General Debate; Rule of Law; SEFA Leadership; Syria; Floods in Pakistan

General Debate: The 67th GA’s General Debate opened today, marked by remarks by both the SG and President Barack Obama. The SG stressed that we need to place greater focus on food security and nutrition, bolster safety nets, and once again called on the international community to take a greater stand on the crisis in Syria. In Obama’s speech, he called on leaders to end divisive politics, and defended freedom of speech while calling the recent anti-Islamic video “crude and disgusting” with a “message that must be rejected.” The theme of the day was a call for greater collaboration and unity amongst leaders to solve the globe’s most pressing problems.

Rule of Law: In yesterday’s high-level meeting on the Rule of Law, world leader called on all states to recommit to the rule of law as a fundamental factor in preventing war at a UN summit that stressed the universality of humanitarian law and the importance of the ICC. The Outcome Document was adopted, underscoring the sovereign equality of all States, the right to self-determination of peoples under colonial dominion and foreign occupation, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

SEFA Leadership: The SG announced the appointment of a new UN envoy to spearhead SEFA yesterday, at a high-level event on the margins of the GA. Kandeh Yumkella, currently the DG of the UNIDO and Chair of the umbrella group known as UN-Energy, to serve as his Special Representative for SEFA.

Syria: The Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi announced yesterday at an SC stakeout that while the situation in Syria continues to be “very grim,” a solution may be forthcoming.“There is no prospect for moving forward today or tomorrow,” Mr. Brahimi told journalists following a briefing of the SC on the issue after his trip to the region last week.

Floods in Pakistan: WFP announced today that it has begun food distributions to tens of thousands of people affected by monsoon floods in Sindh province, in Pakistan. A one-month food ration is being distributed to some 10,000 families in the Jacobabad district of Sindh, where some areas are under 2.5 meters of water.