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Remarks by Ms. Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN on behalf of the ACT Group at the General Debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, 19 January 2016

19.01.2016

Mister President,

Thank you very much for convening the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly at this session.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group or in short ACT, a cross-regional group comprised of the following 25 small and mid-sized countries working together to improve the working methods of the Security Council: Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay.

First of all, we would like to thank the Permanent Representatives of Croatia and Namibia, Ambassadors Drobnjak and Emvula for their excellent work as co-chairs of this working group during the last – and let me add quite historic – session and wish them all the success for the work in the coming months. ACT believes that the co-chairs have put together a solid plan for the upcoming discussions and thematic meetings in the Ad Hoc Working Group.

While recognizing the importance of all the broad issues forming the General Assembly Revitalization agenda, the ACT group would continue engaging mainly on the topic of the selection of the next Secretary-General. We are glad that a lot has been agreed upon to make the process more transparent and inclusive. In this regard we welcome the letter sent out on 15 December 2015 by the Presidents of the General Assembly and of the Security Council to launch the selection process. 

Looking ahead, I would like to point out some areas of importance for the ACT group in the coming months on the selection process of the next Secretary-General.

First of all, we hope that the joint letter receives a lot of positive feedback and many qualified candidates would be put forward. In this context ACT also strongly encourages Member States to nominate female candidates.

The identification and appointment of the best candidate for the post should be in line with the best practices in high-level appointments of executive heads of the United Nations and other international organizations. Due regard should be given to equal and fair geographical distribution through rotation and to gender balance by recognizing equal opportunities of female candidates.

Secondly, for ACT the informal dialogues and meetings with the candidates are key part of the selection process. We expect all candidates to take part in these meetings. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council have an important role to play in making sure these meetings are serving their purpose. ACT will engage actively in the meetings, put forward questions to the candidates and would like to hear their vision for the position of the Secretary-General.

Third, evolving from the negotiations in this Ad Hoc Working Group and agreement reached, we would appreciate a thorough exchange of views on the merits of a single term to be introduced in appointing next Secretary-Generals.

We would come back with some more concrete proposals on the implementation of the provisions on the selection of the next Secretary-General at the thematic meeting dedicated to it on the 22 March.

As in the last session, the ACT group is looking forward to constructive discussions with other groups and delegations on this issue.

Thank you very much, Mister President.

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