TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- Dennis Francis, Trinidad and Tobago’s permanent representative to the UN, has been elected president of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
In a General Assembly plenary session, Francis was elected by acclamation, as his candidacy was uncontested.
In September 2023, he will take over from current General Assembly President Csaba Korosi, a Hungarian diplomat.
“I commit to discharge the responsibilities of the office with transparency, accountability, vigor, and dedication, bearing in mind that all members have equal rights,” Francis told the General Assembly after his election.
Francis said he would promote and facilitate meaningful dialogue in various formats in the interest of coherence to ensure that priorities are clarified and common purpose is strengthened.
“It is my hope to bring forward, with your help and support, a renewed atmosphere of conciliation, cooperation, and shared commitment in addressing the many challenges and seizing every opportunity, however nascent, before the General Assembly. I will seek to enhance current approaches and adopt new ones with probable solutions as we endeavor to deliver, or at least to strengthen, the basis for delivering peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability,” he said.
In an effort to accelerate action toward sustainable development, Francis requested the support and participation of the member states.
Francis was congratulated on his election by Korosi.
Francis’ vision for the 78th session of the General Assembly — peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability — offers a comprehensive view of the assembly’s work as the institution rebuilds trust, combats climate change, and seeks to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Korosi said.
“With his extensive experience and his unique perspective coming from a small island developing state, I am confident that the General Assembly will be in capable hands during the next session,” he said.
In his remarks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Francis arrives at a time of conflict and climate chaos, escalating poverty, hunger, inequality; and mistrust and divisions within society.
In the meantime, Agenda 2030 is in danger, and the Sustainable Development Goals are slipping away, he added. “Across all of these issues, the world looks to this assembly to unite member states around common solutions.”
Along with his years of experience working with multilateral agencies, Francis has also been a respected negotiator and long-serving diplomat, including as his country’s longest-serving ambassador. Guterres said that coming from Trinidad and Tobago, he brings a critical perspective to this assembly.
“So many of the issues we address here hit small island developing states like his the hardest. This includes the disastrous impacts of climate change, and the effects of a deeply unjust global financial system that routinely denies developing countries the debt relief and restructuring as well as financing they need to invest in their people,” said the UN chief.
“The United Nations General Assembly stands as a beacon of hope and unity in a world that so often lacks both. Through dialogue and consensus-building, you are all demonstrating that we can gather around shared solutions to the challenges facing our world,” he said.
His career in the diplomatic service of Trinidad and Tobago spans 40 years, making him the country’s longest-serving ambassador.
In September 2021, he became Trinidad and Tobago’s permanent representative to the United Nations.