Excerpts from the position of the G-77 on specifc actions contained in the Report of the Secretary-General on UN reform


Introductory remarks

In the context of the ongoing open-ended consultations of the General Assembly Plenary on Agenda Item 157: United Nations Reform: Measures and Proposals, on 14 October 1997, the Group of 77 and China tabled its preliminary position on the Report of the Secretary General: Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform (A/51/950).

In its submission, the Group emphasized the following general principles:

Any reform measures which do not require General Assembly approval should be implemented within the framework of the existing legislative mandates. Action on any measures and proposals in document A/51/950, unless decided otherwise, shall be implemented without prejudice to existing resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly or of other intergovernmental bodies.

Financial implications of any reform measure or proposal on which the General Assembly shall take action should be considered in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

Proposals for any change in financial and staff rules and regulations required as a result of the implementation of the reform measures and proposals should be submitted to the General Assembly by the Secretary General for its consideration and approval.

Reform proposals and measures must be fully consistent with the Medium-Term Plan which constitutes the principal policy directive of the Organization. The main objective of the reform measures and proposals should be to enable the United Nations to implement fully all mandated programmes and activities.

Following the Secretariat’s response to comments and queries issued on 21 October 1997, the Group of 77 and China has prepared its preliminary position on a number of actions as listed below. This preliminary position should be read in conjunction with the Group’s earlier position paper issued on 14 October 1997.

Action 1: Senior Management Group

The Senior Management Group (SMG) can be in principle a good idea. While acting in an advisory capacity, the SMG can play a very important policy role. Since a handful of countries over the years have occupied some key posts, and thus will land by definition in SMG, it is necessary that the Secretary General provides further assurance to the Group of 77 that there will be non-permanence of representation and that the membership of that group would be drawn on the basis of the principle of equitable geographical representation. The Group of 77 would also like assurances that SMG’s actions will not impinge on the decision-making role of member states as stipulated in the Charter.

Furthermore, the Group reiterates its earlier position that the SMG should not lead to another bureaucratic layer of decision-making in the Secretariat and its role should avoid duplication of the functions which are carried out in the various departments and offices of the United Nations system

Action 7: ECOSOC Secretariat

(a) The Group of 77 and China generally supports the proposal to establish a substantive ECOSOC Secretariat. However, the normal procedure of examining the financial implications by the Fifth Committee should be followed before its implementation.

(b) While the Group sees merit in the review of DESA and UNCTAD with a view to reinforcing complementarities, however the distinctive contribution of these two bodies, as well as their legislative mandates should be preserved.

Action 12: UNEP and Habitat

The Group of 77 and China generally supports the Secretary General’s proposal to strengthen UNEP and HABITAT. The Group, however, reiterates its position that the development of new measures for strengthening these two organizations should be broadened to include the recommendations of HABITAT II and UNGASS, 1997. Furthermore, the clarification made in the Secretariat paper of 20 October 1997 is unclear on the issue of UNEP’s funding role. In this regard, the Group reiterates its position that the Secretary General should provide clarification reaffirming UNEP’s funding role.

Action 21: Development Dividend

The Group of 77 and China supports, in principle, the idea of development dividend. However, the Secretary General should provide the CRP promised in his circular of 21 October 1997 to clarify on important issues relating to the mobilization of resources and their allocation for this purpose. The Group stresses that the relevant Committees of the General Assembly should be involved in the discussions on this issue. Furthermore, it should be made clear that the Development Dividend Fund should be sizeable and it will be used to finance development activities in the developing countries. The reference of the use of this fund for economic and social issues as reflected in the report is unclear. The issue of the total amount to be mobilized for this fund should also be discussed with a view to increasing the resources needed for this purpose. Furthermore, the Group of 77 would like to be assured that the resources envisaged to be raised within the specific context of this proposal would be linked to the mobilization of financial resources for long-term development objectives. Further clarification is thus necessary.

For the full text of the G-77 proposal on UN reform click here.