Cablegate: New Zealand Offers Views On First Committee Reform

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 171382

B. STATE 160427

1. Charlotte Elder, Disarmament Division, New Zealand
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided a copy of the
GoNZ's response to the request in Resolution 58/41 for
suggestions on improving the effectiveness of the First
(Disarmament) Committee. Elder did not provide any specific
comments on the note verbale delivered ref A. The GoNZ
response is as follows:

Begin text:

30 June 2004 DIS/UN/2

Disarmament and Decolonization Affairs Branch
General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs
United Nations Headquarters


The Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations
presents its compliments to the Disarmament and
Decolonization Affairs Branch and has the honor to refer to
Note DGACM/DDAB/2004/TR1, which requested the views of member
states on the issue of improving the effectiveness of the
methods of work of the First Committee.

New Zealand would like to offer the following suggestions for
First Committee reform.

- Consideration should be given to shortening the time
allotted to the Committee. New Zealand considers that four
weeks should be sufficient time to enable the Committee to
complete its work. The Committee could consider utilizing
both morning and afternoon sessions. Even if that is not
feasible, the following reforms, together with good
time-keeping, should enable the time currently allotted to
the Committee to be reduced.

- New Zealand supports shortening the time allowed for
general debate from two weeks to one, to allow more time for
specific debate.

- New Zealand would like to see greater incorporation of
external expertise into the Committee's deliberations. In
this context, New Zealand would support Ambassador Sareva of
Finland's proposal of interactive debate sessions
incorporating leading experts from academia and civil
society. These discussions, which we agree would
appropriately span over two-three days, could address current
key issues, providing focus and context for the Committee's

- Debate should be conducted on the basis of a rolling
speakers, list. Once the speakers, list for each topic has
been exhausted, debate should roll over into the next topic,
making maximum use of the time available.

- An enforced time limit should be considered for all
statements. If countries are aligned with a regional or
group statement, national statements should be shortened or
forsaken accordingly.

- Delegations should be encouraged to re-examine the value of
long-standing resolutions, with an eye to the merit of
recycling texts with little or no alteration from year to
year. If countries feel that such resolutions contain key
positions which are still relevant, they should consider
submitting the resolutions on a biennial or triennial basis.

End text.

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