5 January 2022
UNGA to Hold Five-Part Consultation on Our Common Agenda
UN Photo/Cia Pak
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UN Member States will begin consultations on the UN Secretary-General’s proposals for Our Common Agenda.

Discussions on five thematic clusters are scheduled for March and April 2022 and will aim to identify initiatives that could start within the 76th UNGA session.

Two discussion clusters specifically address acceleration of the SDGs; another cluster is ‘Protecting our planet and being prepared for the future'.

UN Member States will begin consultations on the UN Secretary-General’s proposals for Our Common Agenda, a set of 90 ways to realize a “greener, safer, better” future and avert a historical breakdown of societies. Discussions will be organized into five thematic clusters and are tentatively scheduled to begin on 10 February 2022.

The Our Common Agenda report responds to the September 2020 declaration on the commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary. It identifies actions that could advance the 12 commitments made by world leaders in that declaration in ways that also accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. (This graphic shows the proposed actions related to each of the 12 commitments.) 

Guterres presented the report to UN Member States on 10 September 2021. In November 2021, the UN General Assembly decided to:

  • Welcome the Secretary-General’s report as a basis for further consideration;
  • Ask the Secretary-General to inform Member States and engage in consultations on his proposals for action; and
  • Call upon the UNGA President to initiate “intergovernmental consideration” of the various proposals, options, and potential means of implementation and ways to take them forward.

Writing to Member States on 23 December 2021, UNGA President Abdulla Shahid said that in line with this resolution he will convene a series of “open, inclusive, informal” consultations. He indicated the organization for intergovernmental discussions that will take place in a five-part series over the course of February and March 2022. Two of the discussion clusters specifically address acceleration of the SDGs; one focuses on leaving no one behind and the other on financing and trustbuilding. Another cluster is ‘Protecting our planet and being prepared for the future.’ The other two clusters cover the proposals on ensuring a peaceful world and enhancing international cooperation.

Each consultation is scheduled to take place over two days. They each begin with a briefing by Guterres on the proposals related to the respective cluster. To enable Member States to discuss the report’s proposals and their potential means of implementation, the consultation will also include a half-day informal plenary debate, and a day of panel discussions with UN system representatives and stakeholders, such as young people, civil society and private sector representatives, and academics.

Shahid writes that the objective of the consultations is to “identify those initiatives that gather broad support among the membership and whose implementation could start during the resumed part of the 76th session” of the UNGA – i.e. before September 2022. Such broad support should include agreement on possible means of implementation, he indicates. The consultations would also allow the Assembly to identify initiatives needing further consideration.

The schedule for consultations is as follows:

  • 10-11 February: Accelerating and scaling up the SDGs, leaving no one behind;
  • 14-15 February: Accelerating the SDGs through sustainable financing and building trust;
  • 21-22 February: Frameworks for a peaceful world – promoting peace, international law and digital cooperation;
  • 3-4 March: Protecting our planet and being prepared for the future; and
  • 7-8 March: Enhancing international cooperation.

Concept notes are being prepared for each cluster.

In some areas of Our Common Agenda the UN Secretariat is already taking action. For example, Guterres announced in November that he will convene a summit on Transforming Education, which is proposed in ‘Our Common Agenda’ as part of the focus on better representing young people and future generations. He intends to appoint a Special Coordinator to lead preparations for the September 2022 event. 

The education summit is listed among the proposals to be discussed during the first thematic cluster of intergovernmental consultations in February. [UNGA President’s letter to Member States] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on OCA way forward]

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