UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) started on Tuesday its 68th session at the UN Headquarters in New York, with setting a new development agenda beyond 2015 as its priority.
"The upcoming year will be pivotal for this Assembly as we seek to identify the parameters of the Post-2015 Development Agenda," said John William Ashe, president of the 68th UNGA session, in his opening remarks. "The magnitude of the task before us will require decisive action and the highest levels of collaboration and we must prove ourselves and our efforts to be equal to the enormity of the task."
The UN is in the last 1,000 days of action toward its anti- poverty targets that are required to be accomplished by the year of 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000.
The MDGs set specific goals on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a global partnership for development.
The session, under the theme of "The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!" is expected to build on the progress achieved by the MDGs.
The new development agenda will require collaboration among all parties, Ashe said. "We can set the stage for the strongest possible global development agenda - one that fully respects all people on this our shared planet."
As the world seeks to jump-start progress on sustainable development after 2015, Ashe said he would convene three high- level events focusing on women, youth and civil society; human rights and rule of law; and South-South cooperation, triangular cooperation and information communication technology (ICT) for development.
Also during its 68th session, which runs through mid-September 2014, the UN General Assembly will also host three thematic debates on the role of partnerships; how stable and peaceful societies can contribute to development; and on the way that water, sanitation and sustainable energy can contribute to the post-2015 development agenda.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he welcomed Ashe's choice of the theme for this session.
"We will focus on how to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline approaches. Business, civil society and the philanthropic community will come together to showcase MDG successes," Ban said.
The UN chief also briefed the General Assembly on the report which confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21.
Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly, which is composed of all 193 Members of the United Nations, meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year and thereafter as required.