4 June 2008
General Assembly
GA/10714

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

99th & 100th Meetings (AM & PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTS, BY ACCLAMATION, PRESIDENT FOR SIXTY-THIRD SESSION,


BUREAU MEMBERS OF ITS MAIN COMMITTEES

 


The General Assembly this morning elected, by acclamation, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua as President of its sixty-third session, scheduled to start in September.  Also elected in separate meetings were the chairpersons and other Bureau members of the Assembly’s Main Committees.


Following his election, Mr. d’Escoto said the United Nations still had a lot to achieve in the world, but, to be more effective, it must be what its name implied -- an organization of nations united, not nations dispersed, or even worse, subjugated.  “Our nations must be united in the struggle to democratize the United Nations, united in their determination to preserve the world […] for the sake of present and future generations from the scourge of war among Member States and acts of aggression such as those occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


He said the world’s nations must be united in the struggle to eradicate hunger and poverty while preserving the Earth’s indispensable biodiversity and cultural diversity.  “What we need is a foolproof unity with which we can build solidarity.”  Without peace -– the result of such solidarity -– the world could not be saved and would continue to sink into the morass of selfishness, individualism and indifference that had led some to spend lavishly on luxury items and wars, while others languished at the edges of abject poverty.  “We need unity to free ourselves from such senselessness,” he declared.


“I firmly believe this solidarity is essential to ensure that we achieve our common goals, while respecting our diverse national interests,” he continued.  The United Nations was –- and must continue to be -– committed individually and collectively to respecting the principles and rules set out by the Charter.  Indeed, it made no sense to sign the Charter and then proceed to act as if it entailed no obligations, “as if others were obliged to abide by it, but not ‘us’”.


Noting that the behaviour of some Member States had eroded credibility in the Organization’s ability to end war or eradicate poverty, he said:  “We should begin to act seriously and, with all due responsibility, call things by their proper names, and handle our problems with total and complete frankness.”  Such candour, however, should not be seen as an invitation to assail others.  It was incumbent on all States to unite so as to steer the Organization and the world towards the path of peace and solidarity.  The Assembly had designated 2009 as the International Year of Reconciliation, and all Member States should heed that call.


“I firmly believe in the revitalizing power of love, and that an alternative and better world that each and every one of us yearns for is possible.  That is why I am here,” he said, pledging to carry on the “dynamic” work of his predecessor, Srgjan Kerim, by, among others, backing his Working Group on Revitalization of the General Assembly.  He would also press ahead with ongoing efforts to strengthen the 192-member body’s functioning and efficacy, and towards reaffirming the leadership role assigned to it by the Charter.  He said his presidency would devote priority attention to the fight against hunger and poverty, climate change, terrorism, human rights, disarmament and nuclear control, cultural diversity, the rights of women and children, and the protection of biodiversity, among other important issues on the Organization’s agenda.


“The winds of unity are blowing stronger than ever south of the Rio Grande,” he said, announcing the signing of the treaty establishing the South American Community of Nations (UNASUR) on 23 May in Brasilia.  That should inspire the Latin America and Caribbean region, and all nations, to keep fighting for unity with even more zeal.  “The more united our nations are, the more successful the UN will be in wiping war, hunger and poverty off the face of the Earth.”


Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, extending congratulations to the President-elect on her own behalf and that of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said Mr. d’Escoto’s long and varied career would serve him well at the United Nations, where momentum was already building towards the next Assembly session.  Indeed, preparations were under way for the Secretary-General and the Assembly President jointly to convene a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, with the aim of pushing for accelerated progress in reaching those critical targets to improve living conditions for the world’s poorest people.


She said the world was increasingly turning to the United Nations to solve global problems, and the work of the General Assembly was critical to meeting those high expectations.  “By joining forces under the leadership of the President, we can forge effective responses that will make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the world,” she added, assuring Mr. d’Escoto that he would have the full support of the Secretariat as he prepared to take office and during his tenure as Assembly President.


In his remarks, outgoing Assembly President Kerim (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said Mr. d’Escoto’s election offered Nicaragua –- a founding member of the Organization –- and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States an important opportunity to strengthen the Assembly and promote the three pillars of the United Nations:  development, peace and security, and human rights.


He went on to say that Mr. d’Escoto’s long history of diplomatic work and community service would help greatly while he led the Assembly’s efforts to address some of the great challenges of the day, especially in driving the United Nations development agenda.  Moreover, the Organization must rise to other challenges, including those posed by the current global food crisis, terrorism, flagrant human rights abuses and climate change.  Also, the United Nations reform agenda, including prioritizing mandates, strengthening management and improving coherence and accountability, would remain critical.


The representatives of Egypt, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Bahamas and Spain also took the floor to congratulate the President-elect on behalf of their respective regional groups.  The representative of Cuba congratulated him on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.


In other business, the Assembly drew lots, in accordance with its tradition, to determine which Member State would occupy the first seat in the General Assembly Hall during the sixty-third session.  The Deputy Secretary-General drew the lots, selecting Barbados to occupy the first seat, followed in English alphabetical order by all other countries, the same order to be observed in the Main Committees.


In a separate meeting, the Assembly also designated the 21 Member States whose representatives would serve as its Vice-Presidents for the sixty-third session:   Afghanistan, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Egypt, France, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Portugal, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom and the United States.


Election of Committee Officers


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) elected Marco Antonio Suazo ( Honduras) as its Chair.  Martin Zvachula ( Federated States of Micronesia), Ivan Mutavdzic ( Croatia) and Miguel Graca ( Portugal) were elected Vice-Chairs and Coly Seck ( Senegal) Rapporteur.


Uche Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria) was elected Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).  Andrei Metelitsa ( Belarus), Troy Torrington ( Guyana) and Martin Hoppe ( Germany) were elected Vice-Chairs and Awsan Al-Aud ( Yemen) Rapporteur.


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) elected Frank Majoor ( Netherlands) as its Chair and Divina Adjoa Seanedzu ( Ghana), Ara Margarian ( Armenia) and Julio Peralta ( Paraguay) as Vice-Chairs.  Khalid Alwafi ( Saudi Arabia) was elected Rapporteur.


Jorge Arguello ( Argentina) was elected Chair of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).  Emr Elsherbini ( Egypt), Alexandru Cujba ( Republic of Moldova) and Elmer Cato ( Philippines) were elected Vice-Chairs, and Paula Parviainen ( Finland) Rapporteur.


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) elected Gabor Brodi ( Hungary) as its Chair.  Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Abdelmannan ( Sudan), Olivio Fermin ( Dominican Republic) and Henric Rasbrant ( Sweden) were elected Vice-Chairs, and Patrick Chuasoto ( Philippines) Rapporteur.


The Sixth Committee (Legal) elected Hamid Al Bayati ( Iraq) as its Chairman.  Scott Sheeran ( New Zealand), Ana Cristina Rodriguez-Pineda ( Guatemala) and El Hadj Lamine ( Algeria) were elected Vice-Chairs, and Marko Rakovec ( Slovenia) Rapporteur.


The General Assembly will meet again at a time and date to be announced.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record