General Briefing for Delegates on the Work of the Sixty-Eighth Session of the General Assembly
12 - 13 September, New York, USA - Professor Richard Gowan, Associate Director of the Managing Global Order Center in New York University along with Yvonne Lodico, Head of UNITAR’s New York Office, discussed the UN Charter. Dr. Gowant discussed the history of the UN Charter and how it was applied to certain topics like peacekeeping operations despite there were no mention in the charter. Also, the GA makes decisions about most peacekeeping mission. Ms. Lodico pointed out that the GA adopted the arms trade treaty by vote.
Mr. Ziad Mahmassani, in the General Assembly Affairs Branch spoke about both the Rules and Procedures of the General Assembly and the Agenda of the 68th General Assembly. In the first Mr. Mahmassani, explained the significance of GA rules and procedures in terms of following up meetings, voting, drafting a resolution and so on. He further discussed the agenda cycles and voting procedure for Committee Chair, which is currently controversial.
Mr. Larry Johnson, on negotiations and decision making in the GA, said that resolutions a multiple countries can sponsor and adopt resolutions. An adopted resolution can only be revised, draft resolutions cannot. He concluded his speech by stressing the importance of knowing the General Assembly rules.
Ms. Liya Zhang, Chief in Meetings Management System and Ms. Mereani Vakasisikakala, a coordinator in the Dag Hammarskjold Library discussed how to set up meetings, research documents.
The second day’s programme focused on the work of six main committees. First two speakers in the morning session were from the first committee which is about the Disarmament and International Security.
For the Second Committee, H.E. Mr. George Wilfred Talbot of Guyana out going chiar spoke about the economic and financial issues covered in that committee. He said that in terms of the UN development agenda, the committee has been the incubator of the process of the development. He also spoke about the dates the committee operates and how many issues are being discussed and drafted as resolution during the committees operating term. Ms. Jennifer De Laurentis, the Secretary of both the second committee and the ECOSOC, discussed the technical issues that need to be followed up during the committee meetings.
Mr. Otto Gustafik who is the secretary of the third committee (Social, Human and Cultural) spoke about the issues are covered in the committee and working methods of the committee. While Ms. Emer Herity is the secretary of the fourth committee (Special Political and Decolonization) discussed about again the working methods and procedures of the committee.
Ms. Juliana Gaspar Ruas, the out going vice-chair of the Fifth committee (Administrative and Budgetary) shared her experience with the delegates. Mr. Wiryanto Sumitro, deputy secretary of the Fifth committee spoke about the organs and bodies of the work of the committee.
Mr. Arnold Pronto,assistant secretary of the Sixth committee (Legal) spoke about the working methods and historical change of the committee. For instance, some issues discussed in Security Council actually commenced in the Sixth Committee. Terrorism was one of the topics covered in the sixth committee, and then the Security Council started working on the topic.
The two-day General Assembly briefing took place in the Conference Building and in the Trusteeship Council Chamber – providing delegates are real sense of the forthcoming meetings in which they will be participating.