World leaders get their chance to address the U.N. General Assembly beginning Tuesday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden among the speakers at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Zelenskyy is making his first appearance at the annual meeting since Russia invaded his country in early 2022.
“For us it’s very important that all our words, all our messages will be heard by our partners,” Zelenskyy told reporters Tuesday as he visited a New York hospital where Ukrainian soldiers have been treated for amputations.
Zelenskyy said ahead of his speech that Ukraine would put forth a proposal “on how to fortify the principle of territorial integrity and improve the U.N.’s capacity to thwart and halt aggression.”
He is due to follow his speech by attending a Wednesday session of the U.N. Security Council about the situation in Ukraine. Russia is one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the council.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opens Tuesday’s addresses. Also scheduled to speak Tuesday are Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Other speakers include the presidents of Poland, Cuba, South Africa, Argentina, Nigeria and Senegal.
Tuesday’s agenda also features the second day of talks focusing on how to achieve a set of worldwide development goals
Guterres said Monday that only 15% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track to be reached by 2030.
“Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind. … The SDGs need a global rescue plan,” Guterres said.
He said the summit is “the moment for governments to come to the table with concrete plans and proposals to accelerate progress.”
The goals include ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring access to affordable energy, taking urgent action to combat climate change and promoting gender equality.
They were set in 2015 with the aim of being achieved by 2030. Halfway to that marker, progress is slow, and in some instances is even going backward.
The U.N. gathering will also spotlight climate change with the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit Wednesday. Guterres will host the event, which aims to reverse backsliding on Paris climate agreement goals.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.