World leaders to descend on UN headquarters next week for UNGA

World leaders to descend on UN headquarters next week for UNGAUNITED NATIONS: Over 140 heads of state and government, including US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will arrive here next week, with the conflict in Syria and Iraq, Ebola virus outbreak among major issues to take centrestage at the UN’s annual gathering.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the heads of state, civil society leaders and CEOs will seek to address issues like the “horrendous violence” in Syria and Iraq, “where conflict and governance failures have provided a breeding ground for extremist groups” as well as the situation in Mali, South Sudan, Ukraine and Libya.

“We will not let these crises be forgotten – and we will meet next week at the highest level to determine what more we can do,” Ban said yesterday ahead of the UN General Assembly beginning September 24.

The annual General Debate of the UN General Assembly will see world leaders use the UN podium to address key issues.

Modi will address the world body on September 27.

Ahead of the General Debate, Ban will host nearly 120 heads of state for his one-day climate change summit on September 23 to mobilize political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement next year in Paris and to generate ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience.

“Action on climate change is urgent. The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and money,” he said.

The UN chief called on world leaders to unite in the face of the myriad devastating crises to uphold human dignity and the rule of law.

“At this time of turmoil, the next two weeks will highlight again the indispensable role of the United Nations in tackling global threats and seizing opportunities for common progress,” he said.

Ban said he is anticipating an “impressive turnout” of leaders and “significant commitments and progress.
The world leaders will assemble in the newly renovated iconic General Assembly Hall.

The seven-year renovation project has included replacing the gold-leafed background behind the iconic UN emblem that had become caked with tar and nicotine over the decades of cigarette and cigar smoke, resurrecting the original forest green carpet that had become faded and threadbare in spots, as well as restoring the leather desks and chairs to their original form and color.

The new General Assembly Hall will also have room to grow for more than 193 Members with space now for 204.

Another issue that the world leaders will focus on is the “needless and devastating war” in Gaza, that has made Israelis and Palestinians more polarized.

International consensus is critical to address the challenges posed in an increasingly complex world, Ban said.

He urged that the world leaders must act against serious threats to global and regional peace and security including in Ukraine, Libya, Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Terrorist organizations throughout the world are not only carrying out attacks but seizing large areas of land beyond the government’s control and in Nigeria, the advances of Boko Haram grow more alarming every day.

“The world is facing multiple crises. Each has its own dynamics, and requires its own approach. But all have featured atrocious attacks on civilians, including children. All have dangerous sectarian, ethnic or tribal dimensions. And many have seen sharp divisions within the international community itself over the response,” Ban said.

He also urged the international community to act immediately to contain the Ebola epidemic and treat those infected.

Ban pledged to continue his efforts to mobilize the international community to help meet the health services, supplies, food and other requirements.

“We cannot allow travel bans on travel or transport to slow us down. We need isolation of people affected by Ebola, not nations struggling to cope with it. This is not just a health crisis; it has grave economic and social consequences that could spread far beyond the affected countries,” he said.–PTI

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