U.N. General Assembly Opens; Members To Discuss Post-2015 Development Agenda

“The United Nations General Assembly opened its annual session [on Tuesday] with its gaze firmly fixed on the decades ahead as its new president outlined the need to lay the groundwork for global sustainable development in the years following the end of the current development cycle in 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘The upcoming year will be pivotal for this Assembly as we seek to identify the parameters of the post-2015 development agenda,’ 68th General Assembly President John W. Ashe said in his opening address,” the news service writes (9/17). Earlier on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “stressed the need for global cooperation to tackle the world’s most pressing issues including the crises in Syria and elsewhere [and] accelerating achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” a separate U.N. News Centre article reports. “Ban said that issues that will require urgent attention include climate change, boosting efforts to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs and the shaping of the post-2015 development agenda,” the news service notes, adding, “In addition, the General Assembly will this year hold a high-level session on disabilities and development” (9/17).

“Empowering women is the single most important factor for reducing poverty and must be central in the new set of global development goals from 2015, a top United Nations official said on Monday,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “All the studies not only suggest but demonstrate that if you tackle gender equality, you empower women, then you will be much more effective in fighting poverty and hunger. There is no question about it,” Rebeca Grynspan, U.N. under-secretary-general and associate administrator of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), said during an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation, the news service notes (Dawson, 9/17). In an interview with EurActiv, Eva Joly, the French Green MEP and chair of the European parliament’s development committee, said countries’ inability to meet MDG 5, to reduce maternal mortality, “is a failure of the fight against poverty,” EurActiv reports. “For Hafsat Abiola, a Nigerian state minister with responsibility for MDGs, funding is closely linked to other key issues such as power and gender relations,” the news service adds (Neslen, 9/17).