Humanity’s survival hinges on cooperation, outgoing UNGA head says as 77th session ends

The 77th session of the UN General Assembly closed on Tuesday in New York, with outgoing President Csaba Korosi underscoring that amid geopolitical rivalries, cooperation among countries was indispensable.

“Our survival depends on our cooperation,” he said, pointing to global road blocks such as accelerating climate change, biodiversity loss, education and gender inequality.

“Let us put money where our promises are,” he added, urging governments to translate actions for sustainable development into budgeting policies, national regulations and capacity building.

The 77th session, which formally commenced on September 13 last year, was distinguished by high-level events including the UN Water Conference in March that adopted a milestone action plan to protect and preserve the vital resource.

The session also saw important deliberations on disaster risk reduction, ensuring justice for all, inclusive societies, universal health coverage, and sustainable consumption and production.

The 78th session of the 193-member Assembly is scheduled to begin in a few hours, but the high-level debate, in which a galaxy of world leaders, including Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, will take part, is set to take place on September 19.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was listed to speak on September 20, but has since changed his mind. Now Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will address the Assembly on September 26, the last day of the high-level debate.

In his remarks, Assembly President Korosi recalled the three “pillars” of the United Nations – peace and security, development, and human rights – and with conflicts raging around the world, asked if the UN Charter was really being upheld worldwide.

“The war in Ukraine – along with other 51 armed conflicts – must end, in line with the UN Charter and international law,” he declared, calling also for an end to nuclear proliferation and the nuclear arms race.

Korosi highlighted the need for integrated, holistic solutions that not only address current challenges but also protect against those in the future.

“We know that stand-alone processes will only deliver stand-alone results,” he said, reiterating the importance of financing and international cooperation.

Korosi outlined the need for key UN bodies, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, to reform and evolve.

“The world’s first passenger jet aircraft carried 36 passengers in 1952. It was a breakthrough in technological development,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean that we can use it today to take us to Mars…Times are evolving, and this Organization must evolve with them.”

Following the speech of the outgoing president inside the ornate General Assembly Hall, Dennis Francis, President-Elect of the 78th session, took the oath of office of the presidency, vowing to discharge its responsibilities to the best of his ability.

Thereafter, President Korosi formally handed the famous ornate wooden gavel over to his successor, and adjourned the meeting.

During the high-level week, world leaders will convene for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, the Climate Ambitions Summit and the General Debate, among other key events.

The 2023 SDG Summit will take place on September 18-19.

It will mark the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address the high-level session on the first day of the General Debate. Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will address on September 23.

BY Nadeem Faisal Baiga