Reform Efforts Must Hone Organization’s Skills to Effectively Meet Peacekeeping, Development Challenges, Speakers Tell General Assembly
Delegates Also Consider Reports Monitoring Outcomes of Major Conferences, Summits
Delegates voiced both support for reform efforts and concerns about their potential implications today, as the General Assembly considered that issue alongside other agenda items, including follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits.
Describing the United Nations reform process as a complex endeavour, Jorge Skinner‑Klée (Guatemala) said changes were required at all levels of the Secretariat and in the Organization’s funds, programmes, agencies, regional commissions and country teams. All such efforts should be underpinned by the aim of rejuvenating the Organization and enabling it to become more cohesive and effective, he added, voicing support for the Secretary-General’s focus on prevention, noting that those efforts could also be summarized as “better development”.
He went on to say that many important international conferences in recent years — including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the Ocean Conference and the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction — had spotlighted the interdependent relationship linking the three pillars of sustainable development. In that context, restructuring the United Nations development system was both a timely and necessary endeavour to support Member States in implementing the goals and targets outlined in their respective outcome documents.
Petr V. Iliichev (Russian Federation) said the most important goal should be to increase the Organization’s effectiveness and avoid weakening the specific functions of its various arms. Indeed, divisions involved in peacekeeping, development and humanitarian efforts must respect each other’s work and avoid duplication. While the emphasis on conflict prevention was critical, it should only be carried out in strict compliance with the principle of State sovereignty and under the authority of the Security Council. In that vein, he stressed that “peacebuilding” and “sustaining peace” were concepts regulated by Security Council resolutions, and that they fell under the primary purview of Governments. Any expansive interpretation of the term “sustaining peace” as a new trend in the United Nations work was unacceptable, as Member States had never agreed to such a change.
Adapting the United Nations to the world’s evolving conditions must be carried out within the framework of international agreements, he continued. Noting that the Secretary-General’s initiative to reform the United Nations management system must include an assessment of what had already been achieved to date, he said any increase in budgetary expenditures was unacceptable. Member States themselves must guide those efforts, he said, expressing hope that any proposals to reform the Secretariat would take into account the recommendations and criticisms of Member States, as they were the main consumers of the Secretariat’s services.
Before the Assembly were two reports of the Secretary-General: “Third Industrial Development for Africa (2016-2025)” (document A/72/267) and “Proposed organization of work of the intergovernmental conference to adopt a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration” (document A/72/271).
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 16 October, to hear a briefing on the new provisions pertaining to the conduct of elections in the General Assembly and to elect members to the Human Rights Council.