Secretary-General: UN General Assembly as Universal Platform for Building Consensus in Service to Common Good
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the closing of the seventy-third session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 16 September:
I am pleased to be with you for the closing of the seventy-third session of the United Nations General Assembly. Here, in this prestigious chamber, and in the building’s many conference rooms, you discuss, daily, humanity’s most pressing issues. In our fast-changing world, these issues are increasingly interlinked. From the climate crisis to migration flows and rising inequality, from waves of intolerance to harnessing technology for good, one thing is certain: global issues require global solutions.
The United Nations General Assembly is our universal platform to build consensus for the common good. It has been my privilege to work with this body during the seventy-third session, under the leadership of Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of Ecuador, the fourth woman to serve as President of the General Assembly. Working through consultation, collaboration and consensus with permanent leadership, Ms. Espinosa Garcés has been a champion of multilateralism and making the United Nations relevant to all.
I commend Ms. Espinosa Garcés’ ambitious priorities for this session, which addressed crucial matters of international impact and concern, including gender equality, migration and refugees, decent work for all, environmental protection, the rights of people with disabilities, promoting the voices of young people to advance peace and security, and revitalizing the work of the United Nations. The commitment of Ms. Espinosa Garcés to the environment, and especially to ending plastic pollution, also stands out. I am confident that her successful term will pave the way for increasing the participation of women in the political sphere around the world, and for accelerating progress towards gender equality within and beyond the United Nations.
Many of the issues debated, raised and accomplished during the seventy-third session are testament to what can be achieved through international cooperation and competent leadership. The adoption by the General Assembly of two Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees are remarkable examples. At the same time, the United Nations continued over the past year to
advance its comprehensive reforms at an unprecedented pace and scale. We are doing so to make our Organization more nimble, effective and efficient — and to better serve “we the peoples” of the world.
As we look ahead to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, I thank Ms. Espinosa Garcés for her leadership and partnership, and I look forward to working with the President-elect, His Excellency Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria. Together, let us continue to advance our mission to build a more peaceful and prosperous world for all on a healthy planet.