In bid to ensure smooth transition, UN Assembly revises rules for election of bureau

8 July 2002

The United Nations General Assembly, in a bid to ensure a smooth transition between its presiding officers from year to year, adopted a resolution today that called for the President of the world organization's main legislative body to be elected three months prior to the start of its next session.

Immediately after the Assembly adopted a resolution to amend its rules of procedure governing the election of its bureau, Jan Kavan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, was designated by acclamation as the President-elect of its 57th session, which will open on 10 September.

Addressing the Assembly today, the current President, Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, who will continue to preside over the 189-member body until 10 September, called today's decision "far-reaching," and pointed out that the change meant more than procedural modification.

"It will constitute a major step toward strengthening the General Assembly by enabling its President to play his or her role in a much more consolidated and efficient manner," he said.

Mr. Han also drew on his own experience to illustrate the importance of the move. "As for me personally, the events following the September 11 terrorist attacks made it even more challenging for me to get adjusted to the new job while dealing with a number of unexpected and unprecedented happenings in conducting the business of the General Assembly," he said. "This experience has come to convince me that we should have a better way of choosing and preparing the President of the General Assembly, especially in this globalizing world where events of a global scale can happen and affect every corner of the world in the matter of hours."

Mr. Han pledged to work with the President-elect "to enable a most smooth and efficient transition between ourselves as well as our staffs."

Mr. Kavan echoed this view, saying the resolution paved the way for him, and all future presidents, to be better prepared for the demanding tasks ahead. As President, he said he would pay special attention to the foremost task of the United Nations, namely the maintenance of peace and security, including conflict prevention and the fight against international terrorism.

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