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Sansad TV: Perspective- 77th UN General Assembly

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Introduction:

World leaders gathered for the high-level debate at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This year’s session, which was held after two years of disruption due to the Covid pandemic, was based on the theme- “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”. Leading the Indian delegation at the UNGA session this year was External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. He addressed world leaders from the UNGA podium. He met the President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Korosi and reiterated India’s deep commitment to multilateralism. He also discussed the criticality of Sustainable Development Goals agenda for global progress.

UNGA:

  • Popularly known as the parliament of the world,where all the 193 UN member states are represented, the UNGA is the deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

Roles and functions:

  • Takes a decision on important matters such as peace and security, discusses various global issues and budgetary matters.
  • Decides on matters such as the admission of new members.
  • Decisions are taken through a vote. Admission of new members and budgetary matters require a two-thirds majority, while the decision on other issues are taken by a simple majority.
  • Each sovereign state gets one vote and the votes are not binding on the membership, except in budgetary matters.
  • The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.
  • The UNGA can express world opinion, promote international cooperation in various fields and make recommendations to the UNSC and elect the Security Council’s non-permanent members.

 Priority issues for India during 77th UNGA are:

  • Maintain India’s active engagement as a leading voice on issues relating to sustainable development, financing for development, terrorism, and climate change.
  • Strengthen engagement with fellow developing countries, especially LLDCs, LDCs and SIDS through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund and IBSA Fund in the spirit of South-South cooperation.
  • Bring India’s perspective to debates relating to human rightsincluding the right to development and continue to highlight India’s achievements in realizing the rights of different groups, including women, children, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  • Continue to showcase commitments and achievements in women-led development particularly women’s leadership and political participation at the grassroots level, promoting financial inclusion, prevention of sexual harassment and violence against women, providing access to clean cooking fuel, sanitation, safe drinking water and health coverage including maternal and child health etc.
  • Continue to advocate the need for resilient global supply chains to sustain vaccine production to ensure equitably and affordable access. Promote Indian positions and arguments in consultations and subsequent inter-governmental negotiations on Universal Health Coverage.
  • Attach greater prominence to issues relating to counter- terrorism; pushing for more transparency in the process of listing and delisting of entities and individuals in Security Council’s Sanction Committees.
  • Engage substantively in matters relating to peacekeeping as a major Troop Contributing Country in finalizing of mandates for UN peacekeeping missions. Promote application of technology in peacekeeping Missions and seek accountability for crimes against Peacekeepers in line with Security Council Resolution 2589.
  • Take forward India’s pragmatic and constructive approach on disarmament issues at the First Committee and UN Disarmament Commission and engage with all partners on issues related to outer space, cyberspace etc.
  • Continue to pursue the issue of reform of the Security Council for a meaningful outcome in the 77th UNGA.
  • Continue efforts to further increase the visibility and footprint of the use of Hindi@UN project.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

  • Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States;
  • Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General;
  • Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament;
  • Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;
  • Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
  • Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries;
  • Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs.