New York (CNN)It sounds like a digestive tract flareup. But that's just how insiders pronounce the acronym for the annual United Nations General Assembly taking place this week: UNGA ("UNG-gah"). And when it ends, global leaders and a cast of thousands will indeed feel like taking some kind of medication.
More than 90 heads of state are descending on New York City. Here's what to watch for
For just one September week each year, everyone from kings, presidents and prime ministers on down to food tasters fly in to New York City and jam into the United Nations headquarters, in what has become a cliched joke about "diplomatic speed dating." But there's nothing funny about the top priority at this 74th year of UNGA year, which is the world's climate emergency.
The UN has arranged a special Climate Action summit on Monday September 23, before the formal speeches given by heads of state and governments that normally draw the most attention. Breaking with tradition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told country leaders not to come to the podium Monday without "concrete and transformative plans" to halt rising global temperatures, achieve carbon neutrality and cut carbon emissions by 45 percent. VIPs with proposals have been told they have just three minutes to speak.
How concrete the results of the summit will actually be is unclear. The UN doesn't have a global climate army to roam the planet stopping pollution, so it's up to the 193 nations of the UN to take action. What the UN will actually do is what some feel the organization sadly does best: collecting the speeches and other environmental brainstorms in a report.
The aim is to pressure world leaders to do more, as the climate emergency worsens. Some have made it a top priority -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in town for the climate summit, even though she's skipping the rest of the week. In contrast, US President Donald Trump will be in town, but he's skipping the climate summit -- instead hosting a session on religious persecution in the same building. Trump has previously avoided international meetings on climate.
The so-called "general debate" begins on Tuesday September 24, and the first country to speak is Brazil, by longstanding tradition. It'll be the debut UNGA appearance of Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, who recently vowed to attend even if in a wheelchair, following rec