skip to main content
Opening of HLS / Ministerial segment

Chair:

  • H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, President of Economic and Social Council

Opening remarks:

  • H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, President of Economic and Social Council
  • H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly
  • Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Keynote speaker:

  • Ms. Michelle Yeoh, Malaysian Actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák
President of the General Assembly
H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák

President of the General Assembly

H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová
President of Economic and Social Council
H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová

President of Economic and Social Council

Her Excellency Marie Chatardová was elected seventy-third President of the Economic and Social Council on 27 July 2017. Ambassador Chatardová is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations in New York.

Until her appointment in 2016, Ms. Chatardová was her country’s Ambassador to France and Monaco, and its Permanent Representative to the International Organization of la Francophonie. Between 2013 and 2016, she also served as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A career diplomat, Ms. Chatardová held several positions within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She was Director of Diplomatic Protocol from 2007 to 2010, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Sweden from 2002 to 2007. Prior to that, she was Director of the Communications Strategies Department, from 2000 to 2002, and Unit Chief of the Department for the Coordination of Relations with the European Union, between 1999 and 2000.

She also served in the Permanent Mission of Czech Republic to the European Union, between 1995 and 1999, and in the Ministry’s Department of Analysis and Policy Planning, from 1994 to 1995.

Ms. Chatardová was awarded Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France in 2016, and also Officer of the Order of Saint-Charles of Monaco in 2016.

Ms. Chatardová holds a doctorate of law from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

Ms. Amina Mohammed
Deputy Secretary-General
Ms. Amina Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed was Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development.
Prior to this, she served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating programmes worth $1 billion annually for MDG-related interventions.

She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect, 2016 African Union Reform and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project.

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake
Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake

Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.
Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women in Sri Lanka named “Hashtag Generation”. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

Ms. Michelle Yeoh
Malaysian Actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador
Ms. Michelle Yeoh

Malaysian Actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador

Michelle Yeoh, an internationally acclaimed actress and producer, has starred in more than thirty films including global hits James Bond's “Tomorrow Never Dies”, “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, the soul-stirring biopic “The Lady” and Marvel smash Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2. She recently won acclaim for her role in famous sci-fi franchise TV series “Star Trek: Discovery” as a first Asian female Starfleet Captain. Through her films, she has challenged the traditional views of Asian women by creating very strong female roles.
Yeoh has devoted a major part of her time to charitable and social endeavors. In 2016, she was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme to raise awareness and mobilize support for the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals around the world. Yeoh is also a Global Road Safety Ambassador for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and a member of the Commission for Global Road Safety, which advocates for road injury to be recognized as a global public health and development priority. In March 2010 and April 2014 respectively, she represented Malaysia at the UN General Assembly, where 100 governments approved the proposal for the Decade of Action. In April, she was invited to speak at High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace at the UN headquarters in New York.
Yeoh has received numerous awards and honors, including the highest French civilian distinction “Commander of the Legion of Honour” by former French President François Hollande in March 2017; the Excellence in Asian Cinema award during the seventh annual Asian Film Awards in March 2013; and the highest honorable title Tan Sri conferred by the Malaysian state government in June 2014.

Statements
Statements
H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, President of Economic and Social Council
Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Ms. Michelle Yeoh, Malaysian Actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador