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Secretary-General Hails President Abdulla Shahid’s Vision on Gender Equality, Small Island States, as Seventy-Sixth General Assembly Session Concludes

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the closing of the seventy-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, today:

I’m pleased to join you for the closing of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly.  Like the previous one, this session was marked by a series of deepening challenges. 

Rising prices, the erosion of purchasing power, growing food insecurity and the gathering shadows of a global recession.  A global pandemic that refused to be defeated — and the emergence of another health emergency in monkeypox.  And deadly heatwaves, storms, floods and other natural disasters.

I just came back from Pakistan.  It is unimaginable to see a flooded area that is three times the size of my own country — Portugal — and the suffering of the people that is taking place. 

This devastation has played out against the backdrop of ferocious conflicts that are putting millions of lives in jeopardy every day.  Deepening poverty and inequality that continues to impede recovery and development.  A morally bankrupt global financial system that penalizes developing countries and blocks their path to sustainable recovery.  And a climate emergency that is — literally — setting our planet on fire.

As the General Assembly worked to address these many challenges over the last year, we all benefited from the leadership of His Excellency Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives.  With enormous skill, he led this Assembly during these unprecedented times, bringing fresh vision to issues like gender equality, climate action and the unique perspective of small island States.

His support was also invaluable as we embarked on the first year of Our Common Agenda, facilitating the Member State consultations that have paved the path to progress.  His “presidency of hope” delivered exactly that — hope that we can come together and face the challenges before us, in solidarity.

Mr. President — thank you for your strong leadership over the last year.  I look forward to working with your successor — His Excellency Csaba Kőrösi — to carry forward this spirit of cooperation and hope.

The coming session will continue to test the multilateral system like never before.  And it will continue to test cohesion and trust among Member States.  The road ahead will be challenging and unpredictable.

But by using the tools of our trade — diplomacy, negotiation and compromise — we can continue supporting people and communities around the world.  We can pave the way to a better, more peaceful future for all people.  And we can renew faith in the United Nations and the multilateral system, which remain humanity’s best hope.

President Shahid, once again, I thank you for your vision and your tireless dedication to this Organization, to multilateralism, and to the General Assembly.  And to all Member States, thank you for coming together during these unprecedented times.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.