With the 68th General Assembly Debates at the United Nations in New York coming to an end, UN General Assembly President John Ashe called upon member states to "find the common ground as a basis for moving forward with decisive action." The General Assembly president said the outcome of the week-long debates is the need to draw up a new global development agenda integrating economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
"In the real world in which we live, such healthy compromise is the best outcome of our joint effort. We are the ones responsible for finding such common ground," Mr Ashe said in his concluding remarks at the close of the Assembly's 2013 General Debate.
The theme of this year's General Assembly annual session was The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!
The session, which began on Sept 24, provided member-states an opportunity to weigh in on the shape of the world's development strategy for the period after the 2015 when the deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ends.
As reported earlier, ahead of the session, UN officials had held wide-ranging consultative dialogues with a range of stakeholders, including civil society representatives, NGOs, youth, organisations working with the disabled, among others, in an effort to cultivate unprecedented levels of collaboration to set the post-2015 development agenda.
The UN General Assembly president said he found support from virtually every speaker in the debate for the UN to further elaborate the post-2015 development agenda.
The support of the world community, he said, "heralds a sense of promise about what is to come over the next year."
The UN General Assembly president expressed trust that member-states will be able to work collectively and creatively during the Assembly's 68th session.
Mr Ashe went on to highlight other points global leaders wished to see featured in the post-2015 agenda.
He said governments wanted to see culture, education, job creation, non-communicable diseases, sustainable energy, water and sanitation, and protection of the world's oceans as part of the world's development agenda. Democracy, human rights and women's empowerment were also emphasised, as was the need to promote partnerships for development, he said.
"We are the ones responsible for finding common ground. And with the directions and the reference points laid before us this week, it is now up to us to identify our common agenda and move forward on it," he said.
"We are responsible for the implementation of action by working to create a post-2015 development agenda."
"We are oftentimes accused of being an organization that is all talk and no action. Perhaps so. But I submit that our general debates, which occur at this time each year, serve an important purpose; they help us to mark where we are as a global community, and they provide guidelines for where we need to go; they serve as a useful point of peer review and general accountability," Mr Ashe said.
The UN General Assembly president added that the Assembly's debates also show that despite any such negative elements, "faith in the value of our Organisation as the world's forum of nations continues to be high."
"During the months to come and throughout the session, I look forward to working with all of you, and to realizing meaningful changes and progress," Mr Ashe concluded.
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