United Nations (United States) (AFP) – The coronavirus pandemic makes it “unlikely” that world leaders and thousands of other participants will be able to gather in New York in September for the annual UN General Assembly, Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.
In an interview with the French weekly magazine Paris-Match, published in the Thursday edition, the UN chief said he was looking at “various alternatives” made possible by digital technology, which he will present to member states.
Several UN envoys have already predicted that the meeting will end up being held by videoconference, especially as this year marks the 75th anniversary of the world body.
This year, “the procedures are certainly going to be atypical, hybrid, different” and “much lighter in terms of a physical presence,” one ambassador told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The diplomat said he doesn’t see how the UN can organize an “enormous mass gathering in Manhattan” at a time when the virus will not have been eradicated.
Since mid-March — because of the pandemic and the anti-virus lockdown measures in place in New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak — UN employees and diplomats have worked from home.