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UN General Assembly leadership highlights benefit of cooperation

BySandeep Patel

Sep 5, 2023


Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (at podium) addresses the closing meeting of the 77th session of the General Assembly.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (at podium) addresses the closing meeting of the 77th session of the General Assembly.

‘Proving ground for multilateralism’: Deputy UN chief

 Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, commended Assembly President Kőrösi for his skilful 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,” Ms. Mohammed said.

‘Our common humanity’

In the afternoon, during the opening of the 78th session, the Deputy Secretary-General emphasized that the General Assembly represented “our common humanity” and “our shared commitment” to peace, sustainable development and human rights.

She encouraged all delegates to stay optimistic and work together to get the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track.

“Let us forge the solutions that all people expect and make progress towards a better, more peaceful and prosperous future, and a healthier planet.”

Global solidarity: Francis

In his inaugural address at the President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis, outlined his four key priorities or “watchwords” for the session: peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability.

He acknowledged the complex challenges facing the world, including climate change, conflict, and poverty, which have made peace more elusive, while geopolitical divides have bred scepticism towards multilateral systems. 

“As the UN’s chief policy making body, the General Assembly bears a special responsibility to ensure that our efforts must be anchored in a robust multilateral system, faithful to the cherished values and principles enshrined in UN Charter,” he said.

Against this background, he highlighted the Assembly’s Security Council veto initiative as a step towards transparency and accountability regarding the application of the veto.

We must accelerate the transition to clean energy … by making climate finance more available, more accessible, and more affordable 
– Assembly President Francis


Turning to the second watchword, the Assembly President underscored the need for tailored solutions in challenges of in conflict and post-conflict countries and urged Member States to follow through on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

“In doing so, we must also accelerate the transition to clean energy and boost support for adaptation by making climate finance more available, more accessible, and more affordable,” he continued.

Mr. Francis also highlighted the unique circumstances of least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing States (SIDS), urging renewed effort to follow through on their specific development agendas. 


He also emphasized the importance of the SDGs and the upcoming SDG Summit as a critical opportunity to accelerate progress.

“How the Summit unfolds will set the tone for the rest of the General Assembly agenda this session; and for the 2030 Agenda over the next 7 years,” he said.

He also highlighted the need for global solidarity and cooperation in building resilient health systems in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the need for financing to realize the ambitious development goals (SDGs).


Mr. Francis underlined the urgent need to address climate change and biodiversity loss, emphasizing the need for transformative climate action, as well as the critical relationship with water – the common resource fundamental to all life, yet one that remains inadequately conserved and prioritized.

“We need a green ‘blue revolution’ that addresses and indeed brings together concerns around water, climate, biodiversity, and land and soil degradation and global food security,” he highlighted. 

“This is the only way to guarantee that the right to a clean and sustainable environment is upheld for all.”


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