New York

14 September 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at closing of the 69th session of the General Assembly [as delivered]

I congratulate the General Assembly for the many achievements of the 69th session.

Mr. President, over the past year you have guided the Member States through many complex and important processes, resulting in a number of major advances.   We worked very closely and effectively together, and I am grateful for the strong commitment you showed at all times, across our agenda.  Thank you for your service and contributions.

The crowning accomplishment of the 69th session is of course the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The new agenda is the product of an inspiring sense of solidarity.

The design of the 17 goals and 169 targets was not accomplished overnight. Several rounds of intensive consultations closed the gaps and reached common ground.  I thank the President of the General Assembly, and the facilitators appointed by him -- the Permanent Representatives of Ireland and Kenya – for their skilful guidance.

The articulation of the new agenda also saw the Assembly open the policy-making process in unprecedented ways to an unprecedented range of voices.  This established a new benchmark for global dialogue and inclusiveness under the umbrella of the United Nations.  This, too, is a legacy of consequence and there can be no going back.

The 2030 Agenda is a sign of this Organization’s commitment to ease suffering today while getting it right for succeeding generations.  I once more commend Member States for seizing this historic opportunity with such a constructive and committed attitude. We now all look forward to welcoming in this Hall the Heads of State and Government in less than two weeks.

The same sense of purpose pervaded the deliberations on Financing for Development.  Formally adopted in Addis Ababa in July, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda provided momentum, complemented the deliberations in New York, and now points the way forward towards a stronger global partnership for development.  I again commend the President of the General Assembly, as well as the two co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Guyana and Norway.

Now, I urge all Member States to show the same vision, flexibility and solidarity in reaching a climate agreement in December in Paris and in bringing the new Sustainable Development Goals to life in the years ahead.

The rest of the Assembly’s work during the 69th session was as varied and vital as ever.

Last fall, this session’s very first resolution paved the way for bold and effective action to combat Ebola. In less than a year, our first-ever system-wide health field operation, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, accomplished its unique mandate and the international community has worked together in an unprecedented coalition to support Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to respond to, and begin to recover from, the wide ranging impacts of this deadly disease.   Cases of Ebola have declined dramatically as a result of decisive leadership at all levels, and Liberia has recently been declared free of Ebola. But the outbreak in West Africa is not over. We must continue to exercise heightened vigilance, and cannot afford to let up on the response. Looking forward, we must work together to strengthen our collective global health security. 

This past Spring the Assembly convened an important high-level debate on promoting tolerance and reconciliation and countering violent extremism.  I was pleased to work closely with the President of the General Assembly to bring global faith leaders to UN Headquarters.  We continue to see shocking acts of violence and the systematic enslavement of women and girls.  Cultural heritage has also been a victim, with monuments that have stood for millennia now reduced to rubble.  Such acts are being carried out brazenly, with impunity.  In November, I will present to the Assembly a comprehensive plan of action for preventing violent extremism.

Last Friday, you advanced the revitalization of the General Assembly itself, including through agreement on a new framework of procedural steps that will guide the selection and appointment process of the next Secretary-General.  I commend the efforts of the Permanent Representatives of Croatia and Namibia in bringing about a consensual outcome reflecting membership’s call for a more transparent and participatory process.

The session also saw the Assembly commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War – and of the founding of our United Nations. 

Through all of this activity you have shown great skill and welcome collegiality.  I am sure that we will see more of the same as His Excellency Mogens Lykketoft takes hold of the gavel.

Let us now get off to a good start on implementing the 2030 Agenda. 

Thank you very much.