Fijisun.fj, 👤 by Department of Information, SUVA
A first for Fiji and the Pacific, Ambassador Peter Thomson has been elected as the United Nations General Assembly president of its 71th session beginning in September.
Current assembly President Mogens Lykketoft announced the winner of the secret-ballot election.
Ambassador Thomson was one of two nominees for the post along with Cyprus’ Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis.
He won in a close 94 to 90 vote.
The UNGA presidency rotates annually between five geographic areas and this year it’s the turn for an Asian-Pacific representative to head Assembly meetings, of which both Cyprus and Fiji are members.
Ambassador Thomson’s candidacy was put forward by Fiji and eleven other Pacific Small Island Developing States at the United Nations.
After the election Ambassador Thomson congratulated Mr Mavroyiannis for the honourable manner in which the contest had been contested. He expressed his deep appreciation to those who had given their support in today’s ballot and thanked the Government of Fiji and the Pacific Small Island Developing States for putting his name forward for the Presidency.
He gave special words of thanks to the hundreds of Fijians serving in the blue helmets and blue berets of UN peacekeeping in the world’s trouble-spots.
Ambassador Thomson is the first national of a Pacific Island Country to be elected to the Presidency in the history of the United Nations.
In his address to the General Assembly after the elections, Ambassador Thomson said he would be bringing to the General Assembly’s 71st Session the international issues of importance to developing countries and the General Assembly as a whole, with special attention on the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, along with necessary action on Climate Change and Ocean issues.
He said that by the end of the 71st Session, the General Assembly must be able to show real progress on all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.
As President-elect for the 71st Session, Ambassador Thomson pledged to serve the General Assembly, “in a spirit of fidelity and commitment to the common good, always in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
Congratulatory messages were tweeted to Mr Thomson, including New Zealand’s Helen Clark UN who is a candidate for the UN Secretary General post.