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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
GA: General Debate begins
22 September 2008 / 04:33

[Dateline: New York | Author:  iSeek]

Delegates at the high-level meeting on Africa's development needs on Monday | Credit: Fred Fath/iSeekWith Heads of State and Government scheduled to speak in General Assembly beginning on Tuesday as part of the annual General Debate.

NEW: General Debate web site

During the General Debate, all Member States have a chance to reflect on crucial issues of common, as well as their own, concern.  Each speaker has been asked to voluntarily limit their remarks to 15 minutes.

For this year's debate, the President of the 63rd session, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, has selected “The impact of the global food crisis on poverty and hunger in the world as well as the need to democratize the United Nations” as the overarching theme.

According to DGACM, all 192 Member States will be representated in this year's general debate, including, as of Monday, 79 Heads of State, 38 Heads of Government and one Crown Prince.  The order of speakers is listed on the webcast page and in the Daily Journal.  The full text of each statement will be added as the day goes on.

The process of compiling the list of speakers, which establishes the order in which Member States will speak during the General Debate, is a challenging and meticulous task.

"Priority is given on a first-come first-served basis," said Margaret Kelley, Director of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Affairs Division of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, "with the caveat that the protocol order is respected, which means Heads of State first; followed by Heads of Government; Crown Princes/Princesses; Deputy Prime Ministers; Ministers; and Permanent Representatives".

The General Debate will conclude on Wednesday, 1 October, taking into account the UN observation of Eid al-Fitr as an official holiday on 30 September, and will immediately be followed by two days of high-level plenary meetings devoted to the midterm review of the Almaty Programme of Action from 2-3 October.  On Thursday, 25 September, the Secretary-General will convene a high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals.

The General Assembly has agreed to consider more than 150 agenda items during this session, which technically lasts through 14 September 2009.  Additional information is available in the work programme and agenda (A/63/250) and a related press release.

World leaders are expected to hold around 1,500 bilateral meetings serviced by DGACM during this time period and the Secretary-General will present his annual report on the work of the Organization (A/63/1) immediately prior to the General Debate.

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