Press Release

Workshop on the Relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council

13 May 2023

Remarks by Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the UNGA

My sincere thanks to the Permanent Missions of Ecuador and Portugal, and to UNITAR, for organizing today’s workshop.

It is said that if you give ordinary people the right tools, they will build extraordinary things.

Today’s carefully crafted workshop is one of our tools. Let us use it to build something great.

The General Assembly and the Security Council are complementary bodies.

They may have different mandates, but they share one same fundamental goal.

Since the establishment of the United Nations 77 years ago, that goal has always been, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

But the two bodies have different roots that are also part of reality. The Security Council’s work is dominated by geopolitical approaches over other considerations.

The geopolitical approach is familiar to the General Assembly, but due to its very broad agenda and membership, it is accustomed to seeking integrated solutions – despite geopolitical divide.

However, we need to be on the same page about how to achieve the shared goals and fulfil mandates. 

The cascading and interlocking crises thundering down on us have led us to a crossroads.

Our eight billion constituents are at this crossroads, with us.

They look to the UN and expect us to act, to find solutions together.

They do not see the UN as composed of siloed-off entities.

They see the UN as a whole. As it should be.

Throughout my term, I have often called for greater collaboration across the UN’s main organs.

When it comes to the General Assembly and the Security Council, it is already happening in many ways:

I greatly value the monthly meetings with the rotating Council Presidents.

I was pleased to convene the first formal debate of the General Assembly on the use of the veto, and I stand ready to implement the veto initiative in a timely manner, whenever needed.

The Emergency Special Session has been reconvened three times throughout this session.

It has been a convincing demonstration of the Member States’ desire for the GA to act when the Council is prevented from doing so.

And there are other avenues of cooperation.

One such opportunity is the consideration by the General Assembly of the Council’s annual report, mandated by the UN Charter.

I will convene a plenary meeting of the GA to consider the report on the 30th of June. Let us not forget the purpose of this obligation: the Security Council is to give account to the General Assembly on how it fulfilled its mandate.

This will be an opportunity for Council members to involve the broader membership in their activities:

  • to meaningfully engage the GA, which elects the majority of Council members,
  • to hear the views and suggestions of the UN membership and ultimately
  • to strengthen the relationship between the two bodies to deliver as one.

Consolidated cooperation across our institution serves one ultimate purpose: to peacefully settle and resolve conflicts and jointly address our common challenges and to aim for transformation.

The implications of this workshop are intertwined with ongoing processes at the General Assembly, such as its revitalization or the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform.

Therefore, I encourage you to actively participate across all tracks of your discussions today.

I dare you to be bold.

To ask difficult questions.

To seek creative solutions.

Let me get the ball rolling:

Where do you want to take the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly?

Do you want a GA that is more active in peace and security affairs?

Do you want a Council with greater accountability?

Which suggestions would you like to carry forward from last month’s debate on the veto initiative?

Let me conclude with some wise words by Abraham Lincoln: “If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I would spend four hours sharpening the axe”.

Let us keep this in mind today. And also, that time is a non-renewable resource.

Let us find better and more efficient solutions to our challenges.

Let us sharpen our tools and our minds to best deliver on a safer and more secure world for all.

I thank you.


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