19 Mar 2020 - The wave of postponements and cancellations of UN meetings around the world is affecting preparations for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, and the fifth UN conference on the least developed countries (LDCs), as well as efforts to reach agreements on new frameworks for biological diversity and chemicals and waste management beyond 2020. In some areas, work is shifting to alternative virtual formats, such as the UN’s Fifth Committee on administrative and budgetary matters.
By early March, a number of announcements regarding the postponement or cancellation of meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic had been made. The UN Commission on the Status of Women held a historically short meeting for its 64th session, convening for a half-day on 9 March 2020 to adopt a political declaration before suspending. The CSW usually brings together thousands of participants the world for a two-week session and hundreds of side events.
On 11 March, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted to postpone the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC 4) on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), with new dates to be determined (decision 74/543). IGC 4 had been scheduled to convene from 23 March to 3 April. UNGA President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande also announced that two high-level events would not go forward: the High-level Interactive Panel on Anti-microbial Resistance, scheduled for 14 April 2020; and the High-level event to commemorate and promote the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, scheduled for 24 April 2020.