Delivering remarks on his priorities for the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) resumed 77th session, UNGA President Csaba Kőrösi emphasized preparations for the 2023 SDG Summit – the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and for the Summit of the Future in 2024. He urged Member States to follow up on the lessons learned from Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and to “make the most” of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July, using it as a steppingstone “to achieve qualitatively better results in September.”
Kőrösi said by September, “we will need honest accounts of what has been achieved and what has not, so we can close the gap between reported national successes and visible global failures.”
The UNGA President stressed the “need for strengthening the shared responsibility for governance of our global common goods,” revealed by the “new dynamics of challenges,” including deepening geopolitical divide, inflation, food and energy shocks, and record-high debt burdens. He called for “transformative solutions,” with human rights at their core, for a safer, more just, and more sustainable world.
Reiterating his presidency’s motto, ‘Solutions Through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science,’ Kőrösi said he will advance discussions on the recently proposed “scientific mechanism to identify the most effective ways to encourage scientific engagement within the General Assembly,” including through three scientific briefings, on 7 February, on: the Economics of Water; the connections between Climate, Conflict and Cooperation; and the role of Early Warning for Pandemic Preparedness.
The UNGA President stressed his hope that the UN 2023 Water Conference will become a new “Paris moment” for water action. He said the event will aim to raise the level of ambition to realize SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) by integrating water and climate policies, moving beyond reactive water management, and taking proactive steps to emerge from the water crisis. Kőrösi urged Member States “to go beyond the traditional debate on the difficulties of water cooperation by establishing a global water information system to support regional and local predictability and resilience.”
Another core priority for the UNGA, he said, will be to “advance discussions on a methodology for measuring sustainability transformation in a way that integrates human well-being, natural capital and sustainable economic development,” acknowledging work underway by the High-Level Panel on the Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index.
Kőrösi also drew attention to the Global Digital Compact, which “will aim to ensure that the digital space brings about sustainability and is used responsibly.”
The UNGA President further prioritized:
- the second part of the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries;
- the High-Level Meeting of the UNGA on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR);
- the high-level meetings related to health, including on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Pandemic Preparedness, and Tuberculosis;
- the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development (FfD) in September; and
- the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2024.
On UN reform, he said the General Assembly has, for the first time in history, a standing mandate to hold a debate on the use of the veto in the Security Council. He urged Member States to “come with practical ideas on how to utilize this new mandate to find solutions in the General Assembly that can promote peace, sustainability, [and] responsibility and harness stability.”
Finally, Kőrösi called for the UN to “lead by example” on harnessing the “transformative” potential of women’s leadership, young people’s voices, and knowledge and experience sharing through the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders.
The UNGA President delivered remarks on his priorities for the resumed 77th session of the Assembly on 17 January 2023.