Shahid’s ‘Presidency of Hope’ at UNGA draws to end

Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of the 76th UNGA, Abdulla Shahid. (Photo/UN)

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid’s ‘Presidency of Hope’ at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has drawn to an end.

Shahid was elected the 76th President of the UNGA on September 14, 2021 – becoming the first Maldivian to hold the post. His one-year term expired Monday.

He held his last monthly coordination meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week, after he presented Guterres with a Maldivian Boduberu as a parting gift.

President of the 76th UNGA and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid (R) gifts UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) with a Maldivian Boduberu on September 7, 2022.

Shahid won the election with 143 votes. He beat his rival, former Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul with a margin of 48 votes.

He made history by becoming the first Maldivian to hold such a high position within the UN.

He named his tenure ‘Presidency of Hope’, focusing on five ‘rays of hope’;

  • Recovering from COVID-19
  • Rebuilding sustainably
  • Responding to the needs of the planet
  • Respecting the rights of all
  • Reforming the UN

Shahid is set to formally hand over presidency of the UNGA to his successor, former Sustainable Environment Director at the Hungarian President’s Office, Csaba Korosi, later Monday.

President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid delivers opening remarks at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) on October 31, 2021. (Photo/UN)

Shahid had faced criticism when he assumed presidency of the UNGA, with many, especially the opposition, questioning whether he could perform two roles.

However, Shahid said his post at the UNGA wasn’t a “job”, but something he had earned as Maldivian Foreign Minister. He said he didn’t receive a salary from the UN, and that serving as Maldivian Foreign Minister was his only salaried job.