UNGA: Bande assumes office, urges members to act for common good of citizens

Nigeria’s Tijani Muhammad-Bande has assumed duty as President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly which opened on Tuesday.

He performed his first official assignment by presiding over the session attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Under-Secretary-General for the General Assembly and Conference Management, Mr Movses Abelian.

In his opening address, the new PGA identified promotion of peace and security through conflict prevention as one of his areas of focus.

“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.

“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 addresses drivers of conflict such as poverty, exclusion and illiteracy,’’ he said.

Muhammad-Bande listed other areas of priority as climate action, quality education, human rights, gender parity, poverty reduction, zero hunger and inclusion.

Stating that it was time for action on the plans of the General Assembly, Muhammad-Bande solicited the continued support of members to actualise his vision.

In his remarks, Guterres lauded the priorities set by the PGA which he said were central to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Chief noted that multi-stakeholder engagement would be essential in all those areas, urging stronger partnership between the GA and relevant organs of the UN.

Meanwhile, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, has challenged UN Member States to redouble their efforts to bridge gaps and act for the common good of the people across the world

Muhammad-Bande, who is also Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, made the call in his mission Statement presented at the opening of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, at the UN New York headquarters, USA, on Tuesday.

The president said the call had become imperative as “we prepare for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Organisation, and in line with the far-sighted vision of its founders.’’

He maintained that member nations of the General Assembly must continue to build trust with one another, deepen partnerships and show empathy.

According to him, this is the only way to resolve many challenges confronting the organisation.

“We will have to strive together, to deliver for all.’’

He reiterated that the Office of the President of the General Assembly for its 74th Session would work closely with the President of the Security Council, President of ECOSOC and the Secretary-General, to better ensure success in achieving the 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,” he said.

The President noted that by next week, Heads of State and Government would gather at the UN General Assembly Hall for the General Debate, and to devote attention to the Climate Action Summit, High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals Summit.

He said the world leaders would also be expected to deliberate on 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,’’ he added.

Muhammad-Bande expressed appreciation to all the Member States for the confidence reposed in him.

The president  assured them of his commitment to upholding the ethics of the Office of the President of the General Assembly and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

He particularly thanked former President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, “for her excellent stewardship and tireless efforts in guiding our work during the 73rd session.’’

He also lauded the Secretary-General for his leadership and commitment to the United Nations and its ideals.

The Federal Government had dispatched a three-man team to witness the assumption of office of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande as the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The members of the team included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama will include the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Other Nigerian personalities at the event included Prof. Attahiru Jega, Prof. Olu Obafemi, Ahmed Sahabi, Dr Hajo Sani, Mr Samson Itegboje, Mr Sylvanus Nsofor, Mohammed Dansanta Rimi and Mr Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada.

Mr Aminu Iyawa, Baba Madugu, Mr George Oguntade, Mr Adeyinka Asekun, Hassan Jika Ardo, Hassan Mohammed Hassan, Ben Okoyen and Aminu Dalhatu were also at the UN New York headquarters to witness the memorable event.(NAN)