UNGA77 To Face Climate Change, Global Food Shortages, Hunger, Pandemics,Peace, and Security
Newsooks \ New York \ Ahmed Fathi
On Tuesday Sept 20th, the UNGA High Level week will kick start in a perilous world. In terms of international stability, the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) could not take place at a more tumultuous time. Events like the war in Ukraine and the potential for renewed rivalry between the world’s great powers threaten the international order based on norms. In the same vein, there has never been a more pressing time for global collaboration to address transnational threats like climate change, pandemics, and nuclear non-proliferation.
This precarious state of affairs may be attributed to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 epidemic and its aftereffects, the conflict in Ukraine, the tipping point of climate change, tremendous humanitarian issues, and rising worries about the state of the global economy. The theme for this year’s United Nations General Assembly is “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges,” which is a reflection of the gravity of the current situation.
The United Nations had problems maintaining peace and avoiding new threats to security even before the war broke out, but the fighting has made many of the challenges it must overcome considerably more difficult. Still, according to expectations, the stalemate has not resulted in complete paralysis. The United Nations (UN) is still hard at work trying to fix the issues it now faces and getting ready to face future threats that go well beyond Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine will be front and center during the General Assembly meetings this week. However, other developments necessitate focus as well.
António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, recently held a press conference in New York where he painted a bleak picture of the factors contributing to the current state of the world: “Nationalism and narrow self-interest are eating away at the international cooperation envisioned by the United Nations Charter; a staggering lack of concern for the world’s most disadvantaged people; politicians who appeal to base emotions for political advantage.” He continued his attack on the oil industry for “deliberate destruction of the earth for profit” and the “rigged” global financial system that is unfair to the poor by saying that it is hurting the middle class.
On the American side, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, outlined the priorities of the United States Government during the United Nations General Assembly 77 in three areas: global food insecurity; advancing global health and global health security; and upholding the UN Charter in shaping the future of the United Nations, which is expected to be a focal point. The Security Council required reform in response to Russia’s excessive use of veto power; since 2009, Russia has cast 26 vetoes, 12 of which were joined with China, while the United States has only used veto four times.She stated that the United States should not defend an outdated status quo. If the Council wants to keep its credibility well into the 21st century, it needs to do a better job of taking into account global realities and incorporating regional points of view.
According to Ambassador Michele Sison, the Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will co-chair with the African Union, the EU, and Spain a Global Food Security Summit on Tuesday, September 20th that will build on the President’s commitment to global food security at the G7 Leaders Summit in June, and also build on the Secretary’s ministerial event held in May during the U.S. presidency of the UN Security Council.
The majority of the world’s leaders will be in attendance at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday in London, which will be followed by the beginning of the General Debate on Tuesday. As a result, the schedule of speakers has been continually changing to meet these conditions. One of the changes that is being made to accommodate these circumstances is that President Joseph Biden will not deliver his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on the opening day as the Head of State for the host country. Instead, he will move his speech to Wednesday, and President Macky Sall of Senegal will take his place on the opening day. This is one of the changes that are taking place as a result of these circumstances.
Even though the problems that the world is facing are enormous and the priorities keep shifting, I am going to make an effort this year to be more optimistic than usual about the outcome and changes that can result from this global gathering. These changes might not be major, but the hope of incremental changes can inject a shot of hope into the world today.
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