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

​(As delivered)
 
Thank you, Co-Chairs,
 
          The most recent selection process of the Secretary-General in 2016 marked an occasion of great historical significance for our Assembly. Our achievements in the successful implementation of new initiatives laid out in General Assembly Resolution 69/321 are indeed commendable. We have imbued the work of future sessions with the momentum of positive progress.
 
          In the Assembly’s 71st Session, the adoption of GA Resolution 71/323 likewise demonstrated our shared and steadfast commitment to enhancing transparency and inclusivity in the selection process of the Secretary-General. Indeed, it was in the same spirit that Ambassador Bessho produced, in his personal capacity, a note on the Secretary-General selection process, particularly in the Security Council, which was later distributed as UN document A/71/774-S/2017/93.        
 
          I hope that Ambassador Bessho's note will continue to enrich our discussions on this critical issue.

          With the aim of contributing to our ongoing discussions on this subject, I would like to share several thoughts on the SG selection processes in the context of GA revitalization.

          First, it is clear that strengthening transparency has become a top priority in work undertaken throughout the United Nations System. The General Assembly is certainly no exception. It is therefore worth noting that the continued implementation of more transparent mechanisms, including informal dialogues and joint letters for candidature, played a vital role in the 2016 selection process. Such great strides were duly observed in Ambassador Bessho's note, which further declared that it is "without question appropriate and necessary to maintain these practices for the future". Indeed, these practices should be maintained.
 
          Second, with respect to the issue of the term of the Secretary-General, a single non-renewable term is often presented as evidence for discussions favoring a Secretary-General’s independence. The basis for that independence, however, rests not on the nature of the term itself, but in its underlying process. While the renewal of that term ought not to be taken for granted, neither should the term automatically preclude the possibility of reappointment.          
 
          Moreover, the notion of a single term limitation is frequently proposed together with the idea of a seven-year term length. My delegation is of the view that seven years is too long, and would insufficiently address the need for a sitting Secretary-General to accurately reflect global trends.   
 
          Finally, the role of the General Assembly decision-making process in the selection of the Secretary-General should be considered. In the 2016 process, the efforts made by PGA Thomson were instrumental in the swift adoption in the GA by consensus of the relevant appointment Resolution 71/4. This should be noted in Member State discussions on the matter.        
 
          It is crucial for a newly elected SG to be endowed with the support of all Member States. The “consensual aura” of unified support enhances a Secretary-General’s capacity to accomplish their goals.      
 
Co-Chairs,
 
          These are the ideas I wish to put forward today. Transparency remains one of the cornerstone principles and key challenges of our time. We have made great strides in putting this principle into practice, yet we cannot afford to be complacent. We should seize upon the positive momentum generated by our successes and diligent efforts in order to improve the selection process for the next and all future sessions. Japan stands ready to actively participate in ongoing discussions.
 
I thank you, co-Chairs.