Statement by Mr. Toshiro Ozawa
Ambassador of Japan
At the Informal Consultation of the Plenary of the United Nations General Assembly
On Secretariat and Management Reform
14 December 2005
At the outset, I wish to express the satisfaction of my delegation that these informal consultations on UN Secretariat and management reform issues are being conducted under your skillful stewardship. We thank Deputy Secretary General Ms. Frechette for her presence and Mr. Robert Orr for his concrete explanations and clarifications on mandate review which help to clear the cloud relating to this issue. The United Nations does need to keep up with the requirements of the changing times. In order to do so, the Member States should review, in a constructive manner, all the mandates that we have given to this Organization, so that we will be able to reinvigorate the work of our United Nations. We hope that through this mandate review, the United Nations will become more relevant, more efficient and more competent in dealing with the emerging priority issues. With this in mind, I would like to express our delegation's readiness to cooperate fully with your endeavors to facilitate our consideration on this important issue.
It may be pertinent to start our deliberations by noting that the Secretary-General stressed the importance of mandate review in his report entitled "In Larger Freedom" (A/59/2005). In this report, the Secretary-General emphasized that "Member States ... have a central role to play in ensuring that the Organization's mandates stay current. I therefore ask the General Assembly to review all mandates older than five years to see whether the activities concerned are still genuinely needed or whether the resources assigned to them can be reallocated in response to new and emerging challenges." This matter was subsequently incorporated into to the Outcome Document, as we are all aware.
My Government fully subscribes to the thinking behind the Secretary-General statement, namely, that the United Nations needs to review its old mandates in order to facilitate possible readjustments in resources to priority mandates or new mandates. In our view, the focus of mandate review is neither solely cost-cutting per se nor elimination of activities. The more important point is identifying the possibilities for programmatic-shifts for higher priority activities and also more cost-effective ways of implementing mandated activities.
With regard to the timeline for the mandate review, the Summit Outcome Document is quite explicit: it talks about consideration and decision by the General Assembly in the first quarter of 2006. My Government attaches particular importance to this issue among the various reform agenda items. It is the strong wish of my Government to seek serious discussions on review of the mandate as quickly as possible, so that we can strengthen the United Nations as soon as possible. As indicated in the Summit Outcome Document, the General Assembly is to consider and decide on mandate review during the first quarter of 2006. My Government believes that the constructive results of our mandate review should be reflected in the 06-07 regular budget, in one way or another.
Concerning the scope of work of the General Assembly on the mandate review, the review should address all mandates older than five years, in accordance with the Summit Outcome Document, in principle without exceptions and as comprehensive as possible. It goes without saying that those mandates which have been renewed within the past five years but dates back to more than five years from its inception are all included in the review.
As I indicated earlier, our efforts will be to improve this Organization's capacity to address new priorities. Our efforts should be results oriented, and thus, we do not wish to see ourselves bogged down by prolonged and probably unproductive discussions on how to define mandates.
Instead, we believe that it would be much more useful if the Secretariat would facilitate Member States' discussions by presenting information related to the correlation between specific activities and possible programmatic shifts on the one hand and the corresponding mandates necessary to be revisited to carry out such programmatic shifts on the other hand. The Biennial Programme Plan and Priorities for the Period 2006-2007 (A/59/6/Rev.1) enumerates the legislative mandates corresponding to each programme. For the aforementioned purpose, however, it would be useful for the consideration by Member States to be advised of the correlation between activities and mandates at a lower level and, more specifically, below the sub-programme level.
In order to facilitate Member States' consideration of possible programmatic shifts, it would be necessary for the Secretariat to provide Member States with information related to the Secretariat's indicative view on its priorities amongst existing activities as well as costs involved.
It would be also useful in the context of the mandate review to identify duplications of activities and to facilitate discussion among Member States on this issue. Therefore, my delegation would also ask the Secretariat to identify, and carry out an analysis on duplications of efforts. With such information and analysis, Member States will be in a better position to consider how to address the mandates corresponding to these activities.
As I stated earlier, my Government attaches great importance to mandate review. The guidance from the leaders is stated specifically and clearly in the Summit Outcome Document. To conclude, therefore, let me reiterate the urgent need for the early consideration and decision on mandate review to strengthen the United Nations, and in this regard we invite the Member States to complete this arduous task as a matter of utmost urgency and priority.
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