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General debate statements at your fingertips

Thursday 17 September 2020

Topics: Resources

At the beginning of each session of the General Assembly, world leaders gather at UN Headquarters in New York to share their views on the world stage. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Member States have an opportunity to have their voices heard, and for their statements to be included as part of the official documentation of that year’s session.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year's general debate has transitioned to a mainly virtual format. World leaders will be submitting pre-recorded videos to be played in the General Assembly Hall.

Want to learn more about which speakers have represented your country over the years? Which speaker gave the longest speech? Which Heads of State have delivered statements since 1946?

The Dag Hammarskjöld Library places information on which speaker spoke for which country and when at your fingertips, through their Ask DAG FAQs and the related meeting records in the UN Digital Library. In the lead-up to this year’s general debate, an intensive project was undertaken to review each speaker's information, including the accuracy and consistency of their names, and to standardize and enhance the existing metadata.

Librarians have been hard at work digging through UN documentation and a variety of reference tools to research statements made at the general debate from 1946 to the present day to ensure the accuracy of the data for over 500 speakers. The project benefited from the expansion of material digitized by the Library, as well as the full text search capabilities available in the UN Digital Library.

There is usually a delay before meeting records of the general debate are officially released, but speeches can be accessed through the General Assembly website. The Meetings Coverage & Press Releases website also provides summaries. Ask DAG FAQs for each Member State will be continuously updated during and after the 75th general debate.

Ask DAG has the answers! Explore the Dag Hammarskjöld Library's collection of FAQs for the general debate statements of all Member States, and find the texts of those speeches in the UN Digital Library.