General debate of 75th UNGA session begins in New York

NEW YORK: General debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will commence virtually on Tuesday at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The general debate will begin today and continue till Saturday while the discussion will also be held on 29th of this month. Prime Minister Imran Khan will virtually address the session on Friday, 25th September.

The general debate will likely focus on the resolve for collective commitment to multilateralism in confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action.

World leaders came together virtually as the coronavirus pandemic and economic disruption pose a challenge to the effectiveness of the global forum.

On its website to mark the anniversary, the UN said the event was taking place at a “time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis with severe economic and social impacts”.

Trump was listed as the first speaker among member states on the UN’s agenda for the event. US Acting Deputy Representative to the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet, spoke in the General Assembly hall. She said the world body had in many ways proven to be a “successful experiment” but there were “also reasons for concern”.

“The United Nations has for too long been resistant to meaningful reform, too often lacking in transparency, and too vulnerable to the agenda of autocratic regimes and dictatorships,” she said.

Other leaders spoke of the need for countries to work together on issues such as climate change and the pandemic. They lamented the rivalries that were undermining the UN and international cooperation.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the pandemic had exposed the world’s fragilities. “We can only address them together. Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions,” he said. “No one wants a world government – but we must work together to improve world governance.”

The 15-member Security Council took months to back a call by Guterres for a global ceasefire to allow countries to focus on fighting COVID-19.

The one-day special event on Monday took place ahead of the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN which starts on Tuesday.

No presidents or prime ministers will be physically present in New York because of the pandemic and all statements have been prerecorded for broadcast in the General Assembly hall.

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