The UN General Assembly on Monday elected the current Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, as President of the body for a term of one year. Shahid prevailed against the other candidate for office, Zalmai Rassoul, from Afghanistan.
Shahid will chair the General Assembly during its 76th session, which begins September 14, after receiving 143 votes from member states, compared with 48 for Rassoul. Shahid will replace the responsible Turkish Volkan Bozkir.
The election also corresponds to the established regional rotation, on which occasion the chairmanship of the General Assembly corresponded to the Group of Asia-Pacific States.
Shahid has expressed his belief that the United Nations is the pinnacle of multilateral cooperation and has proposed a “presidency of hope”.
“Over the past year we have experienced human kindness. Our belief in humanity has been renewed. So I sincerely believe that in times of crisis we see the best the world has to offer. I also believe that this is a defining” moment for them Organization and for the entire international community, “he argued.
“It is an opportunity that we must seize. Therefore, my presidency will be one of hope, trying to work for the people, the planet and prosperity, ”he added.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated the Maldivian diplomat and highlighted his many years of experience, for which he “deeply understands the importance of multilateralism in addressing today’s global challenges”.
In addition, Shahid from a small island developing state will bring unique ideas ahead of the COP26 climate summit to be held in Glasgow in November, Guterres added.
Shahid began his diplomatic career in 1983 and has represented the Maldives in numerous international forums. He was also chief of staff of his country’s presidency and president of the national parliament.
He has held the post of Foreign Minister for the second time since 2018 – the first time in 2005 – a position from which he has become one of the key voices denouncing the devastation wrought by the global health crisis on economies and societies smaller Island developing states.
He also drew attention to the vulnerability of these countries to climate change and external shocks, and recalled their limited ability to respond to and recover from disasters.