President Peter Mutharika returns to the United Nations (UN) Headquarters to address the 69th session of the assembly.
The last time Mutharika addressed UN General assembly was three years ago when he was Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration and the renovations of the General Assembly Hall had not been completed.
When he arrived on Monday, construction workers were working around the clock both inside and outside the newly renovated iconic General Assembly Hall to get it ready in time.
By the time Mutharika will be making his maiden address on September 25 2014 as a recently elected Head of State of Malawi on the theme: “Delivering on and implementing a transformative post-2015 development agenda”, the construction works will be done and the hall will have, according to a veteran UN correspondent, the look and feel of the original structure from the 1950s, but with state-of-the-art electronics.
According to the UN’s information centre, the seven-year renovation project has replaced the gold-leafed background behind the iconic UN emblem which got caked with tar and nicotine over the decades of cigarette and cigar smoke, resurrecting the original forest green carpet that had become faded and threadbare in spots as well as restoring the leather desks and chairs to their original form and colour – with the exception of removing the ashtrays and raising the desks one and a half inches to make them wheelchair accessible.
During the Assembly’s annual high-level segment, known as the “General Debate”, the 196 world leaders are expected to tackle myriad crises, ranging from the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa to ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and South Sudan as well as urgent threats such as the long-term consequences of climate change and ongoing poverty and hunger in many parts of the world.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, on September 23, will be hosting a climate change summit, an initiative directly spearheaded by him.