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14 September 2015

United Nations General Assembly opens on 15 September 2015

VIENNA, 14 September (UN Information Service) - The General Assembly of the United Nations opens its 70th session on 15th September 2015 at UN headquarters in New York.

The opening of the session will be followed, in the second week, by the United Nations summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda - a high-level plenary meeting taking place from Friday, 25 to Sunday, 27 September 2015 - when world leaders are expected to agree to a new set of sustainability measures that build on the successes of, and lessons learned from, the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - United Nations anti-poverty targets that are due to wrap up at the end of 2015.

The Assembly's annual general debate, when Heads of State and Government and other senior national representatives gather to present their views about pressing world issues, will open on Monday, 28 September, and run through until Monday, 5 October.

The President of the 70th session is Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark, who served as a Cabinet Minister for 11 years and was Denmark's Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2001.

Born in Copenhagen on 9 January 1946, Mr. Lykketoft will turn 70 during the Assembly's seventieth session, a fact he highlighted during his acceptance speech to the world body upon his election in June this year.

Mr. Lykketoft recalled his first encounter with the United Nations in the offices of the UN Association in Copenhagen, in his acceptance speech: "Back then, I sincerely hoped that therein lay the framework in which rationality and humanity would prevail; that would make disarmament agreements possible; that could finally bring the major Powers to cooperate for a better future for the whole human race; that could assist peoples in attaining self-government and independence and, without racial prejudice, could protect the rights of minorities, vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, children, the displaced, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples. Today, that hope and those objectives remain as relevant as ever."

The theme of his term as General Assembly President will be "The United Nations at 70 - a new commitment to action".

Mr. Lykketoft said his first priority was to ensure that that summit is an occasion for world leaders to join hands to achieve the new [sustainable development] goals in a new commitment to action. His other priorities focused on peace and security and human rights.

"It is a sad but ineluctable assessment that the world today suffers from armed conflict, terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization, nuclear proliferation, as well as increasing risks of further tensions among major powers….…It seems all too apparent that only a world that demonstrates respect for the most fundamental human rights will be sufficiently harmonious, as well as socially and economically sustainable," Mr. Lykketoft said.

The President intends to organize high-level events in April, May and July respectively on the following themes: first, how to achieve the new sustainable development goals, targets and commitments; secondly, strengthening the role and coherence of the United Nations in peace and security, including creating synergies between the follow-up to the reviews on peace operations, peacebuilding and on women and peace and security; and thirdly, the implementation of human rights, governance, rule of law and gender aspects of the work of the United Nations.

Furthermore, there will be a commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations on Friday 23 October.

The 70th session of the General Assembly will also include two special sessions, one on the world drug problem and another on HIV/AIDS and a 10-year review of progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

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