11 June 2014
General Assembly
GA/11520

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

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Plenary

93rd Meeting (PM)


General Assembly Elects Sam Kutesa of Uganda President

 

Of Sixty-ninth Session, Naming Also 21 Vice-Presidents

 


New Leader Pledges to Place People at Centre


Of Session’s Theme on Implementing Transformative Post-2015 Agenda


The General Assembly today elected by acclamation Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, as President of its sixty-ninth session.


“I’m motivated by putting people at the centre of everything we do,” the incoming President said, following his election, adding that he was also motivated by the need for socioeconomic transformation.


The theme for the next session, “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”, would be built on the important progress made during the current session, he said, but would also focus on ensuring the effective implementation of the post-2015 development framework.


Recalling that Uganda had joined the United Nations 52 years ago, he acknowledged the various challenges of global reach and impact that the world continued to be confronted with, including poverty and hunger, underdeveloped education and health services, unemployment, poor infrastructure, armed conflicts and terrorism.  Sustainable development goals must be built on the foundation laid by the Millennium Development Goals.


It was also essential, he continued, to develop a post-2015 transformative agenda with the eradication of poverty and hunger, and the promotion of sustained and inclusive economic growth as its overarching objectives.  It was especially important to address the means of implementation, such as financial resources, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building.  That would require a strengthened global partnership.


Today’s world was vastly different from that in 1945, a situation requiring the continuous revitalization of the General Assembly and reform of the Security Council, he said.  Fostering cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations was also key to development and maintenance of peace and security.  Such relationships had led to many successes worldwide, particularly to conflict resolution in Africa.


Under his presidency, climate change and gender equality would also be addressed, he said, expressing his resolve to provide impetus towards reaching a global agreement in 2015 on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as advance gender equality and empowerment of women to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the ground-breaking Beijing meeting.


Offering his congratulations, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mr. Kutesa would bring to the position his wide-ranging experience as a lawyer, parliamentarian, finance minister and foreign minister.  The new President’s many roles — including that as a quiet guide, a messenger and a seeker of consensus — would be especially important during the Assembly’s upcoming session, when many critical streams of work would converge and reach moments of truth.


“The sixty-ninth session will be a period of great consequence for the well-being and shared fate of people and the planet,” Mr. Ban emphasized.  During Mr. Kutesa’s term, the United Nations would turn 70, the Millennium Development Goals would enter the “home stretch” to its 2015 deadline, a path would be laid for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a new global climate change agreement would be shaped.  “Let us work together to keep ambition high and meet the expectations of the billions across the globe who look to this Assembly, this house of nations, for dialogue, decisions and action to bring about the world we want and a life of dignity for all.”


John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda), President of the sixty-eighth session, also congratulated Mr. Kutesa, noting that the most “mammoth task” was the end result of the forthcoming discussions that would shape the post-2015 agenda, which must be inclusive and people-centred for generations today and into the future.


Also congratulating the President-elect on behalf of regional groups were the representatives of Gambia (African States), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Eastern European States), United Kingdom (Western European and Other States) and United Arab Emirates (Asia-Pacific States).


The Secretary-General, in accordance to tradition, then drew lots to determine which delegation would occupy the first seat in the General Assembly Hall during the next session.  Cuba was picked and would be followed in English alphabetical order by all other countries, with the same order observed in the Main Committees.


The General Assembly also elected 21 Vice-Presidents of its plenary:  Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Niger and Swaziland from the African States; Cyprus, Kiribati, Oman, Pakistan and Tajikistan from the Asian-Pacific States; Georgia from the Eastern European States; Argentina, Grenada and Saint Lucia from the Latin American and Caribbean States; and Iceland and Portugal from the Western European and Other States.  The five permanent members of the Security Council ( China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States) serve as Vice-Presidents, as well.


The elections of Chairs and other Bureau members of the Assembly’s six Main Committees were postponed to 16 June.


The General Assembly will meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 12 June, to take up the matter of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.


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For information media • not an official record