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14 September 2020

Information on the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the President-elect, Volkan Bozkir, of Turkey

United Nations General Assembly opens on 15 September 2020

VIENNA, 14 September (UN Information Service) - The General Assembly of the United Nations opens its seventy-fifth session on Tuesday, 15 September, at 3 p.m., at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In ongoing efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the opening plenary meeting of the session will be held with physical distancing arrangements that will accommodate in the Assembly Hall considerably fewer representatives of delegations, relative to the opening meetings of previous sessions.  

President-elect of the 75th session of the General Assembly

Volkan Bozkir of Turkey was elected in June 2020 to serve as the President of the 75 th session of the United Nations General Assembly which runs from September 2020 to September 2021. He is the first Turkish citizen to preside over the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Bozkir joined his country's foreign service in 1972 and has held several positions during his 39 year career including: Permanent Representative of Turkey to the European Union (EU); Ambassador to Romania; Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Turgut Özal and Deputy Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for EU Affairs. He was elected a Member of Parliament in 2011 and served for nine years. He was Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator from 2014 to 2016. He is married with two children and three granddaughters.

Priorities of the President

The President-elect has said that the theme of the 75 th anniversary "The future we want, the United Nations we need; reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism" will guide the general debate of the 75 th session.

"We should take full advantage of this historic anniversary to underline the irreplaceable nature of the rules-based international system, as well as the imperative to consolidate it. The principle of multilateralism and a rules-based international system are also essential to fulfil the core mandates prescribed in the Charter of the UN." 

He is fully committed to the goals of improving the living standards and the rights of women, ensuring their full and equal participation in all spheres of life and strengthening their status within society: "Women have been active agents of positive change. In this respect, women can play a unique role in reviving our collective commitment to multilateralism and a more inclusive vision for a better future."

He also wants to focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with an emphasis on humanitarian action and with a priority on the Least Developed Countries.

The President-elect has said that efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and non-discrimination will be the guiding principles of his Presidency and his team will operate on the basis of openness, inclusivity and transparency.

In his acceptance speech, he said global problems require global responses: "Multilateralism is the most effective way to seek successful global solutions. The General Assembly, as the "parliament of the world" is uniquely situated to steer our multilateral efforts. This is why presiding over the United Nations membership is a big responsibility. I am aware of this and I will discharge this duty with utmost care."

Key events

  • The Secretary-General will convene a Sustainable Development Goal Moment virtual event on Friday 18 September;
  • High-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, Monday 21 September
  • Annual general debate will be held from Tuesday, 22 September to Saturday, 26 September, and on Tuesday, 29 September. Each Member State, observer State and the European Union can submit a pre-recorded statement of their respective Head of State, Vice-President, Crown Prince or Princess, Head of Government, Minister or Vice-Minister,  which will be played in the Assembly Hall during the high-level meeting, after an introduction by their representative who is physically present in the Assembly Hall.
  • Summit on biodiversity, Wednesday 30 September;
  • High-level meeting on the 25 th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Thursday 1 October;
  • High-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Friday 2 October; and
  • There will also be a High-level event on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond and a leaders event on climate change.

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