President Jacob Zuma will travel to New York to participate in next week’s session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) will take place in New York from 20-26 September 2016 under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world”.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said this year’s general debate takes place in the context of growing inter-connected global challenges.

“These include growing instability brought about by, inter-alia, and continued conflict, increased cases of terrorism, large-scale movements of refugees and migrants; economic stagnation and underdevelopment,” the Minister told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Deliberations will also include UN reform, within the context of the revitalization of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and most importantly, the substantive reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

This year will also be the final general debate under the term of the current Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, whose term ends at the end of December.

While the process of selecting and appointing the next Secretary-General would not have been completed by the time the general debate takes place, this process is likely to over-shadow proceedings.

Nkoane-Mashabane said the current process is “opaque and dissatisfaction about how past UNSGs have been appointed has grown amongst the vast majority of UN member states, supported by a significant number of civil society organizations”.

Many countries and groups are advocating for more transparency, predictability, as well as a greater role for the UNGA in the process.

Several meetings will also be held on the side-lines of the UNGA.

These include high-level meetings which will be addressing the large movements of refugees and migrants.

“The meeting is particularly important for South Africa, as the African Continent is one of the most affected regions experiencing large movement of refugees and migrants and South Africa, in particular, is amongst the largest recipients of migrants and refugees in the world,” Nkoane-Mashabane said.

Other meetings will include the high-level commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (HLC HEEG) to be co-hosted by President Zuma and President Francois Hollande of France in their capacity as co-chairs of the High-Level Commission, as well as commemorate the Five Year Anniversary of the open government partnership between France and South Africa.

Zuma will be accompanied by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane; State Security Minister David Mahlobo; Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe; Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba; Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi; Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies; International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers and Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.