22 November 2005

Council of General Assembly Presidents Welcome 2005 World Summit's Agreement on UN Reform Package

Communiqué of Council of Presidents of UN General Assembly

NEW YORK, 21 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Council of Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations held its annual meeting at United Nations Headquarters on 15-17 November 2005.

At its current meeting, the Council welcomed the agreement reached at the United Nations World Summit in September 2005 on a balanced package of United Nations reforms.

The Council especially welcomed the reaffirmation of the vital importance of an effective multilateral system.  The Council was also pleased to note the clear acknowledgement that peace and security, development and human rights are closely interconnected and jointly represent the main pillars of the United Nations system.  It should be obvious that security will be endangered by the absence of development and the resulting tensions and problems.  Equally, development will be greatly impeded unless security is guaranteed.  Struggles against terrorism in all its forms to safeguard security, and endeavours to promote development, to eradicate poverty and diseases and bring prosperity to poorer regions of the world are interlinked and mutually-reinforcing.

In this context, the Council welcomed the reaffirmation of the Millennium Declaration and especially the stated desire to accelerate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, which are at the centre of efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, and the Council is aware that there has been very uneven progress in some regions towards their realization.

The Council also welcomed the reiteration of the obligation of Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force in international relations in any manner inconsistent with the United Nations Charter.  Use of force has to be perceived as a last resort, and it has to be in harmony with international law.

The Council welcomed the decision to establish a Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council but noted with concern some of the difficulties in reaching a negotiated agreement on the mandate, composition and procedures of the Human Rights Council and in ensuring that the Peacebuilding Commission begins its important work as soon as possible.

The Council welcomed the explicit condemnation of terrorism and acknowledged the need for a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, including an agreement on the definition of terrorism.  The Council highlighted the need to deal with conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and reiterated that any measures undertaken to combat terrorism have to comply with international law and the respect for basic human rights.  Equally important is to strengthen the United Nations capacity for prevention of armed conflict and for the promotion of a culture of prevention.

The Council acknowledged that the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, and a non-discriminatory, open multilateral trading system beneficial to all countries and consistent support for productive employment and decent work for all will significantly contribute to the reduction of tensions and conflicts in the world and should facilitate the work for global peace and prosperity.

The Council appreciated the Summit's acknowledgement of the diversity of the world, the need for mutual respect and understanding and stressed the importance of tolerance, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.  The Council expressed its hope that the representatives of Member States will set a good example by agreeing to consistently implement the provisions of the Summit Outcome Document, which should not be allowed to remain only on paper.

At the conclusion of its meeting, the Council expressed regret at the failure of this Summit to reach a consensus on the much delayed reform of the Security Council and expressed the hope that concrete progress on this critical aspect of the reform process will be realized in the near future.

The Council expressed great appreciation for the notable efforts of the Secretary-General to the work of the Organization and to the promotion of peace, development and security throughout the world.

The Council wishes to express its full support for the efforts of President Jan Eliasson to implement the decisions of the outcome document.

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