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U.S. Priorities For UN General Assembly

Two electronic boards show the results of a vote about supporting the opposition forces in Syria, in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, May 15, 2013.

The U.S. will focus on peace, sustainable development,and how to make the U.N as a body as effective and efficient as it possibly can be.

“Today’s global challenges require a determined, unrelenting investment in multilateral diplomacy,” says Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Dean Pittman.

U.S. Priorities For UN General Assembly
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In the context of that investment, President Barack Obama and his administration will focus on three broad objectives during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month:

Pittman: “What we will be focusing on is how we can foster peace, how we can advance sustainable development and how we can ensure that the United Nations as a body is as effective and efficient as it possibly can be.”

The ongoing conflict in Syria will be a major point of discussion, as the U.S., Russia, and other nations continue efforts to address the threat posed by Syria’s chemical weapons. Mr. Pittman noted that the U.N., with major support from the United States, has played a critical role in efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the millions of Syrians affected by the conflict.

Focused discussions will also be held on improving the U.N.’s capacity to foresee, prevent, and respond to mass atrocities and genocide.

Human rights and women’s empowerment will remain a focus of U.S. efforts at the General Assembly. In particular, the U.S. will focus on fundamental freedoms, including those of assembly, expression and association, both online and in the public square.

Other U.S. priorities at the UN include promoting innovation and efficiency in United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping efforts throughout the world, strengthening multilateral counterterrorism cooperation, implementing the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and encouraging Arab-Israeli Peace.

The U.S. will also engage international partners to seek a new global climate agreement in 2015 and looks forward to substantive discussions of progress and further action on the Millennium Development Goals:

“It shows that when we collaborate, when we come together and we bring, a sort of common purpose to some of these critical areas such as poverty, hunger and other development issues then we can have a success.”

Finally, a sustained focus on U.N. management reform and fiscal discipline will seek to strengthen accountability and transparency and control expenses.

“We will take full opportunity of the time,” says Mr. Pittman, “To really press and advance U.S. interests, which in many cases, are global interests that we all share.”