NOON BRIEFING HIGHLIGHTS BY PAULINA KUBIAK GREER,
SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT ABDULLA SHAHID
United Nations Headquarters, New York

DOHA

The President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid just arrived in Doha. He was received by Dr. Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the State of Qatar, and by Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations.

President Shahid will be the keynote speaker at the opening of the Doha Forum, tomorrow morning local time.

The President is in Qatar at the invitation of the Government, who is generously funding the costs.

TRANSATLANTIC SLAVERY

The President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, today called for solidarity and unity in standing against the marginalization of persons of African descent.

The comments come on the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

President Shahid said that we must discuss the legacy of slavery, and that quote “this dark chapter should never be whitewashed.”

The President said in a video message that he had visited Goree Island in Senegal, which from the 15th to the 19th century was the largest slave-trading center on the African continent.

He said that he would never forget the feeling of sorrow and distress of those who went through the very small door overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. A point of no return.

In advance of today’s Day, the President visited the Ark of Return at the northern side of the UN Headquarters.

There is a very beautiful video on his social media account and now on UN WebTV, that depicts the President’s thoughts much more eloquently than I can relay them here.

OPGA Twitter link: https://twitter.com/UN_PGA/status/1507329010317070336 

UN WebTV link: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k12/k12l8k545q 

FILM VIEWING

And the President will hold a special event related to the Remembrance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Tuesday.

The event will be a discussion and film viewing. An excerpt from the film Equiano.Stories will be shown. This is a very unique film. It depicts 18th Century slave trade through Instagram stories of the key character.

Equiano.Stories is based on the memoir of Olaudah Equiano, who after decades of slavery was able to buy his freedom and write about this life in “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African”.

The film will be introduced by Mati Kochavi, who produced the film, and worked on it with his daughter, Maya.

The event is expected to include New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in his first ever visit to the United Nations. In fact, no one can remember that last time a New York City mayor visited the UN.

We will also have the Permanent Representatives from Israel, Jamaica, Senegal, the United States, the African Union… and the Chair of the Task Force on Addressing Racism and Promoting Dignity for All in the United Nations Secretariat, USG Catherine Pollard.

Everyone is welcome to this event. Again, it will be on Tuesday, 29 March at 1:15pm in the Trusteeship Council.

UNITAR

Today is Friday, so time for an update on our HOPE Fellows.

They are in their weekly UNITAR training session. Today’s focus is on peace and security issues. It is led by Ms. Jelena Pia-Comella, who began her long diplomatic career as the Permanent Representative of Andorra to the United Nations.

EU/HOPE

And the HOPE Fellows will meet this Monday with European Union Experts on Youth for a dialogue on Youth Policies.

LOOK AHEAD

In terms of what else is happening in the General Assembly next week…

Monday is the preparatory meeting for Stockholm+50 International Meeting which will be held under the theme “healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.”

The preparatory meeting comes ahead of the international conference that will be held in Stockholm on 2nd and 3rd of June.

Quick background – The Stockholm Declaration was adopted on 16 June 1972 by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. That was the first major international conference on the environment.

And to steal a page from Stephane, who can tell me – the Stockholm Conference laid the foundation for what well-known UN conference? The UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, held in 1992 in Rio.

Turning back to Monday, that will be the preparatory meeting for Stockholm+50 International Meeting.

Tuesday will be the 63rd plenary meeting. The morning will have the Commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. You heard the details from Stephane.

Then there are actions on two draft resolutions.

One, if adopted, will create the International Day of Plant Health.

The other is a resolution related to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, focusing on COVID.

QUESTIONS

The Spokesperson was asked if President Shahid would meet with a Taliban delegation while in Doha. The Spokesperson answered that he will not.