STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TOSHIRO OZAWA
PERMAMENT MISSION OF JAPAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS
INFORMAL CONSULTATION OF THE PLENARY
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON MANDATE REVIEW
22 JUNE 2006
We thank you for convening today's meeting. We also thank Mr. Bob Orr and his team in the Secretariat for their expeditious additional work. We express our intent to participate actively and constructively in the Working Group that will now be established.
My delegation's comments on the "preliminary draft of General Assembly mandates older than five years and not renewed" are as follows.
First, we think that most of the mandates included in the document do not present opportunities for effective programmatic shifts which would strengthen the United Nations. We have argued that constraining our initial work to "mandates older five years and not renewed" is illogical and unproductive. Thus, we look forward to those Member States, who argued strongly to focus our attention to this small number of mandates, to make specific proposals for action on these mandates as soon as possible.
Second, we find the classification used in the document quite useful. Almost all mandates in the section of "completed mandates" do not appear to be "effectively active" at present. Since almost all of these mandates seem to be "dead mantes", we propose to eliminate them in principle, for the sake of better book-keeping. Unless some Member States object to elimination of a specific dead mandate, we should eliminate all mandates in this category.
Third, while we find the classification useful, we understand that the purpose of this classification is to facilitate reference for identifying actionable mandates to strengthen the United Nations. In this regard, my delegation would like to refrain at this stage from making premature comments in relation to a certain category of mandates.
Fourth, my delegation would like to request the Secretariat to add reference to symbols of related resolutions if they have an opportunity to revise the document.
PROPOSAL RELATED TO GA RESOLUTION 31/93 OF 1976
Allow me to turn to specific proposals.
In the previous session, we explained the justification of our proposal on the Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation. We are pleased with the wide interest shown to our proposal. We also note that the original mandate of this programme, i.e. GA resolution 58(I), is now included in the document as one of the GA mandates older than five years and not renewed. We think that our proposal is maturing for action, and welcome discussions in the Working Group.
Today, my delegation wishes to make another concrete proposal on a mandate that is now included in our document, i.e. GA resolution 31/93 of 1976.
This mandate concerns payment of travel expenses and subsistence allowance to the members of the Committee on Programme and Coordination.
We recognize that this payment of travel expenses and subsistence allowance is regarded by many Member States as important resources to ensure the attendance of high level experts from their respective home governments. We entirely agree with the objective of the mandate to ensure the attendance of high level experts in the Committee on Programme and Coordination.
The question we have with regard to this mandate is whether the present arrangement envisaged in this mandate is the most practically suitable way to serve this goal of ensuring participation of high level experts in this committee. My delegation believes that when the Member States adopted this resolution in 1976, they were fully cognizant of this concern, because this mandate made it very explicit that this arrangement was made available to the Member States on an experimental basis and subject to review by the General Assembly.
Let me quote the original mandate which states that "in order to encourage Member States to be represented at a high level of expertise and to ensure the continuity of their representation in the body whose central role and over-all responsibilities are recognized, the Organization shall bear from 1978 onwards, for an experimental period and subject to review by the General Assembly at its thirty-fourth session, as a special exception to the basic principles set out in paragraph 3 of Assembly resolution 1798 (XVII) of 11 December 1962 concerning the payment out of United Nations funds of travel and subsistence expenses to members of organs and subsidiary organs of the United Nations, the travel (on the basis of economy class) and subsistence expenses (at standard rates applicable to officials of the Secretariat plus 15 per cent) of one representative of each Member State on the Committee for Programme and Coordination."
In fact, the review referred to this resolution has not yet been carried out. It has been nearly thirty years since the approval of this measure on a experimental basis.
My delegation proposes to carry out this review which is long overdue. We should consider the ethical aspect and the equitable treatment aspect of this exceptional measure. We can do this without prejudice to our assessments of the work of the Committee for Programme and Coordination. We propose that his mandate be taken up on the Working Group.
PROPOSALS RELATED TO OTHER POSSIBLE AREAS WHERE THERE CAN BE AGREEMENT
In your letter dated 12 June, you, the Co-chairs stated that "in the forthcoming sessions, the informal plenary would consider five year old non-renewed mandates and identify other possible areas where there can be agreement." In this regard, my delegation would like to make some suggestions with a view to identifying such other possible areas where there can be agreement. Many of my delegation's proposals that fall under this category of "other possible areas" are included in the attachment of the text of our statement at the previous GA informal session. If we are able to agree on more tangible results, our intended message to the outside world would be reinforced.
THE ROAD AHEAD
It is my delegation's firm belief that we need to achieve some tangible results in the short-term. This will enable us to demonstrate to the outside world that we the Member States are serious about reform and that we do have the ability to review our past decisions. We recognize that time is short, but we remain confident that we can make progress and achieve reasonable and tangible results in the next 7 or so days.
Because time is short, reaching a concrete agreement on the road ahead is, we believe, of crucial importance. My delegation reiterates our support to the so-called cluster-by-cluster approach after July. We might address one cluster at a time, perhaps for one working month, and move on to other clusters in sequence. The sequence of the clusters can be worked out so that there will be a consensus. My delegation believes that such an approach would be the sensible way because it can function as a confidence building measure for the parties concerned.
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