Ambassador & Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN

on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group on the Election of Ambassador John Ashe, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, as President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

 14th June 2013 

Mr. President,

Secretary General,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates, 

It is our honour, on behalf of the Member States of the Group of Asia-Pacific States, to congratulate H.E. Ambassador John Ashe, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, on his election as President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

 

Ambassador Ashe is poised to take over the helm of the General Assembly at a time when the wide ranging responsibilities and tasks of this principal organ are set to undergo further expansion. We are confident that the long and distinguished Foreign Service career of Ambassador Ashe will serve him in good stead in his new role.

Ambassador Ashe has assumed leadership roles in a wide range of UN bodies related to the fields of sustainable development, South-South cooperation, Environment, administration and budgetary matters, among others. He currently serves as Chairman of the UN’s High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. Some of his past leadership roles include serving as chair of the 13th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Chair of the New York chapter of Group of 77 and China, Chair of the Fifth Committee, and serving on the governing boards of the major UN Funds and Programmes.

The incoming President takes over from H.E. Vuk Jeremić, who has very ably led the General Assembly during the past year. On behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group, we would like to thank H.E. Jeremić for undertaking a very ambitious task load during his Presidency. During his tenure we witnessed the increased involvement of the General Assembly in a variety of important global issues. We hope that the office of the PGA would be able to effectively complete the agenda of the 67th UNGA in remaining months under the leadership of H.E. Jeremić. Currently, the Office of the President is in the process of preparing for 4 High-Level meetings to be organized at the 68th UNGA on Disability and Development, Millennium Development Goals, Nuclear Disarmament and on International Migration and Development. The Asia-Pacific Group extends warm wishes to H.E. Jeremić for continued success in his future career.

We have a very complex, but optimistic agenda ahead in the UN system. We are in a transition period of UN reforms when many inter-governmental and multi-stakeholder processes aimed at the post 2015 period have posed many opportunities as well as challenges. We hope that Ambassador Ashe and his Office will be provided with the human, financial and other resources to successfully cope with the growing responsibilities of the General Assembly related to the post-2015 development agenda.

Smooth implementation of the incoming President’s work load will be facilitated by close cooperation between the Office of the President and the Main Committees of the GA.  During the transition period of the incoming President, the resources of the Secretariat should be fully utilized to ensure continuity and strengthen institutional capacity of the Presidency of the General Assembly. We also hope that the Office of the PGA will continue its close cooperation with Member States.

The Asia-Pacific Group hopes that Ambassador Ashe will effectively use this august body for strengthening global peace, security and sustainability.

I thank you.

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