12 May 2023, New York – The UNITAR office in New York, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Ecuador and the Permanent Mission of Portugal, successfully held a workshop on the Relationship Between the General Assembly and the Security Council on 12 May 2023. The workshop was held in the Economic and Social Council Chamber and was attended by over 100 United Nations personnel from the General Assembly, Security Council, and various Permanent Missions.
The session was opened by Head of UNITAR New York Office, Mr. Marco Suazo, who introduced the President of the 77th General Assembly, H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi. The PGA acknowledged the efforts of UNITAR, the Permanent Mission of Ecuador, and the Permanent Mission of Portugal in organizing the workshop and stated the workshop’s relevance and importance to further strengthen the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council. He states that the General Assembly and the Security Council must not be divided; instead, the United Nations must be seen as a whole, unified body – “to peacefully settle, resolve conflicts, jointly address common challenges, and aim for transformation”.
Representatives of Permanent Missions then went on to speak on behalf of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The first two who spoke were Permanent Representatives of Ecuador and Portugal, having been UNITAR NYO’s partners in delivering the workshop. H.E. Ambassador Hernán Perez Loose, Permanent Representative of Ecuador stated: the Security Council and the General Assembly share the common goal of a future free from the scars of war. H.E. Ambassador Ana Paula Zacarias, Permanent Representative of Portugal reiterates the importance of this journey to bring all the bodies of the United Nations together — "so that we work as one United Nations".
H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein said, "This is where we can make a change, this is where we can come together seeking solutions that the President of the General Assembly also encourages us to do." H.E. Ambassador Pedro Comissário Afonso, Permanent Representative of Mozambique, and member of the Security Council in 2023, states: "We place great importance on the General Assembly because even when we say that the Security Council has the primary responsibility for peace and security ... the General Assembly is the source of that responsibility."
H.E. Ambassador Egriselda López, Permanent Representative of El Salvador went on to say, “The measures to reinforce the role between General Assembly and the Security Council is not a matter of competition — it's a matter of coordination, deliverance, and fulfilled expectations of the people that are outside of these premises”. Mr. Richard Gowan, International Crisis Group spoke about the differences between the General Assembly and the Security Council, and how these differences can be set aside to work towards a common goal. He states: “We should recognize that the General Assembly must be much more active than it is today”. Ms Blanca Montejo, Security Council Affairs Division, talks about the work of the Security Council Affairs Division and how the division works behind the scenes – what people do not see and realize about the work that happens behind the cameras and the public eye.
The last two speakers were from the Permanent Missions of Singapore and Switzerland. H.E. Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore spoke about the importance of the roles of each body (General Assembly and the Security Council), and how the two bodies must continue to work together to resolve conflicts and prioritize the issues that are crucial in international relations. He stated, “We must see the importance of the role of the Security Council but avoid de-emphasizing the role of the General Assembly; it is important for the General Assembly to pay attention to the work of the Security Council”. H.E. Ambassador Adrian Hauri, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland, delivered the closing remarks for the workshop and summarized the points of each distinguished speaker. He emphasized the importance of the workshop for the continued cooperation of the General Assembly and the Security Council, hopeful that, moving forward, this workshop served as a medium for both bodies to put more effort into working as one unit -- as one United Nations.