Nigerian Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is elected to head the UN General Assembly

The permanent representative of his country in the UN, the Nigerian diplomat and ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande was elected to head the 74th UN General Assembly, due to take place in New York City in September. The new president will replace the Ecuadorian Maria Fernanda Espinosa on a one-year warrant.

In his speech, the ambassador said that peace, security, eradication of poverty, fighting hunger, education, and inclusion will be the priorities of his presidency. “The promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women and youth deserve special attention, and I will be devoted to the promotion of gender parity throughout the whole UN system, starting from my own Office,” he emphasized.

“The promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women and youth deserve special attention”

The election of Muhammad-Bande was by acclamation since its candidacy was defined by consensus among the African representatives, who, by the policy of rotation of continents of the UN, would be responsible for indicating the new president.

António Guterres and Muhammad-Bande after the election

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has offered support to the new president so that, together, they can achieve shared goals. He also highlighted the work that Muhammad-Bande had been playing as a representative of his country and his knowledge of the challenges facing Africa and world affairs in general.

“I will count on the support and solidarity of all Member States as well as the Secretariat. I will work with them on streamlining our work and improving the way we do business at the UN,” reinforced the new president

75 years of the UN

The UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020 will be celebrated during the mandate of the Nigerian diplomat. He stressed that this will be a unique opportunity to reduce the trust deficit between countries.

António Guterres said he hoped that the moment would serve as an occasion to “reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the Charter”.

The General Assembly

The UN General Assembly is the main deliberative body of the UN. That is where all the Member States of the Organization (193 countries) come together to discuss the issues that affect the lives of all the inhabitants of the planet. In the General Assembly, all countries have the right to one vote, that is, there is total equality among all its members.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The resolutions – voted and approved – of the General Assembly function as recommendations and are not mandatory.

Among the main functions of the Assembly are the discussion of issues related to military conflicts (with the exception of those on the Security Council agenda), sustainable development, the environment, and human rights.