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UNGA involved only with processes rather than substance: India

PTI | United Nations |

The UN General Assembly is involved only with pious expressions rather than leadership and concrete action, India has said, calling for reinvigorating the world body.

"Without effective reform, the UNGA will remain, at best, a marginal player in solving the great problems of our times," India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal said at an ad-hoc working group revitalisation of the General Assembly here.

"The General Assembly has steadily lost touch with its core responsibilities and is increasingly involved only with processes rather than substance; pious expressions rather than leadership and concrete action," he said.

Lal said the General Assembly is the "closest thing" to a global parliament that mankind has been able to achieve so far but the role and authority of the Assembly are being "progressively undermined" by the "expansive role and activism of the Security Council", much beyond what is laid down in the UN Charter.

Lal noted that this is not a healthy development for the continued success and relevance of the highest form of multilateralism that the UN represents.

"We must proactively work collectively to restore the pre-eminence of the United Nations together with a revitalised and reinvigorated General Assembly as its chief policy-making body," he said during the February 20 session.

Emphasising that faith in the UN cannot be restored until it is reformed to reflect contemporary realities, Lal said the 193-member General Assembly, as the chief deliberative and policy-making body, occupies a pre-eminent place in this process.

Lal pointed out that while the overall progress on the General Assembly revitalisation has been slow and marginal, he termed as "encouraging" the recent changes introduced in the selection process of the UN Secretary General.

"We need to strive for such concrete changes in various aspects of the role, authority and functioning of the General Assembly to regain the leadership role envisaged for it," he said.

Lal further said the processes of balloting for elections conducted in the General Assembly may be a useful place to begin to address issues relating to its working methods.

"Our submission to you is to consider examining the electoral practices and mechanisms that we are currently following at the time of casting ballots in the General Assembly Hall," he said.

Lal underscored that collectively it is time for the UN members to consider fine-tuning the system of balloting in the General Assembly in accordance with the needs of the current times.