THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: 72ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSIONS

1Every year, heads of government of all 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) gather at the Headquarters of the organization in New York for the General Assembly (GA). The General Assembly (one of the six organs of the UN) is the only occasion that brings together leaders of all Member States annually. The 2017 Session of the GA, which was also the 72nd since the inception of the UN, was held from September 12-28.

What is the General Assembly? Below are some basic facts about the General Assembly. (Culled from the UN website).

Created in 1945, the General Assembly is the democratic heart of the UN. The General Assembly comprises of 193 Member States. Each has an equal voice in decision-making.It debates pressing issues that affects millions of people; Peace and Security, Human Rights, 2Development, and many more …It appoints the UN Secretary General.  And elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly is where key decisions affecting all Member States are made. More than 500 Treaties have been created under the General Assembly auspices. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed upon back in 1948. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals were approved by the General Assembly, as a path to eradicate poverty and address climate change by 2030

 The 72nd General Assembly featured a signing ceremony of the new Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, and general debate on the following; UN reform, Climate Change Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and Women’s economic empowerment.

 A number of global hotspots from Central African Republic, South Sudan and Yemen also took center stage during the 72nd General Assembly. 

 Read more: General Assembly of the United Nation; http://www.un.org/en/ga/

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THE NINTH UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: MR. ANTONIO GUTERRES ASSUMES NEW ROLE

Mr. Antonipic-3o Guterres began his new mandate as the ninth United Nations Secretary General on January 1st.  Speaking shortly after he took the oath of office on December 12, 2016, Mr. Guterres commended his immediate predecessor, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his leadership in charting out the future of the UN with the Sustainable Development Goals. He also highlighted the strategic priorities of the UN as; working for peace, supporting sustainable development, and reforming its internal management. Mr. Guterres stressed among other things, his desire to work with Member States on structural, legal, and operational measures to make the zero-tolerance policy a reality as he pledged to make human dignity the core of his work as the UN Secretary General.

On December 15, Mr. Guterres fulfilled one of his pledges; “to respect gender parity and geographical diversity,” by appointing three women as core members of his team. These team members and their respective appointments are; Ms. Amina Mohammed of Nigeria who is the deputy Secretary General, Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil and Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea as his Chef de Cabinet and Special Advisor on Policy.

As he assumed office on January 1, Mr. Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year for peace.

Watch Mr. Guterres: https://youtu.be/fIErDYzxfps

 

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Amina Mohammed of Nigeria.  UN Photo

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Enter a captionMaria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil

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Kyung-wha Kang of the Rep. of Korea.  UN Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: A NEW UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL CHOSEN

11-16-3The United Nations General Assembly, on October 13, 2016, appointed Mr. Antonio Guterres as the new Secretary General. Mr. Guterres’ appointment was made by acclamation by the Security Council’s recommendation following the resolution’s adoption in a private meeting.

Many observers described the process for the election of Mr. Guterres as the most transparent and open process in the history of the UN’s election of any Secretary General. The process included a town hall debate at the General Assembly in July, where candidates for the position took questions from diplomats and members of the civil society. There were also several straw polls conducted by the Security Council. Many who had hoped for a woman Secretary General were a little disappointed.

Mr. Ban ki-Moon welcomed the appointment of Mr. Guterres, and described it as “an 11-16-4excellent choice.” Mr. Guterres brings his experience, as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to his new role. He will assume his new position as the UN Chief on January, 1 2017, after Mr. Ban ki-Moon ends his tenure on December 31.
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COMMITTEE OF RELIGIOUS NGOS AT THE UN

RNGOs

RNGO planning committee for World Interfaith Harmony Week at UN General Assembly

In a world where conflict is often precipitated in the name of religion, NGOs are working hard to foster mutual respect among people of differing faith traditions. The Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations (RNGO) is composed of the representatives of national and international organizations which define their work as religious, spiritual or ethical in nature and are accredited to the UN. RNGO meets regularly to share information and insights about complex issues and events at the UN.

The Committee’s focus is two fold: it serves as a forum to inform and educate our constituencies about the global challenges of our time and the constructive role that the UN can play in addressing those issues, and to exchange and promote shared religious and ethical values in the deliberations of the world organization.            rngos.wordpress.com

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: FOCUS AREAS

The United Nations Year begins formally each September with the convening of the General Assembly. The 192 member countries are currently working in six major committees on resolutions to be considered at their plenary session in December.     As NGOs we are not allowed to participate in General Assembly committee meetings, but we can monitor them to see what’s developing and how those living in poverty may be affected.

 General Assembly Committee focus areas:

  1. disarmament & international security       
  2. economic & financial                                    
  3. social, humanitarian, & cultural                 
  4. political subjects & decolonization
  5. UN administration & budget
  6. international legal matters

For more information:          http://www.un.org/en/ga/maincommittees/index.shtml 

POWERS EQUAL TO YOUR TASK

‘Do not pray for easy times,
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers,
Pray for powers equal to your task.’

 Many times during these first weeks of my service at the United Nations, the above words of John F. Kennedy have resonated for me personally as a neophyte in the huge United Nations system. His wise message applies as well to the multiple tasks of the countries of the world coming together to address challenges which are compelling, global, and complex. This year the General Assembly will address in particular the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), climate change, food security, disarmament, and United Nations reform. May all those involved in these UN efforts this year be given powers equal to their tasks!