UN General Assembly Opens Its 72nd Session

Miroslav Lajčák (centre), President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, gavels open the session’s first meeting. He is flanked by Secretary-General António Guterres (left) and Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. Photo: UN Photo/Kim Haughton
Miroslav Lajčák (centre), President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, gavels open the session’s first meeting. He is flanked by Secretary-General António Guterres (left) and Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. Photo: UN Photo/Kim Haughton

The United Nations General Assembly opened Tuesday its 72nd session, with an emphasis on striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.

“The UN was created for people,” Miroslav Lajčák said in his first address as President of the General Assembly. “The people who need the UN the most are not sitting in this hall today. They are not involved in the negotiation of resolutions. They do not take the floor at high-level events. It is one of the tasks of the General Assembly to make sure that their voices can still be heard.”

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According to a UN report, he noted that while it was “impossible” to select one priority for the UN to focus on this year, his aim will be to strive for balance, so that all points of view are represented.

Mr. Lajčák takes the reins one week before the start of the high-level General Assembly debate, and said he hoped the 193 UN Member States participating would treat each other with diplomacy and mutual respect.

Addressing the opening of the General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres also emphasized the importance of focusing on people in the UN’s work and underscored his proposed reforms to streamline the Organization.

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