The Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly convened its annual plenary session for 2012 in New York from November 7-8 to examine major economic and political issues affecting the international community, St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Menissa Rambally announced today.
The meeting was held at the conference facilities of the Permanent Mission of St. Lucia to the United Nations, and was led by Council of Presidents Chairman Dr. Julian R. Hunte who was president of the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Dr. Hunte is a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of St. Lucia, and also served as St. Lucia’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Ambassador Rambally explained that St. Lucia was honoured to have hosted the distinguished former presidents of the General Assembly whose “wealth of knowledge and experience in chairing the United Nations General Assembly represents a collective memory so critical to addressing contemporary development challenges facing the international community, in particular small States as St. Lucia.”
“I was especially pleased to facilitate the meeting under the chairmanship of former President Hunte who is a highly respected senior diplomat who served at the highest levels of the United Nations as the President of the General Assembly.”
Ambassador Rambally explained that the Council deliberations covered a wide range of issues including the role of the United Nations as the principal multilateral organization in the promotion of peace, security, and sustainable development; and the recognition that the United Nations was the most universal of international bodies in the promotion of multilateral cooperation.
The ambassador noted that accelerating the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals was an important focus of the discussions between the Council members and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their annual luncheon meeting with senior U.N. officials.
“Emphasis was also placed on the need for the international community to deliver on its aid commitments and to mobilize necessary resources to meet development goals of member States,” the ambassador said.
According to Ambassador Rambally, the Council expressed its deep regret for the devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy in a number of Caribbean countries and North America, and emphasised the importance of a mutually agreed climate change treaty with financing to assist the most vulnerable countries. To this end, the Council was deeply concerned about the slow pace of reconstruction in Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake which made them more susceptible to further damage and human suffering.
“The Council also strongly encouraged the parties to continue their efforts towards a successful arms treaty – a particularly important issue in the context of small arms which continue to pose a significant problem in the Caribbean,” the ambassador pointed out.
Other issues addressed by the Council included the unresolved nature of the Middle East situation, the desirability of resumption in the Israeli – Palestinian peace talks, the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing military conflict in Syria, and the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the north of Mali.
Also examined were the regional dimension of the situation in the Korean Peninsula, and the unfinished decolonisation mandate of the United Nations with respect to some 16 remaining dependencies worldwide including seven in the Caribbean.
The Council of Presidents was formed in 1997 at United Nations Headquarters in New York as an advisory body to the United Nations system on the issues affecting the international community.