Sixtieth UN General Assembly opens, ushering in 2005 World Summit

13 September 2005

One day ahead of the 2005 World Summit, and marking a major anniversary of the United Nations, the 60th session of the General Assembly opened tonight at the Assembly hall at UN Headquarters in New York.

One day ahead of the 2005 World Summit, and marking a major anniversary of the United Nations, the 60th session of the General Assembly opened tonight at the Assembly hall at UN Headquarters in New York.

Taking up the gavel immediately after the closing of the 59th Session by outgoing President Jean Ping of Gabon, incoming President Jan Eliasson of Sweden welcomed the draft declaration on UN reform and achievement of development goals that had been submitted by the outgoing session for the proposed "outcome document" of the upcoming Summit.

He said the reforms being considered for the United Nations were the most ambitious ever attempted since the creation of the Organization and that expectations were exceptionally high. The approved text would serve as a strong basis for reform that leaders could adopt and the Assembly could take forward in the sixtieth session.

That session will begin tomorrow, he said, and the record attendance of an estimated 150 head of state should add momentum to progress on the reform proposals.

"We will listen carefully to them and then, on Saturday, and begin to turn their words into action," he said, referring to the beginning of the Assembly's General Debate.

He said two realities had emerged during the process of negotiating the declaration for the Summit. One was that people expected the United Nations to fulfil their ideals. The other reality consisted of the real world as it exists.

To reconcile those two realities, he said a new multilateralism was needed, to ensure security, to tackle the "silent tsunami" of extreme poverty that killed one child every three seconds, to build peace in countries ravaged by war and to stop human rights abuses.

"Recognizing the responsibility the future has placed on us, let us not underestimate what we can do," he said, charging delegates with their responsibilities for the upcoming session. "The world's poorest, the world's most vulnerable need change. Let us show them what we can do," he concluded.

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.