Vivian Balakrishnan to attend UN General Assembly in New York from Sep. 21 to 25

He will also be visitng Washington D.C. for a working visit from Sep. 26 to 29.

Faris Alfiq | September 21, 2021, 04:45 PM

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Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan will be attending the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York from Sep. 21 to Sep. 25. 

In a press release issued on Sep. 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that the minister would deliver Singapore's statement at the General Debate of the UNGA.

MFA added that Vivian would participate in the Meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism and the Alliance of Small Island States Leaders’ Meeting, and have a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts.

Vivian will also host the 14th Global Governance Group (3G) Ministerial Meeting and an informal Roundtable Discussion on “Closing the Digital Divide: From the Roadmap to the Common Agenda” as co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Digital Technologies, the ministry added.

He will also meet United States interlocutors based in New York.

Following the General Debate, MFA said that Vivian would proceed to Washington D.C. from New York for a working visit from Sep. 26 to 29.

He will be meeting senior officials from the Biden administration and members of Congress.

S'pore a "staunch supporter" of UN

In a video posted on his Facebook on Sep. 20, Vivian shared some issues that Singapore will be discussing during the session.

He said that as a tiny city-state, a "rules-based multilateral world order, in particular, the existence of the United Nations where small countries have a voice, we can make common cause, we can make arrangements to defend our interests".

"That is why Singapore has always been a staunch advocate, a staunch supporter, a believer of the United Nations."

Vivian also shared in the video that his movement in New York will be "restricted", and he will most likely stay in his hotel room when he's not attending official functions.

He will not be able to try dishes and meals recommended to him, except takeaways.

Covid-19 and climate change highlights of UNGA

As the UNGA session kicks off this week, CNN reported that member states would be asked to deliberate on two main challenges: Ending the Covid-19 pandemic and redefining the post-pandemic global economy to be healthier for the planet.

At the top of the agenda is the issue of vaccine access.

CNN reported that health experts had been repeatedly warned that the Covid-19 pandemic would not end without widespread immunisation.

The report also added that the World Health Organisation had criticised wealthier nations for stockpiling vaccines and delivering booster shots when poorer countries still face vaccine shortages.

Another highlight of the debate's agenda is taking actions on climate change.

Commenting on rising global temperatures, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said "the war on our planet must end".

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Top images via Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook and United Nations/Facebook