India on Tuesday called on the members of the United Nations to introspect why only four women have been elected president of its General Assembly in 70 years, PTI reported.
Anjani Kumar, a counsellor in the Indian mission, said at an ad-hoc working group meeting on the revitalisation of the General Assembly on Tuesday that in 1953 Indian diplomat Vijay Lakshmi Pandit had the distinction of being the first woman to serve as the assembly’s president.
“It is a matter of satisfaction that the current PGA [president of the UNGA] is also a woman,” Kumar added. “We need to collectively reflect upon is the fact that there have been only four women PGAs in 73 years of the United Nations.”
Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador is the current president of the assembly. Angie Brooks of Liberia was elected president in 1969 and Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain in 2006. No woman has served as the secretary-general of the United Nations.
Kumar said the success of the United Nations depends, in large measure, on the General Assembly’s effectiveness in addressing challenges of global importance. “Its presiding officer, the president of the General Assembly, has an important role to play in setting its agenda and shaping the outcome of the Assembly session every year.”
Kumar said the office of the president of the General Assembly is not allocated enough funds or resources. “It is, therefore, important that for its effective and efficient functioning, the PGA’s office is provided with the necessary financial and human resources in an institutionalised manner,” he added.
India fully supports the idea of providing necessary institutional and secretarial support to the General Assembly president’s office, IANS quoted Kumar as saying. “This will ensure continuity, enable incoming PGAs to effectively lead such negotiation processes and also help member states to adequately prepare for them.”
Kumar said India has been making annual contributions to the trust fund for the Office of the President of the General Assembly. India has contributed $2,50,000 annually in the past three years, he added.