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Philemon Yang of Cameroon elected President of upcoming General Assembly session

President-elect Yang also served as the Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Africans of the African Union, demonstrating “unwavering dedication” to the principles of peace, sustainable development and human dignity, Dennis Francis, President of the General Assembly said.

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His steadfast leadership has also been characterized by a consistent commitment to dialogue, cooperation, and inclusivity – principles that are absolutely essential for guiding the General Assembly’s work.”

With the world confronting multiple, complex challenges, Mr. Francis emphasized the importance of multilateralism and international cooperation.

He urged all Member States to work together – and work harder – to ensure nobody is left behind.

“With His Excellency Philemon Yang at the helm, I am confident that the General Assembly will rise to the occasion to meet this challenge with courage and compassion,” he added.

Theme for 79th session

At an informal dialogue with Assembly members in May, then candidate Yang, highlighted his theme for the 79th session as “unity in diversity, for the advancement of peace, sustainable development, and human dignity for everyone everywhere”.  

Speaking to journalists following the elections, he reiterated that diversity “is a part of life”.

“I am convinced that through dialogue, through consensus, talking together and looking to the future together, we can solve problems,” he said.

The 79th session of the General Assembly will convene on 10 September, with the body’s high-level general debate starting on 24 September 2024.

Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) congratulates Philemon Yang of Cameroon, the President-elect of the 79th session of the UN General Assembly.
United Nations

Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) congratulates Philemon Yang of Cameroon, the President-elect of the 79th session of the UN General Assembly.

A challenging time: Guterres

Congratulating the president-elect, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted the challenges confronting the global community.

“Conflicts continue to rage. Climate catastrophe is deepening. Poverty and inequality are rife. Mistrust and division are pulling people apart. The Sustainable Development Goals are dramatically off-track. And developing countries are left without the support they need to invest in their people.”

Mr. Guterres urged everyone not to lose sight of the collective objective of a more peaceful and sustainable world.

He acknowledged the leadership of Assembly President Francis, adding that like him, president-elect Yang will also play an important role.

He brings a vital voice to this Hall. He has a wealth of experience representing his country as a diplomat and public servant … He is also a proud African dedicated to the future of his continent,” Mr. Guterres said, adding that he looks forward to working with Mr. Yang.

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