The general debate at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly is starting in New York, which will be held under the sign of the war in Ukraine and development issues. Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar will also address the audience.
Every year in September, world leaders gather at the UN headquarters for a general debate at the start of a new session of the General Assembly. This year it will last until September 26. The traditional debate is opened by Brazil, according to the Brazilian president To Luis Inacio Lula da Silva it will be the US president’s turn Joe Biden as the leader of the host country, followed by the rest of the leaders in a complicated pecking order.
A total of at least 151 heads of state and government will appear before the 193-member General Assembly, and some countries will be represented by foreign ministers or ambassadors. This year, none of the leaders of the permanent members of the Security Council, except for Biden, will go to New York, and the Ukrainian president will also address the gathering Volodymyr Zelensky.
The theme of this year’s debate is Rebuilding Trust and Reviving Global Solidarity: Advancing Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals for Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability for All.
Pirc Musar on gender equality and climate change
On the first day, Slovenian President Pirc Musar, who, like the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is in New York Tanja Fajon in addition to participation in events within the framework of the UN, the program also includes numerous bilateral meetings with representatives of countries from all over the world and international organizations. Pirc Musar will speak about gender equality, which is part of the initiative for more female presidents of the UN General Assembly in the future. “The statistics are terrifying, as 74 sessions have been chaired by men and only four times by women. The idea is that women and men would alternate each year in this position,” she said, adding that she is also the president of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis said to continue to speak about it bravely.
She will also talk about artificial intelligence and the fight against disinformation. “This is an evil that brings great damage to democracies around the world. The UN is an ideal platform for us to come together and make some application that will detect disinformation. I talked about this with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Ghana,” she said. In her speech, she will also highlight the problem of climate change. “Even the incidents in our homeland indicate that we need to wake up. In December, I am going to the UN climate conference COP28, and we talked a lot about this with the Austrian president. Alexander Van der Belln and on Wednesday we have a trilateral meeting with the President of COP28 Sultan al Jaber,” she said.
Before the meeting, there was also a development summit
Earlier, on Monday, Pirc Musar was at the development summit together with the Kenyan president William Ruto led one of the six dialogues of the heads of state, namely on the topic of digital technologies. There were also dialogues on accelerating key transitions to accelerate the realization of goals, building resilience, strengthening public institutions, strengthening the multilateral system and mobilizing investments.
In 2015, UN members set themselves 17 development goals, among which are the elimination of poverty and hunger. The world is lagging behind in achieving its goals, among other things due to the covid-19 pandemic and various crises, such as the war in Ukraine.
The development summit began with an address by Francis and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterreswho noted that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is crucial for more than half of the world that is lagging behind in development, including the countries affected by the war in Ukraine. “The time has come to prove that you are listening to the people of the world,” Guterres said.
So far, only about 15 percent of the goals have been achieved, and Pirc Musar said there has been a lot of talk about how to speed it up. The world is full of conflict and reform of the UN is urgently needed, and climate change is one of the topics under discussion. The president described the slow realization of the goals as a disaster and added that matters must be shifted into a higher gear if the world wants to limit the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees, for example.
“The UN is the only multilateral platform we have where we can all talk about these matters together, and perhaps the small countries sometimes do not realize that one country means one voice and the more smaller ones come together, the better. Slovenia is one of the initiators proposal to Secretary-General Guterres for a special envoy for water and I presented this at the UN water conference in March this year. Believe me, water will definitely be the reason for future conflicts,” she said.
USA: We look forward to cooperation with Slovenia in the VS
For Slovenia, this year’s events in New York are important mainly because of preparations for membership in the UN Security Council in 2024 and 2025. Representative of the National Security Council of the White House John Kirby said in New York that the USA welcomes Slovenia’s election to this body and looks forward to cooperating with it in the next two years. When asked about the election of Slovenia to the Security Council and the issues on which he expects close coordination between Washington and Ljubljana, Kirby replied that Slovenia is a trusted and valued ally in NATO, with which the US already cooperates closely in supporting Ukraine, and he has no doubts that good cooperation and communication will continue.
“They will certainly continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian forces and Ukrainians, and there are many other issues as well. I have no doubt that we will work together on climate change, economic development issues and improving infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries, global health, cyber security, artificial intelligence and elsewhere,” Kirby said.
When asked about the US position on Security Council reforms, where Russia vetoes resolutions on the war in Ukraine, he answered that President Biden advocates a more inclusive Security Council with new permanent members among the countries of the Global South.