Reception: end of the 70th General Assembly session and beginning of the 71st session

Welcome and opening remarks by H.E. Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly at reception on the occasion of the end of the 70th General Assembly session and the beginning of the 71st session

 13 September 2016

President Lykketoft, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to begin by thanking President Lykketoft for his selfless service to the United Nations throughout the past year.

President Lykketoft, you described your goal for the 70th session as a ‘New Commitment to Action’ and laid out four areas of focus –Sustainable Development; Peace and Security; Human Rights; and Good Governance.

By any objective measure, your term has seen important gains across all of these areas.

Under your helm, the historic 2030 Agenda, and Paris Climate Agreement, were adopted.

You brought much needed coherence to the organization’s discussions on implementing the recommendations of the reviews on UN peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and women, peace and security.

You were unwavering in your commitment to advancing global human rights.

And you brought new levels of transparency to the UN – including the selection process for the next Secretary-General, as well as to the PGA’s Office itself. The landmark reforms that you drove – bringing in a Code of Ethics and an Oath of Office – speak to your principles and integrity.

Congratulations President Lykketoft, on all that you – and your team – have achieved. Yours is an enduring legacy that I am committed to building upon.

Mr. Secretary General, I would also like to thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the global good. We will, no doubt, have the opportunity to reflect on your achievements later this year. But in the meantime, I look forward to working closely with you and your team over the coming months.

This afternoon, I had the privilege of taking the oath of office as President of the 71st session – the first time such an oath has been made.

For me, it was a moment of reflection of the trust and responsibility that has placed upon me.

As many of you were in attendance this afternoon, I won’t now repeat my objectives for the 71st session.

But suffice it to say, the session is set to be a full and important one, beginning with ensuring continuity in the ongoing selection process for the next Secretary General, as well as our work throughout the year to advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

For all of this to be achieved, I will be turning to each of you. And I look forward to working with you throughout the session.

Thank you.

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