13 September 2013
Press Conference

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

Press Conference by Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Director on Plans for Sixty-Eighth Session


The General Assembly would convene its sixty-eighth session on 17 September with more than 130 Heads of State and Government expected to address the 193-nation body from 24 September to 1 October, a senior United Nations conference management official said at a Headquarters press conference today.

“All 193 Member States and three observers have been inscribed to speak during the general debate,” said Ion Botnaru, Director of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs Division of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, as he briefed on the schedule for the upcoming session.

John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda), incoming Assembly President, would declare open the sixty-eighth session at 3 p.m. on 17 September, Mr. Botnaru said, adding that the theme of the session, as well as that of the annual general debate, was entitled “The Post-2015 Development Agenda:  Setting the Stage!”

The first plenary would feature the statements of the Assembly President and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he went on.  The general debate would open at 9 a.m., on 24 September, with 89 Heads of State, 42 Heads of Government and 61 Ministers so far slated to speak.  In addition to the post-2015 development agenda, Syria was expected to feature “prominently” in their speeches, he said.

Many bilateral meetings would be taking place on the margins of the general debate, he said, noting that last year, there were about 500 such meetings.  Also, the Secretary-General was inviting Heads of State and Government to sign multilateral treaties during their visit, as was the usual practice.

On 18 September, the General Committee — composed of the Assembly President, 21 Vice-Presidents and the Chairmen of the six Main Committees — would discuss the session’s provisional agenda, for adoption by the Assembly on 20 September.  As of now, 175 items were on the draft agenda.

Other major events included:  High-level Meeting on the Realization of the Millennium Development Goals and Other Internationally Agreed Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities, on 23 September; Inaugural Meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, on 24 September; Special Event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, on 25 September; High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, on 26 September; and High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, on 3 and 4 October.

Responding to a question about the agenda, Mr. Botnaru said most items remained the same every year, but some new ones regarding to observer status had been proposed.

To concern expressed about media services, such as no stakeouts in the conference room area and lights out after midnight, he said his Department did not have the authority on such issues, but would convey those concerns to the Departments of Public Information and Management.

To another question, he said it was difficult to arrange seats for the media on the floor of the temporary General Assembly Hall because even Member States would be given only four seats each, instead of the regular six.  Adding that he would try to do whatever he could do, he suggested that one option might be to secure some space for the media in the second-floor booth area.  In addition, a media centre would be set up in the North Lawn Building.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record