28 November 2018, 9.00 am – 10.00 am
The Global South-South Development Expo 2018 will commence with the High-level Opening Ceremony featuring distinguished and powerful champions of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. Prominent dignitaries and senior officials will deliver keynote statements to launch the Expo, set its tone and agenda, and share their ongoing commitment to innovation and inclusive South-South and triangular partnerships.
The High-level Opening Ceremony will feature messages and statements from high-level representatives from Member States, United Nations, United Nations entities, and other key stakeholders.
Mr. António Guterres (Confirmed)
United Nations Secretary-General
António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017. Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen, led to a huge rise in UNHCR’s activities as the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015.
Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.
As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002.
Mr. Guterres was elected to the Portuguese Parliament in 1976 where he served as a member for 17 years. During that time, he chaired the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Finance and Planning, and later the Parliamentary Committee for Territorial Administration, Municipalities and Environment. He was also leader of his party’s parliamentary group.
From 1981 to 1983, Mr. Guterres was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where he chaired the Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees.
For many years Mr. Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group’s vice-president from 1992 to 1999, co-chairing the African Committee and later the Development Committee. He served as President from 1999 until mid-2005. In addition, he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council as well as the Portuguese Consumers Association DECO, and served as president of the Centro de Acção Social Universitário, an association carrying out social development projects in poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, in the early 1970s.
Mr. Guterres is a member of the Club of Madrid, a leadership alliance of democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.
Mr. Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949 and graduated from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. He is married to Catarina de Almeida Vaz Pinto, Deputy Mayor for Culture of Lisbon, and has two children, a stepson and three grandchildren.
Her Excellency Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Confirmed)
President of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly
The President of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, has more than 20 years of multilateral experience in international negotiations, peace, security, defence, disarmament, human rights, indigenous peoples, gender equality, sustainable development, environment, biodiversity, climate change and multilateral cooperation. She has served Ecuador as Minister of Foreign Affairs (twice), Minister of National Defence, and Coordinating Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage.
In those capacities she coordinated the Sectorial Council on Foreign Policy and Promotion, which includes the Ministries of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Foreign Trade, and the Environment. Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Chair of the Group of 77 and China until January 2018, and also served as Chair of the Andean Community. At the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, she promoted the adoption of the resolution presented by Ecuador entitled “Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication”. She was a chief negotiator at the sixteenth and seventeenth Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, where she facilitated the adoption of key elements in the outcome document entitled “The future we want”.
As Minister of National Defence of Ecuador, Ms. Espinosa Garcés participated in debates on women, peace and security, and promoted the creation of the South American Defence School of the Union of South American Nations, among other initiatives.
In 2008, she was the first woman to become Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in New York. During that posting, she cofacilitated the Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly at its sixty-third session. She also led efforts at the global level towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
As Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, she led and supported various negotiation processes at the Human Rights Council. She chaired the work of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Geneva, and at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP 21) on Climate Change in Paris.
Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Special Adviser to the President of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution of Ecuador in 2008 and Regional Director (South America) and Adviser on Biodiversity (Geneva) at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In both positions, she worked for approximately 10 years on various initiatives at WIPO and WTO; participated in negotiations on intellectual property, and traditional and ancestral knowledge; and supported the Andean Community and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization on strategic management and sustainable development.
Before beginning her political and diplomatic career, Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Associate Professor and Researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador. During her time in academia, she received scholarships and grants from the Latin American Studies Association, the Ford Foundation, the Society of Woman Geographers and the Rockefeller Foundation towards her research in the Amazon. She also received awards from the German Agency for Cooperation, Deutsche Gesellschaft fϋr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and Natura Foundation for her research work.
Ms. Espinosa Garcés has written over 30 academic articles about the Amazon region, culture, heritage, sustainable development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, regional integration, defence and security. She is a PhD candidate in Environmental Geography at Rutgers University. She holds a master’s degree in social sciences and Amazonian studies and a postgraduate diploma in anthropology and political science from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador, as well as a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.
His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees (Invited)
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations
Chair of the Group of 77 and China
His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees is the Chair of the Group of 77 and China and the Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Edrees was the Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs from 2015 to January 2018. He served as Ambassador of Egypt to Ethiopia, as well as his country’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, from 2011 to 2015.
From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Edrees was Deputy Assistant Minister for Arab-Orient Affairs, while from 2007 to 2010, he was Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. He previously served as Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations in New York from 2006 to 2007 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at Egypt’s Embassy in Damascus, Syria, from 2001 to 2005.
Prior to his diplomatic service, he was a resident doctor within the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Edrees holds a Master of Arts in political science from the University of London and a Bachelor of Science in medicine and surgery from Cairo University.
Born on 31 May 1960, he is married and has a son and a daughter.
Mr. Achim Steiner (Confirmed)
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Achim Steiner became UNDP Administrator on 19 June 2017 and will serve for a term of four years. The United Nations General Assembly confirmed his nomination on 19 April 2017, following his nomination by Secretary-General António Guterres.
Mr. Steiner is also the Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, which unites 40 entities of the UN system that work to support sustainable development.
Over nearly three decades, Achim Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. He has worked tirelessly to champion sustainability, economic growth and equality for the vulnerable, and has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. Mr Steiner has served across the United Nations system, looking at global challenges from both a humanitarian and a development perspective. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016), helping governments invest in clean technologies and renewable energy. He was also Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi. Achim Steiner previously held other notable positions including Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams.
Achim Steiner has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and the United States. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (MA) from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Mr. Jorge Chediek (Confirmed)
Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)
Since October 2015, Mr. Jorge Chediek has been the Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, leading United Nations system-wide promotion and coordination of South-South cooperation for development. In March 2016, Mr. Chediek was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as his Envoy on South-South Cooperation.
Prior to this, Mr. Chediek served as the UN Resident Coordinator/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Brazil (2010-2015). In that capacity, he was also the Director of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP’s global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on social development innovations. He served as Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Peru (2005-2010); United Nations Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Nicaragua (2001-2005); Deputy Resident Representative in Cuba (1999-2001); Deputy Resident Representative in Uruguay (1996-1999); Programme Management Officer, Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in New York (1994-1996); and Programme Officer and then Assistant Resident Representative in Turkey (1990-1994).
Preceding his United Nations career, Mr. Chediek worked at the Department of Legislative Analysis of the Argentinean Congress and as an independent consultant assisting in the design of financial investment systems in Argentina.
Born in 1960, he holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service (honors) from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science (“Licenciado”) in Political Science from Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.