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Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves. (Photo: SVG UN Mission)

ST. VINCENT:- This country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Camillio Gonsalves, has been selected to co-chair a crucial working group on revitalisation of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Gonsalves’ appointment comes on the heels of his well-received September statement at the United Nations General Assembly on the role of the United Nations (UN) in Global Governance.

He also recently advocated for reform of the UN and the Security Council, a media advisory from the country’s UN Mission said.

The envoy, in September, warned that the UN is under threat of becoming “a mere ‘talk shop’, an amalgam of unwieldy bureaucracies or a toothless rubber stamp of decisions taken elsewhere”.

“… talk is cheap, even when it is the heady talk of billions of dollars. Commitments made must be commitments kept. And we must hold to account those who repeatedly make empty promises,” he said during the General Debate of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly.

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On Nov. 11, the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, invited Ambassador Gonsalves to co-chair the prestigious Ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly.

The President of the UN General Assembly announced his selection of Ambassador Gonsalves in a 19 November letter to all UN Permanent Representatives.

As is the practice at the UN, Ambassador Gonsalves will represent the interests of the “South,” or developing world, on the working group. He will co-chair the working group with Ambassador Dalius Čekuolis of Lithuania.

Čekuolis, a former president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is also a strong advocate for UN revitalization

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In their 11 November meeting, President Deiss indicated that he had been impressed by the depth of Gonsalves’ commitment to reforming the United Nations, his opinions on the centrality of the global body and its Charter, and his national advocacy for good governance.

He also told Gonsalves that he instructed that his entire staff read and discuss Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ September 2010 address to the United Nations General Assembly.

The Ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly is mandated “to identify further ways to enhance the role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency of the Assembly”, and to submit a report of recommendations to the General Assembly at the end of the current Session in September 2011.

Gonsalves previously served as co-facilitator of the pivotal United Nations High Level Conference on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis and its Impact on Development. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was widely praised for its leading role in helping the international community arrive at a common roadmap for combating the financial meltdown and its impact on developing countries.