18 April 2005
General Assembly Approves Arrangements for September High-Level Summit
NEW YORK, 15 April (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly today adopted a resolution, as orally revised, on preparations for and organization of its high-level plenary meeting, scheduled for 14 to 16 September, at the beginning of its sixtieth session.
Last May, the Assembly decided to hold in New York in 2005 a ministerial-level meeting to review implementation of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, as well as the integrated follow-up to other major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. In December, the Assembly had approved a multi-stage work plan in preparation for that event.
Presenting his report In Larger Freedom to the Assembly on 21 March, Secretary-General Kofi Annan had stated that the main message of the five-year progress report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration was that the aims of the Declaration could be achieved, but only if Member States were willing to adopt a package of specific, concrete decisions this year. He hoped world leaders, when they arrived at the United Nations for a summit meeting in September, would be ready to take the decisions that were needed.
Introducing todays text, Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) stressed the need to finalize the preparations for the high-level plenary as soon as possible so that Member States could focus on issues of substance in the months to come. With the adoption of the resolution, the Assembly had a good basis for work, having now agreed to conduct consultations on the basis of the Secretary-Generals report.
Owing to the importance of the high-level plenary, the Assembly, by further terms of the text, invited the Head of State of the country of the President of the fifty-ninth session and the Head of State or Government of the country of the President of the sixtieth session to jointly preside over the meeting.
The Assembly also decided that the separate meeting on financing for development, to be held within the framework of the high-level plenary, would be held on 14 September, immediately following the adjournment of the opening plenary meeting. The meeting would include statements by Mexico -- as host country of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, major institutional stakeholders, individual delegations, as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector.
Todays resolution, contained in document A/59/L.60, also includes decisions concerning the organization of the interactive round-table sessions for the high-level plenary, as well as informal interactive hearings with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector, to be held on 23 and 24 June.
The Assembly President will preside over the informal hearings, whose themes will be based on the Secretary-Generals report of 21 March, and then prepare a summary to be issued as an Assembly document prior to the high-level plenary meeting in September. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund to enhance the participation in the hearings of representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations from developing countries, and called on Member States and others to support the trust fund generously and speedily.
The four interactive round-table sessions, to be chaired by Heads of State or Government from the African, Asian, Eastern European, and Latin American and Caribbean regional groups, will cover the entire agenda of the high-level plenary. Summaries of those discussions will be presented orally by the chairpersons during the concluding meeting of the high-level plenary.
Following the adoption of the resolution, Pakistans representative emphasized the need for full clarity about the process, outcome and decision-making of the September event. On the objectives and priorities of the event, he recalled that resolution 58/291 of May 2004 had set out the objectives of convening the high-level event. It had been decided that the event would review progress made in the implementation of commitments contained in the Millennium Declaration, including the Millennium Development Goals, and in the implementation of the outcomes of major United Nations summits in the economic, social and related fields. His delegation and others would continue to be guided by that provision, which affirmed the priority accorded to development in the event.
Regarding the process, he noted that the Assembly had received three key inputs -- the Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the Millennium Project Report, and the Secretary-Generals Report of 21 March. Now the process was entirely an intergovernmental one. The outcome document should be based on inputs and proposals presented by Member States. He hoped those inputs would be the basis for broad agreement. The need to achieve the broadest possible agreement was clear, he added.
The representative of Cuba also hoped that there would BE genuine, inclusive and transparent consultations with all Member States on all issues relating to the high-level plenary. The text, he noted, included new elements which responded to the concerns of some delegations. Nonetheless, his delegation had sent a set of amendments to the text yesterday, with the intention of presenting those today and hoping they would lead to open and transparent discussions. In deciding against that, he had shown Cubas respect for the presidency and flexibility for the adoption of the resolution.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Luxembourgs representative welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which would enable Member States to concentrate fully on negotiations of substance, for which the Secretary-Generals report provided a good basis. He also welcomed the opening of the event to representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector, as was done during the Millennium Summit.
Irans representative added that he had joined the consensus on the resolution with the understanding that the text was of a procedural nature and in no way affected and addressed matters of substance. Therefore, the resolution did not refer -- explicitly or implicitly -- to the content and the substance of the Secretary-Generals report.
The next meeting of the Assembly will be announced in the Journal.
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