Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid stated on Monday that his first priority as newly elected President of the United Nation's General Assembly (PGA) will be to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the assembly as the President-Elect of the 76th General Assembly, Minister Shahid noted they were approaching the new session amidst a time when injustice, inequality, and instability have increased globally. He stated that while his key areas of focus would be on rebuilding communities, recovering economies and rescuing the planet, his number one priority at the moment was to fight and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My immediate priority will be recovering from COVID-19. Building on existing initiatives and approaches, I will be looking to address the health of our people and our economies," Minister Shahid had said.
He stressed on the importance of vaccine equity, highlighting on the vital need to get everyone vaccinated.
"No one is safe, until everyone is safe."
While Minister Shahid is the PGA, he would work towards ensuring the youth gets their voices heard in the General Assembly, he said. He also stated that he would commit to work towards gender equality.
"And here, I reiterate my pledge at the Interactive dialogue—As President of the General Assembly, I will not participate in any panels that are not gender balanced," Shahid had said.
Shahid said he would start finalising his team immediately, so that he would be ready to start by the time the 76th session commences on September 14, with him as the President. He promises his team would be gender balanced, multi-national, with geographical diversity, including developed and developing countries, and various groups of countries.
Furthermore, Shahid said he hopes to address a multitude of global issues that requires immediate attention. He likened the 76th session to be a "super session for nature," where issues such as the ocean, climate change, and sustainable transport can be discussed.
Minister Shahid also highlighted on the importance of addressing the needs of the people and working towards establishing a stronger United Nations.
"Addressing the needs of our people is equally important. Ensuring that we respect the rights of all, mobilizing the collective will and conscience of humanity, is a process requiring constant work," Shahid said.
Minister Shahid was nominated as the Maldives candidate for the election by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He is the first Maldivian candidate to have been elected for this position and the sixth President from a Small Island Developing State.
He ran against former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Dr. Zalmai Rassoul. Shahid won the election with 143 votes while Afghanistan received 48 votes.
The Maldives joined the United Nations on 21 September 1965, soon after gaining independence and has since been an active member. September of 2021 will mark 56 years since Maldives joined the United Nations.