UN General Assembly to convene amid climate summit

The United Nations General Assembly starts its annual week-long leaders’ week speeches in New York today with a climate summit.

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UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The United Nations General Assembly starts its annual week-long leaders’ week speeches in New York today with a climate summit.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has prioritised holding countries accountable to commitments made at the 2015 Paris Agreement. He has emphasised the crucial role G7 countries must play in solving this issue and others, such as universal healthcare, nuclear non-proliferation and sustainable development.

US President Donald Trump has shown little interest in Guterres’ mission. The president will be absent from today’s climate summit, instead attending a religious freedom meeting he organised that will play to his Christian base. Others who are giving the whole week a miss are China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

However, the climate summit will still draw in critical world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian PM Narendra Modi.

The roll call of attendees and absentees reflects the uphill task Guterres’ mission faces be to unite the international community around key global development and environment issues. Increasing polarisation in global politics will only serve to make his job more difficult.