COVID-19: UNGA To Hold Virtual Briefing For Member States To Discuss Operation

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In a letter written by the UNGA president, he mentioned that all member states should, without failure, meet for a virtual briefing about COVID-19 pandemic.

Written By Zaini Majeed | Mumbai | Updated On:
COVID-19

The United Nations General Assembly will hold a virtual briefing for member states to discuss its operation and concerted plan to tackle coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 18,944 lives, infected 425,059 worldwide, and upended the global economy. The meeting will commence at 7:30pm IST on March 27 and will discuss the advanced co-ordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis and its human and economic implications. UNGA president Tijjani Muhammad-Bande wrote a letter to all member states to participate. 

In a letter written by the UNGA president, he mentioned that all member states should, without failure, meet for a virtual briefing that would be held "due to the unprecedented challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to the work of the organization." "The briefing will focus on outreach to member states and other stakeholders, including the measures taken to mitigate the impact of this pandemic on functions of the Organisation, as well as the activities of the principal organs of the United Nations during this crisis," the letter said.

"The Secretary-General will also update member states on efforts across the United Nations system to respond to the crisis in its multiple dimensions and plan for the global recovery," the letter  said.  Meanwhile, expressing solidarity with nations worldwide in their battle of the coronavirus pandemic, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande wrote, "We are confident that we can adapt and continue to do the essential work of our organization throughout this trying period and beyond." He further added saying, "We stand in solidarity with the member states fighting Covid-19 and express our sincerest condolences for their loss." 

The virtual meeting aims at the enactment of a proposal that allows decisions of the General Assembly under a "silence" procedure during the state of a health emergency. The spokesman for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, told the press conference that in a letter addressed to the member states, the President of the General Assembly presented a proposal for how the General Assembly can take essential decisions related to the organization while dealing with the pandemic.

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Silence procedure for decision 

He was quoted saying that a draft decision that would enable the General Assembly to adopt essential decisions under a silence procedure was under process. If a plenary meeting of the General Assembly was not practicable due to the pandemic, the proposal would authorize the President of the GA to circulate, after consultation with the General Committee, draft decisions of the Assembly to all member states under a silence procedure of at least 72 hours. If the silence was not broken, he said, the decision shall be considered adopted. That draft decision was itself under silence procedure, until noon (local time) on March 27, he added saying. 

Tomorrow, at 10:00am, the Secretary-General will launch the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to provide assistance to save lives in the most vulnerable countries while containing the outbreak globally.  This will be a virtual event that can be viewed on UN Web TV (webtv.un.org) and other channels of the UN. The Secretary-General will be joined virtually by Mark Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, and Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director, UN said on its official website. 

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