Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Joint Debate of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly, on Agenda Item 120: Implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations and Agenda Item 121: Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly

(As delivered)

 
          At the outset, our delegation is deeply grieved and saddened at the news of the earthquake that struck the border region of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq. We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved and express our heartfelt sympathies to all of the affected people.
 
Mr. President,
 
          I would like to start by thanking the President of the General Assembly (PGA) for convening this meeting.  I would also like to express my appreciation for the President’s statement at the opening of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, in which he clearly defined the importance of the revitalization process and showed his intention to further promote that process in the context of the UN reform.
 
Mr. President,
 
          Concerning the revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, Japan welcomes the adoption of GA resolution 71/323. Our delegation would like to express its sincere gratitude to Ambassador Drobnjak of Croatia and Ambassador Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates for their hard work and skillful chairmanship in the Ad-Hoc Working Group. We welcome the re-appointment of Ambassador Drobnjak and the appointment of Ambassador Velez as Co-Chairs of the Working Group during the current session, and are looking forward to closely collaborating with them.
 
          With regard to the implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations, our delegation would like to emphasize that the implementation of General Assembly resolutions, including those related to the revitalization, is critical for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the General Assembly, and we reiterate that it is the responsibility of Member States to implement them. 
 
          We are pleased to see already some examples of that resolution’s implementation. Rule 92 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly was amended as a follow-up to paragraph 46 of the resolution. The first election under the new method of filling out ballot papers was conducted on October 16th, on the occasion of the election for the Human Rights Council. On the Election Day in the General Assembly Hall, a single page of information regarding the candidates was distributed to the desk of each delegation in accordance with the resolution. Each of these instances represented an important step in the implementation of GA resolution 71/323.
 
Mr. President,
 
          Our delegation believes that, in promoting the revitalization of the General Assembly and strengthening its constituent roles, the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA) plays a critical role. We should continue to encourage the office to maintain its transparency and effectiveness. Given the fact that the activities of the PGA in the UN have increased substantially in recent years, adequate resources should be allocated to the OPGA to provide the support it needs to successfully carry out those activities. 
 
          From this perspective, Japan will provide a voluntary contribution to the Trust Fund in support of the OPGA. The President of the 72nd session of General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Lajčák, clearly expressed his intention to include peace, prevention and avoidance of conflict, sustainable development goals, and climate change as his priorities. Japan shares these priorities, and is willing to assist the President in exercising his leadership to tackle these difficult issues across the world.
 
Mr. President,
 
          In the course of the 72nd session, it is important to continue discussions on GA revitalization. In particular, working methods will be another essential part of these discussions.
 
          Japan has been very active in improving working methods within the UN. For example, General Assembly Resolution 68/307 moved the election dates of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council from October to June. In order to take full advantage of this change, which is intended to give new members more time to prepare for their membership, Japan, as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG) in the Security Council, proposed that the Informal Working Group revisit the transitional arrangements for the newly elected members of the Council. After intensive consultations, the Security Council adopted in July 2016 a new presidential note S/2016/619.  With this new agreement, the newly elected members are now invited to observe Council meetings from 1 October. This note also includes improvements to transparency and inclusivity in the process of selecting of the Chairs of subsidiary organs and measures to facilitate early preparation by the Chairs.
 
          Following up on the open debate on working methods of the Security Council held during its presidency in July 2016, Japan also initiated discussions in the IWG to identify areas for further improvements in the working methods of the Security Council, including further interaction with the wider UN membership. The Security Council adopted on 30 August this year a new comprehensive presidential note on its working methods S/2017/507, which consolidates and streamlines all the existing presidential notes and agreeing also on some new measures.  Japan is willing to continue to make contribution to improving the working methods of the United Nations, including the Security Council. 
 
Mr. President,
 
          The issue of rationalization of the GA's work is also an urgent challenge. Biennialization or triennialization of the agendas which are currently being discussed should be considered, as we have advocated for the last few years. We look forward to working with you on this question again in the current session.
 
          As we moved the elections of the Security Council and ECOSOC to earlier dates by the resolution 68/307, we may also consider an earlier election of the PGA, so that the President-elect of the General Assembly is afforded sufficient time to set up his or her team and prepare for the handover. Our delegation already proposed this point in the meeting of the Ad-Hoc Working Group last year. We believe that this idea is in line with the suggestion made by several Chairs of the main Committees, stressing the need to have early elections for a smooth transition.
 
Mr. President,
 
          Let me conclude my statement by reaffirming that Japan stands ready to support the PGA, and to contribute in a constructive way to the discussions of the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, aimed at further enhancing the effectiveness and transparency of the United Nations.
 
I thank you, Mr. President.