During the general debate, leaders of member states are allowed to take the podium to speak on any topic of their choice.
But with 193 member states, how does the UN determine who speaks first?
Historically, the honor goes to Brazil, followed by the United States as the host country. According to United Nations Protocol and Liaison Servicesthe tradition began because leaders of other countries were reluctant to take the podium at the start of the general debate.
Brazil therefore intervened. At the fourth general debate in 1949, Brazil was the first to speak, and it did so again over the next two years. Since 10th session in 1955, almost all debates were initiated by the South American nation.
After Brazil and the United States, the order of speakers is usually determined by an algorithm, based on factors such as geography, level of representation, and the order in which a request to speak was received.