The UN General Assembly elected Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister, as President of its 72nd session.
Lajčák said he will strengthen the UN without placing additional burdens on small States, and stressed his support for progress on the UN reform agenda and implementing the SDGs and climate action, among other goals.
31 May 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) elected Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister, as president of its 72nd session (2017-2018). Following his election by acclamation, Lajčák identified six overarching priorities for his tenure: making a difference in the lives of ordinary people; prevention and mediation for sustaining peace; migration; political momentum for the SDGs and climate; human rights and equality, including equal opportunities for genders; and quality of events organized by the Presidency.
Lajčák served as a three-term Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia. He also has held a number of senior roles in conflict prevention, resolution and mediation with the UN and the EU. Lajčák also was a candidate for UN Secretary-General in 2016, nominated by the government of Slovakia.
In his acceptance remarks on 31 May 2017, Lajčák said he aims to strengthen the UN to ensure it can meet “the multiple of expectations placed under it,” without launching initiatives that would result in additional burdens, especially for small States. He stressed his support for progress on the UN reform agenda, describing it as a vital to improve the Assembly’s efficiency.
On the SDGs and climate action, Lajčák prioritized maintaining political momentum, addressing inequalities and helping the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). He described human rights as an “overarching principle guiding my work,” saying that support for equality will remain important, and noting his intention to respect equal representation in the composition of his team, both regarding gender and geographical balance.
Lajčák called for investing more in preventing conflict, and highlighted a high-level meeting in April 2018 on sustaining peace and preventing conflict.
On peace and prevention, Lajčák called for investing more in preventing conflict. He highlighted a mandated high-level meeting in April 2018 on sustaining peace and preventing conflict. On migration, he said delivering on the Global Compact for Migration will be one of the “most urgent issues during the 72nd Session.”
In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres thanked the current UNGA President, Peter Thomson, for his efforts, including his support for achieving reform, focusing on prevention and better serving the people of the world. He praised Thomson’s strong commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and his enthusiastic leadership for the UN Ocean Conference.
President Thomson highlighted Lajčák’s commitment to forging a UN fit for the 21st century. Thomson expressed confidence that, under Lajčák’s leadership, the UN will be in a strong position to advance efforts to “stay the course” on implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, as well as to advance efforts to sustain peace and promote human rights.
Lajčák will assume the UNGA Presidency on 12 September 2017. The UNGA also elected 21 Vice-Presidents and Chairs and members of the UNGA’s six Main Committees. [Statement of President-Elect] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [Statement of UNGA President] [UN Press Release] [UN Meeting Report] [DESA Press Release] [UNSG Candidates]