On the day of the official nomination of the new Secretary-General to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan, outiside the United Nations Headquarters, flags fly in the north end of the building, on a sunny fall day. 9/Oct/2006. UN Photo/Mark Garten. www.unmultimedia.org/photo/
Here is the United Nations General Assembly Speaker and Event Schedule | Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to Address UNGA78
The annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly is one of the most important weeks in international diplomacy.
The main event of the 78th United Nations General Assembly is the “General Debate.” This is the formal name for the speeches given at the dais of the United Nations General Assembly by Presidents, Prime Ministers and diplomats from hundreds of United Nations member states.
The United Nations released the UNGA speakers list and schedule ahead of the Tuesday, September 19 kick off of the General Debate. (The speeches always start on the Tuesday of UN Week — baring unforeseen circumstances. Last year, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II pushed all the leaders speeches back one day.)
The Secretary General Antonio kicks off the UN General Assembly at 9 am New York time, and is followed by the new President of the General Assembly Dennis Francis, a diplomat from Trinidad and Tobago, who will preside from the General Assembly dais for the entire week — gavel in hand.
Per longstanding tradition, Brazil delivers the first address from a national delegation. This will be Lula’s first UNGA appearance since his previous stint as Brazil’s head of state a decade ago.
When Will President Biden Address The UN General Assembly?
The second speech always goes to the host country of the United Nations — that is, the President United States. Diplomats tend jostle for seats to be in the room for the American President’s speech, which typically makes the rest of the Tuesday morning session the most desirable speaking slot. As it happens, Ukraine was given one of these primo spots in anticipation of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s first UN visit since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. His speech will likely come in the early afternoon on Tuesday September 19, depending on how long the preceding speeches go.
You will notice that unlike Ukraine, Russia is given a very late spot in the week. This is a consequence of the fact that Russia is not sending Vladimir Putin to speak, but a lower level official. Delegations that are not represented by Heads of State or Heads of Government tend to speak after the Presidents and Prime Ministers have had their turn.
The White House announced that President Biden will be traveling to New York for UNGA on Tuesday the 19th and depart the next day, on Wednesday, September 13. The State Department typically holds a press briefing offering more detail about the President’s schedule, including the key events and bi-lateral meetings he’ll be attending. But as of Wednesday September 13, this briefing has not yet happened. I will update this post when that information becomes available. However, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield is scheduled to brief the UN press corps on Thursday the 14th to outline US priorities during High Level Week.
The United Nations General Assembly “General Debate” Speaker Schedule
Key meetings during UN “High Level Week”
In addition to the speeches from world leaders, the UN is hosting a number of substantive meetings and summits on a variety of global topics. Here is a rundown of the some of the key events and meetings at the UN.
Monday, September 18: The Monday of high level week is devoted to the Sustainable Development Goals. There will be an SDG Summit that includes speeches and commitments made by political, business, NGO and philanthropic leaders around accelerating the SDGs. There is supposed to be a so-called “SDG Political Declaration ” to serve as an outcome document,
Tuesday, September 19. The General Debate kick off. In addition to the leaders speeches, by tradition the President of the United States — as the host of the UN — holds a luncheon for world leaders, which can typically include a short toast delivered by the US President.
Wednesday, September 20. This is a day heavy with legitimately important and substantive meetings at the United Nations This includes a so-called “Climate Ambition Summit” convened by the Secretary General and featuring a number of political leaders — as well as business and civil society leaders. Climate Change is Guterres’ number one issue and this is intended to spur progress and build some momentum ahead of the big UN climate conference (COP28) in the UAE in December.
Also on Wednesday, the 20th is the “High Level Dialogue on Financing For Development.” One of the big hangups in climate progress and progress on the SDGs is the lack of funding available to the developing world to design and implement sustainable development. Luxembourg and South Africa are the co-chairs of this event, which is intended to maintain progress on this issue.
Another key event on Wednesday, the 20th is a “High Level Meeting on Pandemic Preparedness and Response.” This is a topic that would have been much more prominent a couple of years ago, but it is no less urgent than today—and we will be covering what comes from this meeting.
The main event at the UN on Thursday, September 21 is the “High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.” “UHC” is a major objective of the global health community and there’s been some decent progress to that end. This meeting will take stock of that progress and again build momentum for expanded UHC. Also on Thursday is UN Women’s “He for She summit” for “an urgent conversation focused on male action and allyship to advance gender equality.”
Friday, September 22 . Things tend to taper off by Friday. But there is a really big meeting dedicated to Tuberculosis. This is the most important political moment for the fight against TB, which is is the second deadliest infectious disease around the world, second only to COVID. Advocates are following this one very closely,
We will be providing daily updates from UNGA78 as part of a special daily podcast series from Global Dispatches, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Episodes will be available at around 4pm New York time from Monday-Thursday of High Level Week to bring you news and analysis from UNGA78.