New York, 6 September 2023 (TDI): The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was officially inaugurated by the newly appointed General Assembly President, Dennis Francis yesterday.

In his opening statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, represented by his Deputy, Amina Mohammed, cautioned about a world characterized by significant challenges and division, which is currently putting the United Nations (UN) to the test.

“Despite profound global challenges, this is not a moment for pessimism.

This is a moment for action,” he said on Tuesday.

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“Action for peace and human rights; action to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and tackle the existential threat of climate change; action to create productive jobs and expand economic opportunity, especially for women and young people; action to ensure that rapid evolutions in technology like artificial intelligence are a help, and not a harm, to humanity; action to build a world of hope and promise for all that leaves no-one behind” he added.

In his introductory address, UNGA President Dennis Francis noted that the new session of the General Assembly is commencing “amid a daunting global agenda, beset by a series of cascading challenges”.

He urged member states to promote and foster peace by empowering the most vulnerable and to achieve collective prosperity by unlocking the necessary resources for transformative outcomes.

Likewise, he urged members to expedite progress by harnessing the potential of youth, innovation, and technology; and to promote sustainability.

“This session, I will commit to engaging regional and other groups to collectively collaborate to bring to life a renewed atmosphere of global cooperation and shared commitments.

My ambition is for the UNGA to address the array of challenges it faces in the most effective and inclusive way possible,” Francis added.

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He encouraged member states to embrace a genuine spirit of multilateralism for resolving problems “so that we can better protect, if not guarantee, the security and dignity of humankind”.

Francis, a diplomat hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, took the oath of office after the concluding 77th session of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning.