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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

59th Session of the UN General Assembly - Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organizations

Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations

Item 10 Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organizations.

Fifty-ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly New York, 7 October 2004

Mr. President,

We congratulate you on your election and wish you well in the important work ahead.

 

We thank the Secretary-General for his presentation of the comprehensive report on the work of the Organization (A/59/1), which maps out the daunting tasks before the UN. Rather than addressing any of the specific issues, I will concentrate on a prerequisite for success in general; that is, revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and strengthening of the UN system.

 

Iceland welcomes the successful implementation of the resolutions 58/126 and 58/361 adopted at the 58th General Assembly, on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, and looks forward to further improvements of our work. Iceland appreciates the memorandum by the Secretary General on the Organization of this session of the General Assembly, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items (A/BUR/59/1), in which agenda items are organized under headings corresponding to the priorities of the Organization, as contained in the medium-term plan.

 

It is in the spirit of efficiency that Iceland has decided to cover in this speech today under the heading “Organizational, administrative and other matters” items which were also addressed at last Monday’s debate on Revitalization, and which will be addressed at next Monday’s debate on the reforms of the Security Council.

 

Enhancing the authority and role of the General Assembly and improving the working methods of the General Assembly should continue to be based on the good work already carried out. New rules for exchange of information between the two bodies, the General Assembly and the Security Council, as decided in resolution 58/126, with periodical reports from the Security Council to the General Assembly and formal consultations, should increase the transparency and thereby the efficiency of the Organization.

 

Streamlining the work in the General Assembly is, however, part of a much greater challenge to adjust our multilateral structures to be able to deal with threats to global security. The recommendations of the Secretary-General in light of the work of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change will serve as a valuable step towards the reform we have long called for.

 

Mr. President,

 

The delicate question of reform of the Security Council has long occupied our work.  Although reform of the Security Council will not solve all our problems – failure to address this issue will act as a brake on effective revitalisation in other areas.

 

Iceland has persistently called for the reform of the Council in order to make it more representative. The current composition of the Security Council neither mirrors today’s geopolitical realities nor the increased membership of the United Nations. At the same time the efficiency of the Council in coping with the serious issues on its agenda must be secured. The Icelandic Government supports an increase in the non-permanent category as well as an allocation of permanent seats to Japan, India, Germany and Brazil. Africa must also be ensured a permanent seat on the Council.

 

Iceland believes strongly that changes are long overdue. If we grasp this chance for reform, sixty years after the founding of the UN, the United Nations will strengthen its role as the forum for addressing major threats to the world’s security for the coming future. We are ready to work together with colleagues to ensure a good reception for the result of the panel’s work. Iceland looks forward to, in the words of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the “bold and practicable recommendations” of the High Level Panel and to his recommendations on the basis of the panel’s report.

 

Thank you Mr. President.



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