Address by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Japan
On Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
At the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

26 November 2007

Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to express my appreciation to the President for convening today's meeting to discuss one of the most important agendas, Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, as the principal organ of the United Nations represented by every Member State equally, is mandated to take up any questions or matters within the scope of the United Nations Charter. The General Assembly plays a central role in making decisions and implementations on United Nations reform. Under GA resolutions, we have established the Peace Building Commission and the Human Right Council and have discussed such other important reform issues as Security Council reform and management reform.

Mr. President,

We must perceive revitalization and strengthening of the General Assembly as a vital issue that is geared to strengthen the function of the United Nations itself. I wish to discuss four points which I think require priority attention.

First, I would like to encourage Member States to actively discuss in the General Assembly the most pressing issues of today. In this respect, Japan extends its full support to your initiatives, Mr. President, to hold major thematic debates and panel discussions in order to establish broad international understanding of current substantive issues of importance to Member States, and raise political attention and momentum. In this respect, we commend good discussion at the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development held in October under your guidance. The debate on the Report of the Security Council and Question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council were conducted on 12-14 November with participation of a large number of member states. It has contributed to raising political momentum to forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform and to producing concrete results during the current session. 2008 will be another busy year for the General Assembly. Japan is fully committed to rendering its full support to the Panel discussion on Climate Change to be held in February, as well as the meetings on Management Reform, Counter-Terrorism, and MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). We are prepared to actively participate in these meetings. However, thematic debates must be prepared for carefully and well in advance to be useful and to achieve intended objectives.

Secondly, Member States and the United Nations Secretariat must make their utmost efforts to improve the work of the General Assembly and the GA discussions and decisions in order to make them more efficient and constructive. Rationalization of the agenda of the General Assembly and streamlining resolutions will help the Assembly to focus its work more on priority issues and to relay action-oriented messages from the General Assembly. Reducing the volume of documents submitted to the General Assembly and sometime combining some individual reports will help the Assembly's work more efficiently and effectively. These have been repeatedly reflected by past GA resolutions, but, there is so far no marked improvement. The Secretariat should make concerted efforts to reduce the volume and cost of documentation.

Thirdly, in order to improve coordination among the principal organs of the United Nations, the consultation among the leaders of those bodies, namely the Presidents of the GA, SC, ECOSOC and the SG, should be strengthened. We acknowledge special efforts that the Secretary-General is making in this regard. We fully support the practice whereby the Secretary-General provides a timely briefing and reports to the General Assembly. We also welcome regular meetings of the President of the Security Council with the President of the General Assembly for consideration on issues of current international concern by the General Assembly. Close working relations among the principal organs of the United Nations should be encouraged as a regular and continuous process.

Fourth is implementation itself. I would like to stress the importance of the implementation of what was already agreed upon. Meaningful revitalization of the GA is possible through timely and effective implementation of the decisions and measures adopted. Implementation of General Assembly resolutions is critical to enhancing its credibility. At the same time, messages of request by the General Assembly must be clear and precise for effective implementation. Mandates emerging from resolutions by the GA should not be outdated or duplicated, nor contradictory to each other. Mandates should be revised regularly and streamlined to meet current requirements. Therefore, it is of significance that Member States agree to put fresh impetus to mandate review under the co-chairmanship of Ambassador Mbuende of the Republic of Namibia and Ambassador Banks of New Zealand. An ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly is also important to evaluate and assess the status of implementation of relevant resolutions.

Mr. President,

My delegation looks forward to constructive discussion and to concrete results to revitalize the work of the General Assembly.

Thank you.

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