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Zelenskiy to address UN general assembly for first time since start of Russia-Ukraine war – live updates

Ukrainian president, US president Joe Biden, Brazil’s president Lula to speak amid hopes 77th annual summit will focus on global development

Western leaders have gone on a charm offensive on the opening day of the UN general assembly as they were forced to defend their record in meeting the organisation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), and insist that the war in Ukraine had not distracted them from this commitment to end global inequality.

At a special summit in New York amounting to a halfway stocktake on progress towards meeting the goals by the target date of 2030, all sides acknowledged there was little chance that the ambitious set of commitments set in 2015, including ending extreme poverty and safeguarding the environment, will be met on schedule.

Millions of people have fallen into poverty, hunger and malnutrition are becoming more prevalent, humanitarian needs are rising, and the impacts of climate change are more pronounced. This has led to increased inequality exacerbated by weakened international solidarity and a shortfall of trust to jointly overcome these crises.

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