Statement of Bangladesh by Tareq Md Ariful Islam, DPR, at the AHWG thematic debate on the Office of the President of the General Assembly (PGA), 09 June 2020

We thank the co-chairs of the Ad hoc Working Group for convening this thematic debate on strengthening the office of the President of General Assembly. We appreciate your efforts in carrying out the work of the group despite the challenging circumstances posed by Covid-19.

Let me begin by joining other colleagues in expressing our deepest condolences to the people and government of Burundi on the sad passing away of their President.

Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly has remained a key agenda for the UN for nearly two decades now. Yet the significance of this agenda at this moment cannot be over-emphasized, as we head towards the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

The last two thematic debates provided useful opportunities to exchange new ideas and evaluate the old ones on the role and authority as well as the working methods of the General Assembly. Today’s interactive session with PGA and USG DGACM has provided important insights for the discussion. We appreciate the PGA for his leadership for business continuity of the General Assembly at this extraordinarily challenging time. We also thank USG DGACM and his team for their continued support extended to the Office of the PGA.

While aligning ourselves with the statement delivered by Algeria on behalf of NAM, we would like to make the following observations and proposals in our national capacity:

First: The office of the President of General Assembly plays perhaps the most critical role in fulfillment of UN’s mandate, especially those assigned to the General Assembly by the Charter of the United Nations and the member states through various resolutions. Hence there is no alternative to the strengthening of the PGA’s office and adequately equipping it with resources, both logistics and substantive. In this regard, we take positive note of the incremental progress achieved so far, especially through implementation of various provisions of the GA resolutions including the recent ones, such as, taking oath of officeby the PGA and the adoption of Code of Ethics for the President of the General Assembly, as stipulated in paragraph 57 of the resolution 70/305.

Second: In terms of human resources, while we take note of the practice by the Member States sharing staff from their respective permanent missions on secondment to the Office of the President, ensuring staff support to the PGA’s office from the regular budget of the UN should be given greater consideration. In this regard, we also recall the request made in the General Assembly Res 72/313 and the previous resolutions, to the Secretary-General and the heads of specialized agencies, funds and programmes, to consider seconding staff to work in the Office of the PGA on a more systematic basis.

Third: We are encouraged to see the steps taken to ensure transparency and efficiency of the PGA’s office, includingthe practice of PGA’s periodic briefing to the Member States on his or her activities, handing over of summaries to the successors in a standardized format, and sharing of those with the member states, publishing status of contribution in the Trust Fund in the website, etc. In this regard, we refer to the relevant GA resolutions for development of a compendium of best practices of past Presidents that could serve to contribute to strengthening the institutional memory of the Office, and preservation of the records and institutional memory during her or his term of office by using existing United Nations record-keeping and archiving facilities and request their early implementation. Yet, we feel that more needs to be done particularly for the continuity of institutional memories of the OPGA and for ensuring longer transition time between the incoming and outgoing Presidents, as we heard from the PGA himself and USG DGACM.

Fourth: We encourage the PGAs to continue to strive for both gender and geographical balance within his Office, in line with the organizational goal of the UN.

Fifth: In view of the pandemic situation, we would like to see the PGA’s office taking additional measures for proper and efficient use of technology in its daily activities.

To conclude, we would like to reiterate our full support to the Ad hoc working group in its work in the coming days.

I thank you.