Remarks by Ms Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia on behalf of the ACT Group at the informal consultations of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, 23 May 2016
On behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group, I would like to once again thank you sincerely for all your work as co-chairs and for the first draft of the GA revitalization resolution in the current session.
The ACT group, while recognising all the important topics in the agenda of the GA revitalization, is mainly focused on the issues related to the selection and appointment of the next Secretary-General. Therefore, we are pleased that the initial ideas expressed in the 69th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on opening up this process are now being successfully implemented based on the resolution 69/321. In this regard, we would especially like to commend the work of the President of the General Assembly and his office.
ACT took actively part in the informal meetings with the candidates for the position of the Secretary-General and will do so also hereafter. ACT has called on all candidates to participate in all stages of the process as in our view this will strongly increase their legitimacy. We have also previously sent letters on behalf of the group to candidates put forward so far strongly encouraging them to take part in the meetings and echoing the call by the President of the General Assembly in requesting their vision statement ahead of the meeting.
Turning to this year´s resolution, the ACT group believes that the text proposed reflects well the developments and the discussions we have had so far in the Ad Hoc Working Group. We would like to see continued active engagement by the Presidents of the General Assembly in supporting the selection process as also outlined in OP36 of the draft resolution.
For ACT, ensuring the appointment of the best possible candidate is vital and we support the criteria outlined in OP38. In identifying the best candidate for appointment, due regard should be given to fair geographical distribution through rotation, and to gender balance. ACT has strongly encouraged Member States to nominate female candidates and we welcome the presentation of a significant number of women for the position of the Secretary-General. ACT also welcomes that there are more candidates from previously underrepresented regions.
Furthermore, and concurring with the operative paragraphs 42 and 43 of the resolution, we would like to emphasize the importance of exercising independence by the Secretary-General in the selection of senior officials according to the Charter provisions and the oath to be taken.
ACT, as previously stated, would like to recall the prerogative of the General Assembly to draft the final resolution for the appointment of the Secretary-General. We also encourage the General Assembly to look into substantiating the appointment resolution, including on the term of office and would like to exchange views with other groups and interested delegations on this issue. It is important that there will be sufficient time for the General Assembly to draft the appointment resolution in a transparent and consultative manner. Therefore, we would like to – separately from the GA revitalization working group – propose convening by the President of the General Assembly a facilitation process for the appointment resolution. Swift start would allow us sufficient time to discuss the substance of the appointment resolution well ahead of the recommendation by the Security Council to the General Assembly, and by doing so ensure the process is not linked to any individual candidate.
In ACT´s view the remaining months until the appointment of the next Secretary-General should be used for constructive discussions among Member States as well as close cooperation between the Presidents of the General Assembly and of the Security Council. As we proceed in the selection process, ACT encourages regular communication between the Security Council and the General Assembly to update the wider membership on developments.
Thank you very much for your attention and we are looking forward to continued constructive discussions with other groups and delegations on this important issue that concerns all of us.