UNGA Prez-elect wants General Debate to focus on multilateralism

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) meeting with Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir (File)

United Nations, (Asian independent)┬áVolkan Bozkir, the President-elect of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), has decided to ask member states to focus on multilateralism in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic during September’s General Debate.

In a letter to member states on Monday, Bozkir said the theme of this year’s General Debate will be “The Future We Want, the United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism — Confronting COVID-19 Through Effective Multilateral Action”, reports Xinhua news agency.

He was just adding the COVID-19 element to the theme of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

“Given the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have decided to append to this overarching theme a more specific focus,” he said in the letter.

“I would encourage all member states to reflect on how the future we want and the United Nations we need can be concretized in the specific context of COVID-19, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable; and how we can ensure our partnerships to achieve Agenda 2030 adapt to the crisis as we enter the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).”

Unlike his predecessors, Bozkir will not be hosting world leaders during this year’s General Debate in September as a result of COVID-19.

Instead, world leaders have been asked to submit pre-recorded messages that will be played in the General Assembly Hall.

Turkish diplomat Bozkir was elected UNGA President in June after he won unanimous support from the 178 UN member states.

The General Assembly president has a one-year term.

Bozkir, 69, is a career diplomat who has served as Turkey’s Minister of European Union Affairs and the chief negotiator for the country’s accession to the bloc.

He was Turkey’s consul-general in New York between 1989 and 1992, and the permanent representative to the EU from 2005 to 2009.