THE PRESIDENT OF THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
H.E. MR JULIAN R. HUNTE ON THE OCCASION OF
ELECTION OF THE
PRESIDENT OF THE FIFTY-NINTH
SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
President-elect, Madam Deputy Secretary-General, Excellencies,
is my great pleasure, on behalf of the members of the
General Assembly and on my own behalf, to congratulate
the President-elect of the Fifty-ninth Session of the
United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency Mr.
Jean Ping, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign
Affairs, Cooperation and la Francophonie of Gabon, on
his election to this high office.
President-elect comes to this significant leadership
position with attributes that will redound to the benefit
of this General Assembly, and importantly, to the benefit
of the world's peoples, in whose service the United
Nations works. This is evident from his curriculum vitae,
which is an impressive testament to his experience,
dedication and accomplishments.
Ping has served his Government for more than three decades.
The numerous portfolios he has held as Minister of the
Government of Gabon in areas including economics, the
environment and technology, fall within the spectrum
of critical issues challenging the United Nations today.
His experience and expertise in these areas no doubt
prepares him to bring new insights and perspectives
to the tasks at hand.
I have, as President of the Fifty-eighth session, approached
the work of this Assembly with continuity firmly in
mind, conscious that if the United Nations work is to
advance and progress, we must continue to build a firm
foundation for it. I therefore hope that the progress
we are making this session will help make Mr. Ping's
tenure, and importantly, your cooperation and collaboration
with him both dynamic and far-reaching.
Fifty-eighth Session of the General Assembly has to
date been a demanding one, in which we have sought to
advance the work of the organization in critical areas
including economic and social development. We have dedicated
much effort to revitalizing the work of this General
Assembly, to better position it to carry out the role
set out for it and the goal and objectives it is expected
to accomplish on behalf of the people of the world,
who are now more discerning and more articulate, and
increasingly making their views know, including through
organizations of civil society.
measures have been adopted in resolution 58/126 with
a more focused, more effective Assembly in view. Forging
a closer working relationship with the Security Council
and the Economic and Social Council, refocusing some
of the Assembly's priorities and strengthening the Office
of the President of the Fifty-ninth and future sessions,
are but some of the issues on which we have been able
to agree this session.
work, however, remains to be done - a long list of critical
issues, some long-standing, some current, and some unforeseen
- will challenge the President and the membership during
the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly in much
the same way we were challenged during the Fifty-eighth
pressing priority, for example, will be preparations
for the 2005 high-level plenary meeting of the General
Assembly, for review of the integrated follow-up and
implementation of the outcomes of the major United Nations
conferences and summits in the economic and social fields,
including the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium
Development Goals. Urgent attention will have to be
given to agreeing a date, format and the modalities
for the high-level plenary meeting - there is only some
15 months left for preparation of this critical event.
New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD)
has done much to deepen our understanding of the struggles
the countries of the African continent are waging across
a broad spectrum of challenges. Moreover, it points
the way forward in addressing - and where possible preventing
- conflicts and catastrophes and promoting systematic
and sustainable development in Africa.
In its initiatives to further galvanize the Continent
and to work with the Africa Union and with world support,
the Assembly will have an asset in President-elect Ping,
a "son of Africa". His experience and understanding
would, I believe, be pivotal in the Assembly's cooperative
efforts with Africa, as the Continent continues to chart
the course of its own destiny, including advancing and
implementing the objectives of NEPAD.
majority of countries of the developing world continue
to be challenged in today's rapidly changing global
environment. It is important, I believe, that the United
Nations continues to make space for focused consideration
of matters that directly affect states or groups of
states. I wish to refer here to the International Meeting
to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action
for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be held
in Mauritius. The convening of this meeting, the success
of which can make a significant contribution to the
implementation of the MDGs, falls to the Presidency
of the Fifty-ninth session.
are two additional 'works in progress' that I believe
it important to mention here - the revitalization of
the General Assembly and the reform of the Security
Council. These are issues that will continue to benefit
from, and test the leadership of, the President to accomplish
positive outcomes with the cooperation of the membership.
They are issues on which we must continue our efforts
to forge consensus, even as we look forward to receiving,
at the Fifty-ninth session, the recommendations of the
High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change appointed
by the Secretary-General. The broad remit of the Panel
gives it scope to make recommendations that could contribute
to the Assembly's initiatives both in respect of revitalization
of the Assembly and reform of the Security Council.
I am sure that the recommendations of the Panel will
receive the full and active consideration of this Assembly.
is my goal, in the remaining months of the Fifty-eighth
Session, to bring to safe harbour as many of the efforts,
initiatives and issues we are currently addressing,
so as to provide to chart a clear course to assist the
forthcoming session to sail as far, as well, and as
smoothly as possible.
behalf of President-elect Ping and on my own behalf,
let me thank you, the members of the General Assembly
for the strong support and deep commitment you have
given to the efforts that we have made, and to progress
yet to be made. Let me also thank the Secretariat, and
particularly the Department of General Assembly and
Conference Management, for their partnership in our
my acceptance speech upon my election as President of
the Fifty-ninth Session of the General Assembly in July
2004, I pledged my full commitment to the work of the
General Assembly and of the United Nations. Today, I
again make a pledge - to do all I can to assist President-elect
Ping, and to ensure a smooth transition and handover
of the Presidency in September, as the General Assembly
anticipated when it determined that the President of
the forthcoming session should be elected in advance.
I know that I can count on your support, and that you
join me in wishing Mr. Ping every success.