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Source: Small Island Developing States

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande briefed UN Member States on the UNGA’s priorities for the remainder of the 74th session, which will run until mid-September 2020. His announcements included the co-facilitators he has appointed for several processes: preparations for the Biodiversity Summit, preparations for the Second Ocean Conference, preparations for the UN’s 75th anniversary, and the intergovernmental review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Addressing delegations on 13 January 2020, Muhammad-Bande outlined concrete actions to galvanize action and partnership in the coming weeks, including:

  • In preparation for the Biodiversity Summit in September 2020 (SDG 15), he said the co-facilitators for the preparatory will convene the first meeting on 16 January. The co-facilitators are the Permanent Representatives of Costa Rica and Italy. Muhammad-Bande urged Member States to “build on the political momentum generated by the Paris Agreement in 2015” and the UN’s Climate Action Summit in September 2019 to “accelerate action to save the planet” following the inability to reach consensus on important issues during UNFCCC COP 25 in December 2019.
  • On education (SDG 4), he will convene an event to celebrate the second International Day of Education, on 24 January 2020. The event will focus on transforming the education system through partnerships, and enable stakeholders to network and share best practices. Muhammad-Bande noted that he held a ‘Morning Dialogue’ on education.
  • On zero hunger (SDG 2), the President will host an event in February on ‘Targeting Hunger: South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Transforming Agriculture.’ He expressed hope that governments will discuss deepening their cooperation to achieve Zero Hunger, particularly through partnerships in the agricultural sector. He pointed to the value of modernizing the agricultural sector, and in particular increasing the availability and affordability of industrial machineries, irrigation systems, high-yield seedlings and access to finance.
  • In March, the President of the UNGA and the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold a High-Level Youth Plenary. Muhammad-Bande highlighted problems facing youth including lack of quality education, unemployment and underemployment. The dialogue will convene on 31 March 2020.
  • Muhammad-Bande has appointed the Permanent Representatives of Denmark and Palau as co-facilitators for the preparatory meeting for the Second UN Ocean Conference (SDG 14). The Ocean Conference will convene from 2-6 June 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal. The preparatory meeting will take place in New York, US, from 4-5 February, and is expected to determine the themes for seven interactive dialogues during the Conference, and to provide inputs on the Conference declaration.
  • On desertification (SDG 15), the UNGA President and the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will convene a high-level dialogue on 9 June 2020 to review progress made in fighting desertification, land degradation and drought.

In addition to these events, Muhammad-Bande said he is working with the President of ECOSOC on an initiative on international financial accountability, transparency and integrity (SDG 17).

He also called for active involvement in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing+25), along with the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the tenth anniversary of UN Women (SDG 5).

He noted that he has appointed the Permanent Representatives of Qatar and Sweden as co-facilitators for preparations for the UN’s 75th anniversary.

Finally, he said he has appointed co-facilitators for the review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). These are the Permanent Representatives of Benin and Georgia, according to the President’s letter on 13 January 2020.

Reflecting on the first part of the 74th session, the President said that the active engagement of countries’ leaders during the High-level Week in September 2019 shows that “they attach much importance to multilateral cooperation, despite the fears of some regarding its deterioration.” He added that, following some difficult negotiations in the UNGA’s Main Committees, “I am not under any illusion that all that was decided is resolved, or that we will not have differences in the remaining part of the Session. I note the reservations by some delegations on specific issues.” [UNGA President’s briefing on 2020 priorities] 

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