The United Nations General Assembly - Session 69
By almost any measure the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly will be a momentous one. The issues before the Assembly will guarantee this: critical actions necessary to advance the global common good, improving the well-being of men, women and children living in poverty, addressing climate change. The consequences of a failure to effectively meet these urgent challenges is almost unthinkable.
In his opening remarks to the General Assembly, the President provided an overview of his agenda. He noted that this year marks the 70th Anniversary of the UN and the 20th Anniversary of the ground-breaking Beijing Conference on Women. This will also be the year in which the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals will be formulated and adopted. At 70, the United Nations will try to renew and strengthen its faith in the dignity and worth of the person, its commitment to equal rights for women and men and nations large and small, and it will try anew to develop that kind of effective cooperation without which meeting this agenda will be impossible.
Speaking for the Holy See, in continuity with its predecessors, Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, proclaimed esteem and appreciation for the United Nations as an indispensable means of building an authentic human family. "The Holy See, he said, continues to value the efforts of this distinguished institution to ensure world peace, respect for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and its efforts in promoting harmonious economic and social development." Cardinal Parolin spoke of the reform of the UN that would have to undergo to make it an effective instrument to counter the new forms of terrorism at work in such places as northern Iraq and parts of Syria. He spoke about the international community's "the responsibility to protect," broadening it to include the protection of people against the aggression of such entities as financial systems "governed only speculation and the maximization of profits." In the context of the proposed sustainability goals, the Cardinal reaffirmed that social and economic justice are a condition for lasting peace.
A final note on the intervention of the Vatican Secretary of State: quoting an often repeated warning of Pope Francis, he flagged the danger today of widespread indifference, saying that such apathy can amount to irresponsibility. In the United Nations, an inter-governmental organization, one sometimes sees representatives of governments acting - not in their capacity as decision makers - but as if they were spectators in a drama, mere observers. This same indifference is also prevalent in many sectors of our societies, our churches and in our own institutes, with the result that the condition of the vulnerable remains unchanged.
The 70th anniversary of the United Nations, the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference, the formulation and adoption of the post 2015 Sustainability Goals or the magnitude of the climate crisis can represent for us a call to action anew. In the weeks and months that follow, this page will take note of progress in these areas and offer resources and opportunities for personal involvement. We will also give priority to sharing what you are doing on behalf of people living in situations of distress or what you are doing to address climate justice.
I invite you to read both statements.
The Opening of the 69th Session of he UN General Assembly (UNGA 69): The President's Address
I am honored and humbled by the trust and confidence you have bestowed on me, and my country Uganda, to serve as President of this august General Assembly during its sixty-ninth Session.
This Session and the coming year will be momentous. We will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations. We will also commemorate twenty years since the ground-breaking Beijing Conference on Women, we will reach the target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and we will formulate and adopt the post-2015 development agenda.
When the United Nations was founded nearly sixty-nine years ago, it was an untested vision, preoccupied with efforts to heal a world that had been ravaged by the scourge of war. It comprised only 51 countries, a fraction of the 193 Member States that make up its membership today.
It is therefore befitting that the Charter stresses the determination by the peoples of the United Nations to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small… and promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.......”
We are gathered here today at a time of unprecedented historic opportunity to improve the livelihoods of all people and set the world on a path of achieving sustainable development in its economic social and environmental dimensions. I am reminded of the wise saying of Mahatma Ghandi exhorting all of us to “be the change that you want to see in the world.” It will take our collective efforts and action to attain this goal.....
In the coming months we will be preoccupied with formulating the new agenda, which should be ambitious, transformative, and produce tangible benefits and improved livelihoods for all. With the eradication of poverty and hunger at its core, the new agenda should promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, safeguard the future of our planet, and lead to achievement of sustainable development. (read more)
The Holy See Addresses the 69th Session of he UN General Assembly (UNGA 69)
"The promotion of a culture of peace calls for renewed efforts in favour of dialogue, cultural appreciation and cooperation, while respecting the variety of sensibilities."
In extending to you the Holy See’s congratulations on your election to the presidency of the sixty-ninth Session of the General Assembly, I wish to convey the cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis to you and to all the participating delegations. He assures you of his closeness and prayers for the work of this session of the General Assembly, with the hope that it will be carried out in an atmosphere of productive collaboration, working for a more fraternal and united world by identifying ways to resolve the serious problems which beset the whole human family today.
(read the complete address)
The Future We Want for All
Over the next few years, the United Nations and its agencies will be involved in the formulation of new set of development goals. These goals will constitute the UN development agenda for years to come. As the world approaches 2015, these goals will come into sharper focus. The central challenge of the post-2015 UN development agenda is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the worlds’s peoples. read more