UN General Assembly gets underway in New York, USA

September 14, 2016 by Staff Reporter

By Malawi News Agency

It is yet that time of the year when world leaders converge on New York City in the USA to address the United Nations General Assembly on pressing issues.

A city that some people say does not sleep, New York has never been agog as it is now, considering that this year’s summit is taking place before the USA presidential elections in two months’ time.

As always when the city hosts global leaders and their delegations, excitement has once again gripped the estimated 8.5 million New Yorkers as they welcome delegates from across the globe.

The 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 71) began on September 13 under the theme ‘Sustainable Development Goals: a Universal Push to Transform the World’.

President Peter Mutharika will be among leaders of the UN’s 193-member countries who will be attending the session, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

UNGA 71 is taking place a year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, following three years of negotiations and debate that involved various stakeholders.

The Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to end poverty, fight inequality and fight injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 14 years. The SGDs build on the Millennium Development Goals— eight goals the UN set in 2000 to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease.

The MDGs, which expired in 2015, were concrete, specific and measurable. They helped establish some priority areas of focus in international development, but that was also their biggest criticisms.

It was felt that by being so targeted, they had left out other equally important areas.

In developing the SDGs in a process that involved governments, civil society, the private sector and academia, the UN sought to take all the failings into account.

The General Assembly will aim at reviewing the progress countries have made in attaining the SDGs, especially in transforming the world to be a better place for all.

The leaders will share ideas on addressing many of the pressing global challenges, including conflicts, migration, political instability, extreme acts of violence, terrorism and radicalization.

Issues of abductions and human trafficking that continue to cause untold misery, suffering and anguish among people in many parts of the world will also be tackled.

The Assembly will also tackle challenges of global warming, impacts of droughts, poverty, hunger, disease and under development.

The UN General Assembly has initiated actions before—political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal—that have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world.

The Assembly, comprises all 193 members of the United Nations and provides a unique forum for multilateral discussions of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter.

President Mutharika is expected to be among nine leaders to address the General Assembly when it starts on September 20, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The Ministry says in a press statement that the Malawi leader is expected to fulfill a number of official engagements on the sideline of the UN Summit to lobby for support and advance Malawi’s interests.

The statement says during his engagements, Mutharika will appeal for additional humanitarian assistance to Malawi in view of the drought and resulting food shortage and existing financing gap.

He will also seek investment s from international stakeholders in support of Malawi’s infrastructure development projects including roads, energy projects, irrigation and airports.

“He will seek more financing towards the fight against HIV and AIDS and other challenging health conditions including non communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer,” it says.

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