The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) commenced its high-level week, spanning from September 19 to September 26. Addressing the session, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for reforms in multilateral institutions, such as the Security Council and said, “It is reform or rupture”.
Speaking about the conflict in Ukraine, Guterres said, “The world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizers to stabilise markets and guarantee food security and I will not give up on my efforts to make it happen.” Guterres also urged the pursuit of peace and the resolution of differences.
This significant event occurs amid challenges such as the ongoing Ukraine conflict, climate change, public health concerns, and geopolitical instability, all of which are posing obstacles to addressing urgent 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.”
Except President Joe Biden of the United States, none of the other leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council—namely the Russia, China, France and Britain are attending the UNGA session. France and Britain will be represented by a delegation of ministers.
While delivering a speech to the 193-member assembly, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to supporting Ukraine, emphasizing that the security of nations is at risk if Ukraine faces partition. President Biden also highlighted notable achievements, such as the establishment of an economic corridor connecting India, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as the African Union’s inclusion in the G20 grouping during the Summit in India. Additionally, in his speech, President Biden called for global collaboration to regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and affirmed the United States’ dedication to cooperating with China on critical issues like climate change.
UNGA’s commitment to multilateralism & global partnership
The Council’s focus for the 78th UN General Assembly, (September 2023–September 2024), revolves around a steadfast commitment to multilateralism and upholding a rules-based international order. Given the existence of several global crises, including Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, challenges in the Africa’s Sahel region, and the pressing climate emergency, the primary objectives are as follows:
– Accelerating implementation of sustainable development goals
– Strengthening global governance in line with the UN Secretary-General’s proposals on ’Our Common Agenda’
– Building global partnerships
“The United Nations needs the cooperation of member states and the support from the public to tackle urgent issues at a time when the world is facing multiple challenges,” said Dennis Francis, the new president of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
Before the commencement of the session, sharing a video message, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj talked about India’s crucial role at UNGA78. She said, “As a G20 President, we’re championing global collaboration & continue to emphasize issues that are vital to the Global South countries. India’s is leading efforts in Counter Terrorism, peacekeeping & UN reforms, among others.”