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Statement by Chinese Permanent Representative Wang Guangya at the 58th General Assembly Session on Reform of the United Nations

2003-10-28 00:00

Mr. President,

At the outset, please allow me to express my thanks to you for holding this important meeting and for the Informal Note you have issued not long ago. The note provides a good basis for our discussions. I also wish to thank Deputy Secretary-General Frechette for her statement. The Chinese Delegation believes that the United Nations should keep pace with the times and reinforce the reform process so as to meet the needs of the new situation. We are pleased to note that the current session of the General Assembly has made reform one of its top priorities, and we highly commend the active role of President Hunte in this regard. Here, I wish to emphasize the following points on revitalizing the work of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,
According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly is one of the most important organs of the Organization. It is the main venue for all the Member States to review and make decisions on such major issues as maintaining peace and security, promoting economic and social development and strengthening international legal system. Its importance, broad representation and authority are indisputable.

Currently, the United Nations is faced with unprecedented challenges in all fields. Terrorist threats are increasing rather than decreasing, regional conflicts are incessant, development issues remain grave and environmental protection still constitutes an arduous task. Furthermore, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of communicable diseases and other new problems also call for appropriate solutions. The international community ardently hopes to see a stronger role of the United Nations so that it can serve as an effective mechanism in coordinating national efforts and better respond to new threats and challenges.

Mr. President,
A revitalized General Assembly will help strengthen the determination of Member States to pursue multilateralism, which will in turn have a major and far-reaching impact on rebuilding the authority and credibility of the United Nations system as a whole. Discussions on this subject have been going on for 11 years since the 45th General Assembly session and progress has been made in some areas. However, frankly speaking, it still falls far short of the aspirations and expectations of the vast number of the Member States. Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly bears on the interests of each and every Member States and on the future role of the United Nations. All of us must, therefore, have a strong sense of urgency.

The Chinese Delegation fully endorses President Hunte's proposal to focus our discussions on two broad areas, namely, enhancing the authority and role of the General Assembly and improving its working methods. We are looking forward to early substantial progress so as to instill more vitality into the General Assembly and enable it to play a more effective role in maintaining peace and promoting development. To this end, it is necessary to fully solicit the views of the Member States, especially the developing countries, and to start from issues easier to reach consensus.

Mr. President,
On how to strengthen the authority and role of the General Assembly, the Chinese Delegation holds that the relationship between the General Assembly and other principal organs including the Security Council is not one of competition and exclusion. Instead, it is one of cooperation and complementarity. We are in favor of enhancing interaction between the General Assembly and other principal organs such as the Security Council and the ECOSOC.

In order to make the general debate more effective, we embrace the idea to choose a focus for each session of the General Assembly on the basis of advanced consultations among Member States. We are also in favor of launching regular review on resolutions adopted and decisions made previously by the Assembly and make necessary adjustment or deletion according to the outcome of the implementation.

We support making earnest efforts to strengthen the function of the Office of the President of the General Assembly in terms of both human and financial resources. We believe it is necessary to establish a contact mechanism among the previous, the incumbent and the succeeding presidents to ensure continuity and consistency of the work of the General Assembly. We also hope that each newly elected president would draw up recommendations for work priorities as early as possible.

We deem it a positive suggestion that the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat be authorized to prepare for each session of the General Assembly an annual plan of action. This should be approved and implemented at an early date and, at the same time, redundancy and waste should be avoided.

Mr. President,
On how to improve the working methods of the General Assembly, you yourself, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and representatives of Member States have all put forward many constructive suggestions. What we need now is speedy action.

Firstly, it is necessary to rationalize and streamline the agenda of the General Assembly, including clustering and biennialization of items. It is also necessary to program the consideration of items in a more balanced manner. Some items can be discussed after the September-December period.

Secondly, it is necessary to seriously and genuinely check the overflowing of documents. On the one hand, Member States should try not to request reports from the Secretary-General on every single issue, and on the other, the Secretariat should improve the quality of the reports with more focused analysis and more operable recommendations. The length of reports should also be drastically reduced. We would ask the Secretariat to work out some effective measures in this regard.

Thirdly, it is necessary to cluster the agenda items of the General Assembly and other Main Committees to define the focus and avoid repeated deliberation. There should be strengthened coordination in this regard among the President of the General Assembly, Chairs of the different Main Committees and the representatives of the Secretary-General.

Fourthly, it is necessary to reinforce the function and mandate of the General Committee for more effective operation of the General Assembly and the Main Committees. We recommend that the General Committee, taking into account the present situation and the wishes of most Member States, adopt specific measures to improve the procedures of submitting and finalizing the agenda items, thus saving time and energy for both the Member States and the Secretariat.

Finally, it is necessary to proceed from the actual needs and take the initiative to enhance exchanges with other institutions and the civil society in different related areas so as to make good use of their advantages.

Mr. President,
All Member States hold great expectations on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly and President Hunte has demonstrated outstanding talents of leadership. We are now at a most opportune moment for making tangible progress. As the ancient Chinese saying goes: "The sails on the boat are all set, all we need now is the right wind." We are confident that as long as the Member States can set store by the overall interests, show strong political will and promote the process in a creative and compromising spirit, the revitalization efforts will soon bear fruits. Let us all join hands towards this end.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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