H.E. SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN)
ON ITEM 126: THE REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
AT THE PLENARY MEETING OF
THE 75TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 12 NOVEMBER 2020
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and my own country, Malaysia.
2. At the outset, ASEAN would like to express its appreciation to Her Excellency Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee of Ghana and His Excellency Michal Mlynár of Slovakia for their able stewardship in facilitating the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) during the previous session, despite the many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ASEAN also congratulates His Excellency Egriselda Aracely González López, Permanent Representative of El Salvador on her appointment and H.E. Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative of Slovakia, on his re-appointment as co-chairs of the AHWG for the current session.
3. ASEAN welcomes GA resolution 74/303, which was adopted by consensus on 4 September 2020. We believe that the thematic discussions on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly during the previous session will advance our vision towards making the General Assembly more effective and relevant for all.
4. The 75th Anniversary of the United Nations offers a golden opportunity to reinvigorate and revitalize the organization. A revitalized United Nations, and in particular the General Assembly will certainly makes the organization more accountable to the people we serve. Given its representative character, primacy, and credibility, it is, therefore, pivotal to ensure the General Assembly’s effectiveness and efficiency in fulfilling its functions as set out in the UN Charter.
5. In this context, ASEAN would like to highlight the following points on the four clusters under this important process.
6. First, on the role and authority of the General Assembly. ASEAN would like to reaffirm the central role and credibility of the General Assembly, as the most representative body of the United Nations. From tackling the root causes of conflict to establishing human rights treaties and to adopting the Sustainable Development Goals – General Assembly's deliberations have and will continue to improve and protect the lives of millions of people around the world. In this regard, we reiterate the importance for all Member States to continue working together to ensure that the General Assembly delivers and remains relevant, even when it faces great challenges.
7. We also continue to call for greater synergy, coherence, and coordination between the work of the Assembly and other UN organs. This relationship is crucial to ensure better coordination on issues that require coordinated action by the United Nations, in accordance with their respective mandates.
8. Second, on the working method of the General Assembly. We support rationalizing the General Assembly’s agenda by addressing gaps, overlaps, and duplication, where they are found with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
9. Third, on the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General and other executive heads of the United Nations system. ASEAN continues to call for a transparent and open selection process for the position of Secretary-General and other executive heads of the UN system. In addition, ASEAN stresses the importance of ensuring equitable geographical distribution and representation as well as gender balance in this regard.
10. Fourth and last, on strengthening the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly. ASEAN calls for greater accountability, transparency, and strengthening of the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly. We commend the efforts taken by the previous three Presidents of the General Assembly in preparing and sharing their handover reports with all Member States. We also hope that the President of the General Assembly can continue to disclose relevant information on the Office's official engagements, especially on meetings with the representatives of other UN organs.
11. We also commend the continuation of the morning dialogues with the Permanent Representatives as well as the interactive dialogues with the candidates for the position of the President of the General Assembly.
12. Revitalizing the work of the General Assembly under the four (4) thematic clusters will contribute to the continued evolution of the United Nations as the essential organization that is fit for purpose, post COVID-19. Let me conclude by reiterating ASEAN's continued commitment to engage constructively with all Member States in the deliberations of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly during this session.