NEW YORK, June 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s minister of Foreign Affairs, was elected president of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Three months after announcing her candidacy, the experienced diplomat received 128 votes, a majority of votes from the 193 states comprising the United Nations.
The election was historic, as it marked the first time two Latin American women were candidates for one of the highest-ranking positions in the United Nations. The role of UNGA president is filled through an open election in which all Member States vote, while the Secretary General is appointed by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Upon election, the president-elect will form her cabinet, organized following the Assembly’s functions and powers, subsidiary organs and the ongoing intergovernmental negotiation process. This cabinet is made up of foreign service professionals from diverse nations (generally with geographic representation criteria), as well as staff from the United Nations, its Secretariat and System agencies.
Additionally, the president-elect must appoint the Permanent Representatives who will preside over key ongoing international negotiation processes, such as those related to Security Council reforms, Assembly revitalization, follow-up on the Sustainable Development Goals and the International Committee on the South-South Cooperation, among other processes under her responsibility.
The president-elect named a citizen of the Republic of Ghana, a former diplomat and senior official in the United Nations, as her Chief of Staff, recognizing the African continent’s full support for her candidacy. In coming days, she will designate a transition team, which will begin their functions immediately in accordance with U.N. regulations establishing a three-month transition period.
In the speech following her election, the president-elect said the vote strengthened multilateralism. “For this reason, every state wins, because by strengthening the United Nations, we are advancing the construction of its pillars of peace and security, development and human rights, benefitting of our people and our common home, planet Earth,” Espinosa said.
She was thankful for the vote of confidence in Ecuador and “the most generous expressions of support and confidence from the countries in my beloved region of Latin America and the Caribbean, and from all regions of the world.”
The president-elect dedicated her election to women, as she became the fourth woman to hold this position in the United Nations’ 73 years of history, and the first woman from the Latin American and Caribbean region.
“I want to dedicate this election to all the women in the world who participate in politics today, who face political and media attacks marked by chauvinism and discrimination. I would like to pay a special tribute to women who fight daily for jobs with equal conditions; to women and girls who are the victims of violence; to girls and adolescents who demand access to quality information and education. My commitment will be to them,” said the Ecuadorian minister.
The president-elect will face important challenges that will require her leadership in the General Assembly agenda during this period, such as the implementation of reforms to the United Nations System in its areas of peace and security, development and operations; management of the crises and international conflicts in Syria, Africa, the Middle East and Palestine; the adoption and implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, which will be the first human rights instrument addressing refugees and migrants, as well as various international conferences and high-level events on topics such as the situations of countries exporting raw materials, South-South Cooperation, global health and climate change, among others.
Espinosa, who is 53 years old, has vast experience in international affairs, including in topics such as integration, security and defense, human rights, climate change and indigenous peoples.
During her time as Ecuador’s minister of Foreign Affairs in 2007 and 2017-2018, Espinosa included topics such as defense of human rights and the environment, international cooperation and the diversification of international relations in her foreign policy agenda.
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SOURCE Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs