December 14, 2017

Statement by the DPR Mr. Menelaos Menelaou – Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly

Revitalization of the General Assembly, Fourth thematic debate on the Strengthening of the Institutional Memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly

UN Headquarters, 28 April 2017

Co-Chairs,

Since this is the first time we are taking the floor in the context of this year’s work of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, let me at the outset, commend you for the excellent way in which you conduct our deliberations.

We thank the PGA, his Chef de Cabinet and the USG for Conference Management for their briefings. Cyprus aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following in its national capacity.

Cyprus attaches utmost importance to the issue of the strengthening of the office of the President of the General Assembly in the overall context of our belief in empowering the role of the General Assembly as the most representative organ of the United Nations.

Last year the Secretary General has appointed a Task Force to review the functioning of the office of the President of the General Assembly. The Task Force has produced a Report with specific recommendations most of which have been endorsed in last year’s Resolution 70/305 thus contributing towards further strengthening the transparency and accountability of the office of the PGA, and reinforcing the public image of the United Nations.

Co- chairs,

The General Assembly has often been characterized as a form of a Global Parliament, the demos of the international community. Subsequently the office of the PGA should be representative of this perception.

Cyprus wishes to commend the PGA for the particular focus he is giving during the 71st General Assembly on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and for the importance he has attached to the issue of continuity building on measures and best practices introduced by his predecessors.

We appreciate steps undertaken as regards gender balance as well as the symmetry between the number of staff seconded from member states and the number of staff provided from the UN system. In the same vein, we consider it useful if specific figures corresponding to regional representation are made available on the PGA website, in compliance with the call for geographical balance in the composition of the office of the PGA.

With regard to finances and contributions to the office of the PGA as well as the handling of human resources, Cyprus considers that the recommendation of the Task Force for the establishment of a technical oversight body under the mandate of the General Assembly is worth due consideration, as it will further strengthen accountability and transparency. We also consider that beyond the President of the General Assembly, the Senior Officials in the PGA’s office from a specific level and above, could also submit financial disclosure statements whereas the rest of the staff could be committed to providing Declaration of Interest Statements, in line with the existing programme of the UN ethics office.

As regards the election of the PGA, Cyprus welcomes the idea of organizing unofficial General Assembly hearings with PGA candidates, building on the extremely positive experience of hearings with candidates for the post of the Secretary General. Last year a similar opportunity has been provided at the initiative of the World Federation of UN Organizations. It must be institutionalized and placed on an orderly, planned and organized basis. In this context let me also express our support to the need for a more organized conduct of elections in general, both in relation to the circulation of campaign material and gifts on the day of the election and in relation to the need to overcome the outdated and confusing process of writing down names of the selected candidate or country.

Co-Chairs,

The success of the United Nations rests on our ability to continuously enhance the relevance, the efficiency and the transparency of our work. In this endeavor, Cyprus will continue to actively contribute and lend its support.

Thank you.