World leaders will have the opportunity to address the UN General Assembly starting on Tuesday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden among the speakers at the UN headquarters in New York.
Zelensky is making his first appearance at the annual meeting since Russia invaded his country in early 2022.
“For us it is very important that all our words, all our messages are heard by our partners,” Zelensky told reporters Tuesday while visiting a New York hospital where Ukrainian soldiers were treated for amputations.
Zelensky said before his speech that Ukraine would present a proposal “on how to strengthen the principle of territorial integrity and improve the UN’s ability to thwart and stop aggression.”
He is due to continue his speech by attending a session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday devoted to the situation in Ukraine. Russia is one of five permanent members of the council with veto power.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opens Tuesday’s speeches. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi are also expected to speak on Tuesday.
Other speakers include the presidents of Poland, Cuba, South Africa, Argentina, Nigeria and Senegal.
Tuesday’s agenda also includes the second day of negotiations focused on how to achieve a set of global development goals.
Guterres said on Monday that only 15% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be on track to be achieved by 2030.
“Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind. (…) The SDGs need a global bailout,” Guterres said.
He said the summit was “the time for governments to come to the table with concrete plans and proposals to accelerate progress.”
The goals include eradicating poverty, ending hunger, ensuring access to affordable energy, taking urgent action to combat climate change and promoting gender equality.
They were set in 2015 with a goal of being achieved by 2030. Halfway to this goal, progress is slow and, in some cases, even going backwards.
The UN gathering will also focus on climate change with the UN Climate Action Summit on Wednesday. Guterres will host the event, which aims to reverse the retreat from the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Some information on this story comes from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.