On Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) elected Miroslav Lajcak, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister, as president of its 72nd session (2017-2018). Lajcak 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. Likewise, Lajcak also was a candidate for UN Secretary-General in 2016, nominated by the government of Slovakia.
In terms of goals, 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 tool to improve the Assembly’s efficiency.
Here are the takeaway points from his acceptance speech:
SDGs & Climate Action– Prioritize addressing inequalities and helping the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).
Peace & Prevention– Investing more in preventing conflict. In April 2018, he is scheduling a mandated high-level meeting on sustaining peace and preventing conflict.
Migration-Delivering on the Global Compact for Migration, according to him, will be one of the “most urgent issues during the 72nd Session.”
Moreover, President Thomson highlighted Lajcak’s commitment to creating a UN fit for the 21st century. He expressed confidence that, under Lajcak’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. Lajcak will assume the UNGA Presidency on 12 September 2017.
UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.
Chief Executive – Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, launched last September
(Current Director-General, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Chair, umbrella group, UN Energy)
Co-Chairs Advisory Board:
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim
Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance to the work of the initiative. (Members will be drawn from the private sector, civil society, and governments)
Chair, Chairman of the Bank of America, Chad Holliday
The Executive Committee will provide operational oversight for the work of the Chief Executive. A global support team will be established to strengthen coordination among partners.
The four above elements are expected to draw in new partners and become a global network that can help transform the world’s energy systems, and the lives of billions of people. The initiative aims to provide more than 1 billion people with access to energy services through its lifespan.
Since its launch one year ago, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative has attracted the voluntary participation of some 60 developing countries, mobilizing more than 50 billion from the private sector and investors and catalyzed hundreds of actions and commitments.