UN Gets New General Assembly President
Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, assumed the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week after being elected in June. He is the second Nigerian to serve as UNGA president, the first being Joseph Nanven Garba, who served from 1989 to 1990.
Muhammad-Bande has a background in both academia and diplomacy. He earned a doctorate in political science and led Nigeria’s National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies until 2016, according to his UN profile. At the United Nations, he served as vice president to the General Assembly’s 71st summit in 2016. Since 2017, he has served as Nigeria’s permanent representative.
In his inaugural address after his election in June, Muhammad-Bande promised that he would work with the Security Council to address potential conflicts and explicitly called for council reform to make it more efficient and democratic, in light of its recent failure to pass resolutions addressing key issues. He also stressed the importance of early conflict prevention and adapting to the effects of global climate change.
His speech committed the UNGA to tackle problems hindering education access and gender equality across the world. In his address, he promised, “I will work to engender cooperation that will address drivers of conflicts such as poverty, exclusion, and illiteracy.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres commended the vision Muhammad-Bande described in his inaugural address, saying of him, “he also brings valuable insights into some of the pressing peace and security, human rights and sustainable development challenges facing this body, from the spread of violent extremism to the threat of the global climate crisis,” according to Africa News.
Muhammad-Bande succeeds Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuadoras president and will preside over the 94th General Assembly for one year.