Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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Making the UN fit for purpose to achieve the SDGs

Statement given yesterday by Ambassador Karen Pierce on General Assembly Revitalisation.

Thank you very much indeed, Mr Chairman.

Mr President and our two co-chairs, thank you very much for convening this discussion. Thank you very much for all the work you’re putting into this important subject. We look forward to the discussions you’ve convened over the coming months as we prepare for this year’s revitalisation process. And we look forward to working constructively to achieve the goals of revitalising the work of this important General Assembly.

As we all know, it’s a significant year for the United Nations as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. This means we have an opportunity for the UN both to reflect on 75 years of cooperation that have got us where we are today and to renew itself to a new generation fit for purpose to tackle the challenges ahead.

As we enter the decade of action, we need to settle our ambitions high to realise the SDGs and fulfill our 2030 agenda. And now, more than ever, we need a General Assembly that’s fit for purpose, not just having a noble purpose, focused and action oriented.

To ensure the “future we want and the UN we need”, in the United Kingdom’s view, revitalisation needs to firstly address the proliferation of resolutions, high-level events and side events. It’s clear that our ever increasing burden of work is unsustainable most notably, but not only, for small delegations.

Secondly, re-focus the GA’s resolutions to be action-oriented and specifically linked to achieving the SDGs. Now is the time to act. It is the final opportunity for the international community to deliver the SDGs is on time.

Thirdly, to take steps to limit the number of GA resolutions that call for a report by the Secretary-General to promote sustainable and effective working methods.

And finally, work to make the UN a safer, more welcoming space for civil society and to promote youth engagement.

Mr President, co-chairs, we should ask ourselves why have we made little progress on these issues in recent years and whether we need to consider alternative approaches to inform our discussions. Successful revitalisation would facilitate a more effective, efficient and relevant General Assembly. It will not only reshape our ways of working, but also reinvigorate our engagement with the world around us and uphold the future of multilateralism. The United Kingdom is committed to the success of the UN and looks forward to engaging with colleagues in a positive and progressive revitalisation process this year. And you can count on us, co-chairs to support you and help you in your endeavour.

Thank you.


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