As delivered by Her Excellency Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, 5 June 2018
One of the most important aspects of the Charter of the United Nations is the possibility of deciding by universal vote on the person who will lead the work of this forum. The process that we are concluding today therefore represents a celebration, more than a competition, of the founding principles of our Organization. Accordingly, this vote has been an act that strengthens multilateralism. For that reason, all States win, because by strengthening the United Nations we are making progress in building up its pillars of peace and security, development and human rights for the benefit of our peoples and our common home, planet Earth.
I deeply appreciate the vote of confidence that Member States have placed in Ecuador today to preside over the Assembly. I appreciate the very generous expressions of support and confidence from the countries of my beloved region of Latin America and the Caribbean and from every region of the world.
I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your stewardship of the Assembly. For the first time in history, you have made it possible for us to hold an interactive dialogue with the candidates for the leadership of the Assembly at its next session. This election is therefore also another step in the process of the revitalization of the General Assembly. I want to express my special thanks to Ambassador Elizabeth Flores for her commitment to the Organization and to the General Assembly through her participation in this election process.
Today, with the Assembly’s support, I become the fourth woman to be elected to this position in the 73 years of the existence of the United Nations. I will also be the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over the Assembly. I hope that this parity will continue to make progress and that men and women alike will at last have the opportunity to address this forum equally, as I have the honour to do so today, thanks to the Assembly’s support. For that reason, I would like to dedicate this election to all the women in the world who are participating in politics today and who face political and media attacks marred by machismo and discrimination. I would like to pay a special tribute to the women who struggle every day to access jobs on equal terms; to the women and girls who are victims of violence; to the girls and adolescents who are demanding access to quality information and education. I will always be committed to them.
I would like to thank the Ecuadorian people and our President, Lenin Moreno Garcés, for their confidence in proposing their Minister for Foreign Affairs to represent Ecuador in this distinguished position. President Moreno’s daily telephone calls to enable him to stay personally informed about the progress of my candidature, and his direct interest in the process, demonstrate his great commitment to and his love for Ecuador and multilateralism. My special thanks go to the team of the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations and its Permanent Representative for their intense and committed work; to our ambassadors and foreign service personnel around the world, and to the Foreign Ministry team in Quito, who have been working in the past few weeks to mobilize the support that we achieved today for my candidature.
I offered an open-door presidency and I will keep that promise. In addition, today I reiterate my commitment to acting as an impartial, objective and open facilitator. As many of those here know, in addition to being a politician, I am also a poet. As such, I am fully aware that no view is useful if we do not see, and no words have value if we do not listen. I will be ready to listen to all representatives and to work for them and with them. I want to assure delegations that I will promote every action within my reach so that the Assembly can play a central role in advancing towards the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
I want to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your work, vision and ongoing effort during this period. I put my time and energy entirely at your disposal to work together with you in this period of transition in order to ensure continuity for your excellent work and results. It is an honour for me to have the challenge of succeeding you, and I hope that I will be able to rely on your experience throughout my term.
As I mentioned in the interactive dialogue, the bodies of the United Nations must run like clockwork, like cogs in a single, well-oiled machine moving the Organization towards the objectives of its foundational Charter. I am sure, therefore, that I will work hand in hand with the Secretary-General to promote the reforms and processes that are necessary to strengthen the Organization. I would also like to congratulate the Secretary-General on his example of entrepreneurship and his courage in seeking to achieve the best results rather than the easiest. I pledge to support his initiatives, according to the mandate I receive from Member States.
One of my greatest challenges will certainly be providing support to States in the implementation of the reforms of the United Nations system. We have the challenge of building a stronger and more efficient Organization. Strengthening multilateralism is not an option but an obligation. It is therefore urgent that the United Nations show the ability to respond to the main global challenges, and that the Organization be brought closer to the people, connecting its decisions directly to its beneficiaries, the citizens of the world. As I stated in this election process, therefore, each and every one of my actions will bear in mind the fact that the main recipients of our commitments and decisions are our peoples. We are working for them.
Once again, I am deeply grateful to the Assembly for this appointment. Before the Assembly, I pledge to work for the common good and for the principles and pillars of our Organization. I pledge to abide by the code of ethics for the President of the General Assembly with absolute responsibility, and to strictly follow the precepts of the Charter of the United Nations and the Assembly’s rules of procedure.