The United Nations yesterday (June 5, 2018) elected Ecuador Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa to be the incoming President of the UN General Assembly. She will become the 73rd person, and the fourth woman ever, to hold the UNGA presidency.
Sra Espinosa is a former Defence Minister, Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and an accomplished poet, having published five volumes of poetry and receiving the Ecuadorian National Poetry Prize in 1990.
Sra Espinosa has also been a long-time advocate for peace, human rights, nuclear disarmament and environmental protection. She serves as a Council Member of the influential World Future Council, and has partnered in a number of events and initiatives with key international peace and disarmament organisations including Abolition 2000, Basel Peace Office, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament and UNFOLD ZERO.
During her term as Ecuador Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, for example, she co-hosted a number of nuclear disarmament events with these NGOs at the UN, including some of the annual commemoration events for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
At the 2015 commemoration event for the International Day, Sra Espinosa presented A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good, a joint statement of religious leaders, mayors and parliamentarians to the United Nations. See Religious leaders and legislators present nuclear abolition call to the UN.
Ms. Espinosa has also been Coordinator of the project “Political Dialogues for Sustainable Development in Latin America”, served as Environmental Adviser for UNICEF on environmental and girls’ education in Niger and worked as Liaison Officer on forest-related indigenous knowledge and intellectual property rights at the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests at the United Nations.
Sra Espinosa will take on the UNGA Presidency in September this year, and the term lasts one year.
Just after she begins her presidency the World Future Council (and partner organisations) will hold Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, a major event in New York for nuclear disarmament and sustainable development.
Also early in the Presidency of Sra Espinosa will be a decision by the UN General Assembly on the UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament – whether or not it will be scuttled due to opposition by nuclear-armed States, or re-scheduled for 2019 (see Nuclear Weapon States’ Long Arm Seen Behind Deferral of Landmark UN Conference).
In addition to being a poet, Sra. Espinosa is an accomplished academic, having published more than 30 academic articles on the Amazon River, culture, heritage, development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, integration, defence and security.
In the UN vote for the position, Sra Espinosa defeated Ambassador Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake of Honduras by 128 votes to 62, with two abstentions.
UNFOLD ZERO extends our sincerest congratulations to Sra Espinosa for her election and wishes her success during her term in this important global position.