Press Releases

         27 September 2005

    General Assembly President, at Close of General Debate, Stresses Need for Urgency, Common Purpose in Starting Follow-Up to Summit Outcome, United Nations Reform

    He Outlines Plan to Consult with Member States on Consolidating Work Programme

    NEW YORK, 26 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement by General Assembly President Jan Eliasson (Sweden) at the closing of the general debate of the sixtieth session in New York on Friday, 23 September:

    The general debate of the General Assembly has now concluded.  On behalf of the Assembly, I thank all the distinguished speakers for their contributions.

    The theme of the debate was follow-up and implementation of the 2005 World Summit outcome.  Over the last seven days, we have heard many thoughtful and constructive interventions on this matter.

    As at the World Summit, speaker after speaker stressed the need to make faster and more substantial progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  Time after time, you have emphasized that the battle against poverty is one which we must all fight -- and win -- together.  The strong message is:  the political momentum for development, which has grown this year, must be maintained and strengthened.

    In recognition of this, we should explore ways in which we can speed up progress on development, in a way which complements the work of other parts of the UN and other international economic and social bodies.

    There have been other widely shared concerns expressed in this debate.  Many of you have emphasized the necessity to make rapid progress in establishing the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, and in taking forward management reform.  Terrorism, and the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, have also been widely highlighted.  Many of you have expressed disappointment that a text on disarmament and non-proliferation was not included in the Summit Outcome Document.

    However, we should note and welcome the widespread recognition that development, security and respect for human rights are interconnected, and that the peoples of the world need and want a reformed and rejuvenated United Nations.

    There has, understandably, not been consensus on how every item on our agenda should be taken forward.  But there has also been a widely held view that this General Assembly now needs to move quickly on follow-up and implementation, so that the political energy generated through the Outcome Document negotiations, the Summit and the general debate is not lost.

    Over the next few days, I will reflect carefully on the points made during this debate.  I will also make myself available next week to meet Member States, either individually or in groups, to hear more of your views on priorities and ways of working.  I would encourage any Member State which has further thoughts on follow-up and implementation to contact me or my Office as early as possible next week.

    Taking into account the views expressed, I intend to write to all Member States before the end of next week outlining the proposed way forward.  Shortly thereafter, I plan to convene an open meeting to involve all Member States in the final consolidation of the proposed programme of work.

    Once this process of consultation is completed, work on follow-up will have to begin without delay.  As I said when I opened this debate on 17 September, the world will be watching us closely.  The extent to which we -- all of us in this Assembly -- can muster a spirit of urgency and common purpose in the coming days and weeks will ultimately determine whether the World Summit goes down in history as a missed opportunity for the UN, or -- as I hope -- as the start of the most substantial reform programme in the history of the Organization.

    We will need to work efficiently, with civility, discipline and a readiness to compromise for the greater good.  I want to assure you that I intend to conduct this work with transparency, fairness and respect for the General Assembly's central and crucial role in these negotiations.  It is here -- and only here -- that negotiations will take place and decisions will be made.

    I look forward to working with you all in this spirit as we shoulder our historic responsibility together.

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