Media Kit — UN General Assembly High-level events
As of 17 September 2020
On its 75th anniversary, and amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations will for the first time convene world leaders in a virtual format to seek action and solutions for a world in crisis. Several major events, in addition to the General Debate, are expected to highlight action and solutions that will ignite the transformations needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all.
The pillars of our world, already unsteady, have been shaken to the core by the coronavirus. Everything the United Nations stands for and works for – peace, progress and human rights – is in jeopardy. As we strive to respond and recover, international cooperation has never been more important.
Heads of State and Government, ministers, international organizations, representatives of the private sector and civil society.
17 September – 5 October 2020
All events will take place mostly virtually, broadcast live and on-demand on UN Web TV. A limited number of New York-based representatives of Member States may be physically present at United Nations Headquarters.
|General debate 22-26 & 29 September|
Other spaces to watch
General debate 22 - 26 September and 29 September | 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EDT
The General Debate, held at the beginning of each session of the General Assembly, provides an opportunity for world leaders to deliver a statement on global issues. This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Member and Observer States can submit a pre-recorded video statement by their respective Head of State or Head of Government, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall, after being introduced by the respective national representative who can be physically present in the Assembly Hall. The theme for this 75th General Debate is “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action.”
High-level events 18 September - 5 October
Against the backdrop of the multidimensional crisis triggered by COVID-19, this year’s high-level events are underpinned by the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the enduring principles of the UN Charter, and guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all world leaders in 2015. Along with the Paris agreement on climate change, the 17 interconnected Goals provide a vital framework for a long-term global response to COVID-19 that leads to greener, more inclusive economies, and stronger, more resilient societies.
SDG Moment 18 September | 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
The UN Secretary-General is for the first time convening the annual SDG Moment, as mandated by the outcome document of the 2019 SDG Summit, to set out a vision for a Decade of Action and recovering better from COVID-19; provide a snapshot on SDG progress today; highlight plans and actions to tackle major implementation gaps; and demonstrate the power and impact of action and innovation by SDG stakeholders.
Why it matters
- The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our world. It has exposed exactly the failures the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to address: inadequate health systems, gaps in social protection, structural inequalities, weak institutions, environmental degradation and the climate crisis, among others.
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a vital framework for a recovery from COVID-19, one that leads to greener, more inclusive economies, and stronger, more resilient societies.
- Five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, progress had been made in some areas, such as improving maternal and child health, expanding access to electricity and increasing women’s representation in government. Yet even these advances were offset elsewhere by growing food insecurity, deterioration of the natural environment, and persistent and pervasive inequalities.
- Now, COVID-19 has unleashed an unprecedented crisis, causing the loss of lives and livelihoods that will make SDG progress even more difficult, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable affected the most. The pandemic risks sending millions into poverty and has deepened existing inequalities, further entrenched patterns of discrimination and exacerbated inequalities for women and girls.
- This is a moment of crisis, but bold steps and accelerated action on all levels and by all stakeholders can steer the world back on track towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
- This is a time for change, for a profound and systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and uneven progress across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Moment will:
- Set out a vision for a Decade of Action and recovering better from COVID-19;
- Provide a snapshot on SDG progress;
- Highlight plans and actions to tackle major implementation gaps;
- Demonstrate the power and impact of action and innovation by SDG stakeholders.
Format and expected outcomes
- The SDG Moment will be an annual event convened by the UN Secretary-General at the opening of every session of the General Assembly between now and 2030, as mandated by the 2019 SDG Summit outcome document.
- The three-hour event will be opened by the UN Secretary-General and UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai. Moderated by SABC correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Pease, the event will feature key presentations from the UN system as well as contributions from the President of the General Assembly, the President of ECOSOC, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the European Commission (tbc), Member States and stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, local and regional authorities, and academia.
- The 23 States expected to speak at this year’s event -- either through a pre-recorded or live video message -- are Angola, Argentina; Austria; Barbados; Botswana; Bulgaria; Colombia; Ecuador; Finland; Georgia; Lebanon; Morocco; Nepal; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Palau; Peru; Samoa; Seychelles; Slovenia; South Africa; Venezuela.
- Interventions will focus on both identifying implementation gaps as well as plans and actions to address those gaps over the course of the Decade of Action.
- A digital report to be issued in conjunction with the meeting will provide a comprehensive yet concise overview of the SDGs at the kick-off of a Decade of Action and capture the main messages and action points from the meeting.
- The SDG Moment is complemented by a global broadcast on the SDGs, a virtual SDG Action Zone, and dialogues at regional and national levels supported by the United Nations system.
High-level Meeting on UN75 21 September | 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EDT
Under the theme, “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism,” this General Assembly meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations aims to present the outcomes of the UN75 initiative -- the world's largest conversation, launched in January 2020 to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to global challenges – and discuss how to take forward the findings for building a better world for all.
Why it matters
- Covid-19 is a stark reminder of the need for cooperation across borders, sectors and generations. The virus knows no boundaries and a coordinated global response is needed to build a better future for all.
- But just when we need collective action more than ever, support for international cooperation has been flagging. Global dialogue and cooperation is now more urgent than ever.
- At the official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Secretary-General will share the results from the world’s largest and most diverse global conversation to date on building a better future for all.
- Nearly 1 million people, in all 193 UN Member States, have taken the one-minute survey launched by the UN Secretary-General in January 2020, and more than 1,000 dialogues have been held in 82 countries. In addition, 50,000 people in 50 countries took part in independent polling by public relations firm Edelman together with the Pew Research Center. Artificial intelligence analysis of social and traditional media was conducted in 70 countries, along with academic and policy research mappings in all regions.
- Together, they represent the UN's most ambitious attempt to crowdsource priorities and solutions from the global public, providing unique insights into the future we want and the UN we need at this challenging time. The world has spoken, and the United Nations has listened.
Under the theme, “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism,” the meeting aims to:
- Present the outcomes of the UN75 initiative -- the world's largest conversation, launched in January 2020 to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to global challenges;
- Chart a way to take forward the findings for building a better world for all;
- Reinvigorate multilateral action to tackle global challenges.
Format and expected outcomes
- The high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations will be a stand-alone event, with no other intergovernmental meetings or side events organized in parallel either online or at United Nations Headquarters.
- If the list of speakers is not exhausted by 9 p.m., the meeting will be suspended and resumed at a later date to be announced.
- Speakers include the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council, the President of the Economic and Social Council, the President of the International Court of Justice, youth representatives, the host country, Member States, observer States and the European Union.
- The Member States will formally adopt a declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The UN75 Report, summarizing the findings of the global dialogues, will also be issued on that day.
- In addition to UN WebTV, this event will also be live streamed on @JoinUN75 social platforms and a dedicated UN landing page for the event [link not available yet].
High-level Roundtable on Climate Action 24 September | 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
This roundtable event convened by the UN Secretary-General will showcase high-impact solutions by governments and real economy leaders, in line with the Secretary-General’s six climate-positive actions to recover better together. The event will show the vast social and economic benefits of a sustainable recovery and of action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and ensure that people and planet are fully protected from climate change impacts. This Roundtable will also jump-start an ambition arc that will take us to the Fifth Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December, when governments are expected to present ambitious and quality climate plans (the Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs – and Long-Term Strategies), all the way to COP26 in November 2021.
Why it matters
- COVID-19 has not stopped the climate crisis. Carbon emissions are quickly returning to pre-COVID levels, and greenhouse gas concentrations have reached new record highs, according to the latest United in Science report, released on 9 September. The damage inflicted by climate change continues to mount, from worsening wildfires, floods and storms, to rising food insecurity and economic loss.
- As the world confronts the pandemic and embarks on recovery, we are at a crucial juncture in the fight against climate change. The vast scale of COVID-19 fighting and recovery spending can either help drive climate action forward and help keep the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach, or set us back years, which the science dictates we cannot afford if we are to reach the 1.5°C goal.
- At the same time, the vast benefits of taking climate action are becoming increasingly clear: more jobs, better health, more equal and resilient societies, and stronger economies. For example, opportunities in renewable energy, building efficiency and other low-carbon industries can create 24 million decent jobs by 2030.
- The UN Secretary-General has urged governments to take six climate-positive actions to recover better from the COVID19 pandemic: Invest in sustainable jobs. Do not bail out polluting industries. End fossil-fuel subsidies. Take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions. Work together. Most important, leave no one behind.
- The science is clear, and the solutions are available for leaders to tackle the global climate emergency and steer the world onto a sustainable path to better health, better jobs and stronger economies.
This event convened by the UN Secretary-General aims to:
- Showcase high-impact solutions by governments and real economy leaders, in line with the Secretary-General’s six climate-positive actions to recover better together.
- Demonstrate the vast social and economic benefits of a sustainable recovery and of action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050;
- Showcase the best initiatives from the 2019 Climate Action Summit in action, and highlight those taking the boldest steps;
- Re-energize civil society and business to step up actions, and reinforce urgency;
- Jump-start an ambition arc that will take us to the Fifth Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December, when governments are expected to present ambitious and quality climate plans (the Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs – and Long-Term Strategies), all the way to COP26 in November 2021.
Format and expected outcomes
- The 90-minute event will feature a roundtable discussion with around 20 global climate leaders from governments, the private sector and civil society, moderated by international journalist and television presenter Femi Oke.
- Following introductory remarks by the Secretary-General, participants will make short interventions showing concrete COVID-19 recovery actions and ambitions that both confront the climate crisis and deliver social and economic benefits at scale.
- The event will be livestreamed on webtv.un.org with translation.
High-level Event on Financing for Development 29 September | 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT
This high-level event convened by the UN Secretary-General and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica aims to articulate a coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response to the urgent financing for development crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heads of State and Government are expected to adopt an ambitious menu of policy options for countries to recover in the short term, mobilize the financial resources to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, review the global financial architecture to deliver the global standards and align with the SDGs, and strengthen the resilience and sustainability of countries over the medium to long term.
Why it matters
- As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 the world’s gross domestic product is expected to drop by 4.9 per cent, foreign direct investment will fall by 40 per cent, and remittances by 20 per cent.
- While advanced economies are implementing unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy responses to address the crisis, the policy responses in developing countries have been weaker due to their need to continue servicing their external debts amid plunging foreign exchange inflows.
- In this context, developing countries face the dual challenges of financing the response to the pandemic and avoiding a major debt crisis.
- At this meeting, world leaders will review recommendations to sharpen and accelerate the global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions for financing to address the development emergency.
This high-level event aims to:
- Articulate a coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response to the current crisis by adopting an ambitious menu of policy options for countries to recover in the short term;
- Mobilize the financial resources to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals;
- Review the global financial architecture to deliver the global standards and align with the SDGs;
- Strengthen the resilience and sustainability of countries over the medium to long term.
Format and expected outcomes
- The meeting is part of the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica in May 2020.
- Following a first high-level event on 28 May, a meeting of Finance Ministers on 8 September discussed policy options prepared by six discussion groups on 1) external finance and remittances, jobs and inclusive growth; 2) recovering better for sustainability; 3) global liquidity and financial stability; 4) debt vulnerability; 5) private sector creditors engagement; and 6) illicit financial flows.
- This high-level meeting will consider the outcomes of the ministerial meeting and the work of the six discussion groups, and is expected to adopt a single, ambitious menu of options addressing the six topics for the short, medium and long term, fully reflecting the variety of needs and views of Member States and the various stakeholders.
- Speakers include the UN Secretary-General, the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica, other Heads of State and Government, along with representatives of international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and selected experts.
Accelerating the end of the COVID-19 pandemic: Taking new solutions to scale to save lives, protect health systems and restart the global economy 30 September | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT
The high-level side event hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the UN Secretary-General, aims to build stronger political consensus for a coordinated global response to COVID-19 and champion the importance and urgency of equitable access to new tools, especially effective vaccines. It also seeks to catalyze a step-change in support for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the most promising solution for global equitable access to the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
Why it matters
- The UN has from the outset of the pandemic been calling for global solidarity to combat COVID-19. The already overwhelming burden on health systems, and social and economic consequences, could deteriorate further with subsequent waves of the disease.
- To reopen societies and economies much more quickly, the world must rapidly suppress COVID-19 transmission and severe disease over the coming six months by massively expanding and ensuring equitable access to the tools we have now, including new rapid diagnostics and new treatments like dexamethasone, and increasing R&D investment in new diagnostics and therapies.
- Looking forward, new vaccines should be treated as global public goods, taking the pressure of severe disease off health systems and facilitating the expansion of the global economy.
- Civil society, communities and citizens themselves are powerful stakeholders for intensifying the global discourse on the urgent need for unity and equitable access to COVID-19 tools. In May more than 150 world leaders and experts signed an open letter in support of a “People’s Vaccine”, made available to all people, in all countries, free at the point of use. Similarly, a pledge from June 2020 signed by over 130 global leaders called to make COVID-19 vaccines a Global Common Good.
- There is a global solution for achieving this goal, in the groundbreaking collaboration that is the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). ACT-A was launched on 24 April by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government, with the vision of creating an end-to-end global solution to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Uniquely, the ACT-Accelerator combines public and private sector expertise and institutions from around the world to fast-track the development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
- Within just four months of its launch, the ACT-Accelerator has harnessed the international public health ecosystem in a nimble structure that is already delivering concrete results, accelerating the testing of vaccine candidates, creating a COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, evaluating dozens of new diagnostics, scaling up a new therapeutic, and establishing consensus on the international allocation of these products.
- The launch of the ACT-A Facilitation Council (on 10 September) was the final step in establishing the overall ACT-A ecosystem and its enabling structure (read the outcome statement here). The ACT-Accelerator must now move quickly out of its start-up phase to leverage this impressive early progress for impact at scale.
This high-level side events aims to:
- Build stronger political consensus for a coordinated global response to COVID-19, and champion the importance and urgency of equitable access to new tools, especially effective vaccines;
- Catalyze a step-changein support for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) – the most promising solution for global equitable access to the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
Format and expected outcomes
- Expected participants include Heads of State and Government, senior representatives of Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Director-General of WHO, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Bill Gates, as well as other high-level partners from civil society and the private sector.
- The event will be comprised of a series of segments, of which some will be moderated panel discussions.
- As an outcome, the event is expected to reaffirm global commitment to the vision for the ACT-Accelerator and kick off a series of high-level events through December 2020 that will ensure it is fully resourced to deliver the tools the world needs to bring an end to this global crisis.
UN Summit on Biodiversity 30 September | 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT
The UN Summit on Biodiversity convened by the President of the UN General Assembly aims to provide political direction and momentum for the development of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The event will also demonstrate ambition and commitment to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development, highlight the connections between biodiversity, societies and economies, and showcase biodiversity’s multiple and essential contributions to sustainable development.
Why it matters
- Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. Over 1 million species are at risk of extinction, 75 per cent of the Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered by human activity, and 66 per cent of the ocean area is experiencing multiple impacts from people, including from fisheries, pollution, and chemical changes from acidification.
- As we approach the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020, progress towards global biodiversity targets, including those of the SDGs, has been insufficient and many goals will not be achieved. While there are many local examples of success, biodiversity is declining globally, with growing impacts on people and our planet.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade biodiversity, exploit wildlife and encroach on ecosystems, we increase the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. To prevent future outbreaks, we must protect, conserve and manage our natural environment.
- Working with nature -- instead of destroying it — can help us eradicate poverty and promote sustainable jobs and economic development, and achieve the SDGs. By working with nature, we can ensure food security, and improve health, livelihoods, jobs, and water security. Nature-based solutions can reduce climate change causing emissions by a third, help restore the health of the ocean and assist in disaster prevention.
- Solutions to the biodiversity crisis exist. When we work with nature, we help ourselves. The time is now to accelerate and scale up actions to bring nature on a pathway to recovery and build a future of life in harmony with nature. The summit will showcase solutions, opportunities and actions to build a more prosperous and sustainable world.
The Summit convened by the President of the UN General Assembly aims to:
- Provide political direction and momentum for the development of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, scheduled to take place in Kunming, China, in the second quarter of 2021;
- Demonstrate ambition and commitment to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development, for example through investments to restore, sustainably use, conserve and equitably share benefits from biodiversity;
- Highlight the connections between biodiversity, societies and economies, and showcase biodiversity’s multiple and essential contributions to sustainable development.
Format and expected outcomes
- Under the theme, “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development,” there will be an opening, a plenary and a closing session, as well as two leadership dialogues, each co-chaired by a country from the North and the South.
- Opening speakers include the President of the General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Directors of the UN Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Egypt and China as hosts of the 14th and 15th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, an eminent champion for biodiversity and a youth leader.
- The first leadership dialogue will focus on addressing biodiversity loss and integrating action on biodiversity for sustainable development into key sectors.
- The second leadership dialogue will highlight ways to harness science, technology and innovation, capacity-building, access and benefit-sharing, financing and partnerships for biodiversity.
- A chair’s summary will provide conclusion and action items.
Website: www.un.org/pga/74/united-nations-summit-on-biodiversity Hashtag: #ForNature Contact: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
High-level Meeting on Beijing+25 1 October | 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. EDT
Under the theme, “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls", this high-level meeting of the General Assembly aims to demonstrate the political will and leadership that will bring about the transformative change needed to address root causes, structural barriers, discriminatory practices and social norms that underpin discrimination and inequality. The event will also showcase concrete actions, plans and commitments to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030, including in support of the role of civil society organizations and youth.
Why it matters
- In 1995, world leaders adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action — the most comprehensive and transformative global agenda for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights to date.
- Yet, 25 years later -- and 5 years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda -- progress towards gender equality has stalled and has even reversed in some areas.
- While the world is facing an unprecedented set of challenges that threaten progress for women and girls, the past years have also seen the reaffirmation of gender equality as inextricably linked to achieving sustainable development for all.
- While more girls are in school and 131 countries have enacted 274 legal and regulatory reforms in support of gender equality, women everywhere still work more hours, earn less, have fewer choices, are disproportionately underrepresented and face violence at home and in public spaces.
- Today, not a single country has achieved gender equality. Leaders must focus on removing deeply entrenched norms and beliefs, repealing discriminatory laws that still affect 2 billion women, boosting investment to promote gender equality and making institutions, including the justice system, more gender responsive.
- COVID-19 pandemic underscored society’s reliance on women both on the front line and at home, while simultaneously exposing structural inequalities across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection. Women are on the frontlines in fighting the coronavirus, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of health and social workers globally. Women’s unpaid care work has increased significantly as a result of school closures, and nearly 60 per cent of women work in the informal economy, which puts them at greater risk of falling into poverty.
- The pandemic has also led to a steep increase in violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence in the context of COVID-19 lockdowns.
- The need to accelerate action for gender equality and the prevention of violence against women is more urgent than ever.
- Responding to the pandemic is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities, but also about building a resilient world in the interest of everyone with women at the centre of recovery.
Under the theme, “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls,” the high-level meeting aims to:
- Demonstrate the political will and leadership that will bring about the transformative change needed to address root causes, structural barriers and discriminatory practices and social norms that underpin discrimination and inequality;
- Showcase concrete actions, plans and commitments to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030, including in support of the role of civil society organizations and youth.
Format and expected outcomes
- The meeting convened by the President of the UN General Assembly will consist of an opening segment, a plenary, and a closing segment.
- The opening segment will feature statements by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, a representative of China as host of the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the Executive Directors of UN Women and the UN Population Fund, a champion of gender equality, and representatives of civil society and youth, among others.
- The plenary segment will feature remarks by Heads of State and Government and other leaders. The closing segment will comprise concluding remarks by the President of the General Assembly.
- The outcomes of the meeting will be captured in a chair’s summary.
Websites: www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/general-assembly, www.un.org/pga/74/event/high-level-meeting-on-the-twenty-fifth-anniversary-of-the-fourth-world-conference-on-women Hashtag: #GenerationEquality Contact: email@example.com
High-level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2 October | 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT
This high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons aims to advocate for resuming dialogue and negotiations for nuclear arms control and disarmament and to consider how States can return to a common path to nuclear disarmament. The meeting also seeks to articulate solutions for the elimination of nuclear weapons and highlight the need for renewed engagement for building sustainable peace and security for all.
Why it matters
- Nuclear weapons remain the most destructive weapons ever created and the only weapons with potentially existential consequences. Any use of nuclear weapons would cause a humanitarian catastrophe. For these reasons, nuclear disarmament is the United Nations’ highest disarmament priority.
- Today the risk of nuclear weapons use – intentionally, by accident or through miscalculation – is higher than it has been since the darkest days of the Cold War, due to a combination of deteriorating relationships between nuclear-weapon States, the increased role of nuclear weapons in national security strategies, technological advances, and the erosion of the nuclear arms control regime.
- Nine states – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – possess approximately 13,400 nuclear weapons today, of which 3,720 were deployed with operational forces. Approximately 1,800 of these weapons are kept in a state of high operational alert. Two States, the United States and the Russian Federation, possess approximately 90% of the global nuclear arsenal.
- While the number of deployed nuclear weapons has declined since the Cold War, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty. In addition, no nuclear disarmament negotiations are currently underway and all States possessing nuclear weapons have expensive, long-term plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals and to develop new weapons systems.
- The international arms control architecture is collapsing as tensions and distrust among major powers increase. In parallel, divisions over the pace and scale of disarmament keep growing.
- If the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (“New START”), which limits deployed nuclear weapons to 1550, is not extended or replaced before it expires in February 2021, it will be the first time in almost fifty years that there will be no constraints on strategic nuclear weapons.
- The total elimination of nuclear weapons can only be attained through reinvigorated dialogue and serious negotiations and a return to a common vision leading towards nuclear disarmament.
This high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons aims to:
- Advocate for resuming dialogue and negotiations for nuclear arms control and disarmament and to consider how States can return to a common path to nuclear disarmament;
- Articulate solutions for the elimination of nuclear weapons;
- Highlight the need for renewed engagement for building sustainable peace and security for all.
Format and expected outcomes
- The President of the General Assembly will deliver opening remarks followed by a statement from the Secretary-General.
- After the Member States’ list of speakers, civil society representatives will also deliver pre-recorded statements. [No info available about outcome]
Country-specific High-level Meetings on Peace & Security 17 September – 5 October
[Note: webcast of the meetings listed below will not be available as these events are closed.]
Yemen: 17 September | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT This meeting aims to mobilize international support for a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen as well as economic and humanitarian measures.
Lebanon: 23 September | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EDT The meeting is expected to reaffirm united international political support to Lebanon’s stability and state institutions and call for the swift formation of an effective and credible government able to meet the legitimate aspirations and needs expressed by the Lebanese people.
Central African Republic: 1 October | time TBD Ahead of the general elections scheduled in the Central African Republic, this meeting offers an opportunity to convey to national stakeholders the international community’s expectations, while also rallying the support of regional and international partners, including for the essential development and humanitarian interventions required to sustain peace in the country.
Libya: 5 October | 8:30 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. EDT The event will focus on the follow-up to the Berlin Conference held in January 2020, take stock of commitments made, identify gaps and encourage participants to make progress towards implementing outstanding commitments.
Other events to watch
SDG Media Zone 17-29 September
The all-virtual SDG Media Zone will feature UN and other expert voices providing timely, reliable information on key issues at UNGA75. The programme of interviews and discussions, conducted in collaboration with media partners around the world, will highlight solutions, science and solidarity, offering hopeful avenues for the audience to connect with global issues related to recovering from COVD-19 and rebuilding sustainably. The content will inspire audiences to take steps toward a more sustainable world and engage in priority campaigns such as UN75, Verified, and ActNow.
What to expect
- A zone that will highlight and explain key issues relating to the 75th General Assembly, with a focus on science and solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change;
- High-profile interviews and corresponding multimedia content on important themes of UNGA75 - biodiversity and climate, vaccines, gender equality, food security - produced in collaboration with UN News;
- Interviews or discussions produced in collaboration with UN Information Centres and national broadcasters -- Phoenix TV (China), Asahi Shimbun, HuffPost and Fuji TV (Japan), Canal 22 (Mexico), and TVC (Nigeria) -- in an effort to localize the SDG discourse and bring the spirit of the SDG Media Zone to local audiences around the world.
- The all-virtual SDG Media Zone will feature UN and other expert voices providing timely, reliable information on key issues coming up at UNGA75.
- The programme will highlight solutions, science and solidarity, offering hopeful avenues for the audience to connect with global issues related to recovering from COVD-19 and rebuilding sustainably.
- The content will inspire audiences to take steps toward a more sustainable world and engage in priority campaigns -- UN75, Verified, and ActNow, among others.
Global Broadcast: “Nations United” 19 September | 9:00 a.m. EDT
On the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals – in the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our economies and societies – this 30-minute film tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be. Directed by renowned film maker Richard Curtis and produced by the documentary film company 72 Films, “Nations United” will present the facts, data, and opportunities we have as a human family to reimagine and reshape the future. The film will be broadcast on numerous television channels, radio stations and streaming services around the world, premiering on the UN YouTube channel on 19 September.
What to expect
- An extraordinary 30-minute film, titled 'Nations United,' featuring leading thinkers and activists, data visualizations, testimonies and performances to highlight the solutions and actions we can take to create a world where no one is left behind;
- A combination of powerful voices -- including Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Yeoh, Thandie Newton and Vanessa Nakate -- highlighting facts and solutions for a better world, with a focus on climate and the health of our planet, poverty and inequality, justice and human rights, and gender equality;
- A dynamic exploration of the times we live in, the multiple tipping points our planet faces, and the interventions and actions that could bring about real global change, deliver the SDGs and transform our world over the next 10 years.
- On the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals -- in the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our economies and societies -- the film tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be.
- Directed by Richard Curtis and produced by the documentary film company 72 Films, “Nations United” will present the facts, data, and opportunities we have as a human family to reimagine and reshape the future.
- The film will be broadcast on numerous television channels, radio stations and streaming services around the world, starting on 19 September.
SDG Action Zone 22-24 September | 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
The all-virtual SDG Action Zone will provide a space for open, transparent, and inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement and global audience participation during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week. Conversations, talks and debates with leading thinkers, activists and creators from across regions, sectors and generations will highlight critical areas to accelerate action on the Sustainable Development Goals in a programme focused on inspiring the transformative change so needed for people and our planet.
What to expect
- A virtual space for open, transparent, and inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement and global audience participation during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week;
- Conversations, talks and debates with leading thinkers, activists and creators from across regions, sectors and generations, on critical areas to accelerate action on the Sustainable Development Goals;
- A programme focused on inspiring transformative action and the exponential change needed for people and our planet.
- The programme was crowd-sourced through a call for sessions, talks and creative content from people around the world.
- Sessions will focus on three core areas for accelerating action on the SDGs: People, Planet and Partnerships.
- Content will include big-picture discussions, deep-dive dialogues, interactive workshops, lightning talks, UN digests, and performances highlighting scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, and spurting collective action to achieve an equitable, just and sustainable future.
UN Social Media
Follow @UN on Twitter and @unitednations on Facebook and Instagram for special #UNGA activities. See un.org/social for UN accounts in languages.
More information and contacts
- Live streaming: webtv.un.org
- UN Web TV LIVE Calendar: www.un.org/webcast/schedule/latest.html
- Photo coverage: https://www.unmultimedia.org/photo
- Broadcast video clips: un.org/UNifeed | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Live broadcast quality feed: bit.ly/UNTV; news email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
- Video footage: bit.ly/AVlib | AVlibrary@un.org
- Daily news coverage: news.un.org
- Press releases and meetings summaries: un.org/press
- Documents + reports for the press: bit.ly/UN_MDC
- Audio hub: news.un.org/en/audio-hub
- Daily media alert: www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/alert.shtml
- Website: www.un.org/en/ga/75/meetings
Issued by the UN Department of Global Communications – Contact: Martina Donlon, firstname.lastname@example.org