28 December 2005

Timely, Effective Implementation of World Summit Outcome Will Be Most Valuable Contribution to Revitalizing General Assembly, Says Assembly President

NEW YORK, 23 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement by General Assembly President Jan Eliasson (Sweden) at today's morning meeting of the Assembly:

The time has come for me to make a few concluding remarks, before we close this part of the work of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly.  As I said, I hope today is the last day of our work.  But since I am not certain of the time of the day when we shall be able to meet again in the plenary to decide the budget, I want to take advantage of the presence in this hall this morning to say a few words.  I trust you have all received my letter of yesterday reviewing our progress to date on the 2005 World Summit follow-up -- I will not repeat the details of that letter.  It has also been circulated in the hall to you today.

As you know, the Fifth Committee has not yet finalized the work on the 2006/2007 budget.  I am encouraged by the diligent and constructive efforts that are being made to find solutions, and I am hopeful that during the course of the day we can reach a conclusion on this urgent and absolutely vital issue for the United Nations.  We need clearly defined financial conditions guiding our work in the next two years.

I am the first to acknowledge that this has been an unusually intense period of work for the General Assembly.  Let us recall that 100 days ago exactly to this day, our leaders gathered here for the World Summit and adopted an ambitious reform agenda for the United Nations.  This set the pace and direction of much of our work over the last few months.  Since the Summit, we have engaged wholeheartedly in the implementation of the reforms, alongside our regular programme of work.  I am deeply grateful to all of you for the energy you have invested in our work, and for your willingness to seriously work through the open, transparent and inclusive mechanisms we have put in place for our consultations and negotiations.

We can already register some important achievements.  We have reached agreement on the Peacebuilding Commission.  We have expanded and transformed the existing central humanitarian funding mechanism into the new Central Emergency Response Fund.  We have adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel.  And later today we will, I hope, be able take action on the draft resolution on HIV/AIDS paving the way for an important high-level meeting next year.

These are achievements of which we should all be very proud.  If they are quickly and effectively implemented -- the word implement is important in our organization -- and effectively supported, they stand to make an important, practical difference to people around the world who rely on the United Nations to be given hope for a brighter future.  These achievements are also an early indication to the world that this body, the General Assembly of the United Nations, can and will take difficult but important decisions on the challenges that confront us.

Our achievements so far must also give impetus to our ongoing work on other important reform issues -- the Human Rights Council, development follow-up and Economic and Social Council reform, Secretariat and management reform, Security Council reform and the work on counter-terrorism.  They should also give us strength as we begin in January to consider further aspects of Summit follow-up, such as system-wide coherence, the environment work and General Assembly revitalization.

I believe, as I have stated earlier, that the most valuable and tangible contribution to revitalizing the General Assembly we can make, will be timely and effective implementation of the World Summit Outcome.  And after this fall's work, and after this fall's experiences, I am more convinced than ever about the importance of strengthening the role and strengthening the relevance of the General Assembly.  We represent all the nations and peoples of the world.  Together we must reaffirm the central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.

Today, I would first like to express my thanks to all the members of the Secretariat, not least Under-Secretary-General Jian Chen, and all the dedicated and hard working staff in the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management.  They have provided us with invaluable support during this first part of the sixtieth session.  And don't forget all the people behind the scenes -- the interpreters, the printers and everyone who has made our work flow so well.

Secondly, I would like to thank our Co-Chairs, Committee Chairs and all the others among you who have played leading roles in our work to date.  Some of you have just brought your work to a conclusion; others are just beginning.  But you are united by your skilled approach and your strong commitment to your work, and your determination to see the United Nations deliver what our leaders asked us to do.

I would also like to thank all our permanent representatives, and all of your delegates and staff, for the noble spirit in which you have worked and for the support you have given me and my office during these first 100 days.  It is deeply appreciated.  A particular thanks goes to the excellent group of Vice Presidents who so skilfully and faithfully have helped me lead the General Assembly.

When I was writing these remarks together with my colleagues, we tried to look for other things that had happened in 100 days.  In fact, we found that in the nineteenth century there was a Chinese Emperor who launched '100 days of reform', during which time he initiated many bold and ambitious reform processes.  The only trouble -- which made me hesitate to bring out this example -- was that after 100 days, his aunt, the Empress Dowager, decided she'd had quite enough, and put him in prison for the rest of his life.

In closing, I would like to wish all of you and your families a joyful and peaceful holiday season, and a prosperous New Year.  I trust that we will all have an opportunity to rest and to recharge our batteries over the coming days, including our members of the Fifth Committee.  I look forward to welcoming you back in January to continue our work with renewed energy, determination and belief in this Organization.

* *** *