74th session of UN General Assembly opens
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the 74th session of the General Assembly, declared the opening of the 2019-2020 session of the most representative body of the United Nations.
In his remarks to the opening plenary meeting, Muhammad-Bande asked for action in line with the theme of this year's General Debate: "Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion."
"Our vision statement focused on the implementation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), particularly poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion," he said.
"Accordingly, I will ... pay close attention to the effective implementation of inherited mandates and the following priorities, which I initiated in my vision statement and at the dialogue with member states prior to my election: promotion of peace and security, particularly prevention, and collaborate and coordinate with the Security Council, the (UN) 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, increase partnership for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly poverty eradication, zero hunger and quality education."
In his remarks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the need to convince people that the United Nations is relevant to all and that multilateralism offers real solutions to global challenges.
"The General Assembly is a unique and indispensable forum where the world can come together to advance on sensitive and important issues," he said. "It is vital that the world has strong and effective multilateral institutions and architecture, and that international relations are based on international law."
The General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, and the only one in which all member states have equal representation.
The General Debate at the beginning of each session is considered the largest gathering of world leaders. This year, 143 heads of state and government are believed to have registered to speak at the high-level week.
The 74th session of the General Assembly will also feature other high-profile events, including a Climate Action Summit and a high-level meeting on universal health coverage.