STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 137: PATTERN OF CONFERENCES, AT THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 27 October 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Our Group wishes to thank Ms. Abo Ai, Chair of the Committee on Conferences and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), for introducing their respective reports. We also wish to thank the Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, Mr. Movses Abelian, for introducing the report of the Secretary-General.
3. The Group commends the Committee on Conferences for the valuable work during its substantive session in 2023 and for the quality of its report. We trust that the proposed draft resolution will serve as a good framework for the consideration of this item.
4. We also express our gratitude to the staff of the DGACM for their continued efforts to assure the vitality of labors of the Organization and for the actions implemented during 2022 to gradually return to the pre-pandemic levels of in-person meetings, allowing the Organization to fulfill its mandates.
5. The Group continues to call for the delivery of quality conference services in accordance with the equal treatment of the six official languages of the United Nations in support of the work of the intergovernmental and expert bodies of the UN.
6. As it is enshrined in the UN Charter, this Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members. This principle must be ensured at every moment, which means that conference modalities must not allow for different treatment among Member States, including by preventing any impediments that would hinder member states from participating in virtual or in-person meetings.
7. The Group is aware that the liquidity shortage faced by the Organization has led to a freeze in hiring, which particularly affects the staff in the language services. In this regard, we commend the steps taken to reach out to language professionals, especially from the regions of Africa and Latin American and Caribbean, as a means of diversifying language backgrounds and promoting the equitable geographical representation of the staff.
8. The Group also commends the efforts of the Secretariat as regards the utilization of conference-servicing resources by the United Nations organs and believes further steps are needed in this regard. We also note that communication between other departments and DGACM is a key element for the timely publication of reports and that more efforts are required in this area, especially concerning reports to be presented to the Fifth Committee.
9. The G-77 and China supports the Secretary-General and Member States to adhere to the guidelines and procedures contained in the administrative instruction for the authorization of the use of United Nations premises for meetings, conferences, special events and exhibits. We remind that every activity hosted in its facilities must be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
10. We support the steps taken to increase the accessibility of persons with disability to the United Nations premises and conference services. We encourage the Secretary General to continue his efforts to ensure accessibility of all individuals to all duty stations.
11. With respect to conferencing facilities, the Group will request detailed information on this matter, especially in terms of the Economic Commission for Africa where regular renovations, holistic renovation of the aged Addis Ababa campus and technological improvements are needed to ensure that the Commission maintains its ability to provide cutting-edge conference services.
12. The Group also continues to be concerned by the deteriorating conditions of the Nairobi conference center, which are severely hampering its capacity to provide conference services, especially for the regular calendar meetings of United Nations bodies headquartered in Nairobi. The Group looks forward to the start of the project that should address the aforementioned deteriorating conditions and that must be adequately funded.
13. In conclusion, the Group stands ready to engage constructively on this agenda item and looks forward to its timely conclusion.
I thank you.