New York

17 September 2018

Secretary-General's remarks at closing of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly [as delivered]

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I congratulate my very dear friend Miroslav Lajčák, and all of you, on the successful completion of a very productive session of the General Assembly.
Last September’s general debate was the first in more than a decade at which all Member States spoke -- a sign of welcome engagement by political leaders at the highest level, and of faith in the value of this unique and universal body.
The 72nd session was busy and active.  In addressing issues ranging from climate change and intolerance to disarmament and economic and social development, you demonstrated yet again the Assembly’s invaluable role as a forum for addressing the full spectrum of the world’s concerns and aspirations.
The session was also notable for the wide-ranging efforts undertaken by Member States to strengthen the United Nations itself.
You took decisions that will shift the Organization’s management paradigm.
You restructured the peace and security pillar.
Most significantly, you adopted a far-reaching resolution aimed at repositioning the United Nations development system.  This ushers in the most ambitious transformation in UN support for social and economic progress in decades.
These changes and reforms when fully put into place, will make our Organization more effective and efficient in pursuing peace and in helping Member States to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Across this work, the President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák, showed great skill in guiding this body. 
He possesses deep knowledge across the international agenda and he has always been strongly committed to cooperation as a critical ingredient in success, and so took a wide range of steps to bring people together and new partners into the Assembly’s work.
And throughout, he was always a warm, accessible and friendly presence – a welcome complement to the difficult work that we do.
In another signature step of the 72nd session, the Assembly continued its moves towards greater transparency by holding, for the first time ever, an informal dialogue with candidates for the position of the President of the General Assembly. 
I look forward to working closely with President-elect María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of Ecuador, who is the fourth woman to serve in this capacity.
The Assembly is our indispensable forum.
I thank all involved in the successes of the 72nd session for their commitment and hard work.
You have set the stage for further gains as the 73rd session begins tomorrow.
Thank you very much.