[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
The 63rd Session of the General Assembly opens on Tuesday with Nicaragua’s Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann taking the reins as President.
While one of the annual highlights is the general debate, which traditionally features statements by dozens of Heads of State and Government as well as Ministers, the full session actually lasts a full year. This year’s general debate will begin on Tuesday, 23 September 2008, and conclude on 1 October 2008.
Several major events will be featured during the upcoming session.
On 22 September, preceding the opening of the general debate, the Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on the theme “Africa’s development needs: state of implementation of various commitments, challenges and the way forward”.
On 25 September there will be a high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals, convened jointly by the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly. Immediately following the general debate, on 2 and 3 October, the Assembly will hold two days of high-level plenary meetings devoted to the midterm review of the Almaty Programme of Action—a plan, negotiated in 2003, spelling out specific measures to help landlocked and transit developing countries overcome their geographical handicap.
In addition, a Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus will be convened from 29 November to 2 December in Doha, Qatar.
On 10 December 2008, the General Assembly will hold a commemorative plenary meeting devoted to the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Among other key issues, the Assembly will also address the following:
Democratization of the United Nations, including evaluations of the work of the Security Council and of the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as revitalization of the General Assembly;
Financing for development to end hunger, poverty and lack of access to clean water and basic health services;
Climate change in a divided but ecologically interdependent world;
Achieving the goals of the United Nations Decade: “Water for Life” (2005-2015);
Implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, with full respect for human rights; and
The Assembly will examine the above-mentioned priorities also from a gender perspective and will continue to consider issues relating to system-wide coherence, sustainable development and HIV/AIDS.