What is the UN General Assembly? Everything you need to know about UNGA 2023.

Every September, world leaders and members of the diplomatic community converge on the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the opening of the next session of the UN General Assembly. Attendees gather to discuss the most pressing global challenges of the moment and collaborate on solutions.

You may be wondering: What is the UN General Assembly? And, when is UNGA? With all the abbreviations and acronyms, it can be confusing to make sense of the biggest moment on the diplomatic calendar. Let’s break it down:

  • What is UNGA?
  • What are the UNGA dates for 2023?
  • What happens at UNGA?
  • What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
  • Why do the SDGs matter at UNGA in 2023?
  • How can I get involved at UNGA?

What is UNGA?

The UN General Assembly is the main legislative body of the United Nations but we might also use the term to refer to meetings of the legislative body. For example, the “78th UN General Assembly” (also known as UNGA 78) refers to the body’s major annual meeting which took place in September 2023.

What were the UNGA dates for 2023?

The 78th UN General Assembly officially opened on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. High-Level Week, when the biggest meetings take place, ran from September 18 to 26, 2023. Other meetings were held in the days before and after High-Level Week.

What happens at UNGA?

Heads of state and government leaders speak at the General Debate during High-Level Week at UNGA. Other major moments at UNGA 78 included the SDG Summit, the Climate Ambition Summit and the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

UN Foundation experts anticipated a major year for the UN General Assembly. We’re halfway to our deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Summit presented an opportunity for the world to ramp up progress toward the Goals in the time we have left to the 2030 deadline. Other major topics under discussion included climate action, pandemic preparedness and gender equality. Explore the quotes that defined UNGA 78 >>

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the SDGs or Global Goals, is the world’s blueprint for achieving peace and prosperity for people and the planet. The 17 Goals are a shared plan to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet by 2030.

Why do the SDGs matter at UNGA in 2023?

At UNGA 78, there was particular attention and anticipation around the SDGs, since 2023 marks the halfway point to the Global Goals’ 2030 deadline. The SDG Summit, held September 18-19, 2023, was the major UNGA moment that reignited enthusiasm – and action – for the 2030 Agenda.

Last updated October 25, 2023