UN exploring options for UNGA session
The United Nations is exploring various options to hold the annual high-level General Assembly session in September as it cannot be "business as usual" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a top UN official has said. The UN is commemorating its 75th anniversary this year and the General Assembly session, held annually in September, brings world leaders, ministers and diplomats from 193 Member States to New York and the UN headquarters along with the media and thousands of civil society members.
- New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. A total of 343,051 COVID-19 cases and more than 27,000 deaths have been reported in the state.
- Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric said that the UN chief had stated that different options were being looked at on what format the General Assembly will take this year.
- The decisions will be made by the Member States. The Secretary General and the Secretariat will support the Member States in implementing whatever decision they take.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is "obvious that we're not going to have business as usual in September, whether it's the General Assembly or other activities in our professional and personal lives.
- On whether the high-level week of the UN General Assembly will proceed this year, spokesperson for President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Reem Abaza said this month that discussions were underway with the UN medical director and the local authorities.
- The novel coronavirus which originated from China's Wuhan city in December has killed 302,462 people and infected over 4.4 million worldwide. The US is the worst affected country with over 80,000 deaths reported in the country.
- The General Assembly meets annually in regular session, intensively from September to December, and resumes in January until all issues on the agenda are addressed – which often is just before the next session starts.
- The 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74) was held on 17 September to 24 September 2019.
- The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
- Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.