Remarks at the Ad-Hoc Working Group Meeting for UN General Assembly Revitalization

David Lee
Senior Advisor for Political Affairs
New York, New York
March 11, 2021


Thank you, Ambassador Mlynar and Ambassador Lopez, for gathering us today. Chef de Cabinet Brink and Under-Secretary-General Abelian, thank you, again. We learned a lot.

A transparent, efficient, and lean Office of the President of the General Assembly focused on facilitating the work of the General Assembly can build trust in the UN. It can enhance member states’ relationships with each other and enable them to address global challenges effectively.

We applaud President Bozkir and his team’s commitment to UNGA revitalization. Prioritizing this revitalization work demonstrates the reform-minded approach President Bozkir is taking in his role, and we welcome your efforts.

Each June, UNGA member states vote to elect a new PGA. These are critically important votes that will impact governance of the General Assembly and shape its priorities for the following year. The United States supports the election of highly qualified, reform-minded leaders across the UN system, including at the PGA level.

A one-year term for the PGA allows the President and his or her team to present fresh ideas and creates a sense of urgency to advance the President’s priorities. The annual transition can, however, often sacrifice institutional knowledge.

As Chef de Cabinet Brink discussed, we commend the OPGA for making important strides to transfer best practices from one Presidential team to the next, but more should be done to ensure that institutional memory is retained and utilized across Presidencies. We encourage a range of creative proposals that would improve the operations of the PGA’s Office within its mandate and resources.

Thank you, President Bozkir and co-chairs, for convening today’s meeting. We look forward to participating in our subsequent discussions.