About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the 6 organs of United Nations. It is the only organ where all 193 member nations have equal representation. It is the main policy-making organ of UN. All Member States of the United Nations are represented in this forum to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues such as development, peace and security, international law, etc.
The current President of UNGA is María Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador and she is the fourth woman President since 73 years of UNGA existence. UNGA’s 73rd session began in September 2018.
The General Assembly meets under its president or secretary-general in annual sessions at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City,
The first women President of UNGA was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit from India in 1953. She presided the 8th UNGA session.
The representatives vote to elect the President of the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis. The President presides over the sessions of the General Assembly.
Climate change and terrorism – two biggest challenges of our era says Sushma Swaraj at 73rd UNGA session
Addressing the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sushma Swaraj, India External Affairs Minister highlighted climate change and terrorism as the two biggest challenges of our era.
Also highlighting India’s achievements under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swaraj assured India will not fail to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Swaraj gave a glimpse of schemes that aims to bring about social-economic transformation in India –
- Jan Dhan Yojana: Financial inclusion scheme- over 320 million Indians, who had never crossed the door of a bank before, now have bank accounts.
- Housing scheme: Government plans to provide nearly 21 million homes by 2022. So far, government has constructed over five million homes for the poor.
- Mudra Programme: Under this skill development and entrepreneurial programme, over 140 million Indians have benefited through Mudra loans.
- Ujjawala Scheme: Provides free cooking gas connection for poor.
- Maternity Benefit Scheme: Women get 26 weeks of paid leave to care for their newborn.
- Ayushman Bharat: Health Insurance Scheme to benefit 500 million Indians, who will get an insurance cover of Rs 500,000 per family per year.
Speaking about climate change Swaraj highlighted the launch of International Solar Alliance (ISA), a partnership between India and France. Recently, recognising Prime Minister Modi and President Macron contributions towards ISA the UN conferred the honour of UN Champions of the Earth. So far, 68 nations are members of ISA.
Speaking about terrorism, Swaraj said that it is high time we bring terrorists and protectors to accountability through International law. In 1996, India proposed a draft document on Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations. Till today, that draft has remained a draft, because members cannot agree on a common language. CCIT members have failed to arrive on a definition of terrorism.
She also highlighted that United Nations needs fundamental reform if multilateralism has to succeed. If UN is ineffective multilateralism will collapse, she said.
Swaraj said -“India believes that the world is a family, and the best means of resolution is shared discourse. A family is shaped by love and is not transactional; a family is nurtured by consideration not greed; a family believes in harmony not jealousy. Greed breeds conflict; consideration leads to resolution. That is why the United Nations must be based on the principles of the family. The UN cannot be run by the ‘I’, it only works by the ‘We’.”
“India does not believe that the United Nations should become the instrument of a few at the cost of the many. India believes that we must move forward together or we sink into the swamp of stagnation,” she added.
Equal representation: One nation, one vote
Assured: Convince, to make sure
Glimpse: Partial view
Conferred: Award, honour with
Multilateralism: In international relations, multilateralism refers to an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal.