24 May 2007
General AssemblyGA/10597
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly


101th Meeting (AM)




Bureau Members of Main Committees Elected in Separate Meetings

The General Assembly this morning elected, by acclamation, Srgjan Kerim of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as its President for the sixty-second session, scheduled to start in September.  Also elected in separate meetings were the chairpersons and other members of the Bureau of the Assembly’s Main Committees.

Following his election, Mr. Kerim said he would discharge his duties in a balanced, considered and forthright manner, with utmost respect for the dignity of every single Member State.  He commended the leadership and accomplishments of the current President, saying that Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa had built on the outcome of the 2005 World Summit, bolstering the United Nations role in peace and security, strengthening the Economic and Social Council and elaborating possible building blocks for negotiations on Security Council reform.  He also offered his support for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s initiatives to strengthen the Organization’s role in peacekeeping and disarmament, revitalize the Secretariat and improve the coherence and effectiveness of the way the United Nations system was managed.

Stressing the importance of effective multilateralism, he said the Assembly must deal as much as possible with substance.  Revitalization was much more than procedural improvements.  Today’s major challenges transcended borders.  Climate change, globalization, terrorism, immigration and sustainable development could not be entirely solved within national borders or at the regional level.  The Organization had also experienced failures, but the main causes of that should not always be sought in the deficiencies inherent in the United Nations system, but, at times, in the lack of political will of individual Member States to cooperate within the multilateral framework.

Among other important issues, he addressed global warming, praising recent work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  While the Panel was the negotiating framework on climate change, in terms of comprehensive action, the Assembly should be the forum for concerted action.  The debate must focus on the links between technological innovation, renewable energy and the environment.  “Together, we can tackle climate change, achieve dynamic economic growth and sustainable development,” he said.

He also emphasized the importance of the Millennium Development Goals, saying that achieving those targets, particularly in Africa, was not solely a test of the international community’s ability to deliver on commitments, but it was, above all, a test of its moral obligations and the ethical values that were enshrined in the Charter.  “To achieve these and other development goals, we should demand more of ourselves, as well as of this Organization,” he said, stressing the importance of greater system-wide coordination and coherence.

Among other priorities for the sixty-second session, he mentioned reviewing progress to implement the Counter-Terrorism Strategy; preparing for the financing for development conference in Doha; the commemorative meeting on children; and further steps towards a reformed Security Council –- a vital aspect of the United Nations reform agenda.  The Assembly also needed to continue making progress to promote dialogue among civilizations.  He saw the future and relevance of the United Nations as an organization that was based on open networks; a network that engaged with ideas from civil society, non-governmental organizations, businesses, universities, the media and the global public.

“We all have a responsibility to tirelessly seek out bold compromises based on greater mutual respect.  After all, we all share the common ideal of living in a safer, more prosperous world.  I am aware that compromise is not the most resounding of battle cries.” 

Extending his congratulations to the President Elect, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that as a seasoned diplomat, prolific scholar and a successful businessman, Mr. Kerim would bring a wealth of experience and talent to leading the General Assembly and making it more effective.  Through today’s early elections, Mr. Kerim and his team would have time to prepare for the upcoming session and come to grips with numerous complex issues facing the Organization.

In today’s complex and fast-changing world, he continued, the work of the United Nations was becoming increasingly indispensable.  The stronger the cooperation between the principal organs of the United Nations, the better the Organization would be able to meet the hopes and expectations of millions of people around the world –- “people whom we exist to serve”.  “Our cooperation needs to extend to all the major issues before us –- from fighting terrorism to bringing the benefits of globalization to all the world’s people; from promoting and protecting human rights to strengthening the Organization’s overall coherence, and its capacity in peacekeeping operations, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.

Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain), the President of the current session of the General Assembly, also congratulated Mr. Kerim, saying that he could bring to his leadership of the Assembly his significant political experience at both national and international levels, in addition to a distinguished career in the private sector and academia.  It would be his task to manage a number of important ongoing reforms that were vital to the future of the United Nations.  Strength of character, tireless commitment and determined leadership would be needed to facilitate compromise and foster greater trust among Member States.  She was confident that all Member States would work together flexibly and constructively under Mr. Kerim’s leadership to ensure a successful outcome to the Assembly’s next session.

The representatives of the United Republic of Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Latvia, Jamaica and Portugal also took the floor to congratulate the President Elect on behalf of their respective regional groups.

It was announced that the elections of the Assembly’s Vice-Presidents would be held at a later date.

Election of Committee Officers

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) elected Paul Badji ( Senegal) as its Chair.  Bassam Darwish ( Syria), Ricardo Morote ( Peru) and Roman Hunger ( Switzerland) were elected as the Committee’s Vice-Chairmen, and Dainius Baublys ( Lithuania) as its Rapporteur.

Kirsti Lintonen ( Finland) was elected Chairperson of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).  The Committee intends to hold further consultations regarding the composition of its Bureau.

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) elected Raymond Wolfe ( Jamaica) as its Chairman; Takashi Ashiki ( Japan), Kristine Malinovska ( Latvia) and Alan Gibbons ( Ireland) as its Vice-Chairs; and Tebatso Baleseng ( Botswana) as its Rapporteur.

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) elected Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad ( Sudan) as its Chairman; Hossein Maleki ( Iran) and Viktoriia Kuvshynnykova ( Ukraine) as its Vice-Chairs, and Reniery Valladares ( Honduras) as its Rapporteur.  The third Vice-Chairperson will be elected at a later date, following consultations by the Group of Western European and other States.

Hamidon Ali ( Malaysia) was elected as Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  Alejandro Torres Lepori ( Argentina), Tomáš Mičánek ( Czech Republic) and Klaus de Rijk (the Netherlands) were elected as the Committee’s Vice-Chairs, and Steven Ssenabulya ( Uganda) as its Rapporteur.

The Sixth Committee (Legal) elected Alexei Tulbure ( Republic of Moldova) as its Chairman; Jerzy Makarowski ( Sweden), Álvaro Sandoval Bernal ( Colombia) and Karen Odaba-Mosoti ( Kenya) as its Vice-Chairs; and Adam Mulawarman Tugio ( Indonesia) as its Rapporteur.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.