Sustainable Development Goals, ongoing war in Ukraine to be in focus at UN General Assembly


Experts continue to warn about the climate crisis but calls for action are being drowned out by political inertia.

“The climate crisis is worsening dramatically but the collective response is lacking in ambition, credibility, and urgency,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a news conference earlier this month at the UN office in India’s capital New Delhi, where the Group of Twenty (G20) summit was being held.

Dr Astra Bonini, senior sustainable development officer at the Division for Sustainable Development Goals at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said:

“Progress has been set back significantly in recent years. This is in part due to the lingering drag of the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest level of armed conflict globally since 1945, and climate-related disasters as well as inflation and the rising cost of living.”

The ongoing war in Ukraine, pandemic preparedness and the climate crisis will also be in sharp focus at the meeting.

Roughly 100 heads of state and nearly 50 heads of government are expected to address members of the international community at the UNGA this year. While Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be in attendance, Ukraine’s President Volodmyr Zelenskyy is expected to attend.


UN Security Council members will convene to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Analysts see the UNGA as an opportunity to resurrect the Black Sea Grain Initiative which allowed Ukraine, one of the breadbaskets of the world,  to export commercial food and fertiliser from three key ports in the Black Sea.

The landmark diplomatic deal brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye, which helped facilitate the export of nearly 33 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports for about a year, collapsed in July this year. 

“The fact that all these leaders are going to be talking to each other so that Putin is going to hear ‘here’s why his decision to back out of this is posing real harm in the developing world’ –  this can only be thought of as a good thing,” said Professor Martin Edwards from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.

The breakdown in the deal has stoked fears of a global food crisis, as it delivered grain to some of the world’s most food-insecure countries including Yemen, Ethiopia and  Somalia.

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