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The United Nations Adapts to COVID-19

Security Council: OPEN VTC in connection with UNMIK (S/2020/964). Serbia

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) celebrated the official begin to 75 years of promoting peace and human rights with the official gavel in of the 75th General Assembly on September 15, 2020. However, this year is different than any other year in the United Nation’s past.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN held its first ever virtual high-level debate occurring between Sept 22 – 26, ending on Sept 29. The debates consisted of mostly prerecorded speeches provided by each UN Member State. Some delegates were present in the General Assembly hall and were sat at a safe distance. In order to help maintain social distancing in the hall, only one delegate per Member State is allowed in at a time.

Earlier this year, the 74th GA passed Decision 74/544: “Procedure for taking decisions of the General Assembly during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.” This decision was intended to protect delegates of Member States from COVID-19 while conducting UN business. The two major changes that were made were: 1.) no plenary meeting, and 2.) voting by silence procedure. Decision 74/544 was renewed through the end of August. The GA met for the first time in person under PGA Tijjani Muhammad-Bande on Sept 3.

Currently, the 75th session of the UN General Assembly is going on from Oct 15 – 30 in New York, NY and virtually. Current PGA, Volkan Bozkir, plans to continue the necessary safety precautions needed to guarantee safety and get the job done.

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