On its 67th session: The ‘work’ ahead for the UN General Assembly

    Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (middle, right), president of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly hands over the gavel to Vuk Jeremic, president of the 67th session of the General Assembly, which starts September 18. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / U.N.

    The 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly kicks off today, Sept. 18, with a to-do list from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Ban hailed the 193-member body’s achievements amid the “complex challenges” it faced over the past year during the conclusion of the 66th session Monday (Sept. 17), when he also outlined the work awaiting the body, including:

    • Achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

    • “Articulating” the post-2015 development agenda.

    • Promoting peace and human rights.

    • “Strengthening this Organization.”

    Ban, who will be briefing world leaders prior to next week’s general debate, reiterated the need to boost the U.N. body’s “effectiveness” and “representativeness,” helping it “cope with an era of budgetary constraint and high expectations from the people of the world.”

    Pressing issues

    Following the session’s opening, world leaders will discuss some of the world’s most critical challenges at the annual general debate of the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25.

    Among the key issues on the agenda are food security, climate change and the role of mediation in settling international disputes. Also included are U.N. reform and sustainable development, which outgoing President Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser said were among the “four key pillars of his tenure.” The other two were boosting disaster prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

    The last is aligned with the debate’s theme this year: “Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means.” Incoming General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, who served as Serbia’s minister of foreign affairs, proposed the theme in June.

    The theme could not have been timelier. The international community still faces a number of political and humanitarian challenges, including the 18-month-old conflict in Syria. Al- Nasser, who concluded the 193-member body’s session Monday, underscored the General Assembly’s “crucial role” in ending the violence in the Arab nation.

    Other high-level meetings to follow include discussions on the rule of law, sustainable energy and the crisis in the Sahel.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.