World leaders will gather in New York next week for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, where they will discuss the top issues on the global agenda. While a number of important topics will be covered, here are six to follow.
1. Climate change: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is bringing together leaders from government, business, and civil society for a Climate Summit on September 23. This summit is a chance to spur concrete action. Starting at 8am ET, you can watch the summit on UN TV (http://webtv.un.org) and learn more here. Join the conversation using hashtag #climate2014.
2. People power: The conversations during the UN General Assembly aren’t just for heads of state anymore. Through the Social Good Summit, on September 21 and 22, citizens who care about the world will have the chance to join UN leaders, experts, and advocates to talk about how technology and social media can help solve our toughest challenges. The Social Good Summit includes gatherings in New York and cities around the world, as well as online using hashtag #2030NOW. You can join the conversation at http://mashable.com/sgs/.
3. Global goals: The Millennium Development Goals – the world’s to-do list to reduce poverty, promote education and gender equality, and address the causes of child and maternal mortality – expire at the end of 2015. With less than 500 days to go, every day of our collective work counts. At the same time, the global community is working to develop the goals that will come after the MDGs.
Several important events will happen throughout the week focused on MDG Momentum and laying the groundwork for the next set of goals, including two events on Thursday (a morning event with the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group and an afternoon event on Every Woman Every Child) that you can watch on UN TV (http://webtv.un.org).
4. Ebola: The Secretary-General will convene a high-level meeting during the General Assembly on September 25 “to highlight the urgent needs and required response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” The World Health Organization and other UN agencies have mobilized to respond to the outbreak, but more resources are needed. Individuals, companies, and NGOs can now support the UN’s efforts through donating to the Ebola Response Fund at the UN Foundation. Stay tuned for more details on the event.
5. Combating terrorism: During the General Assembly, the United States – which is the current President of the Security Council – will hold a summit meeting chaired by President Obama on the threat of foreign terrorist fighters. As the U.S. builds an international coalition to address the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the UN clearly remains an important partner.
6. Empowering Girls and Women: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, which put human rights at the heart of development and made empowering women a global priority. On September 22, from 1:00-9:00 pm, leaders from around the world will meet at the UN Headquarters to assess the status of implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and renew their commitment to fully achieve its goals and objectives. Learn more here: http://icpdbeyond2014.org/.