|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
109th Meeting (PM)
General Assembly Concludes Sixty-eighth Session as President Hails
‘Memorable Outcomes’ Achieved in Challenging Circumstances
Resolution Adopted on Clean Technologies,
Decisions Taken on Draft Agenda for Next Session
The General Assembly’s sixty-eighth session came to a close today, with the outgoing President noting that there had been some great successes in the past session, despite the challenging circumstances.
John Ashe, President of the sixty-eighth session, said today was a far cry from the day in June 2013, when he had assumed the podium in the temporary General Assembly Hall. “I am here to tell you that there was nothing temporary or makeshift about the memorable outcomes that we have as a collective whole achieved this session,” he said.
During his term, he said, the General Assembly had adopted more than 300 resolutions and 80 decisions on a wide range of issues, including nuclear disarmament, rule of law at national and international levels, financing for development, the peaceful use of outer space, the right to privacy, the safety of journalists and peacekeeping budgets. Moving forward, delegates would have to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable in society, especially women and children. Women could no longer be relegated to the status of second-class citizens, while youth should be brought into the planning stages as an integral part of the Assembly’s work.
There was a long list of other accomplishments, he said, noting, among others, the fourth Biennial Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the High-level Declaration on migration and development, a renewed commitment to the fight against non-communicable diseases, a resolution on enhancing the functioning of the human rights treaty body system, the establishment of the Nelson Mandela Prize and the unveiling of the winning design for a memorial in remembrance of the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade.
One of his objectives had been to make progress on revitalizing and reforming the General Assembly, he said, voicing satisfaction at the progress made towards making the Organization more relevant, more responsive and more effective. Much work remained to be done, however, particularly in the area of Security Council reform, he said, adding that the international community must not “shy away” from that endeavour. He hoped the membership would build on the modest momentum that had been achieved in that area during the session.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to the outgoing President, recalling that it had been an eventful year with a full agenda, including on the Millennium Development Goals, the post-2015 development agenda and the need for a meaningful new climate change agreement. Throughout the session, he said, the world had faced many global challenges that left the Security Council paralysed, and on which, the General Assembly had risen to act. Speaking directly to the President, he said, “through it all, you demonstrated wise leadership in steering our global discussion toward constructive solutions”.
Mr. Ban noted that Mr. Ashe had come from a small island with a “big capacity to work with other countries” and that he had used his training as an engineer to build consensus. Mr. Ashe’s leadership as Co-chair of the Rio+20 Conference had paved a foundation for future deliberations on sustainable development goals. The Assembly session had truly set the stage for a successful post-2015 development agenda through a number of important thematic debates and valuable high-level events. He applauded Mr. Ashe’s efforts, saying they would have a positive effect on the world’s collective long-term future, including his initiatives to revitalize the Assembly.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution, titled “Four one-day structured dialogues on possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies” (document A/68/L.62).
Speaking after the adoption, the representative of the European Union Delegation believed that the further elaboration of the areas covered in the structured dialogues must be at the core of future technology discussions. His delegation remained open to considering new ideas and proposals, but felt that additional time should not be devoted to discussing areas where no consensus was emerging.
The representative of Japan said her country remained keen to share its knowledge and technology with the international community. Without technology, it would be impossible to achieve any development in any country. The primary outcome from the structured dialogues was the realization of the importance to create an environment that was conducive to engaging the private sector, which were the primary owner and developer of technology.
The representative of India said that, with the resolution’s passage, the Assembly had provided a mandate for continued discussions, while also linking them with the post-2015 development agenda. The resolution mandated the continuation of discussions based on recommendations of the General Assembly President, taking into account the outcomes of the four structured dialogues.
The representative of Indonesia was pleased with the outcome document from the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development, which recognized the important role of technology for development. Developing countries, in particular, faced major challenges, and the structured dialogues had provided a comprehensive picture of the importance of technology in development, he said, calling for more discussions on the topic.
The representative of the United States said the resolution reconfirmed the importance of technology to development solutions and generated ideas for next steps. However, there was still significant work to be done and it was critical to understand the issue more broadly. There must be a more substantial, analytical exercise and a better understanding of the private sector’s position.
The representative of Australia said her delegation believed intellectual property rules were not a barrier or constraint to technology development or transfer, but rather helped to encourage investment and innovation.
Moving on to a series of outstanding matters, the Assembly took note of “The Report of the Security Council” (document A/68/2) and decided to include a number of items in the draft agenda of the coming session.
Among them were Question of the Comorian island of Mayotte, Question of Cyprus; Armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas); the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti; Armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security; and Consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait.
It also decided that the next session should consider, among others, the Addendum to the report of the Secretary-General on Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations rule of law activities (document A/68/213/Addendum 1), as well as the draft agenda an item titled “the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991”.
The following items, the Assembly decided, would not be included in the draft agenda: Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution; Strengthening of international cooperation and coordination of efforts to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster; Programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013; and Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.
The body deferred to the next session consideration of the following items: International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994; the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan; Financing of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad; Financing of the United Nations Mission in East Timor; Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him; and Human Rights Council Resolution 24/24.
Mr. Ashe forwarded to the incoming Assembly President for consideration and action at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples the draft resolution, entitled “Outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples”. He also forwarded the current version of the draft resolution on “the Organization of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda”.
On a point of order, the representatives of the United States and the European Union said it was understood that the agenda item regarding “Human Rights Council Resolution 24/24” had been closed.
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