Speed Reads

UN General Assembly

Climate crisis and Ukraine main topics of UN General Assembly

The 77th annual UN General Assembly was in full swing in New York City on Tuesday, with a focus on the war in Ukraine as well as global economic and environmental problems. The assembly marks the first full meeting of members since pandemic restrictions were lifted; 157 people are expected to speak between Tuesday and Sunday representing various countries, reports The New York Times

Secretary General António Guterres made opening comments strongly emphasizing the need for urgent climate action. "The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. It must be the first priority of every government and multilateral organization," he said. Guterres also condemned Russia for its actions against Ukraine, saying the war has "unleashed widespread destruction with massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law."

"Let's have no illusions. We are in rough seas," Guterres said, underlining the somber mood of this year's General Assembly meeting.

The first world leader to speak was Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who pushed for peace talks rather than sanctions against Russia to stop the violence against Ukraine, CNN reports. Brazil has held a neutral position over the Ukraine war and opposed Russia being removed from the G20. Bolsonaro also highlighted Brazil's accomplishments in an apparent attempt to win domestic favor as he trails his opponent in polls for the upcoming Brazilian presidential election.

President Biden is scheduled to address the body on Wednesday. Read more about what to watch for this week at Axios.