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 will take place in September 2023.

What are the UNGA dates for 2023?

The 78th UN General Assembly will officially open on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. High-Level Week, when the biggest meetings take place, will run from September 18 to 26, 2023. Other meetings are 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 include the SDG Summit, the Climate Ambition Summit and the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

UN Foundation experts are anticipating a major year for the UN General Assembly. We’re halfway to our deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Summit will present 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 will include climate action, pandemic preparedness and gender equality.

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’s 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, will be the major UNGA moment that reignites enthusiasm – and action – for the 2030 Agenda.

How can I get involved at UNGA?

There are many ways to get involved at UNGA 78 – whether you’re traveling to New York or tuning in virtually.

Explore our guide to UNGA 78 to discover in-person, hybrid and virtual events on the UN General Assembly calendar. You can also follow along with the UN and the UN Foundation’s social media accounts for up-to-the-minute UNGA news and upcoming events. Finally, many public meetings on the UN’s calendar are also streamed on UN Web TV.

Last updated August 25, 2023

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