Ad-hoc Working Group

Meeting of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly Statement by Mr. M. Rafiuddin Shah, Counsellor-II - April 15, 2009


First, I would like to express my delegation’s felicitations and support to both of you, Ambassador Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador and Ambassador Wetland of Norway, for your appointment as Co-Chairs of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly. We are confident your appointment would yield positive results for this august institution.

  1. At the outset, I would also like to align my delegation with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Algeria on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Madam Chair,

  1. At this juncture of the UN history, it is widely seen that the Security Council is the only face and the muscle of the United Nations. Therefore, a sincere debate on the Revitalization of the General Assembly is not only timely but also well sought after as a revitalized General Assembly would promote the credibility of the United Nations and challenge the notion of power politics. It would and help to promote democratic attitudes and multilateralism.

Madam Chair,

  1. Pakistan shares the growing concerns of the UN membership that over the past two decades the role and effectiveness of the United Nations General Assembly – as envisaged in the UN Charter – has been progressively and significantly eroded.
  2. Pakistan has consistently held that the issue of Revitalization of the General Assembly is a political and not a procedural issue. Certainly we should further rationalize the Assembly’s agenda, amalgamating similar items and eliminating redundant issues. However, a meaningful change would not be possible without our political commitment to bring a change.
  3. Under the UN Charter, the General Assembly’s role is broad and far- reaching. It is the principal deliberative, policy making and most representative organ of the United Nations. It is also the principal forum where the policies of States are to be harmonized and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter promoted and realized.

Madam Chair,

  1. To achieve these objectives my delegation would like to make four points.
  2. Firstly,we would like to underscore the importance of an effective and efficient office of the President of the General Assembly. We believe that the office of the President of the General Assembly must be properly equipped and staffed. However, the impartiality of the office should not be compromised.
  3. The President of General Assembly should also be authorized to request special briefings on any situation or issue from the Presidents of the Security Council and ECOSOC and from the Secretary-General. In turn the General Assembly President should evolve a standing mechanism – perhaps through the General-Committee to keep the general membership fully abreast of the developments in various parts of the United Nations and its family of organizations.
  4. Secondly,we fully support the views that the General Assembly should have a meaningful role in the appointment of the Secretary-General. If we look into the mechanics of the UN business, it would be revealed that without a meaningful role of the General Assembly in the appointment of the Secretary-General, we would not be able to ensure complete institutional support of the Secretariat for the office of the PGA and the General Assembly.
  5. Thirdly, we fully support the views expressed by the Non-Aligned Movement on the balance between the role and powers of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It would not be misplaced, if taking into consideration the democratic and more representative role of the General Assembly, the tilt goes in favour of the Assembly.
  6. It has been noted that the Security Council has assumed a special role in two areas – terrorism and non-proliferation. This was in response to extraordinary events. Now that the General Assembly has adopted a comprehensive strategy on terrorism, the main responsibility in this area should revert to the Assembly. Similarly, the Assembly should reassert its role in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.
  7. The Assembly should also exercise closer examination of the deliberations and decisions of the Security Council. We support the submission of special reports by the Security Council. Such a review is especially necessary whenever the Security Council authorizes action under Charter VII or wherever a veto is exercised in the Security Council.
  8. Fourthly, we support a strong role of the General Assembly in the financial and administrative management of the organization. Any effort to weaken or marginalize this role, presently being exercised through the Fifth Committee, should be discouraged.

Madam Chair,

  1. In conclusion I would like to reiterate my delegation’s support for your work as Co-Chair of the Ad-hoc Working Group and I would also like to express our appreciation for the efforts of the Secretariat in preparation of the report of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly (A/62/952/Add.1)

I thank you, Madam Chair.