UN General Assembly President Calls on MENA Region to Join in Providing For the People


Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly, called upon leaders in the MENA region to join the body’s mission of “delivering for the people.”

Mr. Lajčák spoke on November 2, 2017, to an audience of representatives of government, civil society, media, academia, culture, diplomacy, youth, and the private sector at IPI-MENA in Manama.

Referring to issues of priority to the international community, Mr. Lajčák highlighted the importance of multilateralism to address key agenda items of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly; conflict prevention, peacebuilding, migration, youth, water issues, and streamlining the body’s agenda in line with ongoing UN reform.

He urged the governments of Bahrain and the MENA region as well as civil society leaders to provide support to the UN on a range of security, peacebuilding and development issues, with the aim of “providing for the people” in line with, among others, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and women’s empowerment.

Mr. Lajčák concluded by stressing it would be the General Assembly’s priority to implement “credible concepts that can yield meaningful outcomes” for the people.

On his side, Abdulla Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Undersecretary of Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of DERASAT, expressed his country’s adherence to the implementation of the SDGs and its support to the General Assembly’s efforts in that regard. He highlighted that his country has invested in “human capital,” which is the “most valuable asset.” He referred to the first Strategic Partnership Framework (SPF) signed recently with the UN Country Team as a vital example of the “Bahraini government’s support to development.”

He reiterated his country’s support to the General Assembly’s vision for development and peacebuilding in the Middle East, calling on “the international community to support governments, private sector, civil society and individuals who provide the necessary support for the youth to achieve the SDGs.”

Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, stressed the importance of the General Assembly as crucial “in the development of a global agenda on prevention” and referred to IPI’s milestone Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) report that stressed the centrality of the General Assembly in the development of a “road map for the implementation of a UN peacebuilding architecture on all levels: international, regional, national, and local.”

The General Assembly is the highest body in the UN structure and holds substantial power. This power stems from the fact that it equally represents all the nations across the globe.

The event was held as part of IPI’s Global Leaders Series.

Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, moderated the conversation.