For the first time in 75 years, world leaders will not travel to New York for the annual UN General Assembly session in September this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of the UN General Assembly has announced.
The landmark 75th session of the UN General Assembly is expected to begin on September 15 and the first day of the high-level General Debate is likely to be on September 22, according to SDG Knowledge Hub website, an online resource center for news on the UN.
World leaders cannot come to New York because they cannot come as single individuals. A president doesn’t travel alone. We don’t expect therefore to have presidents here, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said at a news conference Yesterday.
He said due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic battering nations across the world, in-person meetings at the UN headquarters were highly unlikely in the coming months.
Muhammad-Bande said the General Debate will be not be shifted to a future date and will be held as scheduled but we cannot have it in-person as has happened in the last 74 years.
Last month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had suggested that the General Assembly President consider using pre-recorded messages provided by Heads of State and Government or Ministers, with physical presence in the General Assembly Hall limited to one delegate per delegation based in New York.
The high-level General Assembly session had particular significance this year as it would have commemorated 75 years of the existence of the United Nations and would have seen high participation from leaders from 193 Member States to mark the anniversary.