General Assembly General Assembly

Statement By

Counsellor Anjani Kumar

at the Ad Hoc Working Group  on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly (AHWG)

General Debate

 20 February 2018



Distinguished Co-Chairs,


I thank you for convening this meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.


I congratulate the Permanent Representatives of Croatia and Colombia upon their appointment as co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly during its 72nd session and wish them success. I also acknowledge the excellent work by the co-chairs during the 71st Session.


I also thank the President of the General Assembly for his insightful remarks about the need for a revitalized General Assembly to fulfil its mandates under the UN Charter.




At the outset, I align myself with the statement made by Algeria on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.


The primacy of General Assembly flows from the universality of its membership and the principle of sovereign equality of all its members.


The effectiveness, relevance and longevity of any institution lies in its dynamic character, its ability to adapt itself to the changing times so that it does not only uphold the timeless values but also addresses the emerging problems and challenges of the day.


My delegation engaged actively in the debate that led to the adoption of Resolution A/71/323 by the General Assembly during the previous session for improvements in the process and conduct of elections; furthering the cause of multilingualism at the United Nations; and facilitating better cooperation between the member states and the secretariat, among others.




We firmly believe that the position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations, as mandated by the UN Charter, needs to be restored and respected in letter and in spirit. The General Assembly must lead in setting the global agenda and in restoring the centrality of the UN in formulating multilateral approaches to addressing emerging challenges and resolving transnational issues.


However, the role and authority of the General Assembly has been progressively undermined by the expansive role and activism of the Security Council. Despite being the collective voice of the mankind, the General Assembly has been unable to live up to its unique role as mandated by Article 10 of the UN Charter. Also, over the years, it has steadily lost touch with its core responsibilities and is increasingly involved only with processes. This is counterproductive to the overall effectiveness and relevance of the United Nations and multilateralism.


Although the progress has been slow, the process of revitalization of the General Assembly has brought about some improvements in the last few years to meet the increasingly complex demands of our rapidly-changing world. We must, therefore, continue our efforts to reform and revitalize while ensuring that the gains achieved so far are institutionalized.


My delegation will make further concrete proposals for revitalization of the General Assembly and will continue to work actively for this broader purpose with other delegations.




One of the most notable events in the calendar of the UN is the Annual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly during which the focus of the world shifts on the General Assembly as world leaders debate and highlight the common goals and challenges.

We need to ask ourselves whether we have been able to preserve the importance of the General Debate or if it has turned into an annual ritual.

We attach high importance to the Annual General Debate of the UNGA and call for addressing issues that can enhance its salience and associated activities.




While discussing the revitalization of the General Assembly, it is imperative not to lose sight of the rich legacy of the General Assembly. It is worth recalling that the very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946 dealt with a major issue of the day i.e., establishment of a commission to deal with the problem raised by the discovery of atomic energy. The General Assembly must regain its leadership role in addressing major challenges facing the world. The success of the United Nations and multilateralism depends on the effectiveness of the General Assembly.

The revitalization of the General Assembly must also be seen in the wider context of the overall reform of the United Nations, including the reform of the Security Council, which the General Assembly has been struggling to adopt for last 25 years.


It is our firm belief that the urgent and comprehensive UN reform is imperative to make it reflective of current geopolitical realities and to enhance its credibility and capability to meet increasingly complex and pressing transnational challenges of our times.




Time for change has come. Let us make genuine efforts to strengthen the role of General Assembly as the chief deliberative, legislative, policy-making and representative body of the international community.


The General Assembly must lead in global-agenda setting, policy-making, and finding solutions to global challenges. This will help strengthen the legitimacy of the United Nations and the multilateralism itself.


You can count on my delegation's constructive support and participation in these efforts.


I thank you, Distinguished Co-Chairs.