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Adam Jennison, Brett Harris
September 30, 2022
After two years of a more reduced and largely virtual affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists, civil society, and activists converged in New York for the seventy-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which took place from September 13-27, 2022, under this year’s theme: ‘A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges.’
The theme references the crossroads at which the world finds itself in terms of compounding global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian war in Ukraine, expanding food insecurity and other large-scale humanitarian challenges, the growing effects of climate change, and a declining global economy. UNGA convenes relevant parties across the geopolitical and development landscape to engage in dialogue and craft solutions to address the world’s most pressing issues.
The conference coincides with the halfway point to the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs) set in 2015. Spurred by the global COVID-19 pandemic, but further exacerbated by the complex and interconnected challenges the world currently faces, global development has taken a step back over the past two years. UNGA serves as an opportunity to revisit these goals and lay a path forward.
Below, the Donor Tracker outlines key UNGA announcements and highlights activity in agriculture, climate, education, gender equality, global health, and development finance that have emerged over the past two weeks of global cooperation and problem-solving:
UNGA discussions on agriculture focused primarily on alleviating food insecurities caused by the Russian war in Ukraine, as well as child malnutrition and sustainable agriculture issues. Key takeaways include:
Conversations surrounding climate change and adaptation at UNGA emphasized the immediacy of the climate crisis while calling for increased collaboration in advance of COP27 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 later this year. Key takeaways include:
From September 16-19, 2022, world leaders convened at the Transforming Education Summit (TES), an UNGA side event. Debates centered on disparate educational outcomes for children learning in crisis situations, as well as priorities for equitable education transformation. Major events included:
Though UNGA’s focus on crises of food security, war, and climate change took the main stage at high-level meetings, discussions on gender equality were often woven through, with several key developments:
Though pledges to the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) fell short of the organization’s goal of US$18 billion, UNGA still included a series of high-profile pledges and developments in global health:
In addition to sector-specific pledges, UNGA resulted in additional commitments and developments in ODA policy, particularly in response to the war in Ukraine and attempts to strengthen local partnerships in recipient countries:
In the wake of a seemingly unprecedented series of global challenges, UNGA proved fruitful in reestablishing its platform as a place for global leaders and changemakers to convene in-person and take a step back to reevaluate the current geopolitical climate. From a development lens, stakeholders took major steps forward across core development sectors, making advancements in food security, commitments to combatting climate change, and significantly increasing funding for both the IFFEd and the Global Fund to strengthen education and health access. While the Russian war in Ukraine and its effects globally took center stage during development discussions at UNGA, it served as a marker for the need to ensure that development assistance is not lost within the wider global security context.
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