Vincentian envoy chairs UN reform group

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ U.N. Ambassador, Camillo Gonsalves, says he is honored to be appointed co-chair of a working group on the revitalization of the United Nations General Assembly.

“I am honored to have been appointed to the co-facilitator position,” Gonsalves told Caribbean Life after U.N. General Assembly President Joseph Deiss disclosed his selection.

“The United Nations is at a pivotal point in its development,” Gonsalves said. “While it remains the preeminent and most legitimate multilateral body in the world, it is an accepted truth that it needs to reform and revitalize in order to better respond to changing global realities.

“Also, new regional and ad-hoc groupings of states, as well as Civil Society, are performing tasks and taking decisions traditionally reserved to the U.N. General Assembly,” he added.

Gonsalves said his selection came on the heels of his “well-received September statement at the United Nations General Assembly on the role of the United Nations in global governance.”

He also said it came in the wake of his “recent advocacy for reform of the U.N. and the Security Council.”

As is the practice at the U.N., Gonsalves will represent the interests of the ‘South,’ or developing world, on the working group, co-chairing it with Amb. Dalius ÄŒekuolis of L.ithuania.

Gonsalves said ÄŒekuolis, a former president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is also a “strong advocate for U.N. revitalization.”

In their Nov. 11 meeting, the Vincentian envoy said Deiss indicated that he had been “impressed by the depth” of Gonsalves’ commitment to reforming the United Nations, his opinions on the centrality of the global body and its Charter, and his national advocacy for good governance.

He also told Gonsalves that he had instructed his entire staff to read and discuss St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ September 2010 address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Gonsalves said the Ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly is “mandated to identify further ways to enhance the role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency of the Assembly, and to submit a report of recommendations to the General Assembly at the end of the current Session in September 2011.”

The Vincentian diplomat previously served as co-facilitator of the pivotal United Nations High Level Conference on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis and its Impact on Development.

He said St. Vincent and the Grenadines was “widely praised for its leading role in helping the international community arrive at a common roadmap for combating the financial meltdown and its impact on developing countries.”

“As with my previous appointment as co-facilitator of the U.N. Conference on the global financial crisis, I view this honor as an acknowledgement of the leadership role that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has played in international relations lately,” he continued.

“The principled and progressive stands that our country has taken on a number of issues are being recognized and appreciated by the international community,” Gonsalves said. “I certainly hope that I can justify the faith that the President of the General Assembly has placed in me.”