UNGA 68 Opens with Focus on Post-2015 Agenda

United Nations17 September 2013: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) opened its 68th session in New York, US, with UNGA President John Ashe declaring 'The Post 2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage' as the theme for the session.

Addressing the Assembly, President John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda, described UNGA 68 as "pivotal” in identifying parameters for the post-2015 agenda, stressing that this task “will require decisive action and the highest levels of collaboration.” He called on Member States to intensify their efforts to define a post-2015 agenda “with a single set of goals for sustainable development” that address the complex challenges of this era.

Ashe stated his intention to convene events to discuss the contribution of key topics to the post-2015 agenda. He announced high-level events on: the role of civil society, youth and women; human rights and the rule of law; and South-South cooperation and information communications technology (ICT) for development. He said thematic debates will take place on: water, sanitation and sustainable energy; contributions of stable and peaceful societies to development; and partnerships. He also indicated his intention to convene a high-level meeting on climate change and one on achieving development objectives in Africa.

In a press conference, UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon drew attention to several events during the opening weeks of UNGA 68. He mentioned events to accelerate progress on and showcase the success of the MDGs, such as the 2013 Special Event to Follow-up Efforts Made Towards Achieving the MDGs, his High-level Forum, MDG Success: Accelerating Action and Partnership for Impact and the MDG Innovation Forum. He also pointed to a High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), which is expected to produce an action-oriented outcome document on inclusion of disability in the post-2015 agenda. He noted two report launches: his vision of the transformations needed for the post-2015 agenda, 'A Life of Dignity for All;' and the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He highlighted climate change, health, hunger and sustainable development as issues meriting urgent attention during UNGA 68. [UN Press Release on the Opening Session] [UN Press Release on Ban's Statement] [Webcast of UNSG Press Conference] [Statement of UNSG]