The UN General Assembly meetings are divided into annual sessions which start every year in late September. The latest session, the 75th, began on 15 September. The sessions then run for almost a year.
However, the phrase UNGA is often used as a synecdoche for the “annual general debate” and sometimes the “high level plenary meeting” that take place in weeks 2 and 3 of the session. Week 2 is often referred to as “UNGA week” because this is when world leaders make speeches. In addition, important announcements and events involving high-profile participants such as CEOs and celebrities are timed to take place during this week. This year most of those events, and appearances, will be virtual.
One of the largest meetings of world leaders annually, UNGA week is usually an important part of the diplomatic calendar, providing ample opportunity for negotiations and discussions in the corridors of the UN headquarters. This year’s theme “The future we want, the UN we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism -- confronting Covid-19 through effective multilateral action” was chosen by the new President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir of Turkey. The theme is often broad in order to avoid constraining leaders’ speeches.
UNGA week tends to attract a lot of media attention, but the real work of UNGA takes place during the rest of the year, so we strive to support journalists and the public in continuing to follow the more substantive developments at the UN throughout the year.