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UNGA president-elect pledges transparency, accessibility

United Nations, June 6 (IANS) President-elect of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces has pledged to make the UN’ work more transparent and accessible to the public during her tenure.

“I am committed to full transparency during my tenure,” said Espinosa Garces after her election to the post on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

She vowed to ensure that the activities of the office will be public and accessible to “all citizens of the world,” saying it is about time to “bring the UN closer to the people”.

Moreover, she called on the media to take the co-responsibility to “translate the work we are doing here at the house to the benefit and improvement of the quality of life for the regular citizens around the world”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Espinosa Garces was elected 128 to 62 to lead the UNGA, defeating the other candidate Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, permanent representative of Honduras to the UN.

The 193-member body, one of the highest policy-making bodies at the UN, will for the fourth time in its history have a woman to preside over its 73rd session this September.

Succeeding Slovak’s Miroslav Lajcak, Espinosa Garces said she will work immediately in a proper transition process with the guidance and involvement of the current UNGA president, especially with regard to the implementation of the reform process.

On the basis of geographical rotation, the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) group claims this presidency, an elected high-ranking UN position which has been overwhelmingly dominated by men.

Since 1945, the UNAG had elected only three women as presidents: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit of India (1953), Angie Brooks of Liberia (1969) and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa of Bahrain (2006). That’s three out of 72 presidents.

By tradition, the UN’s regional groups nominate a single candidate who is then approved by the UNGA. But this year the election was being contested for the first time since 1991, because the LAC group couldn’t agree on one nominee.

Espinosa Garces, born on September 7, 1964, is an Ecuadorian politician and diplomat.

She was Minister of National Defence of Ecuador from November 2012 to September 2014. Currently, she is serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs under President Lenin Moreno. She also held several other ministerial posts before.

She served as the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva from October 2014 to May 2017, and held the same position from 2008 to 2009.

Besides her political career, she is a poet and essayist.



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