NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS

IN MEETING WITH POPE FRANCIS, UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT AFFIRMS THAT MULTILATERALISM IS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD iN ADDRESSing THE NEEDS OF HUMANITY

United Nations, New York, 29 October 2018 – The President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa, this morning met His Holiness, Pope Francis on Monday in Vatican City.

The President of the UN General Assembly noted: ‘This morning I met with His Holiness, Pope Francis. We discussed the momentous issues around migration and refugees. We also talked about climate change, the great importance that is attached to youth and work, as well as the role of women in society. We also discussed the enormous consequences of plastic pollution’.

In recognizing the spiritual and moral leadership that Pope Francis has given to a variety of global issues, including climate change and the preservation of the environment, the President of the UN General Assembly shared her belief – and that of the overwhelming majority of UN Member States- that the defense of multilateralism is the only truly effective way of addressing the problems and the needs of humanity.

H.E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa said: ‘I wanted to take this very special opportunity in meeting with Pope Francis to recognize and appreciate the important role that he has played from the beginning of his pontificate, on the issue of migration and refugees. In Pope Francis, we have a spiritual leader who stands up for humanity and who urges that global solutions are found for global problems. We intensely value his support for many of the causes that matter most to people across the world.’

During her meeting with His Holiness the Pope, the President of the UN General Assembly also conveyed her own commitment to giving priority to the rights of indigenous peoples and the issues that affect them. She also emphasized that another of her priorities during her mandate would be to promote decent work, with an emphasis on young people and people with disabilities.

The President of the UN General Assembly has also given high priority to urgent global action needed to turn the tide of plastic pollution and requested the support of the Pope for the global campaign to raise awareness around the issue.

Following her meeting with His Holiness the Pope, the President of the UN General Assembly met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. Here she discussed the importance of ensuring that the Conference to adopt the Global Compact on Migration in Marrakesh in December is successful and can demonstrate a true global commitment and engagement to an issue that affects Member States, both large and small, rich and poor.

The ‘Ethics in Action Initiative’

She also participated in the Ethics in Action Initiative organised by the Vatican.

At Vatican City, President Espinosa spoke at the: “Ethics in Action Initiative: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” organized by the Holy See.

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Mark Seddon, Media Adviser to the President of the General Assembly, seddon@un.org; cell: +1 917 378 1659