United Nations General Assembly 2022

September 19, 2022
A photo of a globe.

Homecoming

Once a year, 193 nations meet under one roof — where each country has one seat and one vote.
Why the United Nations General Assembly matters (and why it doesn't.)
"WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights …"

The UN's founding charter, signed in 1945. Pres. Roosevelt believed an international body would help prevent future world wars; Congress agreed and approved America's membership.

General Assembly

  • UNGA = United Nations General Assembly; think of it as a homecoming for international leaders — some important events and some socializing.

  • Tuesday: Week-long meeting opens and speeches begin.

  • Brazil spoke first in 1947 & that tradition continues; the U.S. has traditionally been second to speak but that will change this year. Pres. Biden's speech has been postponed until Wednesday morning due to his attendance at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

Attendance

  • This year's assembly will be one of the largest in recent years, as in-person attendance is required. Previously, world leaders had been permitted to make "Zoom calls" into the meeting due to COVID-19.

  • One exception? Ukrainian Pres. Zelensky will not attend, as most members voted to allow him to pre-record his speech due to the war.

  • What we watch: The prepared remarks of leaders who "have the mic" in front of the entire international community. Plus ~ informal conversations between leaders "on the sidelines" that can have a lasting impact.

Something To Consider:

  • America pays for roughly 20% or about one-fifth of the total budget of the United Nations (2020 = the U.S. provided more than $11B of mandatory and voluntary funds).

  • The U.S. pays more partly because of a formula in the UN charter tied to country size and wealth. The U.S. has the largest economy so it pays the most but we also give more money than required.

  • The UN has lofty goals (i.e. world peace) — critics say the UN doesn't achieve them, and in some cases actually works against America's interests.

Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "The General Assembly is meeting at a time of great peril."

Potential topics of conversation: The war in Ukraine (nearing its 7 month), humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, devastating flooding in Pakistan and beyond.

A good read on: The Formation of the United Nations, 1945

Click HERE to read the UN's Preamble

Click HERE for the schedule of the UNGA's 77th Session

In world beset by turbulence, nations' leaders gather at UN (The Associated Press)

Funding the United Nations: What Impact Do U.S. Contributions Have on UN Agencies and Programs? (Council on Foreign Relations)

United Nations: What to Expect at the General Assembly This Week (The New York Times)

by Jenna Lee,

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