The local weather disaster and the warfare in Ukraine are anticipated to determine prominently on the United Nations this week, as greater than 140 leaders and state representatives from all over the world descend on New York to deal with the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The high-level General Debate, which begins on Tuesday following two weeks of conferences, is essentially the most extensively watched occasion within the UN’s annual calendar.
It supplies world leaders and heads of state the chance to put out their priorities for the approaching yr, urge cooperation on urgent points, and infrequently, name out their adversaries.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind second annually for leaders from each nook of the globe to not solely assess the state of the world however to behave for the frequent good,” UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres informed reporters final week. “And motion is what the world wants now.”
This yr’s Common Debate is being held below the theme, “Rebuilding belief and reigniting international solidarity: Accelerating motion on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Growth Objectives in the direction of peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all”.
A sequence of bilateral discussions will even be held on the sidelines of the occasion.
Right here’s all it’s worthwhile to know:
New web page devoted to the United Nations Common Meeting Excessive-level Week has simply been launched!
— United Nations Geneva (@UNGeneva) August 28, 2023
What’s the total position of the UN Common Meeting?
The 193-member UN Common Meeting debates issues of human rights, worldwide regulation and cooperation in “financial, social, cultural, academic, and well being fields”. It has the flexibility to move resolutions and declarations meant to set out the guiding rules of the organisation.
Based on the UN Constitution, the physique can also be charged with addressing issues of worldwide peace and safety not at the moment being addressed by the UN Safety Council (UNSC).
The UNGA approves the UN’s sprawling annual budget and one in every of its six fundamental committees instantly oversees the funding of peacekeeping missions all over the world.
Who will converse on the Common Debate?
The UNGA president sometimes delivers the primary speech of the Common Debate. This session’s chief, Dennis Francis from Trinidad and Tobago, has mentioned (PDF) that he desires to prioritise larger multilateralism and equal alternative throughout his tenure.
Brazil then historically delivers the primary nation speech, with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva anticipated to make local weather change a centrepiece of his tackle. Lula, who took workplace in January, has vowed to re-establish Brazil as a world chief within the setting and bolster the safety of the vital Amazon rainforest after years of destruction.
America, because the host nation, will then comply with Brazil, with US President Joe Biden set to deliver an address to the Common Meeting on Tuesday in search of to say Washington’s position as a world chief.
From there, “the order of audio system then follows a posh algorithm reflecting degree of illustration, geographical stability, the order by which the request to talk was recorded, and different issues”, the UN says on its web site.
Which different leaders will probably be there?
About 150 leaders are anticipated to attend the high-level talks, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, mentioned late final week.
Amongst others, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will probably be there, as will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Each are anticipated to deal with the Common Meeting and maintain talks with Biden on the sidelines of the occasion.
The Reuters information company additionally reported final week that Zelenskyy will converse on Wednesday at a UN Safety Council assembly on Ukraine, which “might place him on the similar desk as Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov” amid Russia’s ongoing military offensive.
Who gained’t be there?
Biden would be the solely high chief of the UN Safety Council’s 5 everlasting, veto-wielding nations – the US, China, Russia, France and the UK – to attend the high-level week, media retailers have reported.
Rishi Sunak would be the first British prime minister in additional than a decade to skip the occasion, saying his busy schedule prevents him from going to New York. French President Emmanuel Macron will even miss the occasion, citing scheduling conflicts.
It stays unclear which Chinese language official will attend the summit after the Wall Road Journal reported in early September that Beijing deliberate to dispatch Vice President Han Zheng as a substitute of sending Foreign Minister Wang Yi on a broader US journey as beforehand signalled.
What subjects will probably be mentioned?
Given the range of audio system, the Common Debate normally covers a spread of problems with regional and international curiosity.
Final yr’s predominant themes included efforts to get well from the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and local weather change – all of that are anticipated to once more determine prominently throughout this yr’s occasion.
Chatting with reporters in late August, the US envoy, Thomas-Greenfield, mentioned she expects most Western nations to exert “intense stress” on Russia to withdraw troops from neighbouring Ukraine.
The invasion has renewed calls to expand decision-making power on the 15-member UN Safety Council, the place Russia is among the many 5 everlasting members – alongside China, France, the UK and the US – who wield veto energy.
Issues over China, maritime safety within the Pacific, supply-chain disruptions and human rights are additionally prone to emerge, significantly as some observers have questioned Beijing’s rising affect on the UN.
Current coups in Africa, notably in Niger, might also obtain heightened consideration, as will ongoing conflicts in Sudan and Ethiopia. In the meantime, ongoing humanitarian crises in locations reminiscent of Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Latin America – and their position in a world migration disaster – might also characteristic prominently.
In the meantime, the Common Debate comes two months earlier than the United Nations’ local weather summit, COP28, will probably be held in Dubai and Guterres, the UN secretary-general, will host a Local weather Ambition Summit on the sidelines of this week’s occasion in New York.
“My enchantment to world leaders will probably be clear: This isn’t the time for posturing or positioning. This isn’t the time for indifference or indecision. It is a time to return collectively for actual, sensible options,” Guterres mentioned throughout a information convention on September 13.
What’s behind this yr’s theme?
Themes set out by UNGA presidents are historically broad – and this yr’s is not any exception.
Francis mentioned in a June letter to his predecessor that the 2023 theme “encompasses the popularity that we’re at a crossroads in historical past and that the trail forward will probably be decisive in figuring out not solely our future, however that of generations to return”.
He known as for a renewed dedication to multilateralism and urged UN member states to see how they will “undertake coordinated purposive motion” to advertise peace and safety, battle local weather change, and promote human rights.
The theme additionally stresses the necessity to speed up efforts to satisfy the UN’s Sustainable Growth Objectives.
What are the Sustainable Growth Objectives?
The UN has described the Sustainable Growth Objectives as “an pressing name for motion” between nations to deal with poverty, starvation and different international points.
They have been specified by the so-called “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Growth”, which was adopted in 2015 and supplies a blueprint for attaining a number of benchmarks by 2030.
The record contains 17 targets, together with guaranteeing high quality schooling, offering clear water and sanitation, and taking pressing motion to deal with the local weather disaster.
How can I watch the Common Debate?
The Common Debate will probably be streamed stay on UN Internet TV, here.