At the two-day UN summit in New York, member states will discuss major issues. There was a joint declaration on the first day. But how realistic is it?
When over 100 heads of state and government from all parts of the world travel to New York for the UN General Assembly, then nothing works in Manhattan, more precisely in the Turtel Bay district. The United Nations has its headquarters there. The streets along the East River in western Manhattan were completely closed for the summit; You can only get in with special ID cards. The approximately 25,000 residents know these as “Gridlock Days”. The subway, bicycle or your own feet are then the means of transport of choice. Police officers are deployed on a large scale in the streets and snipers have been positioned on the roofs. But why all the effort?
What is the UN general debate about?
On September 18th and 19th, more than 100 heads of state and government will discuss major current issues at the world’s largest summit. This year the meeting takes place for the 78th time. It is likely to be primarily about Ukraine, the climate and Security Council reform.
Who is attending the meeting?
The 193 members of the United Nations take part in the meeting. Heads of state and government will address the assembly on Tuesday. Everyone has exactly 15 minutes for this. US President Joe Biden will kick things off. They are followed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Chancellor Olaf Scholz will also speak to the meeting.
For the first time since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj will personally attend the meeting in New York. Last year he addressed the United Nations via video address. He will sit down for a bilateral discussion with Olaf Scholz on Tuesday. It is also eagerly awaited whether there will be a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the summit. But one thing is certain: After his visit to New York, Zelensky will travel to Washington for talks with President Biden and members of Congress.
Are there any results from the UN summit yet?
At the UN Sustainability Summit on Monday, participants unanimously committed to increasing support for the 17 development goals of the 2030 Agenda. “We will act with urgency to realize the vision (of Agenda 2030) as an action plan for people, the planet, prosperity, peace and partnership that leaves no one behind,” the political statement said.
The greatest global challenge is the fight against poverty. UN Secretary-General Guterres called hunger “in our world of plenty” a shocking “blight on humanity and an epic human rights violation.” He also called for better educational opportunities worldwide and an end to the “war on nature.”
Together with Chancellor Scholz, Guterres also called for a reform of the financial system in order to be able to grant poorer countries cheaper loans.
What is the 2030 Agenda?
In 2015, the UN members set 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Among other things, there should then be no more hunger and extreme poverty. Every person in the world should have access to clean drinking water, women and men should have equal rights and the temperature increase should be limited to 1.5 degrees.
The UN is pursuing these sustainability goals for 2030 – the interim results look bleak
However, the global community is still far from achieving the goals it has set for itself. According to a UN mid-term review report, member states are on track for only 15 percent of the development goals. There has been no change in more than 30 percent of the goals or there have even been regressions since 2015.
Progress made in the first few years – for example in combating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality and access to electricity – was partly wiped out by the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate-related disasters.
How realistic are the UN goals?
Despite the joint declaration, the UN Secretary General expressed concern that the goals were not being sufficiently pursued. “What I’m worried about is ensuring that the countries that are here are prepared to make the commitments necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which unfortunately are not moving in the right direction,” said Guterres in an interview with UN News.
Olaf Scholz admitted failures in implementing the development goals. Progress in the fight against poverty has slowed, he said before the summit. The reasons for this were, among other things, the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change.
At the meeting on Monday, UN Secretary General Guterres presented a “rescue plan” in order to achieve the goals.
Is there criticism of the declaration?
Eleven countries criticized the UN declaration in advance. In a letter, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, among others, complained about sanctions that harmed the development of states. They threatened not to sign the joint declaration – but then refrained from carrying out the threat.
How does Germany support the UN goals?
Chancellor Scholz reiterated Germany’s commitment to provide greater support to the countries of the global south. Before the summit in New York, the federal government presented twelve “key contributions” to achieve the development goals. Accordingly, Berlin is, among other things, committed to reforming the World Bank. Germany is also paying the bank 305 million euros in hybrid capital to increase the lending volume for states.
The fact that the goals of the 2030 Agenda have so far been inadequately implemented is a reason “to ensure that we achieve this necessary progress,” said Scholz. The countries of the so-called global south in Africa, Asia and South America expected support from the economically strong countries. “Germany has committed itself to exactly this and is setting an example here. That is what we will continue to do.”
The federal government also wants to increase its contribution to international climate protection financing.
Sources: “”, , with material from DPA and AFP
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.