New YorkUN General Assembly begins work in a world in crisis
War in Ukraine, climate change, food insecurity… The leaders have been following each other since Tuesday on the divisive podium of the UN General Assembly.
For almost a week, some 150 heads of state and government from around the world will speak at this annual high diplomatic service, which is being resumed in person after two years interrupted by Covid-19.
Traditionally, on this first day, the place of honor is taken by the speech of the American President, who, as the leader of the country in which the headquarters of the United Nations is located, speaks first. But in exceptional cases – as in very rare cases in the past – this will not happen: Joe Biden, who attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, moved his speech to Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres will be there with an opening speech to this 77th General Assembly that “will not soften the situation,” promised his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, referring to the tableau of a “staged, real and solution-oriented” world, “where geopolitical divisions put us all at risk.” “We are meeting at a time of great danger to the world,” António Guterres said on Monday, listing “conflict and climate disasters,” “distrust and division,” “poverty, inequality and discrimination.”
Zelensky on video
In terms of danger, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be at the center of this high-level diplomatic week, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking on Wednesday – via video thanks to a special authorization passed last week by member states – and the Security Council on Thursday at the foreign ministers.
But the countries of the South are becoming more and more annoyed that Westerners are focusing their attention on Ukraine. “We don’t just want to talk about ending the conflict in Ukraine. We want conflicts to end in Tigray, we want conflicts to end in Syria, we want conflicts to end wherever they occur in the world,” Barbadian Prime Minister Mia said on Monday. goals.
In an attempt to address the concerns of some countries, the Americans and Europeans are organizing a high-level meeting on food security on Tuesday, which is a consequence of this war that is affecting the entire planet.
And French President Emmanuel Macron, who will be on the podium on Tuesday midday, will insist on the need to prevent a “split” between the countries of the North and the South, the Elysee Palace said, adding that the Head of State will organize a dinner on this topic with several other leaders .
This tension, sparked by the war in Ukraine, echoes the discontent of the North and South in the fight against climate change. Poor countries, at the forefront of the devastating effects of global warming for which they are not responsible, are fighting in particular to ensure that rich countries finally live up to their bailout promises.
Two months before the UN climate conference COP27 in Egypt, it would be surprising if this climate crisis was not widely publicized in a speech by Antonio Guterres, who advocated reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in particular from fossil fuel producers, one of his priorities.
Brazilian Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are also set to take turns on the podium on Tuesday.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is also in New York this week for his first General Assembly, and the nuclear issue could once again be at the center of discussions. Even if negotiations to salvage the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal are officially taking place in Vienna, the French foreign minister, for example, has not ruled out a meeting between Presidents Macron and Raisi.
However, there are several notable absentees this high-level week, notably Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.