In closing remarks, Assembly President John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda) said that the general debate had provided a useful measure of stock taking on “the issues at the forefront of our lives”, and “it is the only mechanism by which our 193 members can make their voices heard”. Those issues included the need to meet the Millennium Development Goals, formulating an inclusive post-2015 development agenda, the link between peace and development, and the conflict in Syria and its impact on humanitarian affairs. Delegations had also tackled other issues, including climate change, the specific needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing States and the challenges facing Africa.
“We are oftentimes accused of being an organization that is all talk and no action,” he noted. “Perhaps so, but I submit that our general debates, which occur at this time each year, serve an important purpose; they help us to mark where we are as a global community, and they provide guidelines for where we need to go; they serve as a useful point of peer review and general accountability.” It was now up to Member States to find the common ground among priorities as a basis for moving forward with decisive action. In the real world, such healthy compromise was the best outcome of joint efforts, he concluded.