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The 77th UN General Assembly is underway with world leaders attending, many of them arriving from the UK after attending the Queen’s funeral. Under discussion: climate change, which should play a central role even if the war in Ukraine continues and China increases its aggressive attitude towards Taiwan.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has drawn attention to the natural disasters that have occurred recently around the world, including flash floods in Pakistan last month that killed over 1,000 people. He criticized the international community for “utter inadequacy” in managing the climate crisis and urged all countries, starting with the G20 group of nations, to “promote the reduction of natural emissions. [targets]. ”

His speech made only a fleeting reference to “conflicts and unrest” that continue to “rage” around the world.

“The war in Ukraine is ravaging a country and dragging the global economy down,” Guterres said during his keynote address at a press conference as the annual General Assembly meeting began last week. He then proceeded to face a global famine that the world faces, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The United Nations therefore appears eager to avoid controversy when world leaders arrive next week after Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, something the assembly may not be able to avoid as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov intend to participate despite requests from the United States to reject visa applications for both officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend, but his presence will be felt as Ukraine remains an undercurrent of the assembly: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a pre-recorded speech at the General Assembly, which will air this week. To get permission for this, the General Assembly was forced to vote to allow him to send his message from his war-torn country.

United Nations General Assembly vote.
(AP, UNTV)

President Biden also faces a difficult task as he prepares to speak at the General Assembly and present a grand new strategy for the international landscape after a difficult year that saw the United States fail to discourage Putin’s invasion and watch as China is getting closer and closer to action against Taiwan.

According to a State Department official, the United States has three top priorities coming this week and those are: fighting the global food insecurity crisis, promoting global health and health security, and reforming the United Nations Security Council. .

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Taiwan, however, is unlikely to be a big part of the week: Ash Jain, director for democratic order at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, said at a panel discussion Thursday that the UN “is not really the place to discuss an issue like Taiwan. ” Instead, he speculated that leaders could “hint” at the conflict in speeches and hold bilateral meetings “on the sidelines”.

The United Nations does not formally recognize Taiwan and “it is not in the interest of China or ours” to raise the issue directly, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said during the Atlantic Council panel.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other during their meeting in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other during their meeting in Tehran, Iran on July 19, 2022.
(Iranian Supreme Leader Office via AP)

“Obviously it can have an effect on the legitimacy of the institution,” Herbst said, noting that “essentially it was a great power conflict that could not be resolved by the League of Nations that led to the demise of that organization.”

“The UN has other useful purposes,” he added. “There is no doubt that the UN is a necessary institution, but not a panacea.”

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But experts seem to disagree on what purposes the UN still fulfills meaningfully and effectively: Alan Mendoza, executive director of The Henry Jackson Society, said that while some UN agencies remain “of high value,” others fall short of the organization’s ideals.

“It is often said that if the UN did not exist, it should be invented,” Mendoza told Fox News Digital. “While some individual UN agencies are of great value, others like the Human Rights Council are a disgrace and the organization as a whole only functions on the basis of the lowest common denominator.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands on the podium during a press conference in Kiev on July 3, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands on the podium during a press conference in Kiev on July 3, 2022.
(AP Photo / Nariman El-Mofty, File)

“This means that oppressive and authoritarian states can always prevent the free world from defending our values ​​and it means that the United Nations will fade into growing irrelevance given the pressing need to defend what we believe in.”

Hugh Dugan, a former senior adviser to the US Permanent Representative to the UN and US delegate to the UN, said the body largely remains as a “convocation” power.

“The [U.S.] the president will regularly stay five or six days and move the White House and the State Department to hotels … because they realize that his power to summon brings in actors from all over the world, “Dugan told Fox News Digital.” Much of the work that can be done off the radar, in the corners, on the fringes of formal meetings. ”

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“A lot of communication can happen outside the flare of advertising because there is so much that cannot be traced, and so [the U.N. is] proving to be a useful hangout, “he added.” I think there is an opportunity for interactivity of a personal nature that would otherwise be extremely difficult to achieve if there were great travel and great publicity on every single interaction. ”

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