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UN, Sep 30 (Canadian-Media): The first ever virtual annual high-level debate of world leaders ended on Tuesday at the United Nations, after the event was moved online because of the COVID-19 global lockdown, UN reports said.
Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, chairs the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Volkan Bozkir. Image credit: UN/Photo: Rick Bajomas
Delegates in the General Assembly hall sat at a safe social distance to prevent the potential spread of the virus and listened to mostly pre-recorded speeches provided by all UN Member States.
Image credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Some leaders, like the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, addressed the United Nations whilst promoting their country’s cultural, diplomatic and political heritage.
Image: Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Image credit: UN News/Daniel Dickinson
While others, like the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, decided on perhaps a more conventional approach using well-trusted diplomatic symbols as a backdrop…in the UK’s case, the Union Jack and the United Nations flags.
Image: Boris Johnson. Image credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
The General Debate lasts for six long days with speeches often continuing deep into the evening, although this year most of the pre-recorded speeches submitted by the UN’s 193 member countries kept to the 15-minute maximum length. Here, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (right) and Vice-President of the General Assembly Adela Raz preside over the opening day of the debate.
Image: Adela Raz (left) and Amina Mohammed (right). Image credit: UN Photo/ Manuel Elias
The General Debate week is the busiest and possibly most consequential time of the year at UN Headquarters. This year the normally bustling corridors were largely deserted, however the stay-at-home order meant that more world leaders than ever before actually addressed the meeting, albeit virtually.
Image: UN Headquarters. credit: Manuel Elias
And even if the world’s biggest political and diplomatic movers and shakers were not there in person the international media did take up their normal position outside the UN campus on First Avenue in Midtown, Manhattan.
International media outside the UN campus on First Avenue in Midtown, Manhattan. Image credit: Manuel Elias
The UN has remained open for business throughout the pandemic as symbolized by the daily flying of national flags.
Image: National flags daily flying in UN. Image credit: Rick Bajomas
In his speech to the General Assembly to close out the General Debate on Tuesday, the President of the 75th session, Volkan Bozkir, said that the week-long event has demonstrated that multilateralism is still operating at the highest levels.
Image: Volkan Bozkir. Image credit: UN Photo/ Loey Felipe