General News

64th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session- Part 2

Delegates Say Efficiency, Not Just Cost-Cutting, Is Main Aim; President Makes Appeal for Victims of Honduras Flood Disaster.

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the strengthening of the United Nations system.

The representative of Indonesia said reforms in the United Nations system must be undertaken with the full concurrence and participation of the developing countries, which constituted a majority of the membership. It was of pivotal importance, he added, that the General Assembly, the highest deliberative and decision-making organ, functioned effectively, focusing on major issues of political significance.

The representative of Japan said the purpose of efforts to reform the United Nations was not to downsize the Organization merely for the sake of economy, but to strengthen it by rationalizing its functioning, and enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness. He suggested that resources saved as a result of rationalization and reform be reinvested in United Nations priority activities, especially those in the area of development. “United Nations reform is a pressing issue”, he warned, “we are indeed in a race against time.”

Speaking for the members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the representative of Jamaica said those countries would like to see the universal nature and democratic character of the Assembly preserved. Steps should be taken to enhance the capacity of the Assembly and its subsidiary bodies to provide clear and coherent policy direction.

The representative of Nigeria said that after 50 years of the United Nations, there was the perception that it was “biting off more than it could chew”. The paradox was why Member States continued to multiply their demands, without equipping the Organization with the material and human resources to deliver.

Statements were also made by the representatives of New Zealand, Malta, Colombia, Cuba, South Africa, Philippines, United States, Ireland (on behalf of the European Union), India, Brunei Darussalam, Republic of Korea, Zimbabwe and Malaysia.

At the outset of the meeting, the President of the Assembly, Razali Ismail (Malaysia), called on the international community to respond adequately to appeals for help from the Government of Honduras following the floods which struck the nation at the weekend. He extended the “deepest sympathy” of the Assembly to the Honduran people.

Gerardo Martinez Blanco (Honduras) told the Assembly that ten people were so far known to have lost their lives in the floods. About 55,000 people were affected, with thousands of acres and crops amounting to millions of dollars in the export sector damaged. A health emergency had been declared, and there was particular concern for the children. There was extensive damage to roads and bridges, and the disruption of telecommunications had effectively cut off the northern part of the country. The receipt and distribution of emergency aid was being conducted, and he appealed to the international community to help mitigate the effects of the disaster.

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