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UN Assembly President outlines vision for 2024

Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, briefs Member States on his priorities for 2024.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, briefs Member States on his priorities for 2024.

UN Assembly President outlines vision for 2024

UN Affairs

The President of the General Assembly on Tuesday laid out his priorities for the rest of his term, as the UN body of 193 Member States finds itself increasingly in the public spotlight over the Gaza crisis, and inaction on the divided Security Council.

Emphasizing a commitment to addressing pressing challenges, President Dennis Francis signalled a determined push for transformative change.

“We must set our sights squarely on the Summit of the Future – the pivotal event of 2024 – where world leaders are expected to gather here in New York and forge a new global consensus on how to better deliver for people and planet,” he said.

With a focus on “supercharging” the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), preparations for the Summit will take centre stage from now until September.

“We must seize every opportunity to adapt our systems for good governance and the efficient delivery of global public goods,” he added.

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The president’s term spans the sessions of the General Assembly. For Mr. Francis, President of the 78th session of the Assembly, his term started on 5 September last year and will end on 10 September 2024.

Foundation of peace

In his address, President Francis underscored the importance of peace as the “ultimate goal of our collective efforts” and the “bedrock upon which everything we do will rest”.  

“It is, therefore, crucial that we [...] demonstrate both our political will and our ability to make this world a more peaceful and secure one,” he said.

Noting the clear Security Council deadlock over the situation in Gaza, the President recalled the resolution adopted at the resumed tenth Emergency Special Session, which demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

He reiterated his call for the immediate implementation of the Assembly’s decisions and resolutions, for “meaningful progress on the ground” and saving innocent lives.

“Surely, a military solution is not possible in the Middle East conflict,” Mr. Francis added.

The Veto Initiative

President Francis also highlighted the Veto Initiative, emphasizing the critical importance of fostering accountability and cooperation between the UN’s Principal Organs to achieve system-wide coherence.

Under the landmark Initiative, the President is authorized convene a formal meeting of the 193‑member organ within 10 working days of the casting of a veto by one or more permanent members of the Security Council and hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast.

Key events

He also announced a series of significant events the upcoming months, including the inaugural Sustainability Week (April); the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (Antigua and Barbuda, April); the third Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (Rwanda, June).

Also on the calendar is a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance; and a commemorative event marking the 30th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.