UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — Miroslav Lajcak, the new president of the UN General Assembly, on Tuesday declared the opening of the 72 session of the decision-making body of the United Nations.
In his opening speech at the first plenary session, Lajcak outlined his priorities for the year ahead: people at the center of work, balance of interests, quality of work and transparency.
“Sometimes the work of the United Nations can be very complex. But the reason for its establishment was simple: the United Nations was created for people. Its job is to help people who are striving for peace and a decent life on a sustainable planet,” he said.
It would be impossible to choose simply one priority for the United Nations to focus on this year. Opinions would differ from region to region — or indeed from person to person, he said, promising to represent different viewpoints.
He also highlighted the important upcoming events: the negotiations for an inter-governmental compact on migration, a high-level meeting on sustainable peace, the signing of a treaty on the elimination of nuclear weapons, an international compact against sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as UN reform.
UN reform will allow the world organization to work in a way it never has before, he said. However, reforms will also represent follow-up. The United Nations has been reforming and evolving over the years. “We must thus see UN reforms as an opportunity to contribute to an ongoing process — but with a fresh outlook.”
He stressed the importance of multilateralism. “I have always believed strongly in the power of multilateralism. This belief will be tested from time to time during the 72nd session, but ultimately I am confident that it will be reaffirmed.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lauded Lajcak at the first plenary session.
“His experience, his vision and his wisdom are recognised by all of us that have the privilege to know him. I also welcome President Lajcak’s choice of the theme for the year to come: “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.”
“I have no doubt the assembly is in very capable hands,” he said.
Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat, succeeded Peter Thomson of Fiji as General Assembly president. Lajcak served as his country’s foreign minister for several times and has been involved in Europe-level diplomacy. He was a candidate for last year’s UN secretary-general selection.
The General Assembly is one of the six most principal organs of the United Nations, the only one in which all member states have equal representation.
The assembly has powers to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly resolutions.