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Mint Explainer: What’s on the agenda at the 78th UN General Assembly session?

The general debate of the 78th UN General Assembly session is set to begin on Tuesday, September 19. From the current situation in Afghanistan to disarmament and other international security issues, Mint explains what’s on the agenda.

What is the UN General assembly?

“The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the organization. Comprising all member states, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. Each of the 193 member states of the United Nations has an equal vote,” according to the body’s website. It meets from September to December every year to discuss specific issues and agendas, which pushes the organisation’s work forward.

What powers does it have?

Among other things, the UNGA appoints the secretary-general, elects non-permanent members of the UNSC, and approves the UN’s budget. It discusses pressing global issues and adopts resolutions on specific issues of importance. It can also “make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries,” according to the organisation’s website.

What is on the agenda at the 78th session?

The proposed theme of the general debate at this session will be ‘Rebuilding trust and reigniting solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all”. Besides this, discussions on issues in the Middle-East and Afghanistan, sustainable development and climate, and humanitarian assistance will be on the agenda.

What will India be looking for?

India will be represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is expected to speak before the General Assembly on September 26. India is likely to raise longstanding demands, including for the reform of international institutions like the UN Security Council, which it wants to join as a permanent member. India is also expected to try and win support for its digital public infrastructure platforms such as UPI and Aadhar.

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