Seventy-eighth Session,
86th & 87th Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Elects Philémon Yang of Cameroon President of Seventy-Ninth Session, Selects Main Committee Bureaus

Pakistan, Somalia, Panama, Denmark, Greece Elected Non-Permanent Members of Security Council for 2025-2026 Term

In a series of elections today, delegates in the General Assembly chose its President for the seventy-ninth session, the Bureaus of the six Main Committees, as well the five non-permanent members of the Security Council for the next two-year term. 

Philémon Yang (Cameroon), who was elected by acclamation to serve as the Assembly’s next President, announced the theme of his presidency:  “Unity and diversity for advancing peace, sustainable development and human dignity, everywhere and for all.”

Thanking his predecessors, including the current President, for the “art and science” that each of them deployed during their term’s complex deliberations, he expressed appreciation to all Member States.  Highlighting the solidarity of the African Group, he said the African Union spared no effort to achieve the choice of a single continental candidate, while the Central African States endorsed Cameroon very early on at the Economic Community of Central African States Summit.  Further, the election is an honour for his country, he said, paying tribute to the wisdom of its President, Paul Biya.

“We are living in very difficult times marked by very striking contrast,” he said, noting conflicts around the world and the unbearable toll on civilians and refugees, “whose numbers are currently reaching a dizzying peak”, including in Gaza and Ukraine.  Artificial intelligence is magnifying opportunities and challenges so quickly to the point that “even the most convinced followers of digitalization are calling for rigorous regulation,” he observed.  Climate disruptions are posing “a real question of survival”, while the revitalization of the General Assembly and Security Council reform are either halted or moving forward too slowly.  And despite global consensus, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other agreements on which much hope had been placed are “limping dangerously”, he added.

“In short, the tools at our disposal to promote the well-being of present and future generations are under-utilized while those oriented towards war are over-exploited,” he said.  Calling for renewed multilateralism, he highlighted the special role of the Assembly, as the “highest chamber of representation”.  It is the most appropriate forum where delegates can express their concerns and aspirations, “the challenges and hopes of the nations of the world”, he said.  Exhorting all nations “big and small, rich and poor,” to work together on their common goals, he said sustainable development, shared prosperity and harmony with nature are possible if countries of the world set aside their differences. 

Congratulating the President-elect, Assembly President Dennis Francis (Trinidad and Tobago) said Mr. Yang’s “remarkable” career in public life “is testament to a depth of experience and a breadth of vision that are truly exceptional”.  As Prime Minister of Cameroon, Chairperson of the African Union’s Panel of Eminent Africans and at the United Nations, Mr. Yang demonstrated “unwavering dedication to the principles of peace, sustainable development and human dignity”, he said. The President-elect’s leadership has also been characterized, he noted, “by a consistent commitment to dialogue, cooperation and inclusivity — principles that are absolutely essential for guiding the General Assembly’s work”.

Underscoring that the Assembly remains a “preeminent and necessary global forum” as the international community navigates multiple complex challenges, he stressed that upholding the principles of multilateralism and international cooperation has never been more vital.  “We must work together — and much harder — in solidarity and partnership to address the pressing issues of our time and to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.  Turning to the remaining months of the seventy-eighth session, he urged finalization of the Summit of the Future — “a landmark event that holds the promise of transformative change”.  Its success, he added, depends on the active engagement and commitment of all Member States to a genuine effort to find consensus.

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, also offered his congratulations to the President-elect, noting that he arrives at a challenging moment for humanity, amid raging conflicts, deepening climate catastrophe, rife poverty and inequality, and growing mistrust and division. With the Sustainable Development Goals “dramatically off-track”, developing countries are left without the support they need.  “A proud African dedicated to the future of his continent,”, Mr. Yang has a wealth of experience representing his country at the highest levels.  African countries like Cameroon are bursting with potential, he said, calling on the international community to rally around them and support developing countries worldwide. 

“I look forward to working closely with him,” the Secretary-General said, “as he unites Member States around collaborative solutions that can deliver justice to Africa and the developing world.”  He also praised Mr. Francis for his diplomatic skill, stewardship and dedication over the past year.  “He brought the needs of small island developing States to this Assembly — and so much more,” he said, expressing appreciation for his leadership, including in advancing preparations for the Summit of the Future this September.  “At every step, he championed solidarity and brought this Assembly together at a deeply divided and troubled moment in our history,” he said. 

The representative of Cameroon, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said it is confident that Mr. Yang — through his academic and professional training, as well as diplomatic and political wisdom — will successfully lead the work of the Assembly’s seventy-ninth session.  Above all, his leadership will shine in “debates and decisive actions aiming to improve the destiny of countries in conflict or special situations, many of which are in our planet’s southern hemisphere, especially in Africa,” he added.  These countries need unfailing support for the transformation enshrined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  He urged Member States to support Mr. Yang in achieving his objectives.

Also congratulating the President-elect were the representatives of Yemen on behalf of the Asia-Pacific States, Austria on behalf of the Western European and Other States, and the United States as the host country.

In accordance with tradition, the Secretary-General drew lots to determine which delegation would occupy the first seat in the Assembly Hall during the seventy-eighth session, with all other countries following in English alphabetical order.  Yemen was picked for the first seat and this seating order will be observed in the Main Committees.

The Assembly then elected the following Vice-Presidents of its plenary:  Algeria, Angola, Austria, Barbados, Ghana, Guatemala, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Moldova, Senegal, Thailand, Tonga, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.  Those elected join the five permanent members of the Security Council — China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States — which serve annually as Assembly Vice-Presidents. 

The representative of the United States dissociated from the election of Venezuela as Vice-President.

Following the meeting, consecutive meetings of the Assembly’s six Main Committees were held to elect their respective Bureaus by acclamation.

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) elected Maritza Chan Valverde (Costa Rica) as Chair; El Hadj Lehbib Mohamedou (Mauritania), Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Al-Thani (Qatar) and Vivica Munkner (Germany) as Vice-Chairs; and Pēteris Filipsons (Latvia) as Rapporteur.

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) elected Sanita Pavļuta-Deslandes (Latvia) as Chair; Sheikh Jassim Abdulaziz J. A. Al-Thani (Qatar), Carmen Rosa Rios (Bolivia) and Hussein Hirji (Canada) as Vice-Chairs; and Makarabo Moloeli (Lesotho) as Rapporteur.

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) elected Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh) as Chair; David Anyaegbu (Nigeria), Ivana Vejic (Croatia) and Gudrun Thorbjoernsdottir (Iceland) as Vice-Chairs; and Stefany Romero Veiga (Uruguay) as Rapporteur.

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) elected Zéphyrin Maniratanga (Burundi) as Chair; Nur Azura Abd Karim (Malaysia), Ekaterine Lortkipanidze (Georgia) and Mayra Lisseth Sorto Rosales (El Salvador) as Vice-Chairs; and Mark Reichwein (Netherlands) as Rapporteur.

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) elected Egriselda Aracely González López (El Salvador) as Chair; Surat Suwannikkha (Thailand), Szymon Mateusz Pekala (Poland) and Johanna Bischof (Austria) as Vice-Chairs; and Elaye-Djibril Yacin Abdillahi (Djibouti) as Rapporteur.

The Sixth Committee (Legal) elected Rui Vinhas (Portugal) as Chair; Ammar Mohammed Mahmoud Mohammed (Sudan), Matúš Košuth (Slovakia) and Ligia Lorena Flores Soto (El Salvador) as Vice-Chairs; and Yong-Ern Nathaniel Khng (Singapore) as Rapporteur.

In the morning, the Assembly in one round of voting elected five non-permanent Council members for two-year terms to replace members whose terms expire on 31 December 2024.  They included Pakistan and Somalia to the two seats open for African and Asia-Pacific States; Panama to the single seat open for Latin American and Caribbean States; and Denmark and Greece to two seats open for Western European and other States.  Their two-year terms will end on 1 January 2027.

For information media. Not an official record.