EU at UNGA 78: EU delegation to mobilise global action and reignite solidarity

A high-level delegation of the European Commission will attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly next week in New York. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, and Commissioners Ylva JohanssonJanez Lenarčič, Jutta Urpilainen and Virginijus Sinkevičius will host and participate in events and meetings with leaders from around the world and hold several high-level bilateral meetings throughout the week.

The 78th session takes place against a backdrop of complex crises and conflicts, including Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its global consequences, and the situation in the Sahel. The all-time high humanitarian needs, climate emergency, health crises, as well as the erosion of democracy and human rights worldwide are challenges that no country can address alone. Effective multilateralism is not a choice but the only option to ensure that no one is left behind.

The EU and its Member States will focus on three main priorities at the General Assembly this year: accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), strengthening global governance, and building global partnerships to help achieve our common goals. These priorities will shape the EU’s action at the UN for the coming year.

On Sunday, 17 September, President von der Leyen and High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, together with President of the European Council Charles Michel, will represent the EU in a trilateral meeting with the African Union and the United Nations. The same day, they will meet the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Vice-President Šuica will represent the EU at high-level events during the SDG Acceleration Day.

On Monday and Tuesday, 18 and 19 September, President von der Leyen and Commissioner Urpilainen will participate in the SDG Summit and related side-events, reaffirming the EU’s commitment to bring the SDGs back on track. Vice-President Šuica will participate in and co-host a number of Ministerial events on SDGs, women’s and children’s rights.

On Tuesday, 19 September, President von der Leyen and High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, together with President Michel, will attend the opening session of the General Debate of the 78th UN General Assembly.

On Wednesday, 20 September,  President von der Leyen and Executive Vice-President Šefčovič will participate in the Climate Ambition Summit. Commissioner Sinkevičius will represent the EU at the signature ceremony of the Treaty for the High Seas.

On Thursday, 21 September, President Michel will deliver the statement on behalf of the EU at the General Debate, accompanied by the High Representative/Vice-President Borrell. High Representative Borrell will deliver a speech on behalf of the EU at the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting for the Summit of the Future.

EU Flagship events during the week

The EU will host or co-host several flagship events in the margins of the General Assembly:

  • On Monday, the High Representative Borrell will co-host a Ministerial meeting on the Middle East Peace Process, together with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the League of Arab States, Egypt, and Jordan. Commissioner Urpilainen will chair a High-level meeting on the EU Global Gateway and the EU’s support to digital transformation.
  • On Tuesday, Vice-President Šuica will co-host and speak at a side event on ‘Children as Agents of Change’ to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. Commissioner Sinkevičius will represent the EU at the High-Level Event for Nature and People entitled ‘From Ambition to Action’, aimed to accelerate the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • On Wednesday, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will co-chair the 13th Ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, together with Egypt. Vice-President Šuica will co-chair a High-level advocacy event on children in armed conflict, together with the EU, Belgium, Malta and the UN. Commissioner Lenarčič will co-chair a Ministerial pledging event on the humanitarian situation in Sudan and the region entitled ‘The Cost of Inaction’. Commissioner Urpilainen will co-host a High-level event on the current work to end AIDS and protect from future pandemics, together with Botswana, UN-AIDS, and the US.
  • On Thursday, Commissioner Lenarčič will co-host a High-level roundtable on accelerating climate action in fragile and vulnerable contexts, together with Belgium and the United Arab Emirates. The same day, he will also co-chair a High-level side event on bridging the humanitarian funding gap, together with Sweden and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Other High-level events of the week

EU representatives will have a full agenda of high-level debates and side events, as well as numerous bilateral meetings:

  • On Sunday, Vice-President Šuica will represent the EU at the Generation Equality event, as well as the side-events on ‘Ending violence against women and girls’ and the High-Level UNICEF event ‘Champions for Children, Child Rights at the Heart of the SDG’.
  • On Monday, High Representative Borrell will chair an informal meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, with Ukraine and the Sahel region on top of the agenda. He will then participate in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Commissioner Johansson will participate in a Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats. The same day, she will participate in the Ministerial meeting of the Resettlement Diplomacy Network.
  • On Tuesday, President von der Leyen will participate in the Transition Finance Action Forum, organised by Bloomberg. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will convene leaders from the Western Balkans for a working lunch. Vice-President Šuica will speak in the side events ‘Alleviating suffering of Ukrainian children affected by war’ and ‘Children’s rights in the digital environment’. Commissioner Johansson will attend the USAID event on Countering Corruption and the Opportunity to Accelerate the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine and Moldova. Commissioner Urpilainen will participate in the High-level event on pandemic preparedness, organised by the Pandemic Fund and the WHO. She will then co-chair a High-level meeting of the Global Education Forum.
  • On Wednesday, President von der Leyen will participate in the Atlantic Council Awards. Executive Vice-President Šefčovič will participate in the Global Carbon Pricing Event, organised by Canada. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will participate in the Ministerial meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine, together with Norway. The same day, he will speak at a public event at New York University on Europe’s role in the world. Commissioner Johansson will participate in the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism. Commissioner Sinkevičius will participate in the side-event of the High Ambition Coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, entitled ‘Building Political Momentum to Fast-Track Ratification of the High Seas Treaty’. He will also participate in the meeting ‘Moving Closer to Global Plastics Treaty’ and attend a High-level public panel discussion on ‘Defend the defenders: Towards a global response for protection of defenders on the frontline of the climate crisis’, as well as a High-Level Reception on Forests, Nature and Climate.
  • On Thursday, President von der Leyen will deliver a keynote speech at Global Citizen Now. Executive Vice-President Šefčovič will attend the COP28 Incoming Presidency’s Ministerial Consultation on the Global Stocktake and Third high-level Dialogue on Building a 1.5C-aligned Energy Transition. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will deliver a statement during a meeting of the Group of Friends on Accountability following the Russian aggression against Ukraine. He will participate in a dinner meeting of the Transatlantic Foreign Ministers, hosted by the US. Commissioner Johansson will participate in the High-level session of the Strong Cities Network, hosted by the New York City Mayor.
  • On Friday, Executive Vice-President Šefčovič will participate in the Ministerial consultations on funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage.