New York

13 September 2016

Secretary-General's remarks at closing plenary meeting of the seventieth session of the General Assembly New York [as delivered]

Today we bring down the gavel on a productive session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President, I would like to thank you for your skilled leadership.

Had this session adopted only the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that would have been notable enough.

But Member States achieved much more than that.  

You reached early agreement on the outcome of the High-level Plenary Meeting on Refugees and Migrants that will be held this coming Monday.  This must now lead to greater compassion, solidarity and a global sharing of responsibility.

At a time of appalling attacks in so many places, you reviewed the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

You held a much-needed Special Session on the World Drug Problem.  That outcome document gives us a rights-based approach that stresses prevention, treatment, robust criminal justice and law enforcement actions.

And you held a series of very useful thematic debates on human rights, peace and security and the plight of children and youth affected by violent extremism.  

Mr. President, you also took important steps to strengthen the transparency of the work of the office of the President of the General Assembly.  This is in keeping with our wide-ranging efforts to make this Organization more accountable to the world’s people.

One of the most notable innovations of the 70th session concerns my office -- that is, the choice of my successor.  The Assembly has set in motion a process that is shining greater light onto what has been a largely opaque process.  The informal dialogues with candidates have helped Member States get a good sense of their visions and views, and has enabled the world’s people to feel more involved in the process -- as they should be.  Whatever happens in the weeks ahead, this newly open process has set a new standard from which there should be no retreat.

Finally, Mr. President, on a more personal level, let me say that I have greatly appreciated working with you on so many challenges.

I congratulate all Member States and our many partners for a solid record of achievement.  The 71st session will build on these gains as we continue striving to resolve conflict, protect human rights and advance prosperity for all on a healthy planet.

Thank you for your leadership and I wish you continued success in the future. Thank you very much.