Assembly doors "held ever wider" to help tackle global issues: UN chief

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Secretary-General António Guterres addresses an informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect, with Peter Thomson, outgoing President of the General Assembly beside him. UN file Photo/Kim Haughton

The doors of the UN General Assembly have been held "ever wider" to help Member States tackle pressing global issues, said the UN chief on Monday.

Secretary-General António Guterres said he had seen "many highlights", during the 71st annual session, including a landmark declaration on migrants, and the repositioning of the UN to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Matt Wells reports.

Mr Guterres expressed "sorrow and solidarity" with the United States on the 16th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

He paid tribute to the outgoing President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, for his vision and energy, and for steering Member States to a "solid record of achievement" during the year.

He singled out Mr Thomson's most passionate contribution to the assembly calendar, namely the June Ocean Conference, which the UN chief described as a "timely exercise" in raising awareness of marine degradation.

"Over the past year, the Assembly continued to serve as a forum for pressing global issues, from human trafficking to antimicrobial resistance.  I have been pleased to see the doors of the Assembly opening ever wider to vital partners such as civil society, the private sector and, above all, young people."

Mr Guterres also praised what he called the "new standards of transparency and interactivity" that had resulted from the job search for a new Secretary-General.

With its candidate dialogues and vision statements, he said it was an honour to have gained the trust of the assembly during the selection process.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'02"

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