Kutesa Opens 69th UNGA Session

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69th UNGA President, Sam Kutesa
69th UNGA President, Sam Kutesa

The United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa opened the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York at 3.00pm on Tuesday. Kutesa was elected in June as the president of the session.

The UN General Assembly concluded its 68th session on Monday, with progress in forming the main basis for Post-2015 Development Agenda.

John Ashe, president of the General Assembly’s 68th session, said in his closing remarks that the initial six high-level events and thematic debates have been held in a bid to elaborate crucial issues for consideration in the upcoming negotiations.

“These events and activities have yielded good results and there have been many accomplishments in which you can take justifiable pride,” he told the 193-member Assembly.

According to the president, over 300 resolutions and 80 decisions have been adopted during this session, which kicked off last September. They covered a wide range of issues, including nuclear disarmament, rule of law at national and international levels, financing for development, the peaceful use of outer space, the right to privacy, the safety of journalists and peacekeeping missions budgets.

“As we usher in the 69th session,” Ashe said, “the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) you have developed will form the main basis for whatever set of concise goals you agree to for the Post- 2015 Development Agenda,” which builds on the foundation and successes of the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and breaks new ground in addressing pivotal development issues, as well as new and emerging challenges.

The MDGs, agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/ AIDS and malaria reduction, and a global partnership for development. The post-2015 development agenda is expected to build on the progress achieved by the MDGs.

“We are wrapping up a vital year of work and progress,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the closing session, while commending Ashe for his leadership.

Conveying his deepest admiration for Ashe’s vision and commitment, Ban said, “Throughout his Presidency, he has led by example doing his utmost to ensure that the work of the General Assembly proceeds in a most effective and efficient and timely manner.”

“I believe this session of the General Assembly has truly set the stage for the success of the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” the UN chief stressed.

Ban said he is looking forward to the leadership of incoming president to carry this work forward over the next year.

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