New York

07 June 2021

Secretary-General's remarks on the election of the President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly [as delivered]

It is a pleasure to be here with all of you to witness the election of the President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly.

First and foremost, I offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives on his election. I look forward to working with you.

And I will take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Volkan Bozkir for his exceptional leadership as President of the General Assembly during this 75th anniversary session.

As our most representative organ, the General Assembly is the foundation of all our work at the United Nations, and essential to our effectiveness as an Organization.

In 2021, the world needs that effectiveness more than ever.

We are a world in mourning for the millions of people we have lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has dealt a body blow to communities, societies and economies. Until everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, it continues to pose an enormous threat.

The 76th session of the General Assembly will grapple with the impact of the pandemic across the three pillars of our work: peace, sustainable development, and human rights.

I wish Mr. Shahid every success in his task.


Mr. Abdulla Shahid’s longstanding diplomatic experience, including in his current role as Minister of Foreign Affairs, has given him a deep understanding of the importance of multilateralism in addressing today’s global challenges.

I commend him for his selection of hope as the central theme in his vision statement.

Coming from a small island developing state, Mr. Shahid will bring unique insights to the 76th session of the General Assembly, as we prepare for COP26 in Glasgow in November.

I also want to express my deep appreciation to His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, and thank him for contributing to this dynamic process.


On behalf of the entire Secretariat,

I wish the President-elect the greatest possible success.

We look forward to working with him when he assumes his duties in September.

You can count on my full support, as we strive to reach our shared goals and uphold universal values.

Thank you.