Reception of Asia Pacific Group

Remarks by Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, at Reception of Asia Pacific Group

12 October 2016



Ambassador Ayyad Al Otaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait

Mr. Secretary-General,


Ladies and gentleman

First, many thanks to you Ambassador Ayyad Al Otaibi for those kinds words of introduction, and for hosting tonight’s reception.

It is always a pleasure to be among friends from the Asia Pacific.

I would also like to begin by congratulating Kuwait on assuming the Chair of the Asia Pacific Group for October.
Kuwait has consistently demonstrated its willingness to help tackle difficult global challenges of our time – from mobilising billions of dollars in international support for those affected by the conflict in Syria, through to its high-levels of overseas development assistance.

I am confident that Kuwait will bring this dedication and commitment to its leadership of the Asia Pacific Group this month, and will ensure the Group plays an active role throughout the Session.



Tomorrow is an historic day for the General Assembly, as it meets to adopt a resolution on the appointment of a new Secretary-General.

It is significant moment in the history of our organisation, and caps off a selection and appointment process marked by its high-levels of transparency and accountability.

In coming days, I will be organising an opportunity for Member States to engage with the Secretary-General-designate to begin substantive discussions on critical issues facing the United Nations, including reform of the Secretariat, support for implementing the 2030 Agenda, and the appointment of senior officials.



As we meet, the work of the General Assembly Committees is continuing at pace at UN Headquarters.

Once again, the agenda of the Committees is full, and the work being undertaken of critical importance to the UN fulfilling its Charter mandate.

This year, the work of the Committees will take on particular resonance, as we look to drive implementation of the 2030 Agenda as a cross-cutting priority.

So much is at stake this Session, I would like to take this early opportunity to thank all of you here, as well as your delegates, for your hard work during this busy time. The commitment, passion and – regrettably, on some occasions, long hours – are greatly appreciated.

Finally, Excellencies, I am happy to report that within my Office, an SDG Implementation Strategy is being finalized, and which is going to take our implementation push along three tracks:

  • One, supporting previously mandated SDG events and processes to ensure their success – this includes the Habitat III Conference that I will be attending in Quito next week, as well as COP22, and the June Oceans Conference;
  • Two, supporting existing efforts, both within and outside of the UN system, to drive partnerships, and implementation of all 17 SDG; and
  • Three, supporting a number of signature events in key areas, including to: raise global awareness of the SDGs, especially with youth and children; end extreme poverty; empower women and girls; and secure better financing for sustainable development.

On all of this, I count on your ongoing engagement.

Once again, thank you to the Asia Pacific Group for all your support to me and my Office. I look forward to continuing our close collaboration.

And thank you to the Mission of Kuwait.

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