9 January 2018
UNGA’s 2018 Work Framed by Migration, Peace, SDGs and Reform
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak said the remainder of the 72nd session will have a focus on migration, with intergovernmental negotiations beginning in February 2018.

He also highlighted a high-level event on sustaining peace, three events to be convened in support of SDG implementation, and several ongoing reform processes, among the priorities for the remainder of UNGA 72.

20 December 2017: The UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) main priorities for the next several months relate to migration, sustaining peace, SDG implementation, and reform processes, according to a statement by President Miroslav Lajcak during a press conference at the end of 2017. Lajcak plans to provide more detail on priorities for the resumed 72nd session in January 2018.

Addressing reporters on 20 December 2017, Lajcak said the remainder of the 72nd session will have a focus on migration, with intergovernmental negotiations beginning in February 2018 on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. In parallel to the negotiations, Lajcak plans to hold at least two multi-stakeholder meetings to ensure a “whole-of-society” approach and ownership for the process. When asked about the impact of the US’ withdrawal from the preparatory process, he said it “will not endanger the process as such.”

The second priority Lajcak highlighted for 2018 is the high-level event on sustaining peace, to be convened in April 2018. He recalled that the event is mandated by the 2016 resolutions on sustaining peace adopted by the UNGA and Security Council. A number of events are planned for the lead-up to the April meeting, comprising a “road map” launched by Lajcak in November.

Lajcak hopes to use the April event to discuss the UN’s “ability or lack of it” to prevent conflicts.

Lajcak said he hopes to use the event to have a political discussion about the UN’s “ability or lack of it” to prevent conflicts and address existing ones. The discussion should elicit the experiences of leaders from different countries and regions regarding the UN’s performance, reviewing both good and bad practices and debating the UN’s abilities in conflict prevention. His aim, he noted, is for the UN to gain respect in conflict prevention and sustaining peace, “the same way the United Nations is a leader when it comes to the development agenda or the climate change agenda.”

On the SDGs, Lajcak said he will contribute to their implementation by holding three events: the launch of the International Decade of Water for Sustainable Development, on 22 March; an event on youth education, employment, and prevention of radicalization, in May; and a high-level event on financing for development (FfD), in June, to address the “substantial financial gap” for implementing the SDGs. He stressed that with the current budget and pace, “we will not deliver on the SDGs by 2030,” and noted the need for financial resources from the private sector.

The remainder of the 72nd session also will focus on several reform processes currently underway. These include: restructuring the UN’s peace and security architecture, on which the UN Secretary-General has been asked to provide a detailed report; reforms to the UN development system, on which Lajcak said the Secretary-General’s second report will be discussed in both the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UNGA; and management reform. Components of the UN Secretary-General’s proposed management reform were approved by the UNGA just before concluding the main part of its 72nd session, on 24 December.

Lajcak also recalled that he has appointed co-facilitators for intergovernmental consultations on the review of the 2013 reforms to ECOSOC (Iceland and Qatar), and for the alignment of the 2030 Agenda and the UNGA’s work (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Belgium), among other sets of co-facilitators he has appointed. In all of these appointments, he said, “there is always one man and one woman. So we have maintained gender balance… in these processes.” [Press Conference Transcript] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Sustaining Peace Roadmap] [Sustaining Peace Roadmap] [Second Report of Secretary-General on UNDS Reforms] [UNGA President’s Comments at Closing Plenary of Main Part of 72nd UNGA] [All SDG Knowledge Hub Coverage of Migration Process] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNGA Adoption of Parts of Management Reform] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Second Report of UN Secretary-General on UN Development System Reforms]

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