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Did you know that the UN General Assembly is not convening in the usual General Assembly Hall this year?

Built in 1952, the General Assembly Building closed for renovation on 31 May 2013. This week, plenary meetings are being held room in a temporary General Assembly Hall in the North Lawn Building. Renovations are scheduled to be complete in time for the opening of the 69th session in September 2014.  

On Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look back at the opening of the UN General Assembly last year in the General Assembly Hall.

(Photos via united-nations)

United Nations General Assembly 68

 

The General Debate of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly takes place from 24 September to 4 October 2013. It is the largest and most diverse gathering in the diplomatic calendar, bringing together leaders and senior ministers from all 193 members of the United Nations. The Deputy Prime Minister will lead the high-level UK delegation who will participate and host a number of events and meetings on our key foreign policy priorities.

The government’s aims for the summit are wide-ranging, but 3 areas are in focus this year.

Syria

The UK is leading international efforts to alleviate human suffering in Syria and the region. We are the second largest bilateral donor and are encouraging other countries to do more.

We will be pushing for improved access for humanitarian agencies so they can get to those in need, and working hard to increase global funding for humanitarian aid.

International development

The UK is playing a leading role in discussions about global aims to eradicate poverty. A key objective of the week will be to establish how the international community makes progress with the Millennium Development Goals until they expire in 2015 and build support for the proposed post-2015 international framework for development.

Reducing harm from conflict

Ministers will be encouraging further action against sexual violence in conflict situations, and gaining further support for the Arms Trade Treaty, the first international agreement to limit and control the sale of arms.

The Deputy Prime Minister will also be holding meetings to develop theTransatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by strengthening support for TTIP in the USA and highlighting the significant benefits to both sides from a successful agreement.

What does the UK aid sector hope to see at UNGA next week? See quotes and photos in our Flickr gallery.

Social media at UN General Assembly 68

Stay connected to the latest happenings at the UN General Assembly 68 in New York through social media. Two main events will be live-tweeted. Regular updates throughout the week will be provided on a variety of social media channels.

Follow the handles, hashtags, and other social media accounts outlined below to stay connected.

Live tweeted events

Deputy Prime Minister’s speech to UN General Debate

The Deputy Prime Minister’s office will live tweet the Deputy Prime Minister’s address to the UN General Debate on Friday, 27 September. Follow the event at @DPMoffice or watch live online.

Prevention of sexual violence in conflict

On 24 September 2013 UK Foreign Secretary William Hague (@WilliamJHague) and Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence will call on members of the United Nations to sign a new declaration on preventing sexual violence, containing political and practical commitments to end these abhorrent crimes. The declaration expresses a shared commitment and determination to see an end to the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war and will serve as a platform for future practical activity, particularly in conflict and post-conflict affected countries.

The event will take place on 24 September from 2:30pm to 5pm EST (7:30pm to 10pm British Summer Time). @UKUN_NewYork and @FCOHumanRights will live tweet the event. Follow #timetoact and#sexualviolence to join the conversation and hear from the numerous countries that will sign the declaration.

Anyone can add their voice to the call to end sexual violence in conflict by signing up for the Thunderclap on 24 September.

MDG Countdown

On Tuesday 24 September, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will host MDG Countdown 2013, an event that will showcase how girls and women are a force for change in helping the world achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The event aims to push for action towards the MDGsby sharing some of the most inspiring examples of women’s leadership and innovative projects that are transforming societies. By giving girls and women greater voice, choice and control over their lives, they are able to lift themselves, their families and countries out of poverty.

Follow the event on Twitter on Tuesday 24 September between 2pm to 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time (7pm to 8:30pm British Summer Time) by following #MDGCountdown or @DFID_UK.

The event will be moderated by Nicholas Kristof @NickKristof, New York Times journalist and co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Prominent female figures in government and women leading innovative programmes around the world will participate, including:

  • Justine Greening UK Secretary of State for International Development @JustineGreening

  • Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development @rajshah

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance @NOIweala

  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women @phumzileunwomen

  • Geena Davis, Hollywood actress and UN Special Envoy for Women and Girls in the field of Technology @GDIGM

Twitter accounts to follow

Nick Clegg @dpmoffice

Deputy Prime Minister

William Hague @WilliamJHague

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi @SayeedaWarsi

Senior Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Hugo Swire @HugoSwire

Minister of State, FCO

Alistair Burt @AlistairBurtFCO

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, FCO

Mark Simmonds @MarkJSimmonds

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, FCO

Justine Greening @JustineGreening

Secretary of State for International Development

Lynne Featherstone @lfeatherstone

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development

Sir Mark Lyall Grant @LyallGrant

UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN

UK Mission to the UN @UKUN_NewYork

Department for International Development @DFID_UK

Hashtags to follow during UN General Assembly

Overall updates on the UN General Assembly: #UNGA or #UNGA68

Prevention of sexual violence initiative: #timetoact

Post-2015 development agenda: #Post2015

Millennium Development Goals: #MDGs

Syria crisis: #Syria

Arms Trade Treaty: #ArmsTreaty

Speeches and statements

To find the latest speeches and statements delivered by UK officials at the UN General Assembly Events, visit the UK Mission to the UN’s main homepage.

General information on the UN General Assembly

For a list of all the events and side events of the UN General Assembly, visit the UN’s General Debate website