Opening the meeting, General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said given the ongoing dire and critical global financial and economic situation and the utmost urgency for Member States and the United Nations system to find a common and lasting solution soon, and on the request of Member States, he proposed to reschedule the Conference.
Following extensive consultations with representatives of negotiating groups and regional groups, a consensus had been reached, he explained. A letter to that effect, dated 22 May and circulated today by the President, explained that it is the common endeavor to ensure the success of the Conference, which would depend on a “positive and forward-looking outcome document and the active engagement of the political leadership of the Member States at the highest possible level”.
He also stated in the letter: “I have heard the concerns expressed by some Member States”, and reiterated that the process would be open, comprehensive, transparent and inclusive, and, above all, driven by Member States. Committed to ensuring that the draft outcome document, “at all stages of its evolution”, would be negotiated and approved by Member States by consensus consistent with General Assembly resolution 63/277, the Assembly President appealed to all to agree on its text “no later than Monday, 15 June”.
Welcoming the decision to reschedule the meeting on behalf of the European Union (EU), the representative of the Czech Republic said, however, that the EU still had some concerns and reservations regarding the transparency of the process. In that connection, he noted the President’s assurances to make every effort to ensure transparency, and in light of those assurances, said the EU would be a strong partner in that regard and was ready to work with all Member States in the weeks and days ahead in a spirit of cooperation and inclusiveness. It was his hope that the meeting would produce consensual results.
The representative of the Sudan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, expressed appreciation that consensus had been reached on the new dates. He said the good spirit that had prevailed during the recent negotiations would ensure the successful outcome of the international meeting, and he was fully confident that both the facilitators and Member States would spare no effort towards that goal.
Haiti’s representative, on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the group attached great significance to the upcoming meeting and viewed it as an important step to addressing the global financial and economic crisis. The meeting offered small island developing States like Haiti an opportunity to seek solutions to the financial crisis that would otherwise elude them. Thus, CARICOM welcomed the proposal to shift the meeting to the new dates. The importance that the regional organization attached to the meeting had been fully expressed at CARICOM’s recent ministerial meeting, at which member countries committed themselves to attending the high-level Conference. The ministers had accepted the new dates and had called on the General Assembly President to write to all Member States urging them to attend the meeting.
In closing today, the Assembly President said he would soon inform Member States of the first meeting of intergovernmental negotiations on the Conference’s draft outcome document. He urged Permanent Representatives to attend that meeting, which he said would be open.