23 May

Intervention by H.E. Amb. Katalin Bogyay Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations, at the Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly Strengthening the Office of the President of the General Assembly,
23 May 2016.

Distinguished Co-chairs,

Hungary commends your leadership in this process, and fully appreciates the draft text introduced just now.

Hungary supports the statement of the European Union and the statement made on behalf of the ACT Group. The next couple of comments we will make in our national capacity.

The draft builds on the dynamics created by the adoption of resolution 69/321. This year we have a chance to repeat the success story, and adopt another meaningful resolution by consensus.

While the draft text contains a number of new elements in all of its chapters, which will surely entice lively debate, let me focus on two major issues.

On the selection of the Secretary-General, we support the redrafting of OPs 32, 33, 34,. Those paragraphs reinforce the practical advances that the United Nations has made in the field of inclusivity, transparency, and openness of the selection process.

Having said that, we consider the adjustment in OP37 as a significant step back, compared to the original OP38 of resolution 69/321. The principle of geographical balance is missing from OP37, as it only speaks of gender balance and qualifications. As the trinity of “qualifications, gender and geographical balance” is a traditional, agreed element, leaving out one of the principles a couple months before the end of the selection process would amount to “a change in the rules of the game” at its very late stage. This has to be rectified through building on agreed language, putting geographical balance back into the text.

On the question of the strengthening of the Office of the PGA, our aim is to adopt a comprehensive reform package. The report of the Secretary-General and the current draft creates an excellent basis for that. If a few elements do not enjoy consensus, those can be retained for future discussions, without hampering the adoption of the package.

We strongly support most of the proposals on the Office as they are, including the ones that would provide more support, continuity, accountability and transparency and put the President-elect into a more favorable position already in the preparatory phase.

In the meantime we will put forward some amendments that would enhance the text by bringing it more in line with the proposals in Paragraph 68. of the Secretary-General’s Report. These will include a request to the Presidents to make use of the record keeping and archiving facility that form part of the archives of the United Nations; requesting the Presidents to hand over written reports at the end of their tenure; widen the financial transparency requirements of the Office beyond the Trust Fund.

Hungary agrees with the approach of the Co-Chairs to include only those elements into the draft that do not have budgetary implications. However, some of the shortcomings and inequalities exist because more than two-thirds of the staff and financial resources s of the Office must come from extra-budgetary resources. This is unprecedented in the UN System. The issues with potential program budget implications should be taken up in the Fifth Committee as it is promulgated by the draft.

Thank you Co-chairs!

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