UN General Assembly Current Affairs - 2019

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Denmark’s Inger Andersen takes over as UNEP’s Executive Director

Denmark’s Inger Andersen recently took charge as the new Executive Director (ED) of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She will hold the designation for period of 4-years.

About Inger Andersen

Inger is a Danish economist and environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability and policy-making. Now as ED of UNEP she brings to the role a passion for conservation and sustainable development.

Nomination: She was nominated for the ED post by United Nation’s Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres and approved by UN General Assembly (UNGA) in February 2019.

Succeeded: She took over the charge from Joyce Msuya of Tanzania, who served as acting head of UNEP since late 2018. Msuya will now continue as Deputy Executive Director.

Previous Appointments:

IUCN- She has served as Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) between January 2015 and May 2019.

World Bank– Before joining IUCN, she held various leadership roles at World Bank (WB) such as- served as WB’s Vice President of Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Vice President for Sustainable Development and Head of Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers Fund Council (IARCFC).

Even before joining World Bank, she worked at the UN for over 12 years.

About UN Environment Programme

It was founded by Maurice Strong (UNEP’s 1st director) and was established as a result of United Nations Conference on Human Environment (or the Stockholm Conference) on 5 June 1972.

It is headquartered in Nairobi (capital of Kenya) and also has 6 regional offices and various country offices.

Function: It is a UN agency that provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for environment and is also responsible for coordinating UN’s environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.

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Nigeria’s UN envoy elected as President of UNGA 74th Session

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) was elected as President of 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Key Highlights

  • Muhammad-Bande, was nominated by Nigeria and endorsed by African group, at the election.
  • The 193-member UNGA then elected him by acclamation with also supporting his candidature. During an informal interactive dialogue with the Nigerian envoy in May 2019, India described Bande as a great friend and a well-known son of Africa.
  • His election was in accordance with the rules of UNGA, that 74th session of General Assembly should be elected from among African States.
  • He will succeed Maria Fernanda Espinosa as President of next General Assembly session that will commence in September 2019.
  • His appointment comes at the time when world body gets ready to celebrate 75th anniversary of its establishment in 2020.
  • Address and Commitment: While addressing the 193-member General Assembly he reaffirmed that during his term he will try and hasten long-delayed reform process of 15-nation UN organ, UN Security Council (UNSC) which made little progress after Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) a decade ago.
  • He also assured that major properties of his presidency will be implementation of existing mandates and 2030 Agenda with particular focus on peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion

Way Forward

Under his presidentship, UNGA 74th session will see several high-level meetings including- high-level Political Forum, high-level events on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Financing for Development, Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, and commemoration of Beijing+25 (25 year since Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995 was adopted).

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