FOCUSING ON PEOPLE STRIVING FOR PEACE AND A DECENT LIFE FOR ALL ON A SUSTAINABLE PLANET
President of UN General Assembly urges world leaders to engage in working for the people.
Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, addresses the annual general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak
19 September 2017 – Opening the annual general debate, the President of the United Nations General Assembly today stressed the need for more work on prevention, a greater focus on people, and keeping promises made to advance prosperity and protect the planet.
“We are spending too much time and money reacting to conflicts, and not enough on preventing them,” Miroslav Lajčák told more than 120 world leaders gathered in General Assembly Hall in New York.
He called for integrating prevention with development and human rights work, and reviewing how UN does its peace operations and counterterrorism work.
“When people can live decent lives – when rights are respected – when rule of law is present in everyday life – it is harder to turn societies to conflict,” he said.
The Assembly President told the audience that the UN was not made for them, but for people.
“We know that many people have become disillusioned. Countless others around the world, however, have high hopes for us. They see the UN’s blue flag as a first sign of safety and the beginning of change,” Mr. Lajčák said.
He noted that the 193 members of the UN General Assembly will face one of its biggest test with the process of adopting the first Global Compact for Migration at a time when world leaders have varying opinions on the phenomenon.
“We cannot turn this into an exercise of bureaucracy. We cannot be left with an agreement that works only on paper,” he stressed.
Lack of accountability and follow through also potentially plague work to counter international terrorism, and following up on violations of international humanitarian law.
In his first speech to the high-level debate as President of the General Assembly, Mr. Lajčák also called on the international community to keep its promises to curb poverty and protect the environment by following through with commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“I see the priority clusters of ‘peace and prevention,’ ‘people and planet and prosperity as three sides of a triangle. They might not all be the same length, or the same width, but one is as important as the other,” he said.
Closing the address, Mr. Lajčák urged world leaders to change the way they work on a daily basis and engage in real dialogue, not a succession of monologues: “We cannot fall for an end to business as usual – and then continue to do business as usual.”
If we are looking for a change in how the UN operates around the world, we should start here in New York.”
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd of General Assembly
The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters are taken at the GA.
The General Assembly meets annually in regular session, intensively from September to December, and resumes in January until all issues on the agenda are addressed – which often is just before the next session starts.
The Assembly has adopted its own rules of procedure and elects its President for each session.
The 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) which convened at UN Headquarters on 12 September 2017 ended on 25 September.
Date: September 12, 2017 to September 25, 2017
Location: New York, United States
Organiser: UN Secretariat
For more information see: www.un.org/en/ga/
– Original Sinhala Language Audio at: https://soundcloud.com/spokespersonmf…
– English Interpretation Audio at: https://soundcloud.com/spokespersonmf…
Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena,
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
The Secretary-General met today (23 September) with H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The Secretary-General encouraged the President and his Government to secure a long-term political settlement through constitutional reforms. He encouraged the President to establish the remaining transitional justice mechanisms.
The Secretary-General and the President discussed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He thanked Sri Lanka for its generous contribution to the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Trust Fund.
New York, 23 September 2017