The United Nations on Tuesday canceled its annual address to world leaders amid irreversible global warming, polarized relations with the superpowers, and a difficult pandemic that has exacerbated the global divide between rich and poor.
The week-long session of the General Assembly, the world’s largest diplomatic gathering, is a serious test of confidence for President Biden, who will be one of the first to address the 193-member body.
Despite the apparent enthusiasm for the UN, his predecessor Donald J. Mr Biden will deliver his first address as President amid strong renewed doubts about his ability to return the United States to a global position – a clear departure from Trump. Leadership after Trump’s turbulent mandate and promotion of “America first” separatism.
Here’s what to expect this week at the General Assembly, the 76th annual session since the founding of the United Nations at the end of World War II:
What’s different this year?
In contrast to 2020, when the meeting was held almost entirely because of the pandemic, more than 100 heads of state and government as well as other high-ranking officials are planning to speak in person. However, access to the 16-acre UN campus in Manhattan is limited, with wearing masks and other measures to prevent COVID becoming mandatory. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters that action must be taken to ensure that the General Assembly “does not become a super-proliferation event.”
Last week there was confusion over New York’s requirement that all participants present proof of vaccination to the General Assembly. That year, the President of the General Assembly, Abdullah Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives supported the call. But how it is implemented is not clear. UN officials say staff at the organization’s headquarters should be vaccinated but there is still a system of respect for VIPs and other guests.