General debate opens at United Nations

UN General Assembly is not the place where the status quo should be preserved, but to drive the world forward, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the General Debate of the General Assembly’s 68th session

General debate opens at United Nations

World Bulletin/News Desk

With more than 130 world leaders gathered in New York, including President of the UN host country Barack Obama, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the first plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly was in New York on Tuesday morning local time .

“We come together not to preserve the status quo, but to drive our world forward,” the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the General Debate of the General Assembly’s 68th session. At the very beginning of his annual report on the work of the United Nations, UN chief challenged member states to take certain steps and work together in crafting a post-2015 sustainability agenda, to bringing parties in Syria to the negotiating table.

Agenda for 21st Century

“In the streets and squares across the world, people are pressing those in power. They want you, the world’s leaders, to listen. They want to know that we are doing all it takes to secure a life of dignity for all,” Mr. Ban said.

“We face a moment of reckoning. The Syrian Government must fully and quickly honor the obligations it has assumed in acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Ban said, stressing that the international community must bring to justice the perpetrators of chemical weapons use. Ban Ki-moon also declared a pressing need of safeguarding and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and programs.

The UN Secretary General said that the pressures on the planet and people are building, mentioning problems such is jobless among young population of the world. Ban also pointed the world’s climate is warming, and conflicts that remained unresolved. “Events are moving with 21st century speed, often outpacing the efforts of institutions and systems built for another age,” said Mr. Ban.

Ban then give the word to the newly elected President of the UNGA, dr. John Ashe, current ambassador of the Antigua and Barbuda.

Reforms needed

“As your President, I am prepared to make contributions of good sound advice, and point you in the direction where I think the balance of the interests of the entire international community lies. But it is you, the Member States, who must do the heavy lifting and commit to working on a shared agenda,” John Ashe the President of the 68th session of UNGA, said in his opening remarks of the General debate.

Talking about need of UN reforms, but also about the previous UN General Assembly achievements dr. Ashe mentioned that in April for the first time in the history of its engagement with conventional weapons, the General Assembly was able to adopt an Arms Trade Treaty regulating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Ashe said, it is expected that this instrument – which has now been signed by 83 states, and ratified by four - will help significantly reduce destabilizing effects of the proliferation of such weapons.

“Defining our post-2015 development agenda is crucial to the overall work and longer term efficacy of the UN and that is why I have selected as the theme for this 68th Session, “The Post-2015 Development Agenda; Setting the Stage,” Ashe said.

President of 68th UNGA session said he has identified three High Level Events and three Thematic Debates, which will be held in the course of the present session.

“This new development agenda is expected to have poverty eradication as its central and over-arching goal and to address the inseparable link between economic growth, equity and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability,” he said.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda is envisaged as “the most far-reaching and comprehensive development-related endeavour ever undertaken by our Organization in its entire history,” UNGA President Ashe said.


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