The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City, USA, from September 18 to September 26, 2023. The world leaders, Heads of State and Governments, foreign ministers, diplomats, and representatives from member states, often called as the ‘Oscars of Diplomacy‘, attended the annual high-level week.
- The theme for this event was “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all. “
Note: The 77th UNGA session was scheduled for September 13-27, 2022, and its theme was ‘A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges’.
United Nations General Assembly High Level Meetings:
During the high-level week, a series of high-level summits were organized.
(i) General Debate: Every year since the 10th UNGA in 1955, Brazil has been the first to address the delegation, followed by the United States.
(ii) SDG Summit to review the progress of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The summit was convened by President of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis.
Global SDGs: Adopted by world leaders in September 2015
- Total 17 goals, 169 targets
(iii) High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development
(iv) Climate Ambition Summit
(v) High-level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
(vi) Preparatory Ministerial Meeting for the Summit of the Future
(vii) High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
(viii) High-level Meeting on the Fight against Tuberculosis-The second high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis was commenced on 22 September 2023.
- Theme, “Advancing science, finance and innovation, and their benefits, to urgently end the global tuberculosis epidemic, in particular, by ensuring equitable access to prevention, testing, treatment and care.”
India’s participation at UNGA 78
India played a leading role at UNGA 78 and it focused on South-South cooperation, multilateralism, and sustainable development. EAM S. Jaishankar represented the Indian delegation at the high-level week of the session.
Highlights of S. Jaishankar’s 9-day meet to USA:
Jaishankar went on a nine-day visit to the US and attended the annual session of UNGA in New York. During his visit, the Minister also addressed the 4th World Culture Festival organized by the Art of Living.Dr. Jaishankar’s addressed a High-Level session of the 78th UNGA on September 26,2023. Some major initiatives & issues discussed included:
- Support for the UNGA’s theme, G20 Presidency, Voice of the Global South, African Union Membership as a permanent member of the G20.
- Need for reform in international organizations, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- G20 Outcomes, action plans for sustainable development, principles of LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), and the significance of digital public infrastructure (DPI).
- India’s active participation in international alliances, including the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) consisting of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, as well as its role in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), was highlighted.
- India’s commitment to global good through initiatives like Vaccine Maitri during the COVID-19 pandemic .
- India hosted the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). The forging of the Global Biofuels Alliance was another notable development.
India, US, Israel & UAE launch new I2U2 website & private enterprise partnership on UNGA sidelines
On the sidelines of the 78th UNGA session, the I2U2 Group, consisting of India, the United States of America (USA), Israel, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched a Private Enterprise Partnership to increase awareness of its initiative in business communities and fund projects aligning with its objectives. The four-nation grouping also launched its website to strengthen cooperation between the member countries and partnerships across the globe.
i.The launch announcement was made during the I2U2 Sherpas meeting (personal representative of a head of state or head of government who prepares an international summit) in New York by India’s Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (Economic Relations), Dammu Ravi, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Ronen Levi, UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, and US Department of State Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez.
ii.The public-private partnership aims to enhance awareness of the I2U2 Initiative’s potential, focusing on 7 key sectors: water, energy, transportation, technology, space, health, and food security.
iii.I2U2 Group announced a joint space venture aimed at creating a space-based tool for policymakers, institutions, and entrepreneurs on September 23, 2023.This venture aims to revolutionize satellite technology and infrastructure, opening door to a new era of collaborative exploration and innovation.
About I2U2 Group (West Asian Quad): Established: October 18, 2021
India, Japan agrees to strengthen economic cooperation including high-speed railway project
During UNGA Summit held in New York, EAM S. Jaishankar and Japanese counterpart Yōko Kamikawa, on September 22, 2023, reaffirmed their commitment to enhance economic cooperation. This includes a commitment to make significant strides in advancing the high-speed railway project, a key flagship initiative jointly undertaken by India and Japan.
- Both ministers affirmed that maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law is critical and that Japan and India would strengthen their responses to issues in the international community.
- Both delegates pledged to strengthen their collaborative efforts in addressing global issues. The two countries also signed several other agreements, including on defence, trade, and investment.
- The two ministers also shared views on “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
UN India on LOI with Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation
On the sidelines of 78th UNGA, The United Nations – India (UN India) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to collaborate on various initiatives, which includes food security, global health, climate change and initiating a new partnership to enhance Indian South-South Cooperation.
- The initiative was announced at an event titled “India-UN for the Global South-Delivering for Development” in New York on 23 September in the presence of the EAM Dr. S Jaishankar.
i.This partnership is major initiative under “India-UN Capacity Building Initiative” a joint capacity building initiative for the Global South, launched on 23rd September 2023.
- This partnership signifies a significant step towards addressing global health, poverty, and inequality.
- Through this partnership India’s Technical and Economic Cooperation platform will be utilized to share its valuable development insights and best practices on a global scale
ii. This commitment was formalized through a Joint Declaration of Intent between the UN Resident Coordinator in India (Shombi Sharp) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Plan to Establish a New United Nations Youth Office
The 78th session of the General Assembly, following the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 76/306, marked a significant milestone with the establishment of a new United Nations Youth Office. This office will be headed by a soon-to-be-appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Youth.
Global Sustainable Development Report 2023
The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report(GSDR), “Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development”, is the second edition.It will be published every four years.
- The 2019 GSDR , The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, was the first report prepared by an Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General.
This report provides a comprehensive assessment of global progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tracks key indicators related to sustainability.
- The report serves as a vital resource for policymakers, researchers, and civil society organizations, guiding efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
- The Global Sustainable Development Report 2023, released at UNGA 78, warned that the world is off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report called for urgent action to address the challenges of climate change, poverty, and inequality.
About United Nations General Assembly
It is the main policy-making organ of the Organization and is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
Established – 1945
President – Dennis Francis (Trinida & Tobago)