Resolutions on Peacebuilding, Sustaining Peace, United Nations Youth Office, among Texts Adopted by General Assembly
The General Assembly adopted today a series of resolutions without a vote, including one in which it affirms its willingness to examine all options for “adequate, predictable and sustainable” financing of United Nations peacebuilding activities, further deciding to establish a United Nations Office for Youth and convening a “Summit of the Future”, to be held on 22 and 23 September 2024 in New York.
Under the terms of the resolution on “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace”, (document A/76/L.86), the Assembly calls upon the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to strengthen the delivery of its advisory, bridging and convening mandate in support of resource mobilization for nationally owned peacebuilding priorities in the countries and regions under its consideration, and to continue to strengthen its working methods to enhance its efficiency and impact in support of peacebuilding and sustaining peace, in synergy with the Peacebuilding Fund.
By the text, the Assembly encourages all Member States and other partners to consider increasing their contributions to peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities in conflict-affected countries and regions, and stresses the importance of multi-year, flexible and risk-tolerant funding commitments, including pooled funding.
The Assembly further decided on the Establishment of the United Nations Youth Office (document A/76/L.85) as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the Secretariat, integrating the Office of the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, following a submission of a detailed proposal on the operational functions, structure, resources and staffing of the new Youth Office, based on a thorough analysis of the resource needs of the Office and funding from the regular budget of the United Nations, and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to submit this proposal to the General Assembly, through its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), during the seventy-seventh session.
Also by its terms, the Office shall be led by a suitably qualified person, preferably under the age of 35 years, with a demonstrated commitment to youth issues, who shall be appointed by the Secretary-General at a senior-level position, in accordance with Article 101 of the Charter of the United Nations, with due regard to gender balance and geographical representation.
The Assembly further adopted a resolution on the “Modalities for the Summit of the Future” (document A/76/L.87) to be held on 22 and 23 September 2024 in New York, preceded by a preparatory ministerial meeting to be held on 18 September 2023.
By its terms, the Assembly decided that the Summit will adopt a concise, action-oriented outcome document titled “A Pact for the Future”, agreed in advance by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations.
The Assembly, however, decided not to convene the “Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia” (document A/76/L.79), which was to be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 24 April 2020.
It also endorsed Secretary-General António Guterres’ proposal to appoint Volker Türk (Austria) as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The delegations of Canada, Iran, Morocco and the United States in particular welcomed this appointment, while delegates of China, the Russian Federation and Iran voiced dissent on the work of the High Commissioner.
The General Assembly also decided to include the following items in the draft agenda of its seventy-seventh session, which begins on 13 September: “2001‑2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries development, particularly in Africa”; “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes and the prevention and resolution”; “Question of the Comorian island of Mayotte”; “Request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal effects of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965”; “Implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations”; “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries”; “Financing of the United Nations Mission in East Timor”; and “Situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”. The delegations of Estonia, Georgia, United States, Czech Republic, France and Ukraine welcomed the retention of this last item on the agenda of the General Assembly, while the Russian Federation deplored it.
At the start of the session, a minute of silence was observed in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who died today.
Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace — Explanations of Vote After the Vote
The representative of Kenya said that the adoption demonstrates the urgent need to address the funding gaps in peacebuilding. The resolution, he added, is the result of a ground-breaking consensus that was achieved despite the complexity of the negotiations, sending a clear commitment and political message to ensure adequate resources through innovative funds.
The representative of Sweden said that this resolution on financing peacebuilding is crucial, helping to prevent conflicts and escalations by considering the opinions of various stakeholders. She noted that the resolution underlines the need for adequate funding to preserve peace through innovative, adequate and predictable financing, which must be mobilized from the private sector and international financial institutions.
The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of the resolution in addressing the peacebuilding funding gap. He highlighted the necessity of reflecting on all means of financing in accordance with national priorities, welcoming the emphasis on the role of women and indicating that the text is a good basis for future discussions in the Fifth Committee.
The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the commitment of States to peacebuilding in order to make it more effective. “This historic resolution is timely and important,” he stated, detailing the salient elements of the text, including the fact that it gives clear direction to the Fifth Committee. He also indicated that the consensus process was a landmark moment.
The representative of India recalled that the contributions mentioned in the context of the resolution must be submitted to the examination of the Committee in charge of administrative and budgetary matters. He then underlined the limits of an approach based on international aid, before asking for clear criteria for an exit strategy in the countries where peacekeeping missions are deployed.
The representative of El Salvador noted that the resolution reflects the commitment of Member States to preserve, promote and sustain peace, also emphasizing the fundamental role that women and young people can play in consolidating peace.
The representative of the Dominican Republic, associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated it was crucial to vote on the text for the mobilization of the resources necessary for the consolidation of peace. She hailed the importance of women in peacebuilding, before calling for increased efforts to address the financial challenges facing peacebuilding.
The representative of Japan cited issues with operative paragraphs 16 and 18, and called for flexibility in the use of the Peacebuilding Fund to guarantee it is adapted to realities on the ground. Assessed contributions should not replace voluntary contributions, he said, also calling for the Fund to be subject to effective control over allocation of its resources. He urged Member States to create synergies between the various United Nations entities contributing to the consolidation of peace.
The representative of China affirmed that the resolution is a step towards predictable and sustainable financing and improving the consolidation of peace.
The representative of Brazil agreed that the resolution is a step forward, which affords the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) the opportunity to examine the various proposals for financing peacebuilding, in the light of the possible budgetary implications.
Strengthening of United Nations system — Explanations of vote before the vote
The representative of Egypt, also speaking on behalf of Guyana, welcomed that the importance of youth had been recognized, as the world had the largest generation of young people in its history, numbering 1.2 billion people. He highlighted the transparent consultation process that led to the text, with young people having been widely consulted. The creation of the office is timely, he stated.
The representative of New Zealand emphasized the inclusive character of the transparent consultation process which led to the text. She welcomed the active participation of delegations in the process.
The representative of Oman noted that the balanced text on the establishment of a United Nations Office for Youth reflected the different positions of Member States on the subject.
The representative of Malaysia said there is a need to empower young people, who will be the leaders of tomorrow, and the resolution is a step in the right direction. While the Office must be adequately resourced, it must also be able to utilize existing resources, such as those of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Explanations of vote after the vote
The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted the bloc had joined consensus, while denouncing the haste in which the consultation process had been conducted. It would have been better to have a detailed timeline on the process, which is standard practice.
The representative of China expressed hope that the Office will be provided with sufficient resources. He called for the Office to be financed under the ordinary budget, before asking that developing countries be duly represented within it.
The representative of Cuba expressed concern about the speed with which the negotiation process was carried out, considering that it would have been preferable to have granted the necessary time requested by the delegations to consult their capitals — an unacceptable process. It is up to Member States to decide on the outcome document by consensus, he recalled. Preparations for the Summit of the Future must be inclusive if Member States want the outcome document to be consensual and accepted by all.
The representative of Mexico said the outcome document of the Summit of the Future should be the result of consensus reached by the majority of Member States present. However, she warned that consensus is not unanimity, voicing concern about the rushed negotiations with which the resolution was prepared.
The representative of Australia, also speaking on behalf of Canada, called for increased participation of youth in the work of the United Nations, before discussing the budgetary implications of the text. He noted his delegation would have liked to receive the cost estimates a little earlier.
The representative of Switzerland welcomed the creation of the Summit of the Future and hoped that it would strengthen multilateralism. He welcomed that the text insists on the participation of all social groups.
The representative of the Dominican Republic noted that the resolution is a step forward in strengthening the United Nations, and allowing for the participation of young people in decision-making. The Office should be adequately staffed and budgeted and headed by a young person at a senior level, while having a staff that reflects the geographically equitable distribution.
The representative of Iran expressed surprise at the haste with which negotiations on the Summit of the Future had been conducted, recalling the importance for Member States to fully participate in the consultation process.
The representative of Brazil noted the very tight timetable for negotiations, as the overall process had been very flawed. He called for an acceleration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, before welcoming the holding of the Summit of the Future in 2024. A summit can only represent a common vision if its results are defined and taken on board by States, he stressed.
The United Kingdom’s delegate paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and underlined her commitment to peace. Noting there are 1.8 billion young people in the world who need to have their voices heard, he expressed disappointment over the lack of transparency in the negotiation process, especially regarding financial implications. He welcomed the consensus reached on the Summit of the Future, before calling for a prior summit in 2023.
The representative of Japan said he was waiting to hear the details of the budgetary implications arising from the establishment of the United Nations Office for Youth. This review would help increase the effectiveness of the United Nations and prevent duplication in the work of the Organization. Youth participation should be institutionalized in international forums, he added.
The representative of Indonesia reiterated his support for the establishment of the United Nations Office for Youth because his country has 87 million people between the age of 15 and 34, representing 31 per cent of its population. The Organization must rejuvenate its staff and consider the principle of equitable geographical representation, he stressed, encouraging intergenerational dialogue to be included in the mandate of the office.
The representative of Nicaragua, associating herself with the Group of 77, expressed regret over the lack of transparency in the consultation process, calling for such these errors to be corrected.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, welcomed the consensual adoption of the resolution on holding the Summit of the Future, adding that he would have liked even stronger ambition. Holding the Summit in 2023 would have been preferable. “If we do not act decisively, there will be no future to discuss anymore,” he stressed.