UN General Assembly annual meeting will go virtual

Published Jul 25, 2020


DURBAN - For the first time in 75 Years, the UN General Assembly annual meeting will go virtual due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The General debate of the General Assembly, traditionally the most high-profile UN event of the year, will be a slimmed-down affair this September, with world leaders staying away from New York, and contributing set-piece speeches via video link, a UN spokesperson confirmed.

“Each Member State, Observer State, and the European Union, was invited to submit a pre-recorded video, delivered by its designated high-level official, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall. The Hall will not be empty, the videos will be introduced by a representative of each State, who will be physically present,” said Reem Abaza, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

The same procedure will apply for a series of special high-level sessions scheduled to take place, including a commemoration of the landmark 75th anniversary of the United Nations; a summit on biodiversity; and a meeting to commemorate, and promote, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said: “with a view to limit the footprint and the number of people into the UN building, physical access and presence will be limited to one or, if the situation allows, two delegates in the General Assembly hall.

Member states are encouraged to move all side events to virtual platforms to limit the footprint and number of people in the UN building."

Under this method, draft resolutions are circulated by the President of the General Assembly, which gives Member States a deadline of at least 72 hours, to raise objections. If there are no objections, the President circulates a letter, confirming that the resolution has been adopted.

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