The 75th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has commenced with leaders meeting virtually for the first time since its inception. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders are required to submit their pre-recorded videos for the summit and high-level meetings. The landmark session also marks one of the busiest years for the organisation with virus outbreak, multiple elections and peace treaties happening across the world.
The session is preceded by Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkin who assumed charge as the president of the session succeeding Nigeria’s Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. Addressing the opening of 2020 session, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, asserted that the year would be important for the organisation adding that all countries must continue to respond to the immediate impact of the” COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening health systems and supporting the development and equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines”. He also called for ‘unity and solidarity’ and urged for support for 'most vulnerable’.
“The last seven months have been extremely difficult for the people we serve, and for many of us, personally and professionally. The COVID-19 pandemic has cut a swathe through our lives and our communities. We are all dealing with high levels of uncertainty; right now, we are still in the middle of the fog,” Guterres said.
He noted that while going online would lead to record participation by state heads, it would also have its own challenges and drawbacks. Adding to it, President Bozkir also emphasised on the importance of meeting in person as long health conditions allow. "In the business of diplomacy, there is no substitute to meeting counterparts face-to-face, to build a long-term understanding of each other’s positions and forge a compromise,” he said.
Bozkir also said that the two weeks of the high-level meetings would "guide the work for the session" and expressed confidence that their impact “will not be compromised by the circumstances.” A high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th session would be held on September 21. The session is also likely to witness an address from PM Modi, PTI citing a provisional list of speakers reported.
(With inputs from PTI) (Image credits: AP)