New York, 13 October 2023 (TDI): The 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) was held on 5 September 2023, and its high-level segment formally known as the ‘General Debate,’ started on 19 September 2023.

The General Assembly is the United Nations (UN) main body for deliberations, policy preparation, and representation.

The 193 members of the UN make up a multilateral forum for the international issues covered by the Charter of the UN.

Each September, world leaders and delegates gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss global challenges in order to advance peace, security, and sustainable development.

“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” was the theme of the 78th session of the General Assembly.

The facets of the discussion also discussed sustainable development growth, climate action, international cooperation, and global health.

Anticipated to receive the greatest attention are the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the unrest in Africa, and the most recent natural disasters that have upset the world.

Dennis Francis, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN in New York, was elected as President of the 78th session of the UNGA.

The diplomat took the oath of office earlier, vowing to perform his duties in a fair and independent way.

Since the beginning of the General Assembly, Brazil has always been the first nation to speak since, according to the UN Protocol and Liaison Services, no one seemed to desire to be the first.

Brazil went first on multiple occasions, and this practice eventually became customary. The next was the host nation, the United States (US).

A sophisticated algorithm, which considers factors like geographic balance, degree of representation, and the chronological order of speaking requests, determines the order of speakers.

Along with the 193 UN member states, the Holy See, the State of Palestine, and the European Union (EU) were invited to take part in the General Debate.

It is pertinent to note that there were no representatives from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Niger, or Madagascar at the podium.

This is the third year in a row where Afghanistan and Myanmar have been silent, following the respective takeovers by the Taliban and military junta, and subsequent credentialing dispute.

Niger underwent a coup this year, too, and its junta accused Guterres of trying to appease France and its allies by denying its preferred envoy the chance to speak.

A number of key events took place on the sidelines of the 78th UNGA, including the Generation Equality Midpoint Moment on 17 September and the Opening of the 78th session of the General Assembly on 18 September.

The General Debate was scheduled to occur from 19 to 23 September, followed by the SDG Summit on 18 and 19 September.

On 20 September, there was a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, a Climate Ambition Summit, and a High-level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response.

France made a significant declaration at the General Debate on 21 September, and on the following day, there was a focused effort to urgently combat the global tuberculosis epidemic by advancing science, finance, and innovation.

The number of women speaking at the General Assembly has historically been few: in 2021, it was 18, and last year, 22.

Several speakers, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, noted the lack of women’s representation. Only 10 of the women who spoke were actually heads of state or government.

Tuesday, 26 September 2023, the end of the 78th Session of the UNGA’s high-level meetings that brought together world leaders at the international body’s world headquarters in New York.

Anwar Haq Kakar, the Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan also attended the 78th opening session of the UNGA. The Prime Minister had represented Pakistan at the high-level moot on the Global Development Initiative and addressed the participants.

Besides, he also attended and addressed a high-level meeting on Sustainable Development Goals. “Feel honored to represent Pakistan at the opening session of the General Debate of 78th UNGA session at the UN headquarters, New York,” he said.

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On the sidelines of the session, the Prime Minister also met with Iranian President, Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi and the President of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He had also attended a reception hosted by US President, Joe Biden in honor of the global leaders.