> back to statements
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations

at the First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization

of the General Assembly convened by the Co-Chairs

15 April 2009, UN Headquarters, New York


Distinguished Co-Chairs,

Thank you for recognizing the Philippines and giving the floor to it. The Philippines commends you for organizing this first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly.

The Philippines associates itself with the statement delivered by Algeria on behalf o the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). In addition, as a national statement, the Philippines wishes to make the following remarks.

For over sixteen years the Member States have been seized with the issue on the revitalization of the General Assembly. The term “revitalization” has been carefully chosen. It signifies a lot.

Much has been accomplished as shown in document A/62/952 circulated on 8 September 2008 and in document A/62/952/Add.1 distributed on 12 February 2009.

The sheer length of the documents and the exhaustive analysis and synthesis of the subjects covered therein demonstrate beyond doubt the extent of the tremendous efforts exerted behind their preparation. I commend and congratulate all those responsible for this magnum opus.

What is now left for us to do is how to put all these proposals on the revitalization of the General Assembly in a clearly visible manner for easy understanding. This calls for the practical and realistic presentation of the proposals on the basis of the three clusters of issues.

Let me premise my suggested approach in this regard with the assertion that most of the proposals would involve the amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly or some Articles of the UN Charter.

At the end of the day, we can come out with or produce The Revised Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, which shall contain some Rules as amended, or new rules, as the case may be, embodying adopted resolutions on procedures to revitalize the GA with footnotes or endnotes indicating the origin thereof - for instance, per resolution ---- adopted on -----, and new elements to achieve the desired purpose.

The specific issue of strengthening the General Assembly in relation to the Security Council is a bit problematic because it fundamentally involves amendments to some pertinent Articles of the UN Charter. Nevertheless, in the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reforms, the Philippine submitted specific proposals to preserve and enhance the supremacy and ascendancy of the General Assembly as the lawmaking body of the UN, and to stress the specific role of the Security Council as a mere agent of the General Assembly under Article 24 of the Charter insofar as the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security is concerned.

These proposals include:

  • amendments to Article 12 of the Charter by deleting from the first paragraph thereof that portion prohibiting the General Assembly to make a recommendation with regard to a dispute or situation unless requested by the Council; and vesting, instead, the GA the authority to make such recommendation if it so decides. Also, by making mandatory in the second paragraph the duty of the Secretary General to notify the GA at each session of any matter relative to the maintenance of international peace and security, etc.
  • amendments to Article 10 and 11 of the Charter by deleting therefrom the clause “except as provided in Article 12”.

On the issue of the role of the General Assembly in the election of the Secretary General, the Philippines maintains, as it proposed in the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, that efforts to democratize the operations and functioning of the UN should not leave out the matter of the selection and appointment of the Secretary General, the UN’s key central official. Current practice has virtually made the GA a mere rubber stamp of the Security Council because the Council is vested with the power to determine who should be appointed as Secretary General. Until now, I cannot find any acceptable explanation why the General Assembly of 192 Members, constituting as the law-making organ of the UN, should be deprived of the plenary power to elect the Secretary General and to be subjected instead to a prior restraint by a body of only 15 whose Members are themselves members of the GA. This restraint is another form of a veto.

Thus, the Philippines recommends that Article 97 of the Charter be amended by vesting such authority to the GA and not subjecting it to the recommendation of the Security Council. The GA may merely consult the Security Council.

It is our hope, our prayer, that the 63 rd session can accomplish something more visible and tangible.

The Co-Chairs can help us move forward and farther yet.

I thank you.

Philippine Center Building | 556 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10036 | (Between 45th and 46th)
Tel:(212)764-1300 | Fax:(212)840-8602 | E-mail: