Global Policy Forum

GA President Razali Announces Plan to Negotiate

December 17, 1996

At the 87th Plenary meeting of the 51st UN General Assembly, held on 17 December 1996 at UN headquarters in New York, Ambassador Razali (Malaysia), President of the 51st UN General Assembly, made the following announcement:

"Members will recall Chapter V, Section F of the Report of the Economic and Social Council concerns non-governmental organizations. This section contains the text of the Council decision 1996/297, entitled "Non-Governmental Organizations," by which the Economic and Social Council decided to recommend that the General Assembly examine, at its fifty-first session, the question of the participation of non-governmental organizations in all areas of the work of the United Nations, in the light of the experience gained through the arrangements for consultation between non-governmental organizations and the Economic and Social Council.

Members will recall that on 26 November 1996, I announced that I had requested His Excellency Mr. Ahmad Kamal, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, to undertake informal soundings with Member States and non-governmental organizations, in order to make a proper determination on the methodology, as well as on the substantive issue of facilitating the participation of non-governmental organizations in all areas of the work of the United Nations.

I have now recieved a report from Ambassador Ahmad Kamal on his informal soundings, held on the 2nd, 9th and 11th of December 1996. Member States and non-governmental organizations accord priority to the matter, and they expect an urgent, focussed, and result-oriented action on the subject during the fifty-first session of the General Assembly.

After the consultations that I have undertaken with Member States and the bureau of the High-level Working Group on the Stregthening of the United Nations System, I intend to establish a sub-group of the high-level working group. The group can commence its work simultaneously with the high-level working group next year. Its first task would be to determine, within the perimetres of the Economic and Social Council decision 1996/297, its programme of work, its working methods, and its timetable, and then go on to address the substantive aspects of the subject, with due regard to the urgency attached by Members on the matter.

I should like to thank Ambassador Kamal for his diplomacy and leadership in conducting, on my behalf, the informal soundings. His knowledge of the subject should be of great help to the sub-group that would be set up."

The schedule of the meetings of the Open-ended high-level Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations System in 1997 is as follows:

Thursday, 23 January, to Tuesday, 28 January

Monday, 24 February, to Thursday, 27 February

Monday, 12 May, to Friday, 16 May

Monday, 19 May, to Friday, 23 May

Monday, 9 June, to Friday, 13 June.

More Information on NGOs and the General Assembly


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