A number of important meetings will take place alongside the formal work of the UNGA, including:
- Global Goals Week 2018 (22-29 September), focused on the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Climate Week NYC 2018 (24-30 September) launched in 2009 by The Climate Group. Events during Climate Week NYC will include, for example, the Sustainable Investment Forum North America, seeking to build knowledge on how to increase sustainable investment.
- On Monday 24 September, the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit sees the plenary adopt a political declaration prepared by the Permanent Representatives of South Africa and Ireland in May 2018.
- On Monday 24 September, US President Trump leads a high-level discussion on global drug problems.
- On Tuesday 25 September, the Secretary-General will lead a high-level discussion on UN Peace Operations. In preparation for this event at least 115 states have signed a “declaration of shared commitment” in support of the Action for Peacekeeping
- On Wednesday 26 September, a high-level meeting will be held on the fight to end tuberculosis, convened by the President of the General Assembly. This meeting was agreed by member states in February 2018.
- On Wednesday 26 September, President Trump will chair the UN Security Council (the United States has the monthly rotating Presidency of the Council and so has been able to arrange this) for a discussion on nuclear proliferation (although President Trump has tweeted that he intends to use the session to talk about Iran).
- On Wednesday 26 September, there will also be a commemoration and promotion of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, convened by the President of the General Assembly.
- On Thursday 27 September, there will be a comprehensive review of the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
UNGA meets for its “general debate” between Tuesday 25 and Monday October 1. By tradition Brazil goes first (Brazil’s delegates were very effective in the first General Assembly sessions in 1946 in getting to the podium first, and the tradition has stuck!). Then, as host, the US goes second. After that, speaker order is by negotiation, but Heads of State (presidents and monarchs) tend to go first, followed by heads of government (prime ministers) followed by foreign ministers, followed by other diplomats. The debate organisers also try to ensure that there is a good geographic mix to the speaker order, and that speakers’ personal schedules and availability are taken into account.
Provisional timings are here. They include:
- Around 0945 Tuesday 25 Donald Trump
- Around 1015 Tuesday 25 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
- Around 1100 Tuesday 25 Emmanuel Macron
- Around 1345 Tuesday 25 Hassan Rouhani
- Around 1415 Wednesday 26 Theresa May
- Around 1330 Thursday 27 Mahmoud Abbas
- Around 1415 Thursday 27 Benjamin Netanyahu
Notable absences: Aung San Suu Kyi, Angela Merkel, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Justin Trudeau.
After all this, UNGA resumes its normal work. As UNGA’s agenda is decided it will become clearer what issues will be discussed at what time, but we should expect:
- The election of Human Rights Council members in October (sadly a shortage of candidates means these elections will be uncontested)
- The confirmation of the UN’s budget for 2019 in December
- The election of non-permanent Security Council members in June
- The election of the next PGA and committee chairs in June
- The confirmation of the peacekeeping budget in June/July