President of the United Nations General Assembly, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, says the lawmaking organ has produced 26 important decisions and resolutions under its silence procedure as adopted on March 27.
Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, disclosed this at a virtual news briefing on activities of the Assembly amid the COVID-19 pandemic in New York on Monday.
Silence procedure is an online decision-making method adopted by member states following the suspension of in-personal plenary meetings at the UN headquarters to avoid the spread of the disease.
Normally, the 193-member Assembly adopts resolutions by majority votes or by consensus at its plenary sessions, but under the silence procedure, draft resolutions are circulated to member states online.
Ambassadors are then given a 72-hour deadline to consider the proposals and communicate their decisions back to the PGA’s office.
If a country objects before the deadline, the resolution is defeated, but in the absence of objections, the UNGA President then circulates a letter confirming adoption.
One of the 26 resolutions tagged 74/270 came on April 2 in which the Assembly called for global solidarity to fight the pandemic.
It followed up with Resolution 74/274 on April 24 that urges international cooperation to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and medical equipment.
The Assembly, which is the most representative organ of the UN, also passed Resolution 74/275 on May 28 proclaiming Sept. 9 every year as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
Muhammad-Bande commended member countries for taking “a leap of faith” with the silence procedure amid doubts over their ability to virtually work closely together.
He also lauded the UN secretariat for coming up with technological innovations to facilitate virtual meetings of the organisation and its agencies.
“Life has never been the same for individuals, communities, nations and certainly the United Nations since the outbreak of COVID-19.
“The world had to change in terms of the tempo and method of work. This was extremely challenging for us at the UN.
“That we are meeting virtually underscores the necessity to work together to defeat the COVID-19 and strengthen multilateral cooperation on other issues affecting us as a global community,’’ he said.
The PGA said with the silence procedure came the need for Member States to work harder at passing resolutions through consensus, which according to him, is normally difficult.
Describing 2020 as a critical year for the UN, Muhammad-Bande said the Assembly was poised to get more things done virtually in preparation for the high-level week in September.
“We are preparing for celebration of the 75th anniversary of the organisation.
“Serious work is going on robust political declaration to be placed before our Heads of States and Government on Sept. 21.
“We are confident that a very important declaration will be agreed by all member states,’’ added. (NAN)