UN set to host over 190 heads of state, ministers for UNGA


Leaders from 195 nations will gather here next week for the UN General Assembly session with the issues of the war in Syria, climate change, terrorism, refugee crises, tensions in Korean peninsula expected to take centrestage at the high-level meetings.

The 71st session beginning on September 19 and running through September 26 will be the last for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as US President Barack Obama.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the General Debate on September 26 while Pakistan’s Prime Minister will address on 21 September.

“This year’s high-level week at the United Nations comes at a critical time. We will seek progress in resolving protracted conflicts and rising tensions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East,” Ban had told reporters this week.

His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters yesterday that a total of 195 leaders including 86 Heads of State, a Crown Prince, five Vice Presidents and 51 Ministers will address the General Debate.

About 1,100 requests for bilaterals have been put through, apart from the ones with the Secretary-General and 545 meetings have been requested, which include special side events and regularly scheduled meetings.

The Secretary-General will have 124 bilaterals and he will participate in 62 events.

Diplomatic sources here said Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar will arrive on September 19 to participate in various high-level sessions.

Dujarric had said that the UN General Assembly session is the “World Cup of diplomacy. It s the Oscars of diplomacy.

It s also an interesting fashion week.”

The week will kick off with a summit on 19 September to address large movements of refugees and migrants. This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on this topic to come up with a blueprint for a better international response.

World leaders are expected to adopt a political declaration as an outcome document at the summit, during which the UN will see a new addition to its family a dedicated migration agency.

Leaders of the UN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will sign an agreement to officially make IOM a related agency of the UN system.

IOM assisted an estimated 20 million migrants in 2015.

Leaders will address pressing global and national concerns during the General Debate from 20 September to 26 September. This year’s theme for the debate is ‘Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world.’

(With PTI inputs)