– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly




Global citizens,

Thank you for joining us online to commemorate the signing of the Charter of the United Nations. Today’s event is open to all and I encourage you to interact with our panels, to discuss the principles and relevance of the UN Charter, the increased need for international cooperation and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

This event takes place as many people suffer and bear great losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we draw strength from those who have persevered in the past, in the face of great despair.  This includes the penholders of the UN Charter, who dared to imagine a better world defined by peace and equality.

On June 26, 1945, leaders gathered in San Francisco to sign the Charter of the United Nations, thereby establishing an international organization of unrivalled reach and legitimacy, with a new rules-based world order at its core. Thus, the United Nations was created to, among other things, save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Today, 75 years on, we will hear from each regional group of the UN, and from the principals of its main organs.

The General Assembly is the primary deliberative, policy-making and representative body of the United Nations, a parliament of humanity, based upon equality of voice and vote. It is a forum to share perspectives, forge partnerships and build consensus. The Assembly provides a space where Members can generate understanding and reach compromise.

General Assembly resolutions reflect the aspirations of humanity, paving the way for the normative development of international law with far-reaching ramifications across a wide range of issues affecting the people we serve.

 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by a GA Resolution in 1948. The Paris Climate Agreement, a feat of multilateralism, began in embryonic form as a General Assembly resolution.

 At the fiftieth (50th) anniversary of the United Nations, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the most authoritative and comprehensive formulation of the principle of self-determination. We continue to promote equality and dignity for all, including through the GA-mandated International Decade of recognition, justice and development for People of African Descent.

 At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Member States adopted GA resolutions which called for solidarity and global access to medicines and medical equipment. Currently, there is an omnibus resolution under negotiation to address all aspects of our response to the pandemic.

 The Membership has taken historic steps to enable the UN to operate during this period by adopting decisions under silence procedure. Intergovernmental negotiations on the Declaration for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth (75th) anniversary of the United Nations continued throughout this period.

Three-quarters of a century ago, sceptics doubted the resolve of the members of the United Nations. Cynicism did not prevail then, nor will it now.

 “We the peoples” remain nations, united guided by the principles of our Charter.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly

This has ensured business continuity as we herald the beginning of the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2015, the membership of the General Assembly pledged to leave no one behind and shift the world onto a path of sustainable development and prosperity for all. Now we must fulfill our commitments to finance sustainable development, and engage business leaders to align with the principles for responsible business of the UN Global Compact.

As we work towards the future we want, and the UN we need, we must be results-focused.  Now more than ever, we need a strong UN development system and effective collaboration between the UN and international financial institutions. 

In pursuit of inclusive multilateralism, we must continue to create space for civil society and ensure the full participation of voices that have gone unheard for too long: those of women, youth, indigenous persons and people with disabilities.

This is a moment of reckoning for our shared planet and shared future. This is a time for action, ambition and partnership.

Three-quarters of a century ago, sceptics doubted the resolve of the members of the United Nations. Cynicism did not prevail then, nor will it now.

 “We the peoples” remain nations, united guided by the principles of our Charter.

 I thank you.