UN should make a "real difference" to lives of "ordinary people"

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General Assembly elects by acclamation Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcák of Slovakia as President of its upcoming 72nd session. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

The UN should be making more of a difference when it comes to the lives of ordinary people across the world.

That's one of the priorities of the newly-elected President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, who will take up his post when the 72nd session begins in September.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Lajčák is a career diplomat from the small Eastern European state of Slovakia, which came into being following the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

Currently Slovakia's Foreign Minister, he told the General Assembly in New York that he and his country were enthusiastic believers in the multilateralism which underpins the whole UN system, with a long record of contributing to the organization, from peacekeeping to humanitarian work.

He said he would have six priorities during his year in office, beginning with a sense that the UN needed to become more relevant to the billions it aims to serve.

"I do believe we can do more to bring the United Nations closer to the world's citizens. Nations around the globe continue to have high hopes of the United Nations. It's a key task of the General Assembly as the most representative organ, to step up its efforts. It should make a real difference to the lives of ordinary people."

Mr Lajčák added that preventive diplomacy and what he called the "complex" global issue of migration would also be on his agenda, together with climate change and sustainable development.

He promised to focus also on advancing human rights as an overarching principle.

He said the job of presiding over the General Assembly of the 193 Member States was an "increasingly demanding position," and he would only seek to introduce new initiatives if they could be done well, and with impact.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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