BY Victoria Ojeme
The United Nations has appointed Nigeria’s envoy, Amb. Samson Itegboje as the Interim President for the General Assembly’s Special Session on the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Itegboje, who is the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, was mandated in his capacity as the Interim President to put the modalities in place to convene the 31st special session of the General Assembly on Friday, starting from July 10, 2020.
However, a date for the 31st Special Session, to be held by video teleconference, has yet to be decided.
The convening of the 31st special session of the General Assembly followed a request by Azerbaijan, on behalf of the Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group Meeting in response to COVID-19, which was hosted in May 2020 by Azerbaijan.
A special session of the United Nations General Assembly is a mini General Assembly called to deal with special matters and in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations Charter provides for the General Assembly to meet in special sessions:”Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, consequently informed the Member States of the decision to convoke the 31st special session of the General Assembly on COVID-19 after more than two-thirds majority had concurred.
In a letter to the Member States, Itegboje has proposed that the General Assembly elects Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria as the President of the General Assembly at its 31st special session. Muhammad-Bande is currently the President of the 74th (regular) session of the General Assembly following his election in 2019.
Itegboje has informed the Member States that the General Assembly would have to decide on modalities for substantive discussions on the topic of the special session, including its date and any other matters concerning the organisation of the session.
He also informed the Member States that the Credentials Committee of the 31st special session should have the same membership as the 74th regular session of the Assembly.
These are Barbados, Botswana, China, Mauritius, Nepal, the Russian Federation, San Marino, the United States of America and Uruguay.
The 31st special session of the General Assembly would hold by video teleconference due to restrictions on in-persons meetings in line with the guidelines on COVID-19 pandemic.