The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is a monumental event that draws the attention of leaders, diplomats and the global community to New York City every year. This gathering provides a platform for discussions on pressing global issues, policy debates and diplomatic negotiations. However, the UNGA isn't just an ordinary conference; it's a complex affair that involves a flurry of activities and extensive security considerations. Here's what you need to know to navigate the commotion during the UN General Assembly.
Week One: A Lively Atmosphere
The UNGA typically spans two weeks, with each week having a distinct atmosphere. During the first week, the city becomes lively as many world leaders and controversial figures arrive. This also means heightened security measures, both visible and discreet.
Week Two: A Subdued Atmosphere
As the UNGA progresses into its second week, the heat begins to settle. The initial surge of high-profile attendees gives way to a more subdued environment. While the discussions continue, the pace is noticeably different from the previous week.
The POTUS Impact: Navigating Manhattan
When the President of the United States (POTUS) visits the UNGA, the city experiences its most significant disruption. Streets on the east side of Manhattan undergo sustained and extensive closures, leading to alterations in commuting routes and traffic patterns. Be cautious of significant traffic delays along with some of the most extensive protest activity.
Business Planning: Preparedness is Key
International conflict and ongoing military operations can often have ramifications close to home, especially during global events with high-profile attendees. Businesses located throughout New York City, and especially in the midtown area, should be prepared for protests, disruptions and potential violence. It is essential for organizations of every size and scope to remain vigilant with a robust and layered security plan.It is a good idea to review security audits and penetration tests, reinforcing staffing and access control in vulnerable areas. Timely and accurate intelligence is also key. Knowing how and when an organization may become a target is necessary to proactively avert attacks. MSA’s Strategic Intelligence Analysis Team provides a detailed understanding of emerging threats in near real-time.
Safety First: Awareness and Caution
Despite extensive security measures, heightened police presence and diplomatic security, it's important to stay cautious and alert. Be aware of your surroundings at all times while navigating the streets, avoiding crowds and areas of potential protest. Organizations should communicate clearly with employees before and during the event to promote awareness and preparedness throughout the organization. Workplace safety must always remain a top priority. Use this quick guide for recommendations in communicating best practices for vigilance in and around the workplace. Learn how to keep your workplace safety a priority by downloading our Workplace Safety Sheet here.
Navigating the Streets: Practical Tips
The UNGA's impact on daily life extends beyond security measures. Street closures and unexpected disruptions can make transportation challenging. If you have a vehicle parked in a garage, unexpected street closures might make it difficult to retrieve your car on short notice. Avoid 1st Avenue as much as possible during this period. If you're walking near the UN headquarters, be mindful of fast-moving vehicle convoys that might be rushing delegates to their destinations.
The Big Picture: Impact on Street Crime
One surprising and welcomed outcome of the UNGA is typically a positive impact on street crime. With an enormous presence of NYPD officers supporting protective service details, the increased law enforcement presence often results in a drop in street crime. However, it's always prudent to remain aware of your surroundings.
While the diplomatic discussions may seem far removed from the everyday lives of NYC residents, the potential for disruption and unrest is real. Navigating the UNGA requires a blend of awareness, caution and preparedness. By staying informed and following the suggested tips, you can make the most of this vibrant time in the city while prioritizing safety and well-being.
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