Conferenza stampa congiunta dei portavoce del SG e del Presidente dell’Asssemblea Generale su UNGA 75



United Nations Headquarters, New York

17 September 2020





  • The 75th session of the General Assembly is now underway and here is what to look out for in the coming weeks.
  • In addition to the General Debate, which starts on 22 September, the President of the General Assembly will convene the following events:
  • The first is the high-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. That will be on Monday, 21 September. The expected outcome is a declaration.
  • Second, the first-ever UN summit on biodiversity will be held on Wednesday, 30 September. The programme and speakers list have been posted online.
  • Third, the high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women will be on Thursday, 1 October.
  • Finally, the high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons will be held on Friday, 2 October.
  • Asked about the declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, the Spokesperson said the draft was available online.
  • Asked how many Heads of State and Government were slated to speak at the General Debate, the Spokesperson said that, according to the present list, 119 Heads of State and 54 Heads of Government were scheduled to speak.
  • Asked how the number of Heads of State given this year’s virtual format compared to previous in-person sessions, the Spokesperson said that, typically between 70 and 80 Heads of State participated in person in the General Debate.
  • Asked about precautions that were being taken in the General Assembly in light of COVID-19, the Spokesperson noted that, according to a note sent from the President to Member States, risk would be mitigated if attendees confirmed upon entry to the UN complex that they had met the necessary quarantine requirements regarding travel in the last 14 days.
  • Asked for a speakers list for the high-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, the Spokesperson said that was available here.
  • In response to a question about Member States organizing receptions during the high-level period, the Spokesperson said that this was a question that should be directed to individual Member States. For its part, the Office of the President of the General Assembly was not planning any in-person receptions.
  • Asked whether the President would be holding a press conference, the Spokesperson noted that the President had already given one on 15 September.
  • Asked whether there were world leaders who wished to address the General Debate in person, the Spokesperson said that, because of New York’s two-week quarantine rule, if leaders were not in New York now, then they would not be able to speak in person. As of now, there were no indications that any leader would be delivering a statement in person.
  • Asked what was being done in the General Assembly Hall to mitigate health risks, the Spokesperson said the biggest change this year would be the reduction of social density by limiting every Member State delegation to one person. The Hall was big enough to socially distance.
  • Asked how that would be enforced, the Spokesperson said that every permanent mission of a Member or observer State and the delegation of the European Union would be issued tickets (color-coded access cards).
  • Asked how rights of reply would be handled, the Spokesperson later said that there were no changes to the rules of procedure. Rights of replies could be done in person at the end of the day or at the end of the General Debate – except those to the statement of a Head of State, which would need to be in writing for circulation as an Assembly document.
  • Asked about what languages the world leaders’ videos would be shown in, the Spokesperson later said that statements could be in any of the six official UN languages, which would then be interpreted into the other official languages. Any speaker may also make a statement in another language and in that case the delegation should provide an audio recording of the interpretation and the text in one of the six official languages. When the pre-recorded video address in a non-official language was played back and broadcast on the “floor” channel in the original language, the audio of the pre-recorded interpretation would be simultaneously broadcast on the corresponding language channel.
  • Responding to a question about breaks between videos, the Spokesperson said that, before each video, the President would announce the speaker, and then the relevant Permanent Representative, who was physically in the room, would be invited to introduce the video from their seat.




  • This morning, the President virtually addressed the Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
  • He noted that LDCs were already struggling before COVID-19 – and that the pandemic has only compounded pre-existing conditions and global challenges. He called for support from the international community to LDCs to tackle COVID-19.
  • In terms of priority areas, he listed: access to essential medicines and health care facilities; universal access to vaccines – once they are developed; increased official development assistance; comprehensive debt relief measures; support in managing climate change; and scaled up investment to sustainably recover from the crisis.




  • The President delivered virtual remarks today to an event organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). It was entitled: “Parliaments and the UN: The way forward.”
  • IPU’s head presented the President with a declaration, which was adopted last month at the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.
  • The President himself has served as a parliamentarian for almost a decade. In his remarks today, he said the continued engagement of Parliaments is essential to ensuring that UN initiatives are transferred into reality. He added that this is especially critical in transposing the 2030 Agenda into national law.
  • And he stressed that the UN and Parliaments are key allies in the fight against the pandemic.




  • The International Day of Peace, which falls on 21 September, is being observed today at UN Headquarters. As per tradition, the President joined the Secretary-General in ringing the Peace Bell – in the presence of the Permanent Representative of Japan.
  • In his remarks, the President said, “On this International Day of Peace let us remember the victims who have suffered unimaginable hardships and loss of life and dignity due to conflict.
  • “On this 75th anniversary year let us remember the fundamental reasons why our predecessors established this organization. And then let us use this knowledge and increased understanding to create change with real world impact. For the most vulnerable and for us all. Let us shape peace together.”