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.