The week begins after a productive UN General Assembly session that had many bright spots, including high-level meetings on migrants and refugees that brought nations closer to agreement on a range of solutions; news that the Paris Agreement on climate change should go into effect by year-end; and an agreement by all 193 member states to combat the fundamental threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
While progress was made last week, bombings in New York City and in nearby New Jersey set a somber tone, and an attack on a humanitarian convoy in Aleppo – the worst since war began in Syria – intensified the outrage and frustration of world leaders and thousands of others gathered for the annual session. The bombs killed twenty people and forced the suspension of aid deliveries that had just been started again under the terms of a cease-fire agreement that already has been repeatedly violated.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was passionate in his rebuke, calling out those present who represent “governments that have ignored, facilitated, funded, participated in – or even planned and carried out – atrocities inflicted by all sides of the Syria conflict against Syrian citizens. . . The humanitarians delivering life-saving aid were heroes. Those who bombed them were cowards.”
And, in one of the most pointed speeches of his tenure, Secretary-General Ban spoke of the progress and challenges of the past decade.
71st UN General Assembly (9/13-26)
UNIC-Washington’s takeaways from the week (9/26)
Development: 4th Annual Conference on Sustainable Development (9/20-22)
- This is no longer a time for promises, African leaders tell UN, urging action (9/22)
- Twitter, UN Global Pulse announce data partnership (9/22)
- Least developed countries will miss 2021 targets without support – deputy UN chief (9/22)
- ‘Simple answer’ to delivering results world desperately needs – UNGA President (9/20)
- The 5th Global Citizen Festival– a concert in NY’s Central Park – capped the week, with more than 60,000 people attending, according to news accounts. (9/24)
Refugees and Migrants: World leaders at UN summit adopt ‘bold’ plan to enhance protections (9/19)
|· Paris Agreement sails past milestone en route to early entry into force (9/21)
· No time to waste as Paris climate accord crosses first thresholde (9/21)
· For a list of emission levels by countries, please click here.
Antimicrobial Resistance: High-level Meeting (9/21)
More: For a detailed list of UN General Assembly events and meetings, click here.
Of particular interest to Americans:
UN Officials Visiting Washington:
Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the SRSG for MINUSCA, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, visited Capitol Hill and met with US officials in the State Department. (9/26-27)
Next week, the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, will speak at a US Institute of Peace meeting on ISIS and Sex Slavery: How Can the International Community Move from Condemnation to Action? (10/5)
Secretary-General attends the signing of the Peace Agreement in Colombia. (9/26)
Secretary-General’s statements from last week:
- Greater focus on women’s empowerment can help achieve Global Goals (9/22)
- Ban calls on global leaders to take forward goals of World Humanitarian Summit (9/22)
- Agriculture and food system transformation needed on pathway to zero hunger (9/22)
- Ban calls for continued efforts to secure equal rights for LGBT community 9/21)
At the Security Council:
The Council held another straw poll for the selection of the new Secretary-General. (9/26) In October, its members will begin casting color-coded ballots in straw polls to indicate whether a P5 country votes to “discourage” a candidate.
New Zealand holds the presidency of the Security Council through September; Russia takes the helm in October.
Last week, the Council heard a briefing on Syria (9/21) and on counter-terrorism/aviation security. (9/22)
Around the UN System:
The International Organization for Migration – headed by career American diplomat William Swing – joined the UN to boost cooperation on the range of issues that migrants and the countries that host them face.
Human Rights Council’s 33nd session (9/13-30)
In Case You Missed It:
- Joint UN-ICRC relief convoy reaches besieged cities in Syria for first time in five months (9/26)
- UN envoy appeals for Russia and US cooperation to pull Syria ‘away from the brink’ (9/25)
- SG Ban laments ‘dark day’ for civilian protection as bombing of Aleppo intensifies (9/24)
- Security Council now has ‘no higher responsibility’ than backing political path – SG Ban (9/21)
- Statements on the attack on a humanitarian convoy by heads of WFP, UNICEF and regional humanitarian leaders (9/20)
- Millions at risk as Yemen’s displacement crisis continues (9/22)
- Religious leaders discuss strategies for preventing atrocity crimes (9/20)
- IAEA begins building labs to fortify fight against Zika, insect pests (9/19)
- 26 September International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
- 27 September World Tourism Day
- 28 September World Rabies Day
- 29 September World Maritime Day
- 30 September International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
- 1 October International Day of Older Persons