Remarks for William Pope, U.S. Senior Area Advisor to the United Nations, At the General Assembly Plenary on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, October 11, 2012

William Pope, U.S. Senior Area Advisor to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 11, 2012


Thank you Mr. President. The United States would like to thank last year’s co-chairs of the Working Group, Ambassador Waffa-Ogoo of The Gambia, and Ambassador Lomaia of Georgia for their attention to this issue during the 66th Session of the General Assembly. Their leadership culminated in the resolution we recently adopted, which serves as a basis for our continued work on this topic.

We also offer the incoming co-chairs our full support, once they are named. We look forward to working with fellow member states as we consider the best options for revitalizing the General Assembly, and build on the recommendations we made to the Working Group this past session.

The United States is committed to multilateral engagement and a strong United Nations system. We recognize the important contributions of the General Assembly to fulfilling the mission of the United Nations, and we hope that our discussions and the efforts of the Working Group will be constructive in allowing us to consider how we can improve working methods to better enable the Assembly to carry out its work.

We continue to advocate for measures to ensure the improved efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the UN system. Therefore, streamlining and prioritizing the agenda, and improving the practices and working methods of the Main Committees will be the primary focus of our interactions with this Working Group this session.

As part of our efforts to ensure that the General Assembly remains relevant, we should also encourage the more timely publishing of General Assembly resolutions soon after their adoption. Informing others of our work will highlight the important issues we cover and would encourage more expeditious implementation of General Assembly resolutions by member states.

Just as providing information to the world outside of New York is important, the General Assembly would be better served by increased interaction between the heads of the principal organs of the United Nations and the chairs of the Main Committees and the President of the General Assembly. This could perhaps be accomplished by exchanging views and priorities at the start of each new General Assembly session. Greater cooperation and increased coordination among the organs of the United Nations are critical for enabling us to achieve our goal of streamlining agendas and reducing wasteful overlap.

We will continue to engage on our proposals to improve working methods, such as discontinuing the practice of adopting resolutions on outdated or obscure topics; merging or clustering items closely related in substance and proposing comprehensive or omnibus resolutions; and encouraging Member States to exercise greater discipline in their submission of draft resolutions, to be more deliberate in keeping their statements succinct, and to focus on key themes. We encourage Member States to consider reviewing existing resolutions biennially or triennially, rather than annually, and to exercise greater discipline in their submission of draft resolutions. We also propose setting deadlines for achieving objectives and encouraging General Assembly Working Groups to complete their work on time, and rationalizing the General Assembly’s meeting schedule to allow for widespread member state participation. We hope to see progress on these goals during the 67th Session.

My delegation looks forward to working closely with you, Mr. President, and with our counterparts from other delegations, toward a constructive dialogue for concrete reform.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2012/212