UNITED NATIONS — The new president of the U.N. General Assembly said Tuesday he expects his strong belief in “compromise over conflict” to be tested from time to time over the coming year, though he is “confident it will be reaffirmed.”
Miroslav Lajcak said in his opening address to the 72nd session of the 193-member world body that it will be a year of firsts, with negotiations on a global compact on migration and a high-level event on sustaining peace.
The Slovak foreign minister said the year ahead will also see many countries signing the first agreement on eliminating nuclear weapons and the first international compact to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse in U.N. peacekeeping missions.
But he said the General Assembly will also be trying to maintain momentum on implementing U.N. goals for 2030 to fight poverty and inequality and the 2015 Paris climate agreement as well as moving ahead with reforms of the United Nations.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Lajcak’s theme for the coming year, which is: “Focusing on people: Striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.”
Guterres said the world faces serious threats from the proliferation of nuclear weapons to global terrorism and climate change, and people everywhere are rightly demanding change.
“We all agree that the United Nations must do even more to adapt and deliver,” he said. “That’s the aim of the reform proposals that this assembly will consider.”
Reform of the United Nations is a key demand of the United States, and Guterres will speak at a U.S.-sponsored meeting Monday chaired by President Donald Trump on reforming the world body. It will take place on the eve of Tuesday’s opening of the annual gathering of world leaders at the General Assembly.