A group of civil society organizations have identified three key messages from experts on how to fulfill commitments made in the UN75 declaration.
Ideas include a dedicated intergovernmental process to “strengthen and reform the legal and institutional machinery of the UN system," initiated through a UNGA resolution in September.
The experts' messages are intended as a contribution to a forthcoming report of the UN Secretary-General on 'Our Common Agenda'.
A group of civil society organizations have identified three key messages from experts on how to fulfill commitments made in the UN75 declaration, adopted by UN Member States in September 2020. The experts’ messages are intended as a contribution to a forthcoming report of the UN Secretary-General.
In September 2020, world leaders adopted the UN75 declaration – a political agreement marking the 75th anniversary of the UN – and called on the UN Secretary-General to provide recommendations to “advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges.” This report is expected to be published before the end of the UN’s 75th session in September 2021.
A new funding compact for an effective UN system has become a practical imperative.
In preparation for that report, a consortium of organizations held a series of six roundtable discussions to contribute “independent insights, analysis, and practical, yet ambitious proposals” for consideration in the Secretary-General’s report. Each session examined two of the 12 commitments made in the UN75 declaration. The discussions assessed progress and explored steps for achieving the needed reforms.
The major messages from each roundtable are summarized in previous articles on the SDG Knowledge Hub:
According to the summary report launched on 9 June 2021, discussions resulted in three pivotal messages: the need for greater inclusion of civil society and the global public in global governance; the importance of global cooperation for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and demand for an “ambitious and multi-track—yet realistic and carefully managed—strategy for reform” of the UN.
On the need for greater civil society and public inclusion, the messages emphasize that this should include institutionalized channels for participation. The report refers to a “democratic deficit” across the UN system, which hinders both its legitimacy and its effectiveness. Recommendations voiced during the consultations included:
- Appoint a UN Civil Society Envoy to expand capacity to engage proactively with civil society;
- Establish a UN Parliamentary Assembly to give elected representatives an agenda-setting role at the United Nation; and
- Increase communications between UN Member States and youth, to expand the contributions of youth to transnational governance.
On a green recovery from COVID-19, experts suggested that innovation must be aimed at supporting response to and recovery from the pandemic, in line with global climate goals. Proposals included:
- A Global Green Hydrogen Alliance to spur research and development, encourage transfer of intellectual property, and test deployment of environmentally friendly hydrogen technologies;
- Legally binding instruments for forest protection; and
- Debt relief efforts towards the poorest nations to advance the SDGs and provide support during the COVID-19 crisis.
The summary also states that a new “funding compact” to finance a sustainable, values-based, and effective UN system “has become a practical imperative.”
Finally, on UN reform, the consultations called for multiple vehicles for reform, to maintain momentum following the release of the Secretary-General’s report in September 2021. Discussions indicated support for a dedicated intergovernmental process to “strengthen and reform the legal and institutional machinery of the UN system.” This process could be initiated through the annual resolution on revitalization of the UN General Assembly, or a UNGA resolution adopted during the high-level week of the 76th session, in September 2021.
The summary report was published by: The Coalition for the UN We Need; Together First; CIVICUS; Global Challenges Foundation; Climate Governance Commission; Group of Women Leaders: Voices for Change and Inclusion; Plataforma CIPÓ; Council on Energy, Environment and Water; Baha’i International Community; Rutgers Center for Women’s Global Leadership; Search for Common Ground; Soroptimist International; Club de Madrid; and the Stimson Center, in association with The Elders. [Publication: Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise: An Expert Series’ Synthesis of Major Insights and Recommendations]