16 September 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Closing of Sixty-seventh General Assembly Session, Hails

Efforts by Member States during Challenging Time for International Community

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the closing of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly in New York on 16 September:

We have reached another notable moment on the United Nations calendar.  With the end of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly, we express our gratitude to the President of this body, His Excellency Vuk Jeremić, as well as the Vice-Presidents, Committee chairs and others who helped steer the Assembly through an eventful year.

I thank again His Excellency Vuk Jeremić for the great dynamism he brought to the job.  When he was elected, he was just a month away from his thirty-seventh birthday, making him one of the youngest people ever chosen to serve in this capacity.  I am sure he now feels considerably older than 38; presiding over 193 Member States has a way of aging a person.

Over the past year, the General Assembly has realized a number of significant achievements across the range of issues that are on the General Assembly’s agenda.  To cite but a few, the Assembly held its first ever High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law and adopted a far-reaching and forward-looking Declaration on the Rule of Law at the national and international levels.  The Assembly also adopted an Arms Trade Treaty, the first-ever international treaty to regulate the trade of conventional weapons.

These were important breakthroughs indeed.  All in all, the Assembly adopted more than 300 resolutions, including on the strengthening of the Organization itself.  Mr. President, you also convened a number of thematic debates and dialogues on entrepreneurship, culture, inequality, and just last week, on the responsibility to protect, a timely initiative indeed.  The Assembly also renewed its efforts to combat trafficking in persons.

The sixty-seventh session coincided with a challenging period for the international community.  The Assembly stepped in when the Security Council was divided on Syria.  The Assembly continued to wrestle with the prolonged consequences of the global economic crisis.  Member States also began the hugely important discussions on the post-2015 development agenda and a new set of goals for sustainable development, including by establishing the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The sixty-seventh session also saw us close the General Assembly Hall for a much-needed renovation.  I thank Member States for the continued support for the Capital Master Plan.

I, again, thank all those who, during the sixty-seventh session, helped to establish the necessary groundwork for achievements in the years ahead.  I look forward to the capable stewardship of Ambassador John Ashe during the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly to take this vital work forward, for the benefit of the people we are here to serve.

I thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership.

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For information media • not an official record