Thank you, Co-Chairs,
Our ongoing discussion of the revitalization of the General Assembly would be incomplete without touching on the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA). The strengthening of its accountability, transparency, and institutional memory, are each of paramount importance to our overarching revitalization goals.
Japan attaches great importance to the role of the GA, and actively supports PGA Lajčák in both word and deed. Without our collective support of the PGA, the revitalization of the GA could not be realized. I wish, therefore, to share with you some of the more important points for us to consider going forward.
For so crucial an office as the OPGA, appropriate resources ought to be allocated in order to ensure its effectiveness. PGA Lajčák has himself observed “a lack of security and predictability” in the provision of funds for the OPGA. Of course, our delegation would like to highlight the need for maintaining budgetary discipline. However, at the same time, we recognize that the responsibilities and role of the PGA, and by extension the workload of the OPGA, are increasingly significant, and that there is a great need for the PGA to respond to the increased responsibilities.
Japan has consistently demonstrated its own recognition of this fact, holding in high esteem the venerable institution of the General Assembly. Last year, Japan provided a voluntary contribution to the Trust Fund in support of the OPGA. Heading into the 73rd Session, my delegation will continue making such contributions to the voluntary trust fund.
Secondly, we should also pay careful attention to the issue of the timing of the PGA election. We would like to emphasize again that the OPGA’s role and mandates have increased markedly over the course of only a few years.
Just as we enhanced the effectiveness of ECOSOC and the Security Council by moving their elections pursuant to resolution 68/307, so too can we consider moving the election of the PGA to an earlier date. In so doing, the President-elect of the GA will be afforded sufficient time to assemble their team and make all necessary preparations for the fulfillment of the OPGA’s responsibilities.
We would also like to welcome the PGA’s holding of informal interactive dialogues with candidates for the position of President of the 73rd session of the GA, pursuant to paragraph 73 of the last session’s revitalization resolution. We look forward to intensive and fruitful dialogues between candidates and Member States during the sessions on May 4.
Thirdly, our delegation highly welcomes the efforts of current PGA Lajčák to improve the accountability and transparency of the OPGA. It is noteworthy that the PGA has conducted regular meetings with the presidents of the Security Council and ECOSOC. Also, the “Morning Dialogue” series initiated by PGA Lajčák is an interesting and important initiative to ensure the continued exchange of views between Member States and PGA.
Our delegation also highly values the sharing of memos from these dialogues by the PGA. As one of his efforts, the website of the PGA has been greatly enhanced, covering more information about OPGA staff, business travels of the PGA, and the funding of the OPGA. Our delegation is of the view that these efforts should be continued in the future sessions.
In conclusion, it falls on us as members of the GA to ensure our own success. My delegation has been, and will continue to be, a supporter of this hallowed Assembly and its many contributions to sustainable development goals and sustainable peace around the world. Japan likewise looks forward to cooperating with Member States and all stakeholders to continue strengthening its highest office.
I thank you, co-Chairs.
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Fourth Thematic Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly
April 27, 2018