New Assembly president Volkan Bozkır pledges to serve UN ‘as a whole’, building consensus
23 June 2020
The expectations and views of each of the world’s regional groups and its members “will be equally important and valuable to me”, the newly elected president of what will be the 75th UN General Assembly, told an informal meeting of the world body on June 22.
“I will represent the UN membership as a whole”, Volkan Bozkir of Turkey told the virtual briefing, making clear that he would serve “the best interests of the UN and its Member States”.
Mr. Bozkir said that he would work in sync with the Secretary-General’s agenda and priorities, to be “as effective as we can”, and liaise closely with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) also, to “harmonize” their essential work.
Starting a new chapter
A career diplomat and politician for nearly 50 years, Mr. Bozkır said “today is the start of a new chapter for me”.
He thanked the current Assembly president for his “wisdom and calm”, leading Member States through the “unexpectedly challenging session” that continues, which has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will be ready to continue close cooperation and collaboration with you and your Office, in the coming months for a smooth and efficient transition”, he assured.
Humanitarian crises, deadly conflicts and COVID-19 are among the global problems that require global solutions, according to Mr. Bozkir.
Referring to the principle of multilateralism underpinning the “parliament of the world”, he said it continues to be the most effective way to seek successful global solutions and that the General Assembly is “uniquely situated” to steer those efforts.
The incoming UN official vowed to work towards “achieving and consolidating trust and cohesion among Member States, civil society and other international organizations”.
“Consensus building will be at the core of all my efforts.”, he upheld.
The incoming Assembly president said his top priorities multilateralism; the UN 75th anniversary; humanity, with a special focus on the most vulnerable and gender equality – with COVID-19 as the first and foremost health emergency and humanitarian crisis.
‘A crucial year’
In congratulating the president-elect, the UN chief António Guterres maintained that Mr. Bozkir would be presiding over “a crucial year in the life of this Organization”.
He stressed the importance of highlighting the value of multilateralism during the Organization’s 75th anniversary; the continued need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; and the need to evaluate a range of global challenges, from climate change to human rights and gender equality.
Acknowledging Mr. Bozkir’s aim of establishing greater trust among countries, the UN chief spelled out, “this is essential for progress at any time, but especially now”.
Before welcoming the next Assembly president, the UN chief thanked incumbent Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, for his “capable stewardship” during the “extraordinary time” of COVID-19.
“You have displayed great dexterity in moving to new working arrangements that have enabled the Assembly to remain open for business during the COVID-19 crisis”, he said.