Briefing for New Delegates on the 72nd Session of the General Assembly
11-12 September 2017 New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) hosted a two-day session with the Forum on Small States (FOSS), sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Singapore to the United Nations (UN) titled, “Briefing for Delegates on the 72nd Session of the General Assembly and the Main Committees”. The purpose of the short but intensive briefing was to introduce and familiarize new delegates, especially from FOSS member states, with the United Nations system and its various organs, bodies, constituents, and relevant rules and procedures in preparation for the opening of the 72nd Session of the GA.
The first day of the training was opened by the rising 72nd President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, alongside H.E. Mr. Burhanudeen Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN, and Mr. Marco A. Suazo, UNITAR New York Acting-Head of Office. H.E. Mr. Lajčák highlighted the importance of a people-centered approach to initiatives originating from the GA, enhancing prevention and mediation in peacebuilding, as well as issues of migration, sustainable development and human rights. His remarks established the foundation of the day’s discussions of the UN Charter, the GA Rules and Procedures, Management and Documentation, and the various responsibilities and functions of the First (Disarmament and International Security), Second (Economic and Financial), and Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committees of the GA. These discussions were expertly moderated by Dr. Colleen Thouez, UNITAR Senior Policy Advisor, and led by various UN experts, officers and committee chairs and secretaries, including H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations and Chair of the Second Committee.
The second day of the training was once again moderated by Dr. Thouez, and opened by H.E. Mr. Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño, Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations and Chair of the Fourth Committee. Alongside the Secretary of the Fourth Committee, H.E. Mr. Carreño discussed the work of the Committee on Special Political and Decolonization. The roles and functions of the Sixth committee was then introduced and elaborated by H.E. Mr. Burhanudeen Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singpaore to the UN and Chair of the Sixth Committee, alongside Principal Legal Officer of the Office of Legal Affairs. The remainder of the day was dedicated to explanations of the interactions within, and the revitalization of the General Assembly. Sessions included an introduction to Translation and Interpretation Series and to UN Elections, and an overview of the relationships of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Security Council to the General Assembly. The day was closed with engaging discourse on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly as a whole, led by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the UN.
The two-day briefing was concluded successfully, as the various sessions fully achieved its vision of preparing and enabling participants to successfully describe the functions, practices and procedures of the GA; identify and assess the main issues before the GA; determine the role of the President of the GA and informal consultations; gain an overview of critical issues to the work of the Main Committees; effectively engage in discussions on subject matters relevant to their respective committees; and become sensitized to the special procedures and dynamics of each committee.
Photos: Panelists and participants