Leaders from around the world will begin to intervene this Tuesday before the UN General Assembly, which this year is marked by the war in Ukraine and various crises such as food and energy, which are aggravated by the conflict. After a 2020 in which the meeting was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic and a 2021 in which it was held in a hybrid way, this time all leaders speaking will do so in person from New York. The only exception will be that of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.who was allowed to address the rest of the world via pre-recorded video.
Seven nations voted against this initiative (Russia, Belarus, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea and Nicaragua)arguing that it should be extended to all leaders, since the Chinese president, Xi Jinpingand its Russian pair, Vladimir PutinThey will not travel to New York. The Russian delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who, in addition to speaking before the assembly, plans to participate on Thursday in a ministerial meeting on Ukraine in the Security Council.
The focus on Ukraine
The Ukrainian conflict will be the issue that will mark this year’s great week of international diplomacy, which is being held at a time of military advances by kyiv, which have allowed it to recover part of the territory that Russia had occupied. Until now, a majority of the world’s countries support Ukraine in the United Nations and the Western powers are expected to seek this week to also win over the support of major countries that have been more or less on the sidelines for months. Such is the case of India, which is benefiting from the conflict in energy matters.
The food crisisaggravated by the war in Ukraine, will be another of the issues that will be at the center of the debates at the UN. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will co-chair a summit on food security with the African Union, the European Union and Spain on Tuesday, at a time when high food prices are causing famines.
Much attention is also expected for the energy crisis linked to the conflict (of direct importance for European countries, but also for the world in general due to rising fuel prices) and for the climate change (with the UN looking for new national commitments).
“The world keeps spinning”
The economic situation, marked by strong inflation worldwide, will also figure prominently in the speeches of many leaders. With thousands of diplomats present in New York, in parallel to the General Assembly there will be the possibility of discussing all kinds of issues, including key issues on the international agenda such as the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the situation of entrenched conflicts such as those in Yemen, Libya or Syria and the crises in various African countries, particularly those in the Sahel.
The United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield, partially acknowledged these concerns. “Countries are concerned that while we focus on Ukraine, we are not paying enough attention to other crises in the world. This is not the case,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding: “The world keeps turning. We cannot ignore what is happening in the rest of the world.”
For its part, the office of the French president, Emmanuel Macronsaid that he will seek “dialogue with our partners in the South to avoid sowing this idea that it is the West against the rest”, and assured that the “climate emergency” will also have a leading place in the debates.
Developing countries, the least responsible for global warming but its first victims, are fed up with climate action too often taking a backseat. “We have no more time to lose”said the ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Walton Websonpresident of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), who expects commitments in terms of financing to face climate change.
Schedule changes for the funeral
In terms of logistics, this year’s meetings were somewhat conditioned by the celebration of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, which affected above all the summit on education organized on Monday by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. The presence of many heads of state in London prevented their participation in this meeting and, moreover, changed the usual script of the General Assembly.
For example, the American president, Joe Bidenwho always intervenes on the opening day, will not speak on this occasion until Wednesday. Yes it will be in this boot Jair Bolsonarothat will fulfill the tradition and, as president of Brazil, will deliver the first speech among more than a hundred heads of state and government who will pass through the podium of the General Assembly.
protagonist Latin America
This Tuesday’s session will have an important Latin American presence and will mean the premiere at the UN of several new leaders of the region such as the Chilean Gabriel Boricthe Colombian Gustavo Petro and the Honduran Xiomara Castro. Together with these new banners of the Latin American left, the Peruvian president, peter castlethe Argentinian Alberto Fernandez and the Bolivian louis arce.
The participation of other Latin American leaders of different political biases is also expected, such as the presidents of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez; from Guatemala, Alexander Giammattei; and from El Salvador, Nayib Bukelewho will arrive in New York after announcing his controversial decision to run for re-election.
Among the most important leaders who will take the floor on Tuesday are the president of France, Emmanuel Macron; the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz; the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and the heads of the Italian government, mario draghiand Japan, fumio kishida. The presence of the Iranian president, ebrahim raisiand the Venezuelan president, Nicholas Maduro.