Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the 67th Session of the General Assembly
On Agenda Item 116: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
Thursday, 11 October 2012
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, let me congratulate H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic on his assumption of duties as President of the 67th session of the General Assembly and thank him for his leadership in advancing the revitalization agenda.
I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th session of the General Assembly as well as H.E. Mr. Alexander Lomaia, Permanent Representative of Georgia, and H.E. Mrs. Susan Waffa-Ogoo, Permanent Representative of Gambia, who served as Co-Chairs of the previous Ad Hoc Working Group. Their initiative and dedicated work culminated in the report A/66/891 that included a draft resolution, which was adopted by consensus on the final day of the previous session.
[Importance of the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly]
As the body in which all 193 United Nations Member States participate, the General Assembly is universally recognized as the most representative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly is mandated to address any issue and question falling under its responsibility in accordance with the UN Charter, except as provided in Article 12.1.
During the course of this year’s general debate, which was convened under the overarching theme of “bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”, we witnessed a number of thoughtful statements by dignitaries along with various side-events on the full spectrum of international issues. This demonstrated once again the importance of this body in multilateral diplomacy. The General Assembly can offer a useful forum as we endeavor to adapt to today’s complex society, by, in the words of the Japanese Prime Minister, ‘giving adequate consideration to future generations and solving disputes calmly by reason under rules’. The revitalization of the General Assembly is thus of high importance. Building upon mutual trust and confidence among Member States, we must make steady progress towards achieving feasible and realistic results on this matter.
At this first week of substantive debate on individual items on the Agenda of the current session, let me present Japan’s general views on several key issues.
[Relationship with other principal organs of the UN]
First, it is essential to strengthen the relations between the General Assembly and the other principal organs of the United Nations.
With respect to the Security Council in particular, while the Council bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly may play a complementary role, when the Council fails to fully exercise its functions as in the case of Syria. Such function of the General Assembly highlights the necessity of establishing a better relationship between the two organs. The holding of regular consultations conducted between the Presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly is one practical way of proceeding in this regard. We look forward to a debate on the annual report of the Security Council in November with a view to deepening the discussions on this matter.
[Responses to emerging challenges of common concern]
Second, with a view to enhancing its public awareness, the General Assembly must demonstrate to the people of the world that it is an organ that is capable of responding adequately to emerging challenges of common concern and of producing result-oriented outcomes.
In this regard, the holding of thematic debates on relevant current issues, such as one held last April on disaster risk reduction, is most welcome. This practice has proven to be a useful instrument for encouraging broader and more flexible exchanges of views outside the constraints of the formal agenda. The resolution on human security passed in September is another notable achievement of the General Assembly. I am confident that the General Assembly will continue to make notable contributions to putting human security in practice.
The useful outcomes produced by the General Assembly lose their meaning if they are not implemented and followed up. Repeated non-implementation of General Assembly resolutions would over time risk diminishing the authority of the Assembly. My delegation will actively participate in the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group in conducting a review of the inventory of General Assembly resolutions as agreed upon during the previous session.
[Rationalization of the work of the General Assembly]
Thirdly, it is important to rationalize the work of the General Assembly with a view to better enabling it to focus its activities on current challenges and events of common interest to the international community. It is appropriate, therefore, to continue to consider ways to streamline and prioritize the agenda of the General Assembly and its Main Committees. Various possibilities such as the further biennialization, triennialization, clustering or elimination of items should be given proper consideration, based on relevant resolutions.
We also need to consider how to improve working methods so as to carry out the Assembly’s work efficiently. For instance, you may recall that the Member States were not able to reach consensus on the composition of a working group on sustainable development goals before the opening of the current session as mandated in the outcome document of Rio+20. The issue of underrepresentation of Asia-Pacific group countries, in terms of equitable geographical representation, might also be posed in this regard.
In light of the considerable importance of this issue, Japan looks forward to having constructive discussions aimed at further enhancing the role of the General Assembly. I would like to reiterate Japan’s commitment to making an active contribution to that end.