A veteran Hungarian diplomat was appointed President of the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly during an official ceremony in New York on Tuesday.
Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the Office of the President of Hungary, will lead the UN’s chief deliberative and policymaking body, starting in September.
He was elected by acclamation by the General Assembly, which comprises all 193 UN Member States.
Mr. Kőrösi vowed to make ‘Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science’ the motto for its 77th session.
He highlighted the “ominous challenges” facing countries, including food and energy shortages, but also debt, the climate emergency, biodiversity loss, and urgent humanitarian and protection needs.
Seek integrated solutions
Together with the war in Ukraine, and other armed conflicts, they create a “perfect storm” and unprecedented instability for the years to come, he warned.
“By electing me, you have reconfirmed the assessment that the geopolitical risks and those stemming from the unsustainable way of our development, have started to merge and reinforce each other,” he said.
“Therefore, we should seek integrated solutions to the systemic challenges. There is no way back to the old normal. The only way out of our current predicament is through continued reforms and transformation of this Organization and strengthening our cooperation. We must do much better in delivering on our jointly agreed goals, commitments and pledges.”
Stand firm on UN principles
Mr. Kőrösi outlined priorities to address the complex global challenges while upholding the UN’s key pillars of peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development.
They include standing firm on the basic principles of the UN Charter, making significant and measurable progress in “sustainable transformation”, enhancing the role of science in decision making, and promoting greater solidarity.
“We live in times that rock the foundation this Organization was built upon. With multiple crises looming, nothing less than the credibility of the UN is at stake,” Mr. Kőrösi told his fellow ambassadors.
Reflecting on the founding of the UN, he recalled that 77 years ago, Member States showed that lasting peace can be built on the ashes of war.
“We need the same resolve today to stand up to the challenges that threaten international peace and security as well as our sustainable future on this planet,” he said.
Advancing the UN’s work
UN Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated the President-elect and highlighted the critical role of the General Assembly in a world in peril.
He said Mr. Kőrösi brings a broad perspective to the post, namely a familiarity with the United Nations, expertise in environmental sustainability, and steadfast commitment to multilateral action.
“I welcome the focus of his Presidency on ‘Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science’, and I count on him to help us advance across the spectrum of our work,” the UN chief said.
“We look forward to working with him in search of sustainable solutions, in pursuit of our shared goals, and in defence of our common values.”
Passing the baton
The current General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives, expressed readiness to fully support his successor, adding that engagement towards a smooth transition has already begun.
He commended Mr. Kőrösi’s nearly 40 years in diplomacy, including serving as Hungary’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York and, more recently, his tenure as Deputy State Secretary responsible for security policy, multilateral diplomacy and human rights.
"I am certain that, with his extensive experience both here at the UN and around the world, the General Assembly will be in good hands next session," he said.
Mr. Shahid also spoke of the work still ahead in the General Assembly before he leaves office, including action on the follow-up process for Our Common Agenda, the UN report on the future of global collaboration.
Countries will gather again in July for the Moment for Nature event to address structural barriers affecting the environmental agenda, sustainable development, and COVID-19 recovery.