The Secretary-General Remarks at closing of the 71st session of the General Assembly

12 Sep 2017

The Secretary-General Remarks at closing of the 71st session of the General Assembly

New York, 11 September 2017

Mr. President,


Let me begin with a warm and heartfelt thank you to President of the 71st session of the General Assembly Peter Thompson.

Thank you for your vision. Thank you for your energy. Thank you for your unmistakable assertive voice that may have given some of us flashbacks to our grammar school principals!

But most of all thank you for helping to steer the Member States to a solid record of achievement over the past year.

Day in and day out, you brought us together.

That spirit of unity has particular meaning today, the 16th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and other targets.

This was an assault on the United States. But so many of our Member States saw their citizens murdered that day.

I know you join me in expressing our sorrow and solidarity on this day.


In looking back over the work of the 71st session of the Assembly, I see many highlights.

Last September’s high level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants adopted the landmark New York Declaration, pointing the way towards compassionate and people-centred ways to address this challenge.

The resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for development set the stage for re-positioning the United Nations to better support countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Assembly also took other important steps to advance the 2030 Agenda, including the establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries and the adoption of the indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets.

President Thomson, I know you were especially pleased to convene the Ocean Conference in June. This was a timely exercise that has helped to raise awareness about the need to sustainably use the world’s marine resources.

It also showed the big impact that small island developing states such as Fiji can have in shaping the international agenda and providing solutions for shared problems.

Over the past year the Assembly continued to serve as a forum for pressing global issues, from human trafficking to antimicrobial resistance. I have been pleased to see the doors of the Assembly opening ever wider to vital partners such as civil society, the private sector and, above all, young people.

Of course, the past Assembly also took up the task of selecting a new Secretary-General. With new features such as candidate dialogues and vision statements, that process has established new standards of transparency and interactivity. It is an honour to have gained your trust and to be sitting here today. I thank you as well for approving my proposal to establish the Office of Counter-Terrorism -- a key element in the reforms that I have set in motion.


To all the Member States, congratulations on a productive 71st session.

To Ambassador Thomson, you once said that you wanted your tenure to be measured by how good a start we get in implementing the 2030 Agenda. By that yardstick and many others, you can be very proud of your accomplishments.

Finally, to the incoming President Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, we look forward to working with you to build on the 71st session and make the 72nd session a great success in serving the world’s people.

Thank you.