Countries should present concrete actions to address critical issues during the UNGA 76 General Debate

Oct 5, 2021

Combating climate change through compliance with the Paris Agreement, achieving justice in vaccination as part of international cooperation in solidarity, and advancing new global measures to move towards resilient recovery are the most pressing issues that will be addressed at this year’s UNGA General Debate. 

The 76th session of the UN General Assembly will meet again in a difficult context and once again its annual Debate will be held virtually. The elected President of UNGA 76, Abdulla Shahid, invited world leaders to “build resilience through hope, recover from COVID-19 and rebuild sustainability…”, following Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to Build Forward Better while keeping the balance of the three dimensions -social, environmental and economic- of sustainable development.


Context and objective

In the webinar, organized by Cepei and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Former President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Lynn Wagner, Senior Director, Tracking Progress, at IISD and Javier Surasky, Program Officer Governance and Financing for Sustainable Development at Cepei, shared perspectives and possible outcomes on the participation of world leaders in the UN General Debate. 



The pandemic has also exposed the value of multilateralism and the need to make global governance more effective. In this sense, Cepei calls for the promotion of a new multilateralism: “it is no longer a term used mainly by states or international organizations, but rather a democratic and open conversation between all sustainable development stakeholders to find solutions”.

Key points of the intervention

The General Debate is an opportunity to discuss, identify positions, plan public policies based on the priorities of the countries and carry out an analysis that provides data to make future decisions. 


Maria Fernanda Espinosa, former President of the 73rd UN General Assembly, stated that “extraordinary times require extraordinary responses. This moment makes it necessary to follow the call of the Secretary General, António Guterres, to take two paths: escape or move forward. However, global solidarity is required to overcome the pandemic”. She also assured that this year, during the General Debate, she expects that the messages of the countries will refer to climate change, especially to the Paris Agreement and its financing. 


Lynn Wagner, IISD Senior Director of Tracking, highlighted that the focus of the General Debate will also be on the progress of Sustainable Development Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy, investment, innovation and technology needed to combat climate change.


Finally, Javier Surasky, Cepei’s Governance and Financing for Sustainable Development Program Officer, said “we look forward to hearing from world leaders about the most critical issues such as: the 2030 Agenda as a roadmap to meet the most urgent; the future of the United Nations; concrete measures to address climate change; and actions to strengthen multilateralism”.



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