Remarks by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that the Organisation is fit for purpose. This is particularly pertinent to the General Assembly, as a principal organ of the UN and the most representative and democratic intergovernmental body of the world.

We are more likely to succeed in resolving common challenges if we have a strong United Nations. Strengthening the General Assembly is in this regard essential for the relevance and effectiveness of the UN. We need to strengthen the General Assembly to deliver on our joint commitments to serve the people of the world.

The General Debate featured the vibrant engagement of Member States at the highest levels. The convening power of the General Assembly is immense. The participation at the General Debate, the High-level meetings and the activities on the margins,  demonstrate that the United Nations remains the most pertinent forum for multilateral engagement. However, we must also be self-critical and improve the way we conduct our work. There is much space for improvement.

Implementing existing resolutions on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly is key as we continue to seek efficiency gains and progress.

In this regard, I wrote to all Member States on 21st October outlining the need to enhance the synergies and coherence by addressing gaps, overlaps and duplication where they are found to exist in the agenda of the General Assembly. This is of particular relevance to the Second and Third Committees, and the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies.

Furthermore, I reminded delegations of their commitment to limit the number of High-level meetings and side-events to be held in particular on the margins of the General Debate. This is in recognition of the increasing number of new initiatives and events emerging in the different Main Committees. Even noting the current financial situation of the Organisation, it will be prudent of us to streamline our activities.

I wish to underscore that compliance with Resolution 73/341 will allow our work to focus on the theme for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, “The future we want, the UN we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism.” The General Debate remains a key date in the calendars of Heads of State and Government; we should not detract attention from this most important platform for multilateralism.

I am pleased that members of the General Committee share this view. I will continue to engage the General Committee throughout the session in order to discuss how to improve and streamline our work.

In this light, I will like to say that the African Group have also expressed their concurrence on this issue. I thank the Group for their input, and I wish other regional groups would share their thoughts on how best to improve the working methods and efficiency of the work of the General Assembly.

To ensure open dialogue, with all Member States, I am continuing the practice of hosting Morning Dialogues. I look forward to engaging all Permanent Representatives and relevant partners in order to progress the work of the General Assembly.

Each of us has a responsibility to increase the efficiency of our work. In my Presidency I will endeavour to utilise the opportunities provided by already mandated events to advance my priorities for the Session, which are: peace and security through conflict prevention; poverty eradication and zero hunger; climate action; and quality education; and inclusion.

As we enter the Decade of Action and Delivery, we must maintain this momentum which will determine the fate of current and future generations, and of our planet.

Resolution 73/341 places the onus on us as a body to align the agendas of the all General Assembly Committees, the Economic and Social Council, and its subsidiary bodies, with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

It is crucial to build upon previous consultations and utilise the efforts of the seventy-third session including the mapping of the Sustainable Development Goals and identified the criteria for the defining overlaps and gaps.

I will soon appoint co-facilitators for the process on agenda alignment.

I am happy to announce that I have appointed H.E. Mrs. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana and reappointed H.E. Mr. Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative of Slovakia as Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly during the seventy-fourth session. I look forward to engaging with them and with all Member States on the many critical issues that the Working Group will consider this session.

Excellencies,

In the context of strengthening the accountability, transparency and institutional memory of my Office, I am upholding the best practices inherited from my predecessors. I am continuing to engage with the leadership of other UN organs.

I will uphold the ethics of the Office of the president of the General Assembly. I thank all Member States that have contributed to my Office, through contributions or secondment of staff. This support is instrumental to the success of the seventy-fourth session.

Indeed, resource mobilization is essential to strengthen not just the Office of the President of the General Assembly, but the General Assembly itself.

To this end, I call on your support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to secure a position in the Office of President of the General Assembly for future sessions.

Adequate and sustainable resource mobilization would offer continuity and a smooth transition for successive Presidents.

Excellencies,

I call on all delegations at this historic juncture to recommit to the ideals of the founders of our Organisation. As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, now is the time to galvanize multilateral action in the revitalization of our work to ensure a better world.

I thank you.