UN General Assembly convenes, Zelenskyy due to attend

The United Nations General Assembly has opened a new session in New York. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to attend in person for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion last year.

The General Assembly convened its 78th session on Tuesday, with Dennis Francis assuming the presidency.
He is a former ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago.

In his inaugural address, Francis said sharp geopolitical divides have led "to a dangerous new era of nuclear uncertainty." He also referred to skepticism towards multilateral systems.

Francis stressed the need to restore multilateralism, as international divisions are making it difficult to resolve climate change, conflict, poverty and other challenges facing the world.

A series of sessions are scheduled during the General Assembly's "high-level week." World leaders, including Zelenskyy, will gather for the General Debate that starts on September 19.

Zelenskyy is also due to attend a summit-level meeting on the situation in Ukraine at the UN Security Council on September 20. Heated debate is likely, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also due to take part.

On September 18 and 19, world leaders will discuss the Sustainable Development Goals at an SDG Summit.

The UN has set a target of achieving the goals by 2030. But this now appears to be in peril, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the situation in Ukraine and other factors.