The United Nations General Assembly has elected by acclamation Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcák of Slovakia as President of its upcoming 72nd session.
Following his election at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Lajcák outlined as the six priorities for his tenure: people; peace and prevention; migration; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action; and human rights, which would guide his work as an overarching principle.
Lajcák will assume the Presidency on 12 September.
“I do believe we can do more to bring the UN closer to the world's citizen and make a real difference in their lives,” he began. With a focus on quality, he pledged “not to launch any initiative that would result in additional burden, particularly for smaller States. I would rather create a streamlined agenda organized in clusters.”
“Indeed, it is a common goal to create a stronger United Nations able to meet the multitude of expectations placed upon it,” he underscored. “To that end, I will facilitate a constructive, informed and open interaction among Member States and with the Secretary-General.”
Lajcák called for greater trust between the UN and its Members, stressing that he would do “his utmost to support progress on the United Nations reform agenda, which is vital to improve the efficiency and role of the General Assembly, as well as reform the Security Council into a twenty-first-century body.”
“I've always believed strongly in multilateralism, with the United Nations at the very centre of it, and I want to use my mandate, when I take over from the current president, to strengthen the role of the United Nations. We live in difficult times, and therefore I believe we need the UN more than ever, and we need a strong and efficient United Nations,” he said.
Turning to peace and prevention, Lajćák explained: “As a professional diplomat, I really believe that we should invest more in preventing conflict, and thus saving human lives and also saving money. There is one important event that is already mandated for April next year, which we want to use to strengthen the importance of sustaining peace and preventing conflict.”
“Migration is another priority,” he continued. “We have to deliver on the migration compact, so this will be one of the most urgent issues during the 72nd Session. The next one is to stay focused and keep the speed and attention when it comes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and also climate change.”
The Assembly President-elect then added that the “next priority is human rights – respect for basic rights and dignity of every human being. And this is an overarching principle that must be reflected in everything we do.”
General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres offered his warm congratulations, saying: “Foreign Minister Lajcák has always demonstrated an impressive command of all aspects of UN action and a strong commitment to the principles that govern our work.”
General Assembly President Thomson offered congratulations, highlighting that his successor brings “a dedicated work ethic, an unwavering commitment to multilateralism, and a wealth of experience to the role,” skills, he added “that will serve him, and the United Nations, well over the coming session.”
Made up of all the 193 Member States of the UN, the General Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter.