Sept. 20, 2021


3 min read

Majoro jets in New York

Majoro jets in New York

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

Story highlights

  • UN encourages virtual meeting
  • Delegations to be limited to size

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PRIME Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro is to physically participate at the 76th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York from September 21 to 27 despite UN encouraging virtual meeting.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and within the parameters of the various health and safety measures, including travel restrictions, the virtual/hybrid format model was approved by the extended Bureau of the Conference via silence procedure on June 19, 2020.

Dr Majoro is attending the UN General Assembly for the first time as the Prime Minister of Lesotho since his inauguration last year.

"While we welcome heads of state or government to attend, we do encourage that all member states aim to limit their delegation size here in the city" of New York," US diplomat, Rodney Hunter said.

"A successful summit with limited delegations is 100% achievable," he said, adding that "use of a pre-recorded video statement by head of state or government should remain an option for delegations this year."

The United States insisted on "clear rules" for a "safe and successful" summit week.

The criteria for visiting New York as part of a UN delegation should include pre and post-arrival COVID-19 testing, seven-day quarantines for those who are unvaccinated and temperature checks, the United States said.

“We also recommend following the current one plus one format for the general debate in the General Assembly hall,” Hunter said, allowing two participants per delegation into the hall at once, along with mask-wearing and social distancing.

He also said the US would be recommending a maximum of six people per delegation and would encourage any informal side meetings to remain virtual.

In normal times, UN General Assemblies - the largest diplomatic meeting in the world - see tens of thousands of people descend on New York for the event itself and hundreds of informal gatherings on the sidelines.

Besides an in-person meeting, the UN has suggested two other options: a gathering featuring only ministers from the countries attending, or another virtual assembly.

The theme for this event is “Building resilience through hope to recover from the COVID-19, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalise the United Nations.

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The practical arrangements for the conduct of the general debate and the high-level meetings and of the 76th session of the General Assembly will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the holding of meetings and how they are conducted and the number of attendees.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, will introduce the Annual Report on the Activities of the Organisation at the opening of the general debate.

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.

Comprised of all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.

The Assembly is empowered to make recommendations to States on international issues within its competence. It has also initiated actions – political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal – which have benefitted the lives of millions of people throughout the world. LeNA/Metro/AFP


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