UNGA set to debate global issues; PM Sharif arrives Sunday

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept 17 (APP): Preparations are being finalized for Tuesday’s annual high-level debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in which more than 140 world leaders, including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, are scheduled to take part.

Monarchs, presidents and prime ministers will engage in the week-long debate that defines international responses to many of the global challenges of today, including protracted conflicts, extreme poverty and hunger, the refugee crisis and climate change.

As of Friday, 86 heads of state have signed up for the debate, one crown prince, five vice presidents, 49 heads of government, 51 ministers and three observers for a total of 195, which is two more than last year, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at the regular noon briefing.

Massive security arrangements have been put in place in around he U.N. Headquarters in New York ahead of the high-level week which will kick off with a summit, on Monday 19 September, to address large movements of refugees and migrants. This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on this topic and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response.

World leaders are expected to adopt a political declaration as an outcome document at the summit, during which the UN will see a new addition to its family, a dedicated migration agency. Leaders of the UN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will sign an agreement to officially make IOM a related agency of the UN system.

IOM, an intergovernmental organization with more than 9,500 staff and 450 offices worldwide, assisted an estimated 20 million migrants in 2015. Founded in the wake of the World War II to resettle refugees from Europe, the organization celebrates its 65th anniversary in December of this year.

From Tuesday September 20 to Monday September 26, world leaders will address the annual general debate under the theme of “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a universal push to transform our world.”

On Wednesday September 21, the Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance, which has become one of the biggest threats to global health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development.

On the same day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a pitch for an early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change by convening a special event at which countries can deposit their ratification instruments with him.

To date, it will require 28 more countries, representing 16 per cent of global emissions, to ratify the Agreement, which was reached last December.

In his address to the General Assembly on September 21, Prime Minister Sharif will put forth Pakistan’s position on key global and regional issues, especially focusing on the situation in the Indian-controlled Kashmir.

“The prime minister will specifically focus on the current situation, particularly the continuing grave violations of human rights by the Indian occupation forces, in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the Foreign Office said in a statement in Islamabad.

“He will call upon the international community and the United Nations to live up to their promise [about] the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement added.

The Indian-held Kashmir is witnessing a massive uprising in which at least 80 people have been killed and some 10,000 have been injured, including 700 who have been rendered completely or partially blind due to use of pellet guns by Indian forces.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, the Prime Minister will hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders, including the UN Secretary-General.

Among his many engagements in New York, he will also address a business meeting organized by the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will make two other statements at the UN meetings on the global refugees crisis.

He will be joined in New York by the Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz and other senior officials.

Beyond the high-level week, the 71st session will continue to tackle implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a 15-year blueprint towards a healthy planet and a world free of extreme poverty.

“The 70th Session launched the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], and for integrity sake the 71st must be the year we witness the wheels turning on the implementation of all 17 SDGs,” the new President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, said in his inaugural address on 13 September.

“Reform of the UN Security Council is also work at hand for the 71st session (of the UN General Assembly).

The membership is unanimous in agreeing that reform is necessary to align the Security Council with the realities of the 21st Century,” Thomson said in his maiden address.

The body currently comprises five permanent members with veto power China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as 10 non-permanent members.