PRESS BRIEFING BY MONICA GRAYLEY, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA
Thank you, Farhan!
Good afternoon, everyone. I think we met before or I have already met most of you. But to the ones who don’t know me I am Monica Grayley, the Spokesperson of the President of the General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa.
I am very happy to serve in this capacity, and very proud to serve to the Presidency of the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean to take this post in the History of the UN, and I look forward to working with you all in the next months.
I would like to take this opportunity, if you allow me, to thank my predecessor and colleague Brenden Varma who did a great job and was very helpful to us during the transition. So many thanks to Brenden.
Somebody asked about my background. I have been working for the UN for over 12 years and I have been working with international journalism across all platforms for almost three decades now.
So, I know very well what it means to be under time pressure for a deadline, to have to rush to finish a story for the top of the hour, to come with the best headline and toplines… and I will keep that in mind when dealing with your requests.
Speaking about deadlines, I understand this will be a rather short briefing as we have His Excellency, the Ambassador of Bolivia coming soon for a Press Conference on the Presidency of the Security Council for this month of October.
I would like to invite you to visit our website and to find out more about this Presidency and our respective teams on the seven priorities of President Espinosa´s. You can find us on un.org/pga/73 our Twitter for the PGA President is UN_PGA.
Agenda of the President of the General Assembly
Today, the President of the General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa, will have a meeting with the President of the Security Council for the month of October, His Excellency, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz.
She also granted an interview to the Press Trust of India about an hour ago.
Yesterday, President Espinosa had the opportunity to unveil the new stamps for the International Day of Non-Violence.
The three definitive stamps by the United Nations Postal Administration feature the Knotted Gun sculpture, officially known as the Non-Violence Sculpture.
She also took part yesterday in the event held at the ECOSOC chamber on the Day of Non-Violence. In her speech on the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi she said, and I quote: “As we move into the 73rd Session, I commit to working with the General Assembly and its related committees in ways that reflect Gandhi´s view of change: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world’.”
Ms. Espinosa presides over the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
You will remember that, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa presided over the last High-Level Plenary Meeting of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the GA Hall.
Initially, the event was meant to last a day but due to the high interest it was extended to two days until 1 October, yesterday.
About 150 speakers took the floor to honour the legacy of President Nelson Mandela.
During the opening of the Summit, on 24 September, President Espinosa said that “Mandela was always guided by the principles underpinning the United Nations. He represented the values of peace, solidarity, cooperation and respect for all human beings, regardless of their race, political views or religious beliefs.”
You will recall that the GA adopted a strong Political Declaration at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit strengthening the role of the United Nations.
The Declaration also acknowledged Mr. Mandela´s contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
President María Fernanda Espinosa firmly believes that there is a possibility to defend national interest and sovereignty but at the same time countries can engage in collective action and strengthen multilateralism.
The General Assembly adopted a historic political declaration declaring 2019-2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace and calling on world leaders to redouble efforts to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights.
That’s all for me. Now I will take your questions…