UN General Assembly gets new president

Updated: 2015-06-16 08:58


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Calling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a successful guide and framework for causes including joint efforts to reduce poverty, end hunger, bring children to school, he said there is a "final stretch" ahead for member nations to adopt "a universal, people-centered, transformative development agenda that addresses the struggle of our lifetime."

When implemented, Lykketoft said the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to follow the MDGs "will enable us to eradicate extreme poverty while keeping climate change at bay, building resilience, and creating inclusive and sustainable economic growth."

The outgoing president, Sam Kutesa of Uganda, welcomed Lykketoft by citing his previous positions in Copenhagen and pointing out the challenges he faces in his new role.

"The 70th session will be historic," Kutesa said. "We will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, adopt an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda, as well as work towards a universal climate change agreement in December, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, before hailing Lykketoft, praised Kutesa's work, adding, "I thank you for your leadership and commitment."

The change in leadership of the world organization's deliberative and most inclusive body -- all 193 members of the United Nations are represented -- maybe an annual event on the UN calendar, "but this year offers an extraordinary opportunity to shape history."

"In 2015, we reach our target date for the Millennium Development Goals -- the largest campaign against poverty in history," he said. "We will hold a Special Summit to adopt our new vision for sustainable development to guide the world for the next 15 years."

Lykketoft is "an accomplished economist with decades of experience in Parliament," the secretary-general said. "As Finance Minister and Foreign Minister, he brings great understanding of the major challenges of our times."