(Editor’s note: This article was first published on Sept. 12, 2023, and most recently updated on Sept. 22, 2023. New material is noted in red as “New” or “Updated.”)

In his acceptance speech, incoming General Assembly President Dennis Francis, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago, said his theme for the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is “peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability in the new world of the twenty-first century, characterized by equality of opportunity for all.”

With 2023 on track to be the hottest year on record, tackling the climate emergency has never been more urgent. At the same time, the world today faces a proliferation of crises, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and its global impact, democratic backsliding and the erosion of human rights, and emerging food and water insecurity. These global challenges are occurring at a time when multilateralism has never been more strained. 

To address these and other critical issues, world leaders and civil society representatives will convene in New York City from September 5-29, with the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit taking place from September 18-19 during High-Level Week. During the Assembly, President-Elect Francis has said member states should “contemplate how we can undertake coordinated purposive action to rebuild international peace and security.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Just Security will highlight key developments at UNGA 78 and the SDG Summit. We invite readers to check this page regularly for the latest commentary as it is updated to reflect the assembly’s meetings, speeches, notable quotes, expert analysis, and more. 

I. Relevant Expert Analysis

Just Security categorizes its coverage of the most pressing issues facing international law, security, and human rights into collections, organized for readers to find specific subjects of interest with ease. Our archival collections cover issues and agendas broadly addressed during this year’s meeting of the General Assembly. We also publish expert analysis on meetings and activities before, during, and after High-Level Week. 

          1. Expert Analysis

Here, Just Security publishes new commentary and analysis on issues discussed during high-level events. The articles below synthesize key takeaways from High-Level Week, including how and to what extent particular issues or agendas were covered, major themes and dynamics, and the outlook for particular agendas moving forward. This section will be updated regularly as new expert analysis is published. 

True-Believers and Nay-Sayers: This Year’s UNGA Had Something for Everyone

Richard Gowan (@RichardGowan1) writes that leaders and ministers took limited steps towards advancing various knotty multilateral problems, including the SDGs, which helped to ease tensions between Western and non-Western members.

UNGA 78 High-Level Week: Ups, Downs, and the Outlook Ahead

Richard Ponzio (@Ponzio_Richard) offers five key takeaways from UNGA 78 – including major themes and dynamics, notable points of tension, and thoughts on the way forward.

At UNGA and Beyond, the World Is Already Turning a Blind Eye to Cambodia’s Stolen Election

Sam Rainsy (@RainsySam) argues that the international community must strengthen its resolve to hold Cambodian leaders accountable and support free and fair elections.

The Themes and Tensions to Watch at This Year’s UN General Assembly Meetings

Richard Gowan (@RichardGowan1) writes that the Russia-Ukraine War, as well as the state of international development, will be at the top of world leaders’ agendas during UNGA 78.

Openings for Biden in the Inaugural US-Central Asia Summit at UNGA

Jordan Street (@jordan_street07) and Ilya Jones (@ilyajones11) discuss how the Biden administration could build stronger relationships with Central Asia during the sidelines of UNGA.

2. Archival Pieces

In addition to new coverage, Just Security highlights pieces previously written on topics discussed during this year’s meeting of the General Assembly. The articles contained below and under “Collections” cover issues and agendas addressed during high-level events.

United Nations

Making Counter-Hegemonic International Law: Should A Special Tribunal for Aggression be International or Hybrid?
Patryk I. Labuda (@pilabuda) recommends that a hybrid approach to prosecute Russia’s aggression against Ukraine be considered by the international community.

The UN’s Summit of the Future: Advancing Multilateralism in an Age of Hypercompetitive Geopolitics 
Richard Ponzio (@RichardPonzio) and Joris Larik (@JorisLarik) argue that institutional and normative changes are needed before the Summit of the Future for the international system to effectively tackle global challenges

Going on the Offense Against Authoritarians at the UN Human Rights Council and Beyond
Rana Siu Inboden lays out steps for how democratic states can proactively strengthen their cooperation to match that of authoritarian opponents.

Human Rights

Violations Against Children in Sudan
Alisson Bisset highlights grave human rights violations being committed against children in Sudan.

Why Say Who Did What? The Ethiopia Case and the Power of US Atrocity Determinations
Nicole Widdersheim (@NWiddersheim) writes on the importance of the U.S. making atrocity determinations for signaling to perpetrators that the world is watching.

Gender and Women’s Empowerment

Progress, Resistance, and Silence on Gender Justice in the Draft Crimes Against Humanity Treaty
Tess Graham (@tess_e_graham) argues that the U.N. General Assembly must advance gender justice in its proposed crimes against humanity treaty.

The Taliban’s Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan Is Part Of – Not Separate From – Its Terrorist Links
Nazifa Haqpal (@NazifaHaqpal) writes on how the international community must prioritize the protection of women and girls in Afghanistan as a moral obligation and security imperative.


The Cost of Consensus in the Eight Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
Eelco Kessels (@EelcoKessels) and Melissa Lefas argue that states must find ways to demand an approach to UN counterterrorism efforts that is more inclusive, rights-compliant, and gender-responsive.

New UN Security Council Resolution on “Human Fraternity” Raises Human Rights Concerns
Saskia Brechenmacher (@SaskiaBrech) analyzes the human rights concerns raised by Resolution 2686 on “Tolerance and International Peace and Security” and its use of language on “extremism.”

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

The United Nations in Hindsight: The Security Council and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Karin Landgren (@LandgrenKarin) recommends that the U.N. Security Council could revive its engagement on weapons of mass destruction through the General Assembly.

The Tenth NPT Revcon: What’s at Stake for the Global Nuclear Order
Sang-Min Kim (@SangMinKim0) reviews key experts’ views on the goals of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Climate and Sustainability

New High Seas Treaty Prepares International Community for Sustainable and Equitable “Blue Economy”
Sarah Reiter, Angelique Pouponneau (@angiepops11) and Kristina M. Gjerde (@4kgjerde) discuss the need to advance law and policy frameworks needed to sustainably use and protect ocean resources.

In Addressing Climate Change, Business as Usual Is Climate Injustice
Nikhil Deb (@nikhil_deb) and Nadia Genshaft-Volz argue that effective environmental action must center around social justice and empower the voices of the most vulnerable to climate change.

3. Collections

United Nations General Assembly Archive
Just Security’s coverage of United Nations General Assembly affairs, from policy critiques and enforcement of accountability to safeguarding international justice.

Russia-Ukraine War Archive
A catalog of more than 300 articles from Just Security’s coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, with topics ranging from the war’s international law and economic consequences to questions of genocide and civilian harm. 

U.N. General Assembly and International Criminal Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression Against Ukraine
A series outlining the importance of prosecuting the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine, organizing an international criminal tribunal established through the United Nations General Assembly, and addressing issues of jurisdiction and composition. 

Climate Archive
A catalog of articles organizing Just Security’s coverage of the climate crisis, from its human rights and justice implications to issues of migration, national security, and geopolitics.

II. Key Meetings and Speeches

1. General Debate (September 19-26)

The General Debate began on September 19, with leaders from member states and permanent observers set to give statements aimed at signaling to the world their countries’ priorities. Brazil will by tradition speak first, followed by the United States, as the host country. The ordering of the speeches is otherwise determined by a host of factors. The General Debate is closed to the public, but may be streamed. Despite the urgency of addressing crises such as Ukraine and extreme weather, only President Biden of the five heads of states that are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will make an appearance. Like UNGA 77, at this year’s General Assembly, states in the Global South are expected to continue pressing other nations on debt relief, global inequality, and the impacts of climate change.

September 26 (NEW)

Gathering for the final day of high-level meetings, the General Assembly commemorated the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This day offers world leaders a chance to reaffirm their commitment to global nuclear disarmament and educate the public about the benefits of eliminating such weapons as well as the social and economic costs of maintaining them. In his remarks, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the use of nuclear weapons would unleash a “humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions,” yet hard won norms around non-use are eroding, a new arms race is brewing, and nuclear saber rattling has become increasingly common. Guterres called on nuclear-weapon States to meet their disarmament obligations and commit to never using nuclear weapons, urged the reinforcement of and recommitment to the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, as well as doubling down on the deployment of dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiation to ease tensions and the nuclear threat.

Notably, during one of the last speeches of the General Assembly, North Korea accused the United States of driving the Korean Peninsula “closer to the brink of nuclear war” due to its close cooperation with South Korea. South Korea later objected to the remarks.  

  • António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
    • “A worrisome new arms race is brewing. The number of nuclear weapons could rise for the first time in decades.  Hard-won norms to prevent their use, spread and testing are being undermined. The global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture is eroding. Nuclear arsenals are being modernized to make these weapons faster, more accurate, and stealthier. Nuclear sabers are again being rattled. This is madness. We must reverse course.”

September 23

World leaders convened over the weekend to continue the General Debate. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the West for creating an “empire of lies,” quoting President Vladimir Putin, and using “coercive measures” to control the international agenda. He also said that the United States and its allies are continuing their “ongoing militarization of the Russophobic Kyiv regime,” and took advantage of the conflict to “wage a hybrid war against our country.” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al Furhan Al-Saud, also spoke, and emphasized that his country’s national vision for 2030 centers on female empowerment, human rights, and regional security. He additionally highlighted Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote climate adaptation and mitigation measures, such as reducing emissions and focusing on carbon neutrality.

Meanwhile, leaders from the Horn of Africa called for meaningful, collective, and immediate climate action to combat global warming ahead of COP28. Prime Minister of Somalia Hamza Abdi Barre urged that countries accelerate their work towards achieving the SDGs, while Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen said that leaders should prioritize sustainable development over geopolitical competition.

  • Sergey Lavrov (@mfa_russia), Foreign Minister of Russia
    • “Humanity is at a crossroads…It is in our shared interest to prevent a downward spiral into large scale war.”
    • Negotiation is an “excellent response to those who divide our world up into democracies and autocracies and dictate their neocolonial rules to others.”
  • Faisal bin Farhan Al Furhan Al-Saud (@FaisalbinFarhan), Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia
    • “Security and stability are not possible without cooperation and coordination between States to prevent an arms race to acquire these destructive weapons.”
  • Osman Saleh Mohammed (@Ministersaleh), Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea
    • “The architecture of veto power and other institutional distortions that incapacitate the [Security Council] from exercising its responsibilities … must be examined with the historical track-record.”

September 22

The General Debate continued on Friday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informing the Assembly that Israel is poised “at the cusp” of a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. However, he left unaddressed remaining obstacles, such as Saudi demands for a path forward for the recognition of a Palestinian state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called for the recognition of Palestine before the Assembly. Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar condemned Indian actions in Kashmir and called the disputed region the “key to peace” between the two countries. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani asserted that rooting out graft remains a priority of his administration. He explained that “there is a symbiotic relationship between corruption and terrorism.” The U.N. Security Council last week voted, at the request of the Iraqi government, to terminate a U.N.-led probe into the Islamic State extremism in the country. And the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Oliver Dowden, told the General Assembly that his country would use artificial intelligence to combat global warming, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent statements downplaying the significance of climate action.

  • Ariel Henry (@DrArielHenry), Prime Minister of Haiti
    • “The Security Council, which has the power and the necessary authority under Chapter Seven of the [UN] Charter, must take urgent action by authorizing the deployment of a multinational support mission to underpin security in Haiti.”
  • Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
    • “The developed economies must fulfill their $100 billion [climate] commitments… We also demand an urgent operationalization of loss and damage funds as agreed in COP27.”
  • Mia Mottley (@miaamormottley), Prime Minister of Barbados
    • “Will we be too late to save as many as we can from the climate crisis; too late for us to save as many as we can from the ravages of war; too late to provide the food that so many need?”

September 21

On the third day of the General Debate, world leaders agreed to accelerate efforts to provide universal health coverage by 2030, adopting the declaration “Universal Health Coverage: expanding our ambition for health and well-being in a post-COVID world.” In the declaration, governments also committed to invest political capital in the global campaign to expand universal health care.  The declaration was adopted during the second of the three health summits taking place during this year’s High-Level Week, after a summit on pandemic preparedness the day before. A summit on ending tuberculosis is scheduled for Friday.

Key speakers on Thursday included Rashad al-Alimi, Head of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council. Al-Alimi cautioned world leaders that “dealing with Houthi militias as de faco authorities” may threaten to reverse gains in rebuilding the country and regaining the trust of Yemeni citizens, as well as render Yemen a hotbed of international terrorism. Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, President of Sudan, warned that the ongoing war in Sudan is a threat to regional and international peace and security, and could threaten to destabilize the region. Al-Burhan also called on the international community to consider designating militia groups responsible for the violence in Sudan as terrorist groups. At the same time, Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, appealed to Heads of State to double down efforts to restore peace and stability in Sudan, where the months-long conflict has sparked a grave humanitarian crisis along the two countries’ borders. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, also took to the podium to remind the international community of the Palestinian cause, and highlight the continued violence inflicted by the Israeli occupation of Palestine territory. Abbas urged the General Assembly to organize an international conference on peace in the Middle East and called for the State of Palestine to be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.

Speaking to broader global trends, Han Zheng, Vice President of China, argued that the international community must pivot from “power politics” to a multipolar world order. Han also stressed China’s desire for peace in Ukraine, reiterating its support for the principle of territorial sovereignty and stating that a cessation of armed hostilities and resumption of peace talks is the only way forward. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal, also emphasized the importance of taking collection international action to tackle global challenges through diplomacy and other peaceful means, stressing that reforming global governance and multilateral institutions was necessary and overdue. Dahal also highlighted Nepal’s position of vulnerability to climate change, noting that the country suffers “unfairly” from its effects. Similarly, leaders from Pacific Island nations, including Presidents of Kiribati, Timor-Leste, Micronesia and Nauru, noted the dire effects of accelerating climate change, and called for accelerated action to reduce emissions by 2030.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine

  • “This occupation that challenges your resolutions, violates the principles of international law and international legitimacy, while it races against time to change the historical, geographical and demographic reality on the ground aimed at perpetuating the occupation and entrenching apartheid.”

Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, President of Sudan

  • “This war is now a threat to regional and international peace and security as those rebels have sought the support of mercenaries and terrorist groups from different countries and regions of the world.”
  • “This is like the spark of … a war that will spill over … and burn the entire region.”

Han Zheng, Vice President of China

  • “Developed countries should do more to reduce emissions and provide developing countries with financing, technology, and capacity-building support.”
  • “China will continue to pursue ecological conservation on a priority basis, advance green and low-carbon development, stop building any new coal-fired power projects abroad, vigorously support other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy and help them build more green energy projects.”

Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati

  • “Enhancing prosperity is essential for sustaining peace and so the government is dedicated to people-centric principles, placing citizens at the centre of our decisions and services, and promoting transparent governance.”

José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste

  • “We need a new outlook on the climate and security nexus, which will address the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on peace, security and ensure that the quest for energy transition does not worsen the security situation in fragile countries.”

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal

  • “Only a more inclusive, fair and representative international financial architecture can be an antidote to the deep-rooted inequities and gaps.”

September 20

During the second day of the General Debate, leaders from the Global South voiced their support for equitable development. Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Seychelles, called on international institutions to support vulnerable countries in need of development assistance. Namibian President Hage G. Geingob likewise noted the urgency of transitioning to a sustainable economy, while addressing the “terrifying gap between the wealthy and the marginalized.” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, asserted that nations must rebuild mutual trust in order to face the world’s most pressing challenges.

World leaders attending UNGA also participated in the UN Security Council special meeting on the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine. At the beginning of the meeting, the Russian U.N. ambassador clashed with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, the current Council president, over giving Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a platform at the session, but the prime minister explained that he was operating within standard Council procedures. President Zelenskyy asked governments to back his ten-point peace plan and argued that the right of veto in the Security Council “should not serve those who are obsessed with hatred and war.” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also stated before the Council that Russia “has shredded the major tenets of the U.N. charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international humanitarian law—and flouted one Security Council resolution after another.” Other countries have highlighted the inequality on the Security Council in their own General Assembly speeches. Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa explained to the General Assembly that powerful nations that nominally support democracy “are happy to practice the opposite here at the United Nations.”

On the sidelines of the General Assembly, the Climate Ambition Summit also got underway. UN Secretary-General António Guterres did not invite the United States and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, explaining that they were not seriously confronting climate change. During the event, Guterres emphasized that the international community must “make up time lost to foot-dragging, arm-twisting and the naked greed of entrenched interests raking in billions from fossil fuels.” The summit aimed to preview discussions that will take place during the upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

  • Yoon Suk-Yeol (@President_KR), President of South Korea
    • “The war in Ukraine that has been going on for two years has deepened the division in values and ideologies within the international community.”
    • “On this ‘boiling earth’, extreme weather events such as heatwaves, torrential rains, and typhoons have become the norm. Climate change is causing geopolitical shifts in agriculture and fisheries, worsening the crises in countries vulnerable to food shortages.”
    • “The digital divide is a major cause of the economic divide. Therefore, bridging the digital divide will be a positive attribute in resolving the challenges faced by the Global South.”
  • João Lourenço (@jlprdeangola), President of Angola
    • “It is essential that we do everything in our power to continuously promote respect for and observance of the values set out in the UN Charter and international law, so that we can correct the dangerous trajectory that the world took after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
    • “This situation [of developing countries lacking sufficient representation in international institutions] generates anxiety and frustration among the most vulnerable populations who, by not having their expectations met, become easily permeable to negative influences that are dangerous to the order and stability of their respective countries.”
  • Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame), President of Rwanda
    • “Developing countries are constrained by a debt crisis including higher costs of borrowing. This is causing economic disparities to widen and is slowing down collective progress to SDGs.”
    • “Today, there is no sign of ongoing conflicts ending anytime soon. Innocent lives are left alone to carry the burden of this instability. That is a profound injustice.”

September 19

Opening the annual debate of the UN General Assembly, Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, emphasized growing global inequalities resulting from intersecting crises — from COVID-19 to racism and food and water insecurity — and emphasized the need for international cooperation to combat climate change. Da Silva also highlighted Brazil’s role in coordinating climate diplomacy in the Global South, stating “Brazil is back.” Joseph Biden, President of the United States, said that the principles of territorial integrity and human rights that undergird the UN system must be collectively defended, highlighting that the UNGA was once again darkened by the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine and expressing firm commitment to Kyiv. In the most anticipated speech of the assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy told world leaders that in addition to posing an ongoing nuclear threat, Russia is weaponizing essential goods such as food and energy, using them “not only against our country, but all of yours as well.” In his address to the UNGA, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned leaders that the world is “becoming unhinged,” and underscored that the fundamental purpose of the UN is to resolve crises in moments of “maximum danger and minimum agreement.” Guterres also stressed there is no alternative to institutional reform of the multilateral system, stating “it’s reform or rupture.”

  • Lula da Silva (@LulaOficial), President of Brazil
    • “[Climate change] knocks on our door, destroys our homes, our cities, our countries, kills, and imposes suffering and losses on our brothers … It is the vulnerable populations in the Global South who are most affected  by the loss and damage caused by climate change.”
    • “Brazil is reencountering itself, the region, the world and multilateralism. As I never tire of saying, Brazil is back. Our country is back to give our due contribution to face the world’s primary challenges.”
  • Joseph Biden (@POTUS), President of the United States
    • “Russia alone bears the responsibility for this war … and has the power to end it immediately…We have to stand up to this aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow … It’s not only an investment in Ukraine’s future but in every country.”
    • “Our history need not dictate our future. With a concerted leadership, adversaries can become partners, overwhelming challenges can be resolved, and deep wounds can heal. When we choose to stand together, we hold in our hands the power to bend the arc of history.”
    • “This year, the world’s on track to meet the climate finance pledge made under the Paris Agreement: $100 billion to raise collectively, but we need more investment on public and private sector, especially in places that have contributed so little to global emissions.”
  • Volodymyr Zelenksy (@ZelenskyyUa), President of Ukraine
    • “Nukes are not the scariest thing now. Mass destruction is gaining momentum. The aggressor is weaponizing many other things … things that are being used not only against our country but also yours as well.”
    • “There are many conventions against weapons but none against weaponization…of global food supplies and energy.”
    • “When hatred is weaponized against one nation, it never stops there.”
    • “Every nation must be restrained, war crimes must be punished, deported people must come back home, and the occupier must return to their own land,” he said.
  • António Guterres (@antonioguterres), UN Secretary-General
    • “When no one else could or would, UN determination got the job done.”
    • “We must not relent in working for peace – a just peace in line with the UN Charter and international law. And even while fighting rages, we must pursue every avenue to ease the suffering of civilians in Ukraine and beyond.”

2. Sustainable Development Goals Summit (September 18-19)

The 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit will review actions taken by the international community to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the target year 2030. This year marks the halfway point in the timeline set forth when the SDGs were initially ratified. The goal of the summit is to stimulate progress towards eradicating poverty and hunger, expanding access to education and clean energy, and promoting gender equality and sustainable communities.

September 19

The SDG Summit reconvened on Tuesday, September 19 to continue leaders’ dialogue sessions and conclude its work. Heads of State and other senior officials stressed that expanding access to technology, fulfilling funding commitments, and overhauling the global financial architecture are key to renewing trust in international cooperation. World leaders also emphasized that achieving the SDGs requires providing developing countries greater access to financing, including grants, easily accessible low-interest loans, and new technology. At the close of the summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the Political Declaration adopted on Monday as a “to-do list” to accelerate progress on the SDGs, and proposed key measures including reforming the global financial system, increasing the availability of liquidity to countries experiencing debt crisis.

  • António Guterres (@antonioguterres), UN Secretary-General
    • “A ‘rescue plan’ for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must now result in policies, budgets and investment to ensure a more just, equitable and green future by 2030.”
    • “As the political declaration makes clear, it’s high time for developed countries to meet their Official Development Assistance target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income.”
    • “The development to-do list is not just homework.  This is hope work.  And action is the price of hope.”
  • Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau), President of Canada
    • “The SDGs are not a luxury, not some wish list generated by academics of global nice-to-haves.”
  • Dennis Francis (@UN_PGA), Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago, President of the UN General Assembly
    • “For me, my every morning starts with a reminder of the preamble to the UN Charter — We the Peoples,” he said, adding:  “The peoples do not want our excuses.  What they want is decisive action and meaningful progress.”

September 18

United Nations officials, world leaders, and civil society representatives convened for the first day of the SDG Summit. UNGA President Dennis Francis highlighted that in 2022, 1.2 billion people were still living in poverty. By 2030, eight percent of the world’s population, representing 680 million people, will continue to face hunger. Secretary-General Guterres added that currently, nations are collectively on track to meet only 15 percent of the SDGs’ targets. In acknowledgement of these deficiencies, the General Assembly adopted a declaration to accelerate the SDGs. (While U.N. declarations are generally not legally binding, they carry moral force and signal the priorities of the international community.) Speakers called for improving access to finance for developing countries, transforming food systems, and decarbonizing energy systems.

  • Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen), President of the European Commission
    • “My generation was raised with the idea that our children and grandchildren would be better off than us. But a cascade of crisis has now set back progress towards our Sustainable Development Goals.”
    • In 2022, Europe elevated its development aid to 93 billion euros, an increase of 30% over the previous year. Today, we account for over 40 % of global assistance. We know about our public obligations. But public funding alone is not enough.”
  • G7+ joint statement delivered by Julius Maada Bio (@PresidentBio), President of Sierra Leone
    • “Since the start of the implementation of this global blueprint [the SDGs], fragile and conflict-affected States are the furthest behind in meeting the SDGs, and this dilemma only worsened with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises, including the triple-planetary crises and food insecurity.”
    • “We call for a joint commitment by development partners to work through and support Government-led country platforms in conflict-affected and fragile countries to enhance development cooperation by addressing complex political, social, and economic realities.”
  • ASEAN joint statement delivered by Retno Marsudi (@Menlu_RI), Foreign Minister of Indonesia
    • “We are committed to achieve sustainable energy security and to accelerate just and inclusive energy transitions while ensuring energy security, reliability, accessibility, sustainability, resiliency, and affordability.”
    • “We reaffirm our support to the strengthening of multilateralism, with the UN at its core, and also reaffirm our belief on its mutually reinforcing nature with regionalism, by solidifying adherence to the principles of the UN Charter.”
IMAGE: State flags outside of the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York City (via Getty Images)