UNGA 66 Concludes with Decisions on Africa, Indigenous Conference, SDG Working Group

17 September 2012: Concluding the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), outgoing President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser recalled the Assembly's focus on disaster prevention and response, including local resilience and risk mitigation, and on sustainable development and global prosperity. Also during the plenary meeting, the Assembly took decisions on Africa, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and the distribution of seats in the open working group on sustainable development (OWG).

Regarding the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), al-Nasser emphasized the need for effective means of implementation, and said the launch of an intergovernmental process to define the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after 2015 was a defining element of Rio+20.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that the Rio+20 outcome includes an agreement to launch a set of SDGs and other “tangible commitments,” and that UNGA 66 had instituted the International Day of Happiness.

On work ahead, Ban cited the need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the agreed deadline of 2015, articulating a "bold and inspirational" post-2015 development agenda, and strengthening the UN in both its effectiveness and representativeness.

On Africa, the Assembly adopted a resolution (A/66/L.63) on a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa's development, and to conduct a related biennial review. The resolution requested the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) to serve as the secretariat for the review, and asked the Secretary-General to submit the first review to UNGA 69 in 2014.

On the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the Assembly agreed (A/66/L.61) that the high-level plenary event would take place on 22-23 September 2014, in New York, US, and that the UNGA President would organize an informal interactive hearing to provide inputs for the preparatory process, no later than June 2014.

On the OWG, which will discuss the formulation of the SDGs, the Assembly agreed to reach agreement at the beginning of the 67th session regarding the distribution of seats, and the specific Member States to occupy them. Brazil drew attention to its proposed compromise arrangement by which the distribution of seats would “start from an even distribution and then provide for adjustments that would take into account the different size of each group. The largest groups would then be assigned an additional seat while the smallest would have five seats each.”

Al-Nasser is succeeded by Vuk Jeremić of Serbia as President of UNGA 67. [UN Summary of Closing Plenary] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [UN Press Release] [Draft Resolution: Organization of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples] [Draft Resolution: A monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa's development]