Statement by the delegation of Ukraine on the revitalization of the General Assembly working methods

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine on the revitalization of the General Assembly working methods

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

At the outset I would like to assure you of my delegation’s full support to the able manner, in which you conduct our work.

Ukraine aligns itself with the EU statement. In my national capacity, I would like to highlight several points regarding working methods of the General Assembly and its Committees.

1. We are all working now in unprecedented for the UN pressing circumstances in view of the COVID-19. As Ukraine’s Permanent Representative recently stated: “Coronavirus is especially dangerous for older people and our Organization turns 75 this year. As with the case of COVID-19, after this crisis is over, the UN must develop immunity to the rudiments of the past.”

It is a high time for the Organization to review its working methods in order to be able to give appropriate answers to the contemporary challenges. We commend the efforts of the Secretary-General to prevent the spread of SARS-Cov-2. The General Assembly should also fully use the opportunity and do its part of the job on revising the ways of conducting business at the Assembly.

In this regard, we fully share the vision outlined in the EU statement on the issues under consideration today. We also support the approach of further reviewing the number of meetings, especially those, which require the participation of significant number of representatives from capitals. Remote work of the Secretariat’s employees is also a good step forward and should be further examined as a practice in the Assembly as well, in the view of underfinancing of the UN budget.

In this context, the General Assembly and its organs should utilize more actively information technologies such as Paper-Smart system in order to reduce the use of paper work and other resources. Conducting lengthy debates should be also reviewed. For instance, Member States should consider delivering group statements where it is possible and appropriate. In this regard, we welcome the recent practice of delivering joint statements by Baltic and Nordic countries, as it was done during the consideration of the agenda item 63 “The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” on February 20 this year. Ukraine togather with Georgia and Moldova also utilized this practical approach in the Sixth Committee.

2. We would like to express our disappointment that the rule of consensus on many instances is exploited not for the benefit of the decisions made by the Assembly and its organs but for avoidance of pressing issues of the international relations, even those which are related to peaceful settlements of disputes and disarmament.

Moreover, this destructive approach is replicated sometime by the Secretariat while assisting in preparing texts of the draft reports of the meetings, which should reflect the course of the discussion. For instance, the most recent report of the Special Committee on the Charter did not reflect properly the course of the debates during the session, in particular the views expressed by the delegation of Ukraine were omitted. Moreover, the proposal of Ukraine submitted to the Secretariat to balance the text was not taken into account while finalizing the text.

We deeply regret also that due to abusing of consensus practice in the Special Committee the adopted report does not covered all valid substantive issues discussed during the session, in particular the efforts of Ukraine to resolve the dispute with the Russian Federation by peaceful means in the International Court of Justice.

In this regard, we would like to reiterate that our strive for consensus should not substitute meaningful discussion on important issues. As it was previously highlighted at the outcome of one of the morning sessions of the President of the Assembly: “The paradigm of “consensus only” can be disincentive to negotiate.” I would like to underline also that consensus should be an aspiration and not a rule, which is abused more and more often.

3. And last but not least point. We have to further improve the involvement of civil society to the work of the Assembly and its organs. Therefore, we hope that the practice of the Third Committee’s meetings with representatives of NGO’s will become a standing one.

And reacting to the proposal of so-called “general” rule of bi-annual consideration of all agenda items, we do not consider such approach as applicable. There are certainly issues especially in the sphere of international peace and security and human rights, which require close attention and consideration, therefore their bi-annual discussion is not appropriate.