Statement by H.E. Amb. Hu Xiaodi, Head of the Chinese Delegation on Improving the Effectiveness of the Methods of Work of the First Committee (October 15, 2004, New York)
For years, the UNGA First Committee, as the most representative international forum on security and disarmament, has played a significant role in promoting international arms control and disarmament process and enhancing international security and stability. Under the changing international situation, there is room indeed for improving working methods and enhancing the efficiency of the Committee. China supports the appropriate improvement of the methods of work of this Committee, and is willing to discuss on proposals tabled by various parties.
The improvement of the working methods of the First Committee are complicated tasks that involve many aspects. Therefore, it is unrealistic to reach the goal in one move. We need to keep patient and advance in a step-by-step manner. China believes that improvement should abide by following basic principles:
First, the nature of the First Committee as the most representative international forum on security and disarmament shall not be changed. Improving the methods of work of the First Committee shall focus on taping the potential of the Committee, enhancing its role and improving its efficiency.
Second, democratic approach and universal participation in the work of the Committee shall not be jeopardized, and the right of each member state to express views on issues of its concern shall be ensured.
Third, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the methods of work of the Committee shall proceed in line with the reform of the UN as a whole and that of other disarmament mechanisms within the UN framework. Reform should contribute to strengthening the position and role of these multilateral arms control mechanism.
Fourth, measures of improvement shall be feasible and reflect concerns of all parties.
As for concrete measures of improvement and adjustment, we are in favor of electing the Bureau of the Committee in advance, encouraging countries to shorten the time of statement in the general debate as appropriate, establishing a rolling list of speakers, clustering some resolutions and making them more pertinent, paying attention to related budget issues. We hope these measures will be conducive to improving the efficiency of the Committee, and making the Committee in a better position to fulfill its functions.
However, on the other hand, according to the views expressed by various parties on other proposals, many countries, especially the developing countries widely believe that some suggestions, such as imposing a ceiling on the number of resolutions and decisions adopted by the Committee each year, limiting the number of studies commissioned by the Committee, instituting automatic "sunset" provisions for all UN activities generated by the Committee, are neither practical nor feasible, and go contrary to the spirit of democracy, undermining the Committee's role in enhancing international peace and security. China shares these views.
Moreover, China is of the view that clustering the agenda items of the First Committee deserves further study, but clustering suggestions should be reasonable and feasible, without affecting the Committee's discussion and consideration on substantive issues. Biennializing or triennializing the consideration of some agenda items should be conducted on voluntary basis and decided by the co-sponsors themselves.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.