The General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly will get underway in New York today.
More than 100 leaders and other high-ranking representatives intend to deliver their speeches in person.
The most prominent leaders speaking in person, on day one, include US President Joe Biden and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil who will be the first heads of state to address the gathering. Among the other first-day speakers are the presidents of the Maldives, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, Poland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Many leaders have opted to use pre-recorded video, or to have a lower-ranking representative speak in person.
The most prominent leader to skip the General Assembly is President Xi Jinping of China, while President Vladimir Putin of Russia will not attend either.
The most important topic will be climate change, while battling the coronavirus pandemic is also expected to dominate the week.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Lankan delegation are currently in New York to attend the session.
President Rajapaksa is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly tomorrow between 11am and 1pm.
This is President Rajapaksa’s first visit as the Head of State and will also be the first occasion in addressing the UN General Assembly.
The theme for this year’s General Debate is ‘Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations.’