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71st Session of U.N. General Assembly kicks Off in New York | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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General view of the United Nations (UN) offices in Geneva (© AFP 2016/ FABRICE COFFRINI)

New York – The 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) kicked off on Tuesday at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

The U.N. General Assembly elected Peter Thomson, the permanent representative of Fiji, as the president of its 71st session. Denmark’s Mogens Lykketoft was the president of the 70th session.

The UNGA meets every year in regular session that begins on the Tuesday of the third week in September.

Central on the agenda of the General Assembly this year are poverty, women’s rights, human resources, climate change, food safety, education and others.

The Assembly will also discuss human rights, children, humanitarian aid, racism and assistance to the Palestinian people.

The General Assembly was established in 1945 under the U.N. Charter and is the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations.

The Assembly comprises 193 U.N. member-states and is a venue for the multilateral discussion of the entire range of international issues covered by the U.N. Charter.

It also plays a significant role in setting standards and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.

The tentative agenda for the new session consists of 170 items focused on international peace and security, economic growth and sustainable development, disarmament, drug control, coordination of humanitarian assistance and other topics.

The UNGA will also host a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.

In a statement issued on its website, the U.N. said: “This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response.”

“It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants,” the statement added.

The summit will be held on Monday at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

A high-level meeting on Syria will also be held on the 21st of September, in the presence of heads of state delegations to the Security Council, including U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.