Once a year, 193 nations meet under one roof – where each country has one seat & one vote.
Why the UN 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 & approved America’s membership.
- UNGA = United Nations General Assembly; think of it as a homecoming for the international leaders – some important events and some socializing.
- Tuesday: Week-long meeting opens and speeches begin.
- Brazil gave the first speech in 1947 & that tradition continues; the U.S. is second to speak.
- What we watch: The messages of leaders in front of the international community. Plus ~ informal conversations between leaders “on the sidelines” that can have a lasting impact.
World Leaders: Just Like Us?
- COVID-19 vaccines: Brazil’s president, who will speak first, isn’t vaccinated (he recovered from COVID-19). The UN is using an honor system for attendees (no symptoms, no positive COVID-19 tests).
- “Zoom Calls”: China’s leader will unexpectedly appear via video (world leaders have this option).
- The New Guy(s): The new president of Iran (a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism) will address the assembly – as well as U.S. ally Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett.
Something To Consider:
- America pays for roughly 20% or one-fifth of the total budget of the United Nations (2019 = the U.S. provided approx. $11B of mandatory and voluntary funds).
- The U.S. pays more because of a formula in the UN charter tied to country size and wealth.
- 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.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres warned of a new Cold War between China and the United States, calling the relationship “totally dysfunctional.”
The French President will no longer be delivering his pre-recorded speech; the French foreign minister will reportedly speak in his place on the final day. This will be interesting to watch as we await news of the phone call between President Macron and President Biden over what some describe as a “diplomatic crisis between both countries.”
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 76th Session
‘The world must wake up’: Tasks daunting as UN meeting opens (Associated Press)
Funding the United Nations: What Impact Do U.S. Contributions Have on UN Agencies and Programs? (Council on Foreign Relations)
by Jenna Lee,