Every year dignitaries from around the world come together at the UN headquarters in New York for a General Assembly. Apart from the physical limitations due to medical concerns in 2020 as a result of the pandemic which led to virtual meetings, the general assembly holds in the UN building in New York and so will this year’s assembly.
The general assembly started just like it usually does; with an address from the president of the general assembly. The 77th session of the UN General Assembly began on Tuesday 13th September, and its new president urged world leaders to work together and bridge “deep divides” in order to address humanity’s most pressing problems, such as the conflict in Ukraine. Despite the fact that the world is currently uncertain and experiencing widening geopolitical rifts, Csaba Krösi, the new President, emphasised to attendees that the United Nations was founded on the ruins of war and devastation with the intention of being a “well of solutions.”
“Responding to humanity’s most pressing challenges necessitates collaboration, reinvigorating inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism, and focusing on what unites us,” he said.
Ukraine as a focal point
Mr. Krösi emphasized that the conflict in Ukraine has been a “turning point,” and that if the world is not careful, the “method” of warfare resulting from Russia’s invasion could become part of the “toolkit of international life.” “This conflict must come to an end. He claimed that it “kills individuals, it kills development, it kills nature, and it kills millions of dreams.” The risk of using nuclear weapons is now greater than it has been for the previous 40 years, the new president added. “This foreboding reality compels all of us to work together on the disarmament issue,” he said.
The promise of change in the environmental efforts
Additionally, Mr. Krösi issued a warning that as the planet warms and its natural resources become more scarce, conflicts will worsen. “The water crisis is likely to be our greatest threat. Recently, record-breaking temperatures, raging fires, and devastating floods have been recorded. “It appears that Mother Nature is responding,” he said, emphasizing that “business as usual” will resume following COVID-19 “This is not an option. The Hungarian diplomat also noted that, despite being “more manageable,” the pandemic, along with severe food insecurity, skyrocketing energy prices, record inflation, and global supply chain disruptions, continues to wreak havoc around the world. “The old routine won’t be coming back. The only way to get better results is to change. We already know the general shapes of the transformation we require. The Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, the Our Common Agenda, and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development all nudge us in the right direction. The question of whether we will deliver is still open, he said.
Focus on new scientific advancements
The new General Assembly President stated that his tenure would focus on “solutions through solidarity, sustainability, and science,” emphasizing the importance of science in the UN body’s decision-making process. “I will work to promote measurable progress in the sustainability transformation – and to foster the solidarity required to achieve breakthroughs or avert future disasters.” Simply taking stock of the Sustainable Development Goals is insufficient. “We need more science on our side if we are to achieve the Goals by 2030,” he said.
In addition, Mr. Krösi promised to actively collaborate with members of the commercial sector, academia, civil society organizations, researchers, and practitioners in order to offer solutions founded in reality, fact, and science.
Regarding the recent historic resolution to create a United Nations Youth Office, he continued, “We must also actively reach out to young people, engaging them in what we do so that when they sit in these seats, they may come up with greater plans and ideas than we did. He continued, “We must also actively engage young people in what we do so that when they sit in these chairs, they can come up with better plans and better ideas,” noting the recent historic resolution to establish a United Nations Youth Office.
The second speaker during today’s General Assembly session was UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
He congratulated Mr. Krösi and emphasized that, regrettably, the problems that characterized the 76th session remain. He urged unity to show the great promise and potential of the UN, saying, “We face a world in peril across our work to advance peace, human rights, and sustainable development.” The world is expecting the General Assembly’s delegates to use all of the tools at their disposal to negotiate, come to a consensus, and provide solutions, Mr. Guterres told the audience.
“Discussion. Consideration. Diplomacy. The best way to a better, more peaceful world is through these timeless tools, he emphasized.
The head of the UN stressed at the end of his speech that the 77th General Assembly should be a time of transformation “for people and planet alike.”