, Option “A,” namely opening the GA on the Tuesday of the third week in January, seems close to the idea of our delegation. That said, more details including, in particular, financial implications, are still needed before informed decisions can be made by Member States.
 
 
3.  (Speakers List)
 
And finally, the speakers list of the General Debate.
 
We have undertaken our work in the 73rd session under the guiding theme of “Making the United Nations Relevant to All.” It is worth noting, therefore, that the Assembly’s current working methods, especially as they relate to the creation of the speakers list for the annual General Debate, fail to account for the political realities of many of its own Member States. The need to address this disparity could not be clearer. We strongly encourage steps toward ensuring that this list accounts for the political context of all Member States, including Japan, for which the symbolic head of state performs a ceremonial role and the head of government occupies its highest political office.
 
 
Co-Chairs,
 
Let me conclude by adding Japan’s voice to the call for action to bring tangible outcomes within reach of our working group. For our part, Japan remains ready and willing to work with you, with Member States and with all relevant stakeholders to this end.
 
I thank you, Co-Chairs.