UNGA leadership highlights benefit of cooperation

September 06, 2023
Csaba Kőrösi (left), president of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, hands the gavel over to Dennis Francis, president of the 78th session. — courtesy UN Photo/Manuel Elías
Csaba Kőrösi (left), president of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, hands the gavel over to Dennis Francis, president of the 78th session. — courtesy UN Photo/Manuel Elías

NEW YORK — A new session of the UN General Assembly began on Tuesday with both the outgoing and incoming leaders of the world body underscoring the importance of multilateral cooperation.

Outgoing President Csaba Kőrösi addressed the final plenary meeting of the 77th session, urging nations to work together for a sustainable future.

“Our survival depends on our cooperation,” he said, pointing to global road blocks such as accelerating climate change, biodiversity loss, education and gender inequality.

“Let us put money where our promises are,” he added, urging governments to translate actions for sustainable development into budgeting policies, national regulations and capacity building.

The 77th session, which formally commenced on 13 September last year, was distinguished by high-level events including the UN Water Conference in March that adopted a milestone action plan to protect and preserve the vital resource.

The session also saw important deliberations on disaster risk reduction, ensuring justice for all, inclusive societies, universal health coverage, and sustainable consumption and production.

Assembly President Kőrösi recalled the three “pillars” of the United Nations — peace and security, development, and human rights — and with conflicts raging around the world, asked if the UN Charter was really being upheld worldwide.

“The war in Ukraine — along with other 51 armed conflicts — must end, in line with the UN Charter and international law,” he declared, calling also for an end to nuclear proliferation and the nuclear arms race.

Kőrösi highlighted the need for integrated, holistic solutions that not only address current challenges but also protect against those in the future.

“We know that stand-alone processes will only deliver stand-alone results,” he said, reiterating the importance of financing and international cooperation.

Kőrösi outlined the need for key UN bodies including the General Assembly and the Security Council, to reform and evolve.

“The world’s first passenger jet aircraft carried 36 passengers in 1952. It was a breakthrough in technological development,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean that we can use it today to take us to Mars...Times are evolving, and this Organization must evolve with them.”

Following the speech of the outgoing President inside the ornate General Assembly Hall, Dennis Francis, President-Elect of the 78th session, took the oath of office of the presidency, vowing to discharge its responsibilities to the best of his ability.

Thereafter, President Kőrösi formally handed the historic wooden gavel over to his successor, and adjourned the meeting.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, commended Assembly President Kőrösi for his skilfull stewardship over the past year.

She praised the General Assembly for sustaining diplomacy, fostering dialogue and debate, and for working towards practical solutions for people and planet.

“Let us all commit to using this Assembly as a proving ground for multilateralism, to build trust, cohesion and solidarity among Member States, and ensure that we shape solutions that will benefit people and communities around the world,” Mohammed said. – UN News

September 06, 2023
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