– As delivered –

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

3 September 2020

Excellencies,

It is my pleasure to welcome you back to the General Assembly Hall for the first in-person plenary meeting since March of this year. I thank you for your adherence to social and physical distancing guidelines today, and throughout this period.

Although we may not have convened in this Hall since March, New York-based delegations have worked tirelessly to uphold the values and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations, whilst contending with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 As the chief deliberative body of the United Nations, this Assembly has continued the work of our Organisation throughout the period. It has done so in full partnership with the Secretariat and all other UN organs. I commend you for your foresight in adopting Decisions 74/544 and 74/555, which have allowed the Membership to adopt more than 70 resolutions and elect Chairs of the Main Committees for the 75th session of the General Assembly. This has ensured business continuity on critical issues for the Assembly and for the United Nations. 

I applaud your work in the intergovernmental negotiations on the Declaration for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth (75th) anniversary of the United Nations. I also thank the Member States who have demonstrated leadership in responding to this global pandemic by adopting two resolutions with wide co-sponsorship, calling for solidarity and global access to medicines and medical equipment.

I thank the Chair of the Committees, Co-coordinators, Co-facilitators and Co-chairs for the work they have done this session. I also congratulate the Chair of the fifth Committee for adopting creative methods to successfully conclude the resumed session with more than twenty draft recommendations and authorizing a peacekeeping budget of $6.5 billion for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. This has ensured that the United Nations can continue to operate on the ground and meet the needs of the people we serve, even under extraordinary circumstances.

As the chief deliberative body of the United Nations, this Assembly has continued the work of our Organisation throughout the period. It has done so in full partnership with the Secretariat and all other UN organs. I commend you for your foresight in adopting Decisions 74/544 and 74/555, which have allowed the Membership to adopt more than 70 resolutions and elect Chairs of the Main Committees for the 75th session of the General Assembly. This has ensured business continuity on critical issues for the Assembly and for the United Nations. 

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly

The General Assembly successfully organized socially distanced elections for the General Assembly Presidency, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council. Furthermore, we employed virtual methods to gather stakeholders from around the world on Charter Day, and once again at the multi-stakeholder hearing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

I thank the Secretariat for their continued commitment to ensuring the business continuity of the General Assembly which has made this work possible.

Excellencies,

Today’s meeting takes place as many people suffer and bear great losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I applaud the World Health Organization for leading the response from the outset. I also acknowledge the leadership of the Secretary-General, and the President of ECOSOC. The entire UN system has rallied to address the needs of the people we serve. I pay particular thanks to our humanitarian workers in the field and our Peacekeepers, who continue to protect communities in the most complex environments around the world.

These efforts are critical as we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, or as it is likely to become, the decade of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I urge you to galvanise multilateral action now and fulfill our financing for development and other commitments. We remain in this together.

I thank you.