The UN General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) in which all 193 member states have equal representation. It is the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. This year, the 74th Session of the General Assembly kicked off opened on 17 September 2019 with the first day of the high-level General Debate being 24 September 2019. The assembly had a host of high-level events which also convened including a Climate Summit hosted by the UN Secretary-General, UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), a high-level dialogue on financing for development (FfD), as well as a high-level meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons.
We, here at UNA Tanzania, look forward to these meetings baring positive feedback which will impact our lives positively.
UN Climate Summit
‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,’ climate activist Greta Thunberg harshly criticized world leaders at the 2019 UN climate action summit.
Without a doubt, this was the highlight of this summit. In her emotionally charged speech, she accused world leaders of ignoring the science behind the climate crisis, saying: ‘We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth – how dare you!’.
Ms. Thunberg has since received lots of criticism from conservative media personalities, elected officials, and climate change sceptics after delivering her speech. These critics have taken various approaches in countering Thunberg – some more reasonable than others.
However, a majority of these criticisms do not address her main argument, “The IPCC has found that in about 11 years the earth will face a number of “tipping points” that threaten to destabilize not only ecosystems around the world, but also the safety and infrastructure for millions of people, and that the global community ought to act on this information now”. We, here at UNA Tanzania believe in climate change and support Ms. Thunberg in her fight for immediate climate action through participating in events like the Beach Clean-Up on World Clean Up day.
UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)
The High-Level Political Forum is the main United Nations platform for sustainable development. It has a key role in following up and reviewing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global scale. The Forum takes place every year under the supervision of the Economic and Social Council for eight days, includes a three-day ministerial segment and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the supervision of the General Assembly for two days.
This year, the United Republic of Tanzania became one of the forty-seven (47) countries that participated in this forum. The country is committed to achieving high quality, sustainable human development for its citizens through developing strong nation-wide partnership and commitment towards implementing, monitoring, tracking and reporting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), backed up by a strong political will, collective ownership, integrated planning, and supportive legal frameworks. During the meeting, it was recognized that the global goals were integrated into the mainland’s National Five-Year Development Plan 2016/17 – 2020/21 and Zanzibar’s Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty 2016 – 2020. Both national medium-term plans adhere to all 3 dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
During the meeting, it was discovered that the country was doing relatively well in goals 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 16. Goals 7, 9, 11 and 12 are likely to be achieved with stepped up efforts, and the remaining goals 2, 13, 14, 15 and 17 will need significant local efforts, as well as, international support to achieve.
High-level meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons
The UN General Assembly held a high-level event to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, on 26 September 2019, per resolution 72/251. This event took place during the first week of the 74th session of the UNGA. Some 2000 nuclear tests have been conducted since 1945, with devastating consequences for people and for our planet. The effects – on lives and livelihoods; on human health, including that of unborn children; on soil and groundwater; on animals, birds and marine life; on the atmosphere – reverberate across generations, with profound impacts on all aspects of sustainable development.
María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés – President Of The General Assembly said that, as we commemorated the International Day against Nuclear Tests today, she urged all States that have not done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. She also appealed to the international community to make progress on our shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons – set out in the very first resolution of the UN General Assembly. This is the best way to honour the victims of past tests and to ensure no more join their ranks in the future.