The multi-stakeholder event was part of a series on ‘Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’ being organized by the Coalition for the UN We Need, the Stimson Center, and other partners.
The discussion addressed world leaders' commitments to “place women and girls at the center” (commitment 5) and “listen to and work with youth” (commitment 11).
The Secretary-General's report on 'Our Common Agenda' is expected to be released by September 2021.
World leaders have committed to centering women and girls and listening to and working with youth; a recent roundtable discussion focused on how these commitments could be realized. The multi-stakeholder event was part of a series on ‘Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’ being organized by the Coalition for the UN We Need, the Stimson Center, and other partners.
Each roundtable focuses on two of the 12 commitments made by Heads of State and Government in their declaration marking the UN’s 75th anniversary in September 2020. The UN75 declaration calls on the Secretary-General to propose recommendations for transformative global action to address the problems identified in the text. The expert series aims to generate proposals for consideration in this forthcoming report of the UN Secretary-General, which is referred to as ‘Our Common Agenda.’
The discussion on 1 April 2021 first addressed the commitment to “place women and girls at the center” (commitment 5). Speakers said gender-based violence (GBV) transcends borders, religion, culture, class, and all other identities. Recommendations included to use the GBV framework rather than the framework of violence against women and girls (VAW), in order to include bisexual, lesbian, and trans women, trans and intersex men, and non-binary individuals. It was also stressed that GBV in the context of peace and security must remain a standing agenda item at the UN. Participants also: called for finding ways to show women as leaders and change agents, not just victims; observed a need for healthy role models of manhood and masculinity; and suggested linking the UN’s Gender Equality Forum to cities, to help translate ideas into action.
The 1 April roundtable also addressed a leaders’ pledge to “listen to and work with youth” (commitment 11). The discussion highlighted that failing young people today hampers a country’s ability to succeed in the long run. Speakers observed that: the UN’s history is one of a patriarchal and bureaucratic organization; the UN Delegates programme could provide an avenue for young people to share their voices, but the youth representatives are selected by governments; and the most marginalized should be better represented within youth groups in multilateral settings.
Participants recommended that the UN foster partnerships among youth, civil society, and multilateral systems, in order to “create a space that reflects the world we know today.” Another recommendation was for international institutions to invest US $1 per young person living in the world today and remove burdensome requirements for accessing grants.
The first roundtable in the series took place on 18 February 2021 and addressed the commitments to “leave no one behind” (commitment 1) and “be prepared” (commitment 12). In the second roundtable, held on 18 March, participants focused on the commitments to “protect our planet” (commitment 2) and “boost partnerships” (commitment 10).
The roundtable series continues in April and May with:
- “Promote peace and prevent conflicts” (commitment 3) and “abide by international law and ensure justice” (commitment 4) – 15 April;
- “Build trust” (commitment 6) and “improve digital cooperation” (commitment 7) – 29 April; and
- “Upgrade the United Nations” (commitment 8) and “ensure sustainable financing (commitment 9) – 13 May.
The Secretary-General’s report on ‘Our Common Agenda’ is expected to be released by September 2021. [Summary of roundtable]