Informal Meeting of the Plenary of the General Assembly.

This year’s opening session of the United Nations General Assembly will be the last for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his present role. Over the past 10 years as the 8th UN Secretary-General, he has helped to catalyze global progress on issues including climate change, LGBT rights, women’s and children’s health, and sustainable development.

The Secretary-General has spoken about how he grew up during the Korean War and how he witnessed firsthand the important work of the UN to help the people in his country. That experience helped to inspire his career in public service and focused his leadership advocating for sustainable development, peace, and human rights for everyone, everywhere.

As the Secretary-General attends his final General Assembly in his role, here is a look at four of his key moments from previous General Assemblies to spur global progress.

Combating Climate Change

The historic Climate Summit hosted by the Secretary-General in September 2014 set the stage for new global attention and commitments to tackle climate change. This important meeting helped spur international action, which culminated with the Paris Agreement on climate change, reach in December 2015, a key milestone in the fight to protect our planet. The Secretary-General continues his climate leadership at this General Assembly with an event to encourage more countries to officially join the Paris Agreement. Watch the event UNTV at 8am on Wednesday, September 21 and join the conversation with #ParisAgreement.

Elevating Women’s and Children’s Health

In 2010, Secretary-General Ban elevated the vital issue of health for children and women around the world through the formation of the Every Woman Every Child global movement and the launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. By focusing on this issue, the Secretary-General helped bring more resources, awareness, and action to the health of women and children. Over the past six years, Every Woman Every Child has helped to save the lives of millions of women and children and empowered them to realize their potential. Last year, the Secretary-General helped launch an updated Strategy on Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health for the era of the Sustainable Development Goals. To stay up to date on this issue, follow @UnfEWEC and #EWECisMe.

Educating All Children

During the 2012 opening session of the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban launched the Global Education First Initiative, which focuses on putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning, and fostering global citizenship. By making education one of his key priorities, the Secretary-General has helped raise the issue on the global agenda. Click here for an infographic with more information.

Setting the Global Agenda and Encouraging Sustainable Development

To focus the world’s attention on our global “to-do list,” in 2010, Secretary-General Ban held the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit and created the MDG Advocacy Group, which included the UN Foundation’s Ted Turner and Muhammad Yunus. This focused attention and hard work in the years to come, which helped drive important progress including the reduction of child mortality and extreme poverty by more than half since 1990.

Last year was key for recognizing the progress made on the MDGs and adopting a new agenda, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, which builds on the MDGs while going further to address root causes of global challenges and the connections between our environmental, social, and economic challenges. During the 2015 General Assembly, the Secretary-General hosted the Summit for the Adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, in which 193 world leaders agreed to the goals and set the course for a more peaceful, prosperous world for all by 2030. To learn about these goals, visit:

Stay tuned to @unfoundation for more information about what is happening at this year’s General Assembly.

[Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe]