What We’re Talking About This Month: September 2021

The 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

Ahead of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the stakes have never been higher. There will be several pressing issues on everyone’s minds, including: vaccine equity, the climate crisis, conflict and humanitarian needs, gender equality, and the urgent need for greater global cooperation. The violence in Afghanistan and the recent earthquake in Haiti are sobering reminders of how vulnerable communities around the world experience these challenges more acutely.

In light of these issues, now is certainly not the time for complacency. It is critical that leaders use this year’s UNGA to reinvigorate multilateral cooperation and make bold commitments for a more inclusive, sustainable recovery. At the UN Foundation, we’ll be following UNGA closely — here are some of the issues our experts are tracking:

  • Ensuring that everyone, everywhere can recover better: As the delta variant spreads, and wealthier countries look into securing booster doses, we’ve seen the emergence of a two-track response, with low-income countries getting left further behind. We need stronger commitments to address a more equitable response and recovery for all.

  • Commitment to climate action: UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report — which shows the increasingly clear link between human activity, climate change, and extreme weather events — a “code red for humanity.” Now is the time for leaders to turn the clock back on climate change by showing stronger resolve.

  • Tracking Generation Equality commitments: Conversations around gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights will likely draw on momentum from the Generation Equality Forum to make sure countries follow through on their commitments.

  • Making progress on the SDGs: The only way to ensure a sustainable, inclusive pandemic recovery — and beyond — is by turbocharging the Sustainable Development Goals. At UNGA, participants will stress the SDGs as holistic solutions to complex challenges.

What to expect during UNGA?

Here are some key events to keep an eye on at UNGA. You can explore other events at the UN Foundation’s UNGA 76 hub:

Want to get involved? Here are some ideas.

  • Educate: Universities are helping lead the charge on advancing the SDGs. As part of the UN Foundation’s American Leadership on the SDGs series, we feature some of the ways that universities are engaging with the SDGs on and off campus.
  • Inspire: Watch climate experts and youth advocates speak out about the global climate emergency in our latest #SayItWithScience event.
  • Take Action
    • Check out Global Goals Week (Sep. 17-26), an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the SDGs, to learn more about how you can help supercharge solutions for a safer, more equal world.
    • Download the ActNow mobile app, join climate challenges, track your footprint, and get tips for living life more sustainably.
    • Ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit (Sep. 23), use this social media toolkit to help spread the word about how climate solutions can be found in transforming food systems.
    • Register for our event with FT LIVE, where we’ll offer a preview into UNGA 76, what to expect, what’s at stake, and why it matters to you.

Events in September: