Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay Permanent Representative at the Plenary Debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, 20 February 2017.
Let me start by congratulating Ambassador Drobnjak of Croatia and Ambassador Emvula of Namibia for their excellent work during the last sessions of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly. I also warmly welcome Ambassador Nusseibeh in her new role as Co-Chair. It is always a pleasure to see women ambassadors taking up such important positions.
Hungary commends your leadership in this process, and I wish both of you good luck in facilitating the negotiations that will hopefully lead to the adoption of another meaningful resolution by consensus later this year.
Hungary supports the statement of the European Union and the statement made on behalf of the ACT Group as well as the statement of the Group of Friends for Gender Parity.
At the first meeting of this session, we would like to add a few remarks in our national capacity.
Before looking at this year’s challenges, it is worth to take stock of the landmark achievements of this Working Group of the last two sessions. By creating a more transparent and inclusive Secretary-General selection-process, we contributed to strengthening the United Nations’ credibility in the world and in the eyes of its people. Although there might be room for further improvements in the future, we are convinced that the increased transparency of the process and in particular the organization of the open hearings had a direct impact on the outcome and ensured that at the end the “best candidate” was selected for leading our noble organization. The decisions adopted in recent weeks by Secretary-General Guterres on, for instance, setting up the Executive Committee and restructuring the EOSG, improving coordination among different parts of the Secretariat, or strengthening the UN’s whistleblower protection policy all seem to prove that we have made the right choice.
We are also glad that in resolution 70/305, member states managed to agree on a number of measures that enhance the transparency, accountability, ethical operation and also the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the General Assembly.
While consolidating what has been achieved so far is crucial, in our view the successes of the last two years need to be used as source of inspiration and we should aim to go beyond.
We should make sure that equitable regional representation, regional rotation and gender balance are taken into account as the guiding principles when selecting new executive heads of the Organization. Hungary also shares the view that no state should have an exclusive right to fill specific posts. Senior UN officials should be selected by the SG independently, in a competitive process, and on the basis of the expertise of the candidates, while due regard being given to fair geographical distribution and to gender balance. We, therefore, commend the Secretary-General for already appointing several highly qualified female senior officials, for encouraging States to nominate candidates to certain posts in order to widen the pool of candidates, as well as for opening several SRSG and deputy SRSG posts. We encourage the SG to continue this approach and to explore what additional measures could be taken to ensure the transparency and professionalism of such processes.
Hungary remains committed to further strengthening the role and authority of the General Assembly, and supports the Secretary-General in his reform aspirations.
Although countless paragraphs in various resolutions – including the one on the revitalization of the GA – emphasize the need to improve working methods of the Main Committees, there are still some serious problems that need to be tackled. Hungary will support all attempts that aim at addressing this issue and will contribute to finding ways on how to make tangible improvement in the Committees’ work. Just like following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, last year the General Assembly once again proved that it can take action on issues of common concern to the international community, even when the Security Council was paralyzed and unable to do so. Hungary welcomed and supported the adoption of the General Assembly resolution initiated by Canada and demanding an immediate end to all hostilities in Syria and the other one initiated by Liechtenstein on the establishment of a mechanism to assist in the investigation of and prosecution for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria. We encourage the Ad Hoc Working Group to discuss and explore during its first thematic meeting the aforementioned cases with the intention to identify lessons learned, if any.
I thank You.