The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Tuesday started its week-long session—from September 19 to September 26—in its iconic hall against the backdrop of ongoing conflict in Ukraine, climate change, public health and geopolitical instability that are impeding efforts to address pressing global issues. The theme of the 78th session of the UNGA is “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”
Beside President Joe Biden of the United States, none of the leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council—namely the US, Russia, China, France and Britain—are attending the UNGA session. France and Britain will be represented by a delegation of ministers.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, US President Joe Biden, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi are the key speakers during the session.
While addressing the world leaders at the UN General Assembly session, US President Biden pledged support to Ukraine, warning that no nation can be secure if “we allow Ukraine to be carved up,” reported AP. “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war,” Reuters reported Biden as saying. “Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately,” Biden added.
The US president also highlighted “groundbreaking” achievements — including an economic corridor linking India, the Middle East and Europe; and admission of the African Union in the G20 grouping.
“In groundbreaking effort, we announced at the G20 to connect India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel,” AP reported Biden as saying.
The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was jointly announced by the leaders of the US, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, called for reform in the UN Security Council “in line with the world of today” and based on equity. The Secretary-General said the 15-nation body reflects the political and economic realities of 1945 and risks becoming part of the problem instead of solving it.
“Divides are widening within countries. Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the march. Inequalities are growing. And hate speech is on the rise,” PTI reported Guterres as saying. Recalling his message to the G20 leaders in India, Guterres underscored that it is time for a “global compromise.”
On Climate change, the UN chief said to limit the global temperature rise, countries must phase out coal, oil and gas in a fair and equitable way – and massively boost renewable.