Special Coverage of the 77th General Debate 20 September – 26 September 2022

The stage is set for the
general debate of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. As the world has begun to emerge from the worst of
the pandemic, the debate will be held largely in-person, with world leaders heading to NY to deliver their statements in the iconic Assembly Hall.

Here, UN News gives you a front row seat to all the action.

Rescuing the SDGs: the GA highlights ‘world’s to-do list’

The UN Secretary-General and the President of the 77TH General Assembly joined world leaders and Goodwill Ambassadors on Monday in a global call to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and get back on track to building a better world that “leaves no one behind”.

The 2022 SDG Moment, which places an annual spotlight on the 17 Global Goals agreed by countries in December 2015, took place as the world faces a deepening cost-of-living crisis against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have halted development, especially in low-income countries.

“The world has a long ‘to do’ list”, António Guterres told world leaders, asking for more finance and investment from the public and private sectors, to meet growing needs. More

Guterres: ‘Global addiction to fossil fuels’ must end and a ‘renewables revolution’ jumpstarted

Achieving a just and equitable energy transition is “one of the biggest challenges facing our world,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Global Compact Board meeting on Sunday.

Climate disasters and skyrocketing fuel prices have made the need to “end our global addiction to fossil fuels” crystal clear, he said, underscoring the importance of investing in renewables, building resilience, and scaling up adaptation.

“Had we invested massively in renewable energy in the past, we would not be in the middle of a climate emergency now”.

Renewables are “the only credible path” to real energy security, stable power prices and sustainable employment opportunities, said the UN chief. More

Financing education, imperative for ‘peaceful, prosperous, stable societies’ – UN chief

Education systems around the world need “more, not less money” the UN chief told journalists on Saturday during a joint press stakeout on the Transforming Education Summit and the International Finance Facility for Education.

Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking alongside his Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, drew attention to the critical issue of innovative financing for education.

He reminded that the “world is experiencing multiple crises”, and governments, businesses and families everywhere are feeling the financial strain.

Moreover, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, two-thirds of countries have cut their education budgets.

“But education is the building block for peaceful, prosperous, stable societies,” he stressed. “Reducing investment virtually guarantees more serious crises further down the line”. More

Closing gender pay gaps is more important than ever

On average, women globally are paid about 20 per cent less than men, the International Labour (ILO) Organization said on Sunday, International Equal Pay Day.

While individual characteristics such as education, working time, occupational segregation, skills, or experience explain part of the gender pay gap, ILO says that a large part is due to discrimination based on one’s gender or sex.

Further building on the UN’s commitment against all forms of discrimination, including that against women and girls, Equal Pay Day represents longstanding efforts towards achieving the same wage for work of equal value. More

Secretary-General Message for the International Day of Democracy

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy.

Yet across the world, democracy is backsliding.

Civic space is shrinking.

Distrust and disinformation are growing.

And polarization is undermining democratic institutions.

Now is the time to raise the alarm.

Now is the time to reaffirm that democracy, development, and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Continue reading

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight: WHO

As the number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 plunged to its lowest since March 2020, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the end of the pandemic is now in sight.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists during his regular weekly press conference.

The UN health agency’s Director-General explained however, that the world is “not there yet”.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, highlighted that future waves do not need to translate into “waves or death” because there are now effective tools such as vaccines and antivirals specifically for COVID-19. More

New UN General Assembly highlights ‘solidarity, sustainability and science’

The 77th session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday with its new president urging world leaders to respond to humanity’s most pressing challenges, including the war in Ukraine, by working together and building bridges across what are “deep divides”.

Acknowledging that the world faces uncertainty and widening geopolitical fissures, Csaba Kőrösi reminded delegates that the United Nations was created out of the ashes of war and destruction, with the intention of being “a well of solutions”.

“Responding to humanity’s most pressing challenges demands that we work together, and that we reinvigorate inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism and focus on that what unites us”, he said.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres congratulated Mr. Kőrösi and underscored that unfortunately, the challenges that defined the 76th session, are still present. More

New report highlights increased disaster risks for the Pacific

A subregional edition of the Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2022: Pathways for Adaptation and Resilience in the Pacific has revealed that every increment of a degree between 1.5°C and 2°C translates into increased risks of tropical cyclones in the Pacific small island developing States (SIDS) with expanded geographical coverage and increasing intensity, followed by floods and droughts. These increased climate risks will have multidimensional impacts on people, their livelihoods, and the Pacific economies.

The report, which builds on the latest scientific evidence by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was launched yesterday at an event hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Pacific Subregional Office and the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO).

This report is among the first to present resilience-based analytics and recommendations to operationalize the strategic pathways on climate change and disasters outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent adopted in July 2022. More

‘Let us tell the next generation their futures are worth fighting for,’ says outgoing Assembly President

During the closing ceremony of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session on Monday, the UN chief lauded the “skills, vision and dedication” of the Assembly’s outgoing President. “The accomplishments of the last year would not have been possible without…Abdulla Shahid,” said Secretary-General António Guterres.

“Despite the unprecedented times, he gathered Member States together in common cause”.

In delivering his final speech as Assembly President, Mr. Shahid spoke about the “unprecedented journey” of his presidency of challenges and triumphs; twists and turns; and laughter and friendship.

He described it as “a journey of renewed hope,” that would have been impossible “without the support, the friendship, and the guidance of all Member States”. More