Governments Near Agreement on 75th Anniversary: ‘The Future We Want, The UN We Need’
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A final draft resolution on organizational details of the 75th anniversary comemoration event is currently under silence procedure.

It will be considered agreed if no objections are raised by 12 pm EST on 31 May 2019.

Per the draft text, the commemoration will take the form of a day-long, high-level UNGA meeting on 21 September 2020, on the theme, 'The future we want, the UN we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism'.

30 May 2019: UN Member States are nearing the finalization of plans for commemorating the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020. A draft resolution on organizational details has been circulated under silence procedure. After a one-day extension, the text will be considered agreed if no objections are raised by 12 pm EST on 31 May 2019.

A zero draft of the resolution was developed by the co-facilitators for intergovernmental consultations on the date and modalities, Permanent Representatives Burhan Gafoor of Singapore and Bergdis Ellertsdottir of Iceland, and circulated on 29 April 2019. On 6 May, governments provided initial feedback on the zero draft, additional consultations took place, and on 16 May the co-facilitators shared the second draft. Another consultation meeting took place on 20 May, and the final draft was circulated on 28 May under silence procedure. On 30 May, the UNGA President informed governments that the silence procedure had been extended for an additional day.

The theme of the high-level meeting will guide all activities, meetings and conferences organized at the UN in 2020.

If the final text is agreed, the commemoration will take the form of a high-level meeting of the UNGA. It will have as its theme, ‘The future we want, the UN we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism.’ By the zero draft, the theme would have been “The World We Want, the Future We Need.” In addition, the final draft would decide that the theme of the high-level meeting will “guide all activities, meetings and conferences organized at the United Nations in 2020,” including the general debate of the UNGA’s 75th session.

Per the draft, the event is to convene on Monday, 21 September 2020, with no other intergovernmental meetings or side events taking place in parallel at UN Headquarters. The programme can run from 9 am to 9 pm, while the zero draft had outlined a three-hour meeting taking place only in the morning. The list of opening statements now includes the President of the International Court of Justice, in addition to the UN Secretary-General, the Presidents of the UNGA, the Security Council and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and youth representation.

The outcome document of the commemoration event will be a declaration that is concise, substantive, forward-looking and “unifying,” and captures Member States’ collective commitment to multilateralism, their commitment to the UN, and their shared vision for a common future.

Also in 2020, a Youth Plenary will take place at UN Headquarters, including a “youth-driven, global” dialogue on the theme of the commemoration event, and send representatives to address the high-level meeting. The Plenary is to be convened under the auspices of the UNGA President and the ECOSOC President in conjunction with the 2020 ECOSOC Youth Forum.

In addition to the high-level meeting on 21 September, the draft resolution says Member States will commemorate the signing of the UN Charter on 26 June 2020 and UN Day on 24 October 2020 through observance ceremonies in New York.

As next steps, the draft text mandates governments to:

  • Request the President of the 74th UNGA to appoint two co-facilitators for intergovernmental negotiations on the declaration, to be concluded by June 2020;
  • Request the President of the 74th UNGA to determine the modalities of the ceremonies in June and October;
  • Encourage national and regional initiatives to support the commemoration of the 75th anniversary; and
  • Request the Secretary-General to receive voluntary contributions to support the commemoration event.

The text welcomes the appointment of a focal point to coordinate the UN system’s activities on the anniversary. In April 2019, Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond (Chile) was appointed Special Adviser on Preparations for the Commemoration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary. In a briefing for Member States he noted plans to conduct a UN system-wide process of consultations on the role of the UN in advancing international cooperation and in supporting the ability of Member States to respond to emerging challenges and “frontier issues.” The focal point is also expected to coordinate a global communications and outreach strategy. [Final draft resolution]


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