President of the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly
H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe
John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda was elected President of the General Assembly's sixty-eighth session on 14 June 2013 while serving in the dual capacity as his country's Permanent Representative to both the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, positions he held since 2004.
Guided by a passion for sustainable development, Mr. Ashe has been in the forefront of international efforts to address the adverse effects of climate change and the fight to eradicate poverty. He has served in a leadership capacity on many of the governing bodies of the major UN environmental agreements, including as the first Chairman of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He also chaired the same Convention's Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), and, most recently, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). “We only have the planet we live on, and if we are to leave it in a reasonable state for the next generation, the quest for a safer, cleaner, and more equitable world is one that should consume us all,” he says, summing up his philosophy.
Mr. Ashe is also known for his abilities as a mediator. He successfully led negotiations that resulted in Chapter X of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development (Rio+10); and co-chaired the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012. In 2004 he presided over the thirteenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, the body responsible for reviewing programmes on the implementation of Agenda 21--a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.
A veteran of the multilateral process, in 2008 Mr. Ashe was elected to serve as Chairman of the New York chapter of the Group of 77 and China, the largest coalition of developing nations in the UN system. He also chaired the General Assembly's High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, the UN's main policymaking body dedicated to furthering cooperation for development among the countries comprising the global South.
Well versed in the UN's administrative and budgetary processes, Mr. Ashe was Chairman of the UN General Assembly's Fifth Committee in 2004, successfully guiding negotiations for the world body's 2006-2007 biennial budget. In addition, he has served on the governing boards of major UN funds and programmes, including as President of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)-UN Population Fund (UNFPA)-UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Executive Board in 2010, and as President of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board in 2012.
Having joined his country's Foreign Service in 1989, Mr. Ashe was awarded the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) by Queen Elizabeth II (United Kingdom) in 2007, in recognition of his global diplomatic service.
Mr. Ashe was born on 20 August 1954 in St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda, and holds a Doctorate in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania (United States). He is married and has two children.Backgrounder Back to top