UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday kicked off its annual general debate, with heads of state and government representatives gathering at the UN headquarters to present their views about pressing world issues.
In his annual report on the work of the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted "nuclear peril," stressing that "global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War."
"I condemn those tests unequivocally," he said.
The UN chief listed the most serious threats facing the world, including nuclear peril, terrorism, unresolved conflicts and systematic violations of international humanitarian law, and climate change.
Guterres began intense diplomatic activity Monday with a round of high-level events, among others, on UN reform, financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
This year's Assembly President, Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia, delivered the keynote opening speech, highlighting peace and prevention.
"UN is unfortunately spending too much time and money reacting to conflicts, and not enough on preventing them," the GA president said.
A stronger focus on people should also be high on the agenda for UN, Lajcak said, as people would "see the United Nations' blue flag as a first sign of safety and the beginning of change."
The president highly commended the Paris Climate Agreement, saying it "has shown the world's effort to improve the lives of all people, and secure the future of the planet we live on."
Brazilian President Michel Temer, whose country holds the traditional role of first national speaker, became the first world leader to present his views on issues of major concern.
Temer was followed by United States President Donald Trump, as leader of the host nation.
On Monday, the United States organized a meeting on reform of the UN where Trump took the floor.
The theme of the General Debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly is "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet," and in that spirit world leaders and senior national representatives are expected to launch discussions that will define international responses to many of the global challenges of the day.
Other highlights include an event on women's economic empowerment; a ministerial-level Security Council debate on reform of UN peacekeeping operations; a special meeting of the Assembly to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and a two-day high-level meeting on the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
To engage people all over the world in the important conversations happening at the UN General Assembly this year, the United Nations is hosting the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Media Zone at the UN headquarters.
Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.
Comprising all 193 members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.