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Climate: Trump Pulls Out of Paris? The New UNGA President Keeps His Cool

While Trump withdraws from Paris Agreement, the President-elect of the GA pushes for sustainability efforts

The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák was elected as the 72nd President of the UN General Assembly. Lajčák's 6-point agenda focuses on sustainable development goals, human rights, the reduction of inequalities, and equitable representation between all countries within the General Assembly.

The day before President Donald Trump officially withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the new President-elect of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Slovak Miroslav Lajčák, furrowed his brow and stated, in front of journalists, that the Paris agreement was an incredibly successful deal.

Lajčák lost the election for Secretary General last year to António Guterres; however, the former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia was appointed as the President of the General Assembly Wednesday.

In a statement to the press , the newly elected President said That in Slovakia has had a longstanding history of supporting multilateral strategies to tackle difficult issues world, such as climate change.

Miroslav Lajčák has supported UN Secretary General António Guterres in his campaign to advocate for global action on climate change using a multilateral approach. After questioned about Trump’s potential withdrawal from the Paris Accord, Lajčák said, “the Paris Agreement has been a major success, so what we have to do now is implement and move forward. Climate change, right now, is one of the 17 sustainability goals I have in mind, so we need to stay focused and spread awareness. for some countries, it might be an academic issue, but for other countries, it’s a matter of survival.

Additionally, Lajčák announced that, “I’m interested in saving human lives and saving money,” as he announced in terse and realistic 6-point plan to members of the press corps following his election. The President of the GA included objectives of sustainable development with emphasis on climate change, human rights, the reduction of inequalities, and expressed that he wants the UN to establish a closer relationship with its people. He made a note to include an emphasis on migration, shifting particularly the Global Compact for Migration , a comprehensive document dedicated to protecting and integrating migrants, into intergovernmental negotiations.

Lajčák’s continued his diplomatic stance when he spoke on the principle of equal representation, one of the pillars of the UN, and his willingness to ensure a “geographical balance” that would reflect the interests of all countries-even smaller states. Lajčák added that now is the time to reform the General Assembly of the United Nations and he will ensure that significant changes will be made during his presidency. He ended his speech by saying he wants “all member states, regardless of size, power and affiliation, to have a sense of belonging and equality within the General Assembly.”

Few minutes after President Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for UN Secretary General Guterres, released this statement:

“The decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by all the world’s nations in 2015 because they recognize the immense harm that climate change is already causing and the enormous opportunity that climate action presents.  It offers a meaningful yet flexible framework for action by all countries.

The transformation envisaged in the Paris Agreement is already underway.  The Secretary-General remains confident that cities, states and businesses within the United States — along with other countries — will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity.

It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues.

The Secretary-General looks forward to engaging with the American government and  all actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future on which our grandchildren depend”.


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