The 70th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) opened with expressions of optimism for a historic year in which the UN is expected to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a universal agreement on climate change.
Speakers also recognized the turmoil of peace and security and migration challenges.
16 September 2015: The 70th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) opened with expressions of optimism for a historic year in which the UN is expected to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a universal agreement on climate change. Speakers also recognized the turmoil of peace and security, and migration challenges. UNGA 70 opened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 15 September 2015.
Speaking after the conclusion of the 69th UNGA, on 14 September, Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark), UNGA 70 President, said the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda “marks only the beginning,” stressing the responsibility of UNGA 70 to deliver on promises for sustainable development. Lykketoft linked sustainability with the climate change process, noting that an ambitious and universal climate agreement is “an absolute must and the first real test of the world community’s ability to deliver the necessary policy tools” for sustainable development. He called for urgent action across the three pillars of the UN and cautioned “there will be no sustainable development without peace and security and respect for human rights.”
Lykketoft stated his intent to continue to revitalize the UNGA’s work and reform the UN Security Council, as well as to hold high-level meetings and thematic debates on: sustainable development, climate change and financing; the UN’s role in peace and security; and human rights, including gender equality, governance, institution-building and the rule of law. He said he will engage with and involve civil society representatives so that “a multi-stakeholder approach becomes a hallmark of my presidency.”
On his website, Lykketoft highlights his intention to support Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda through a ‘New Commitment to Action’ that focuses on: sustainable development; peace and security; human rights; and good governance.
Speaking at the opening of UNGA 70, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the session must be marked by “compassion, prevention and, above all, action.” He highlighted major upcoming milestones, including the expected adoption of the 2030 Agenda and a universal agreement on climate change, and meetings on sustainable urbanization and humanitarian issues.
In a press briefing on 16 September, Ban elaborated that the 2030 Agenda “shows what Member States can achieve when they work together in solidarity.” Ban expressed the hope that new investments in renewable energy and commitments to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will support climate action, while also expressing concern that “not enough is being done” to limit temperature rise, and urging leaders to “match ambition with action.”
The 70th General Debate will begin on 28 September 2015, following the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). [UN Press Release, 15 September] [UN Press Release, 16 September] [UNGA President’s Statement] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [UN Secretary-General Press Briefing] [UN Press Release on Briefing] [UNGA 70 President’s Website] [Interview with UNGA President]