U.S. Priorities at the 67th UN General Assembly

Posted by Esther Brimmer
September 23, 2012
UN General Assembly

My job is about to get a whole lot busier! Monday Morning marks the effective start of the 67th United Nations General Assembly. Leaders from 193 countries will come to New York City during the annual series of meetings.

This is basically the diplomatic community's equivalent of the World Cup, World Series, and Super Bowl all rolled into one. My colleagues from the U.S. State Department and I will be headed up to New York this weekend. We will work pretty much nonstop for the next two weeks. We'll attend meetings, make speeches, brief the press and generally highlight our concerns and promote our national priorities whenever and wherever we can.

Tuesday morning, along with the world, we will be listening to President Obama when he addresses the UN General Assembly.

For anyone interested in global affairs, this is an incredible time to tune in. We will have a series of events broadcast live across a variety of platforms. I have already outlined our key goals and objectives at a speech here in DC last week. I also enjoyed participating in a great online discussion about the UN and other issues on Facebook.

Moving forward, we have four broad priorities for the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly. First, we will continue to advance U.S. interests and objectives at the UN. That includes effective implementation of international sanctions on Iran's illicit nuclear program. We'll work to strengthen global nonproliferation and counterterrorism efforts, bolster UN peacekeeping and conflict resolution capabilities, and promote greater global cooperation on atrocity prevention. And we will continue to oppose unilateral Palestinian actions in the UN on issues that can only be achieved through direct negotiations.

Second, we're going to expand our efforts on UN reform. We're going to work to lock in last December's historic five percent reduction in the UN regular budget, to further strengthen accountability and oversight, to take concrete steps to increase integrity and support streamlining efforts, so more of the UN's programs can target those who need them most. Third, we'll maintain our global leadership on human rights. The Human Rights Council is an important part of this agenda, and we're seeking reelection to it this autumn. Fourth, we'll build on the progress already made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals and on Rio+20. We'll push for more effective and efficient support across the UN for poverty eradication and sustainable development.

With these goals in mind, let me outline some of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's activities this week. On Monday, September 24, Secretary Clinton will help launch the Equal Futures Partnership, a new initiative to break down barriers to women's participation in economic and political institutions around the world.

On Tuesday, September 25, she will join President Obama for his address to the General Assembly and his traditional meetings with UN leadership. Later that day, she will attend a meeting on water security and an event highlighting U.S. assistance to civil society activists around the world. She will also attend the traditional Transatlantic Dinner with our European allies and partners.

On Wednesday, September 26, the Secretary will attend an event highlighting the progress on the Millennium Development Goals. She will attend an event emphasizing the shared responsibility for addressing the HIV crisis in Africa, and she will represent the United States at a meeting hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the evolving crisis in the Sahel. That afternoon, the Secretary will also represent the United States at the UN Security Council session that Germany has called on peace and security in the Middle East.

On Thursday, September 27, Secretary Clinton will participate in high-level meetings on Yemen and Haiti. She will also highlight U.S. engagement in Asia and the Pacific at a meeting with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Friday, September 28, will largely be dedicated to Middle East issues. The Secretary will host an ad-hoc meeting on Syria to highlight the continuing deterioration of the situation there and to promote transition planning. She will also host events with the G-8 Deauville Partnership Group and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

As you can see, it is going to be a very busy week. You can stay tuned to the DipNote blog and follow @StateDept, @State_IO, and @USUN on Twitter for updates about events, and go to usun.state.gov and the IO Bureau's web page for additional information about U.S. engagement at the UN.



Maryland, USA
September 23, 2012

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Nice post...Esther! "UN Super Bowl" I would like to see some of the high lights of this game.

Thomas H.
Pennsylvania, USA
September 23, 2012

Thomas H. in Pennsylvania writes:

I realize the context is difficult given all that is going on in the Middle East. But I strongly object to sitting on the needs of the Palestinian people to achieve some movement toward a legitimate status. They have a right to a bigger seat at the table. The current situation is unjust.

Steve L.
North Carolina, USA
September 24, 2012

Steve L. in North Carolina writes:

No mention of South America during your synopsis of the next weeks events? Are we seriously neglecting an entire continent? There are a lot of people there...dudes.

Massachusetts, USA
September 24, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Let's hope that the strategically placed billboards of missing American Robert Levinson last seen on Kish Island, Iran 2007 will inspire much discussion on his release as this large delegation of world leaders converges in New York!

Thank you for your Esther Brimmer. Always interesting.

New Mexico, USA
September 24, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Esther,

Thanks for the week ahead.

Right about now the President is putting the finishing touches on his UNGA speech and not to interject content, or write the speech for him (chuckle); I just want him to know that there are some folks who consider all the hats he wears and the weight they become at times, and it's that hat of the "chief instigator" on the world stage that will ease the load..,for all Americans.

To use the premis wisely so to change the nature of the conversation, and move Humanity forward.

Hope you'll pass it onward and upward,

Best Regards,


Virginia, USA
September 24, 2012

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ Maureen in Massachusetts -- 100 percent agree that getting Mr. Robert Levinson home to his family would be the ideal solution. This is what the State Department is tasked to do, help find missing Americans in foreign countries.

September 25, 2012

W.W. writes:

Still no way out

Massachusetts, USA
September 25, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ Donald in Virginia -- This is the “ideal” forum for UN delegates to commit to some dialogue focusing on the release of Mr. Levinson. Keeping this story alive is the least we could do. Thanks for your continued interest 100 percent.


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