24 June 2003



Will Enhance UN’s Role, Political Importance, Says Assembly President

NEW YORK, 23 June (UN Headquarters) -- Recognizing the need to strengthen political impetus in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, the General Assembly this morning adopted a resolution which, in the words of its President, would make the Organization “more relevant, more visible and enhance its role and political importance” by focusing on actual implementation of conference outcomes.

Introducing the text, Assembly President Jan Kavan (Czech Republic) said that the challenge entrusted to him and the ad hoc working group on the issue was considerable -- to make concrete recommendations to ensure that the United Nations supported, in the most efficient way, the implementation of the ambitious and detailed set of development goals agreed upon at major United Nations conferences and summits.

He was particularly pleased that there was a general agreement to look at the work programme of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), which would weave a certain logic and topicality in its work, he stated.  He also welcomed the idea of holding a “politically attractive” major event in 2005 to review progress achieved in implementing commitments made during the conferences and summits.  Another important achievement, he noted, was the agreement that the Assembly should decide on the periodic review of the implementation of conference outcomes on a “case-by-case” basis.

The resolution, he continued, had also given new impetus to the coordination work of the Economic and Social Council.  By better planning of its work on common conference themes, the Council would be able to engage the functional commissions and the various parts of the United Nations system more intensely in its preparations.

President Kavan said he saw the resolution as an important landmark that would contribute to the strengthening of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and to the implementation of the programme of reform launched by the Secretary-General.  Beyond that, he remarked, Member States had demonstrated that the spirit of cooperation and compromise, and the principles of multilateralism, were very much present.  “We have shown once again that the United Nations can deliver agreements and concrete measures.”

He extend his appreciation to the two vice-chairs of the ad hoc working group, Nana Effah-Apenteng (Ghana) and Jean de Ruyt (Belgium), as well as all those who contributed to a successful completion of the text.

The compromise reached was not easy, noted Mohammed Bennouna (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.  Now, it was necessary to give effect to the various provisions of the text, some of which required immediate action, such as the 2005 review.  Strengthening the follow-up machinery was of crucial importance and also required immediate action.  He also highlighted the role of Member States, both developed and developing, who bore the primary responsibility for implementation of conference outcomes.

Also welcoming the adoption of the text was Adamantios Th. Vassilakis (Greece), speaking on behalf of the European Union, who thanked all those who had contributed to reaching a successful conclusion and urged that the momentum created be maintained.

The Assembly established the working group with resolution 57/270 of 20 December 2002, and called for it to commence its work no later than January 2003 and to submit its report to the Assembly before 27 June.

The full text of the resolution, which was adopted as orally revised, is contained in paragraph 23 of the report of the working group (document A/57/48).  The wide-ranging recommendations address such areas as:  the role of Member States; the role of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization; the role of civil society; the role of the Economic and Social Council; the work of the General Assembly and its Second and Third Committees (including in an annex indicative programme of work for the Second Committee); and the format and timeframe for implementation review of the outcomes of major conferences and summits.

* *** *