17th September, 2019
Statement by President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande at the Opening of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, 17 September 2019.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to address you today as President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am grateful to all Member States, for the confidence reposed in me, and I assure you of my commitment to upholding the ethics of the Office of the President of the General Assembly and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
2. I thank former President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, for her excellent stewardship and tireless efforts in guiding our work during the 73rd session. I am also grateful to the Secretary-General for his leadership and commitment to the United Nations and its ideals.
3. In preparing to take office I had interacted with you all and I am grateful for the inputs you made to better frame and deepen our Vision Statement; which is owned by us all. It is now time for the implementation of our plans, and I will count on you for continued support.
4. Our Vision Statement focused on the implementation of the SDGs, particularly poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion. Accordingly, I will with your kind support and guidance pay close attention to the effective implementation of inherited mandates and the following priorities which I enunciated in my vision statement and at the Dialogue with Member States prior to my election:
i.Promotion of peace and security, particularly, conflict prevention. I will collaborate and coordinate with the Security Council, and the Secretariat to ensure that greater attention is paid to prevention rather than reaction to full-blown conflict(s). I will also advocate for effective early detection and warning systems, as well as mediation, negotiation and peaceful settlement of ongoing conflicts. I will work to engender cooperation that will address drivers of conflicts such as poverty, exclusion and illiteracy.
ii.Increased partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly, poverty eradication, zero hunger and quality education. During this session, I urge all member states to share their experiences on poverty eradication, especially, on how improved social protection systems can benefit vulnerable people, who are most affected by poverty. I request you all to focus on how best to strengthen the UN system to ensure that the most vulnerable escape the debilitating web of poverty and hunger, through sharing of knowledge on sustainable food production systems, resilient agricultural practices, availability of productive and affordable agricultural machinery and expansion of entrepreneurial capacity.
iii. Quality education is important and the fact that no nation can develop past its educational capacity, particularly that of its teachers, means we must work to ensure that Member States can partner on teacher training, access to free and quality primary and secondary education, among others. In some communities, the need is the construction of schools, while in many others, it is the safety of students. We must devise means to attend to the educational needs of all.
iv. Climate Change remains a key issue in development and we must tackle its causes and the repercussions. The recent emergencies in the Bahamas, Mozambique, and the Sahel region, among others, reminds us of the urgency of strengthening global we must find a way to strengthening global action to tackle climate change.
v.Accentuating inclusion, particularly starting from our Organization is also important. We must continue to ensure that the rights and empowerment of youths, women and the disabled around the world is prioritized.
5. Without doubt, we need to forge partnerships to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and diligently work to find innovative ways of improving financing the Goals.
6. In one week, our Heads of State and Government will gather in this great Hall for the General Debate. In parallel, they will also devote attention to the Climate Action Summit, High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, Sustainable Development Goals Summit, the commemoration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the International Day of the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway. During that week, they will deliberate on issues that are key to improving the lives of billions of people around the world and pronounce policies to accentuate development. The outcomes of the deliberations during the High-Level week will guide our work during the rest of the session. We must never forget that the world looks up to the United Nations as a veritable vehicle for attaining peace and security, sustainable development and universal human rights.
7. As the most representative deliberative body of the United Nations, the General Assembly needs to redouble its efforts to bridge gaps and act for the common good of the people we serve, particularly as we prepare for the celebration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Organization, and in line with the far-sighted vision of its founders. We must build trust with one another, deepen partnerships and show empathy. This is the only way to resolve the many challenges that confront us. We will have to strive together, to deliver for all.
8. In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the Office of the President of the General Assembly for its 74th Session will work closely with the President of the Security Council, President of ECOSOC and the Secretary-General, to better ensure success in achieving our shared goals. Though I am cognizant of the competing demands that will burden you during this period and beyond, I will continue to knock on your doors and count on your support to make the 74th session of the General Assembly a productive – even pleasant – one. This was what each, and every delegation had assured me they will do. I am thus most assured that we will achieve much during the session.
I THANK YOU