International Order & Conflict
Report
Program
Global Governance, Justice & Security
Project
Global Governance Innovation Network, Strengthening Global Governance

Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise

An Expert Series’ Synthesis of Major Insights and Recommendations

Perspectives on practical yet ambitious proposals for the Secretary-General’s forthcoming Our Common Agenda report.

By Banou Arjomand  ·  Cristina Petcu  ·  Richard Ponzio
June 9, 2021
Summary

This summary report was published in collaboration 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.

On 21 September 2020, following several months of negotiations, world leaders adopted the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (UN75 Declaration). Recalling the UN’s vital normative foundations, global legitimacy, and unparalleled convening power, it offers a positive vision and twelve commitments to action across the global agenda, including COVID-19 pandemic response, climate action, prevention of violent conflict in fragile states, protecting biodiversity, upholding arms control and disarmament agreements, enhancing democratic governance, improving digital trust and security, and safeguarding human rights and the rules-based international order. As the next step, this report supports the fulfillment of the UN75 Declaration’s promise—as the international community faces a set of intersecting and intensifying global challenges—and broader efforts to strengthen and innovate global governance.

Introduction

On 21 September 2020, following several months of negotiations, world leaders adopted the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (UN75 Declaration). Recalling the UN’s vital normative foundations, global legitimacy, and unparalleled convening power, it offers a positive vision and twelve commitments to action across the global agenda, including COVID-19 pandemic response, climate action, prevention of violent conflict in fragile states, protecting biodiversity, upholding arms control and disarmament agreements, enhancing democratic governance, improving digital trust and security, and safeguarding human rights and the rules-based international order. As the next step, the Declaration calls for “the Secretary-General to report back before the end of the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly with recommendations to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges.”

Convened from February through May 2021 by a consortium of civil society organizations,1The roundtable series co-sponsors included: 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. the Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise Expert Roundtable Series contributed independent insights, analysis, and practical, yet ambitious proposals for the Secretary-General’s forthcoming Our Common Agenda report—expected by September 2021, prior to the UN General Assembly High-Level Week.2Disclaimer: The roundtable series was led by independent non-profit organizations, not by the United Nations. Its findings were made available to the United Nations for consideration for the UN Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda. The roundtable series took place on Zoom, in English, and under the Chatham House Rule. For each session, innovative leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further proposals needed to advance the UN75 Declaration. To this end, the six-part series took stock of progress toward achieving the twelve UN75 Declaration commitments, introduced alternative institutional, policy, and normative innovations for improving implementation, and considered steps for achieving such reforms, including a possible follow-on intergovernmental process as recommended in the Coalition for the UN We Need-Together First Eminent Persons Open Letter.

In this compendium, a not-for-individual-attribution synthesis of the major insights and recommendations from each of the six roundtables is presented and made available to both the United Nations and the global public-at-large. The expert series was intended to support the fulfillment of the UN75 Declaration’s promise—as the international community faces a set of intersecting and intensifying global challenges—and broader efforts to strengthen and innovate global governance.

Three Pivotal Messages from the Roundtable Series

Among the roundtable series’ most significant takeaways were: (1) repeated calls for greater inclusion of civil society and the global public in global governance, including through institutionalized channels for participation; (2) the importance of leveraging growing global cooperation for a green recovery from the pandemic when making the case for institutional, policy, and normative innovations across the United Nations system; and (3) the urgent need to combine analysis and concrete proposals for global governance change with an ambitious and multi-track—yet realistic and carefully managed—strategy for reform.

  • Building More Inclusive Global Governance: New voices and creative ideas should be brought into international decision-making to overcome the UN’s system-wide “democratic deficit.” To further expand the world body’s legitimacy and effectiveness too, several participants offered multiple, forward-leaning recommendations, including a (i) United Nations Civil Society Envoy to expand the organisation’s limited capacity to engage proactively with civil society, (ii) a World Citizens’ Initiative to enable people to bring popular proposals before the UN General Assembly or Security Council, and (iii) a UN Parliamentary Assembly to give elected representatives an agenda-setting role at the United Nations. Additionally, (iv) advancing gender justice involves being inclusive of excluded communities within the wider societal group of women and girls in all their diversity, such as indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+, and those from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. Moreover, (v) expanding the contributions of youth to transnational governance entails increased communications between UN Member States and youth to create new ways of learning and empowering youth. Reflecting the UN Secretary-General’s emphasis on “networked and inclusive multilateralism,” (vi) balanced and equitable integration of public and private financing models for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals can also contribute to more inclusive global governance.
  • Leveraging Post-COVID-19 Green Recovery for Global Governance Innovation: Whether in the form of institutional, policy, or normative change, many roundtable series participants recognized that global innovation must be seen to reinforce, rather than detract from, the overriding policy-making concern of most international decision-makers for the foreseeable future: ensuring an immediate humanitarian response and then broader socioeconomic recovery from the pandemic, in line with vital, agreed Paris Climate Agreement goals. For instance, (i) a Global Green Hydrogen Alliance could spur research and development, encourage the transfer of intellectual property through licensing, and employ emerging markets as the testbeds for deploying environmentally friendly hydrogen technologies at scale. Moreover, (ii) UN Member States should negotiate legally binding instruments for forest protection, involving the exporters, importers, and financiers of foreign products. Furthermore, (iii) debt relief efforts towards the poorest nations must be maintained to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and to ensure much-needed humanitarian support during the COVID-19 crisis. This could take the form of debt suspension, debt cancellation, or debt swaps, including climate swaps involving the Green Climate Fund. Additionally, (iv) a new “funding compact” to finance a sustainable, values-based, and effective UN system has become a practical imperative.
  • Ensuring a Comprehensive and Skillfully Led Strategy for Reform: Without multiple, carefully designed, and politically supported vehicles for reform, momentum could quickly dissipate following the September release of the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report. In this regard, several contributors to the roundtable series lent their support, for example, to the ongoing Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, and the ongoing reviews of the Economic and Social Council and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Several also expressed support for the September 2020 Eminent Persons Open Letter, signed by fifty former world leaders and UN officials, calling for a “dedicated intergovernmental process” as a follow-up to the UN75 Declaration to “strengthen and reform the legal and institutional machinery of the UN system.” In this regard, two near-term options for initiating a multi-stakeholder, intergovernmental negotiation process for taking forward the UN75 Declaration and Our Common Agenda are: (1) the annual resolution of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, planned for early September 2021, and (2) a General Assembly resolution adopted during United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week in New York (September 20-24, 2021).

Roundtable Series Methodology and Outputs

The six-part Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise Expert Roundtable Series was announced, on 13 January 2021, at a Coalition for the UN We Need-sponsored post-UN75 event featuring signatories of the September 2020 Eminent Persons Open Letter. Each ninety-minute virtual session in the series brought together a select yet diverse group of 25-30 expert-level representatives from the UN Missions and Secretariat, think tanks, universities, and non-governmental advocacy organizations to address two closely related commitments from the twelve presented in the UN75 Declaration (please see Annex I for each roundtable’s list of participants). In advance of each session, the organizers shared background readings, including short memos  (5-6 pp. each) prepared by the Stimson Center’s Global Governance, Justice & Security Program for each one of the UN75 Declaration’s twelve commitments. Several memos have been presented during the roundtable discussions as well.Held off-the-record under the Chatham House Rule, each roundtable was initiated with brief remarks from a headline speaker—from either The Elders, Club de Madrid, or Group of Women Leaders: Voices for Change and Inclusion—and two-to-three discussants.

For each individual roundtable, the participants were encouraged to speak to either points raised by an opening speaker or in connection with the session’s two UN75 Declaration Commitment memos. Brief, immediate follow-up points or questions posed to a preceding speaker were also welcomed, and each session concluded with a summary of major insights and recommendations discussed.

Incorporating feedback from the expert roundtable, the UN75 Declaration Commitment memos were revised, and the Stimson Center will present them, in June 2021, in its forthcoming report Beyond UN75: A Roadmap for Inclusive, Networked & Effective Global Governance. At the heart of this Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise Expert Roundtable Series compendium are syntheses for each of the six individual sessions, highlighting key insights and specific proposals toward implementing the full range of the UN75 Declaration’s commitments (including ideas on global policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational change; see Annex II for select global governance innovation examples from the roundtable series).

Roundtable Series Calendar, Session Co-Sponsors, and Headline Speaker

The insights and recommendations generated by the Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise Expert Roundtable Series will be presented at the upcoming Global Town Hall and the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the UN System in June 2021, and the Global People’s Forum in October 2021 and Global Policy Dialogue on Global Governance Innovation in December 2021, in addition to having been shared with the “We the Peoples” Digital Consultation, held in April and May 2021, in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report.

Expert Roundtable 1

UN75 Declaration commitments

#1 We will leave no one behind and #12 We will be prepared

Hosted on 18 February 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On February 18, 2021, a consortium of civil society stakeholder organizations initiated the first in a six-part “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration​. This inaugural discussion, co-sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need, CIVICUS, and the Stimson Center, and in collaboration with The Elders, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #1 on “We will leave no one behind” (focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) and #12 on “We will be prepared” (focused on preventing health crises). 

The first roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Member of The Elders; Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst, Stimson Center; Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer, CIVICUS; and (moderator) Fergus Watt, International Coordinator, Coalition for the UN We Need.

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“The pandemic has highlighted the deeply interconnected nature of our world, and the extent to which our own security is wholly dependent on the security of others. It has also laid bare the stark inequalities that exist both within and between countries. Nowhere can this inequality be more obviously seen than in the monopolisation of vaccines by the richest and most powerful countries, which risks preventing much of the Global South from having widespread access to vaccines until 2022 or 2023. This approach will not only lead to a deepening of global inequalities but will actively undermine all countries’ national efforts to bring this disease under control.”

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 

“The current health crisis demonstrates a continued and severe lack of preparedness in our global health system. And despite various disease outbreaks over the years, we still lack a global health system that, for example, ensures global access to essential medical equipment, such as personal protective equipment, sanitation items, medicines and vaccines.”

Cristina Petcu (in presenting two Stimson Center Overviews of UN75 Declarations commitments #1 and #12)

“To ‘be prepared’ for the next global challenge, international cooperation, coordination and solidarity through the UN are critical. Much more needs to be done to realize people-centred multilateralism in the spirit of the UN Charter. Our present approach to international cooperation remains predominantly state centric. There are many reasons for this including the global democratic deficit and civic space challenges.”

Mandeep Tiwana

UN75 Declaration Commitment #1 – We will leave no one behind

Major points voiced by participants

  • For the UN to work effectively in a multi-sectoral way, it must extend beyond traditional paradigms and attitudes, focusing on how its pillars (Human Rights, Peace and Security, and Development) can work coherently together rather than along separate paths. The 2030 Agenda negotiations demonstrated the potential for multi-sectoral coherence, despite the difficulty in forging consensus across many UN Member States.
  • While the UN75 Declaration represents a shared roadmap to ensure that multilateralism is working, a deficit in multilateral leadership among national political representatives remains. A more inclusive approach to multilateralism that brings together various stakeholders is needed considering the critical debate on public goods vs private interests.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to tackle structural inequalities within and between states, but COVID-19 has underscored the lack of needed change across the board. Progress toward meeting the SDGs was off course before COVID-19, and in many cases, the pandemic has halted and even reversed progress on the 2030 Agenda. 
  • To address the myriad challenges highlighted by COVID-19 and the commitment to “build back better”, governments must feature the 2030 Agenda prominently and holistically in their recovery responses. Moreover, COVID-19 recovery must focus on green and sustainable measures.
  • The post-COVID-19 world provides an opportunity to address unheeded structural problems, including inequality, even if the needs are great and action may be costly.
  • COVID-19 has also shown that progressive taxation that addresses inequalities in wealth is fundamental for diminishing inequality and leaving no one behind. Civil society groups (including indigenous peoples and trade unions) should push the United Nations and its Member States to abandon austerity; fortunately, most states are stepping up and at least trying to provide a type of stimulus to citizens.
  • By actively engaging global civil society, the United Nations will also be encouraged to place human rights and global public goods at the center of its decision-making and programming. Given the private sector’s inherent limitations, the United Nations would be wise to not over-rely on it or to afford it undue influence.  
  • Leaving no one behind also means leaving no one offline. Digitalization needs to be prioritized by governments at local and national levels.
  • A fundamental question to help guide effective and equitable policy action is: “How do we involve everybody in re-setting our strategy?” Progress will be constrained in rolling out the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals if local and international civil society organizations are not involved directly, including organizations for women, girls, and scholars. Civil society, including academia, can, for instance, help to advance the 2030 Agenda simply by bolstering the case for science.  However, civic space around the world remains highly constrained. CIVICUS Monitor statistics reveal that 87 percent of the world’s population live in countries with adverse civic space conditions despite the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly being an inalienable part of international and constitutional law. The absence of civic space robs the ability of most people to shape the decisions that impact their lives and undermines progress on Agenda 2030 commitments.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • The UN’s Human Rights pillar is important to “leaving no one behind”, and in this regard, the Secretary-General’s Call to Action should be kept front and center. 
  • Effective SDGs implementation and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 require greater targeting and inclusion of marginalized groups in decision-making.
  • Civil society (and not simply Member States) must also play an integral part in UN decision-making on assessing SDGs progress and addressing gaps in implementation.
  • In May 2000, a Millennium People’s Forum was convened and proved to be extremely useful as diverse civil society representatives and other stakeholders debated UN policy issues and made concrete recommendations to the General Assembly. Such a major civil society and other stakeholder’s forum should be formalized and could occur every 2-3 years in the GA Hall and involve both the President of the General Assembly and Secretary-General. 
  • As co-facilitators of the review of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Austria and Senegal are currently engaging UN Member States on how to make the HLPF more effective. Canada and Jamaica’s related work on improving financing for development (including matters such as debt management) are also critical to strengthening SDGs implementation.
  • Leaving no one behind means: 1) accelerating access to equitable and affordable vaccines; 2) ensuring human rights (to combat growing infringement on civic freedoms and the spread of misinformation); and 3) strengthening the HLPF’s mandate. 
  • Changing the policy priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris Climate Agreement, and the SDGs in silos will not help advance the goals each framework is committed to implementing. Rather, policy linkages between the three frameworks should be strengthened, public financing improved (e.g., a philanthropic institution, the Gates Foundation, should not serve as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) largest funder, although its support is appreciated), and the governance systems for implementing these frameworks should be innovated. 
  • The precursor to the HLPF, the Commission on Sustainable Development, did two things that were unique at the time: (1) reported on progress in implementing the 1992 Rio Earth Summit conventions and Agenda 21, and (2) tracked related public expenditure. The HLPF should fulfill similar functions, with the support of relevant stakeholders from civil society and other stakeholders, including the business community. An inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach is critical because diverse state and non-state actors are needed to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals on the ground; HLPF discussions, therefore, need to help facilitate and connect local and sub-national level actions with national, regional, and global-level policy discussions.
  • To better deliver on Agenda 2030 the private sector needs to discharge its social responsibilities in upholding key commitments by, for example, supporting measures to address inequality, sustainable consumption and production, and respecting rule of law. To better deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the private sector needs more accountable platforms to report on issues and advances in support of the SDGs.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #12 – We will be prepared

Major points voiced by participants

  • Today’s greatest moral test of multilateral cooperation is ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Disagreements are widespread as to how to best curb excessive “vaccine nationalism” and improve equitable access to life-saving vaccines.
  • Vaccines should be viewed as a global public good, and the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva should prioritize expanding access globally to COVID-19 vaccines, including through the ACT Accelerator initiative. The pandemic cannot be defeated without resilient health systems worldwide.
  • During the present COVID-19 crisis, more traditional financing for development models has proven slow and insufficient to meet development needs around the world.
  • To link more efficiently global public goods and development assistance financing models, better coordination across major socio-economic sectors is required globally. Moreover, to better fight future health pandemics, their prevention must be addressed simultaneously and in a multi-sectoral fashion at both national and global levels.
  • The current pandemic reveals the need for more data (easily accessible at national/local levels) and closer collaboration among those engaged in vaccine production. 
  • More effort is also needed to mobilize and share global vaccine manufacturing and distribution capabilities worldwide. Some plurilateral agreements exist that, in effect, contribute to fragmented Research & Development and unequal access to vaccines in many parts of the globe.
  • Debates continue about responsibility for the protection of intellectual property across borders, but given what is at stake with respect to pandemic preparedness and broader health security measures, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) need to be reconceptualized in order to bring about more equitable production and distribution of vaccines around the world.
  • Scientists’ warning of new zoonotic diseases has not been incorporated into a global preparedness system that can then support regional and national institutions and operate as a kind of first line of defense against the spread of future deadly diseases.
  • Local and international civil society organizations represent in many ways (though not exclusively) the voices of the people, and when they are encouraged to support multi-stakeholder partnerships with governments and the UN Secretariat, progressive coalitions for change can be forged in response to a particular global problem-set, such as health insecurity.
  • Promoting effective health security goes hand-in-hand with building trust, and trust must be continuously nurtured to prepare for future crises, especially if it is to help to combat widespread misinformation that can exacerbate health insecurity.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • Investing in health-security preparedness should remain a policy priority and entail steps to improve TRIPS agreement implementation through the World Trade Organization. 
  • A strong and supportive international financial architecture is needed to help developing countries invest in health-security and to treat pandemic preparedness as a global public good for the benefit of all countries and peoples.
  • Not everything can be left to the United Nations, which depends on health security interventions by the G20, World Trade Organization, and regional and sub-regional bodies. The global vaccination plan led by a combination of the G20, WHO, GAVI, CEPI, and the private sector is essential in research and development, distributing, and administering vaccines. Pharmaceuticals need to be mobilized, and the private sector must play its part with full transparency to ensure proper and equitable vaccine distribution. The COVAX facility needs to be funded fully and given other capabilities and the authorities to fulfill its central mission of building the manufacturing capabilities and purchasing vaccines so that some 2 billion doses of proven safe vaccines can be fairly distributed by the end of 2021.
  • The pandemic’s economic repercussions have been felt most severely in developing countries. To prevent the present global public health crisis from precipitating a sustained global economic crisis, post-vaccine economic recovery must be managed carefully, coordinated across countries and regions, and include a mix of economic tools, including strategic investments and debt forgiveness.
  • Many developing countries facing knock-on socioeconomic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic became even more dependent on (relatively scarce and slow) international development assistance. More reliable public financing (especially for financing at scale) is needed urgently. Moreover, to respond more quickly to health and broader socioeconomic emergencies, a faster release of funds is necessary. 
  • In terms of one possible new and major source of development financing, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argues that a carbon tax could generate much-needed public revenue equivalent to 2 percent of a country’s GDP. However, at the same time, one cannot ignore that some countries are spending upwards of 5 percent of GDP to subsidize energy. In short, much more could be done in both poor and rich countries alike within existing national resources.

Experts Roundtable 2

UN75 Declaration commitments

#2 We will protect our planet and #10 We will boost partnerships

Hosted on 18 March 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On March 18, 2021, a consortium of independent civil society organizations took part in the second roundtable of the “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration​. This discussion, sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN), Global Challenges Foundation/Climate Governance Commission, Group of Women Leaders for Change, and Inclusion, Plataforma CIPÓ, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and the Stimson Center, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #2 on “We will protect our planet” and #10 on “We will boost partnerships.”

The roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: María Fernanda Espinosa, Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion, former President of the UN General Assembly, and former Foreign and Defense Minister of Ecuador; Maja Groff, Convener,Climate Governance Commission (moderator); Jimena Leiva Roesch, Senior Fellow and Head of Peace and Sustainable Development, International Peace Institute; Arunabha Ghosh,  CEO, Council on Energy, Environment And Water; and Maiara Folly, Co-founder, Plataforma CIPÓ.

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“Three major, intersecting issues are the climate, biodiversity extinction, and inequality crises. Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, these global crises over the past year have become even bigger and more profound.”

María Fernanda Espinosa

“The UNSG has called for a “quantum leap” on net-zero emissions commitments in 2021, underlining how dire the reality of our planetary situation is. We also, of course, need crucial new levels of strategic finance, taking advantage of this COVID recovery moment; and, we need new, unprecedented, dynamic partnerships if we are to make this necessary global transition, to really protect our planet.”

Maja Groff

“In setting the scene, it’s really important to understand how this [current] moment is different from 2015, when we signed the Paris Agreement… It’s no longer in the negotiators’ hands to get to a net zero emissions world – it requires a bigger set of actors. … We need less launching and more action and coordination.”

Jimena Leiva Roesch

“If we have to build back better and use the pandemic moment for systemic change, I believe that will happen when the needs of the elites and the climate-vulnerable converge.”

Arunabha Ghosh

“Environmental crimes open the door to other crimes, such as gender-based violence and the killing of environmental defenders and indigenous peoples.”

Maiara Folly

UN75 Declaration Commitment #2 – We will protect the planet

Major points voiced by participants

  • An estimated mere 18 percent of multimillion COVID-19 relief packages worldwide can be considered “green investments,” which rounds out to only about U.S. $368 billion going into green infrastructure and solutions.
  • There is inadequate coherence, lack of leadership, and insufficient sources for sustainable financing within the climate governance architecture, all of which need to be addressed urgently.
  • Unexpected geopolitical shifts and events after the Paris Agreement was adopted, namely the rise of populism and the COVID-19 pandemic, have slowed the fight for effective climate action.
  • Environmentally friendly hydrogen could serve as an important substitute for fossil fuel in energy-heavy industries. Several countries already maintain hydrogen heavy industries, but there is no multilateral platform that brings them together. The lack of international cooperation in this space could widen the gap between those who maintain green hydrogen technology and those who need it.
  • The commitment to “protect our planet” speaks to the need to protect biodiversity and natural resources. We cannot achieve these goals if we do not agree on a global mechanism to tackle illegal deforestation, which also represents 10 percent of global gas emissions. Deforestation destroys the most biodiverse areas, such as the Amazon rainforest, which is losing forested areas as large as Lebanon each year. Illegal deforestation is not only problematic for the forests and their ecosystems, but it also opens the door to other crimes, such as corruption, financial crimes, gender-based violence, and the killing of indigenous peoples and environmental defenders.
  • There is significant attention placed on the climate crisis, but not enough on pollution or biodiversity. We need a better understanding of how environmental crises are interconnected. They should be addressed by multisectoral and comprehensive responses based on the overarching concept of human security, which puts people at the center and respects human well-being and dignity. This concept can also be applied in the field of ecological governance.
  • Legal instruments for climate action are necessary but difficult to achieve. Given the urgent need for action, we need to work on multiple, parallel tracks when pursuing legally binding instruments.
  • There is a concern that parties to the Paris Agreement are submitting updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are not sufficiently ambitious. In some instances, countries (for example, Brazil) reduced the ambition of their NDC pledges.
  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) alone is not sufficient to tackle the climate challenge; for example, there should be global sectoral agreements that include both governments and the private sector.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • The UN Secretary-General’s proposed “New Social Contract” should encompass a New Global Pact for the Environment. It should include nature, society, the economy, and politics to save our planet and our species. However, at present time, there is no UN process to establish such a Pact. Current work on the Global Pact for the Environment should be supported and prioritized, to fulfill the crucial aim of enshrining key, binding ecological governance principles and bringing coherence among the hundreds of existing environmental agreements, which also currently lack effective monitoring and implementation standards.
  • Create a common green finance risk mitigation mechanism across countries to analyze risks (political, currencies, policies, etc.) that business managers do not control. This can lower and flatten the risk curve and allow for projects in emerging markets to attract more capital for climate mitigation or adaptation.
  • Leverage a sustainable energy trade agreement that ensures better, more robust, rules-bound manufacturing, and localized supply chains that cut across countries, rather than creating tariff barriers between a subset of just a few countries that, for example, currently control the manufacturing of solar panels.
  • Establish a Global Green Hydrogen Alliancethat does not focus only on research and development or control of intellectual property rights. Rather, this initiative should employ emerging markets as the testbeds for deploying environmentally friendly hydrogen technologies at scale, in order to bring down capital costs, for instance, that drive the divergence between hydrogen versus coal-driven steel plants. This would further help to converge the interests of the “new green elite” with those who are most vulnerable to climate change.
  • A new technology facility/initiative involving the private sector to enable poorer countries to take advantage of innovative green-tech and to roll out renewables is urgently needed and could draw from models that were employed, e.g., for vaccine rollout and other global problems.
  • The negotiation of legally binding instruments focused on forest protection, involving not only countries with large forest areas but also those importing, and financing forest products is needed urgently. However, this initiative should learn from and avoid the top-down approaches of past convention efforts.
  • Create a Global ResilienceCouncil to bring global climate governance together with wider sustainable development efforts, outside of the UNFCCC framework. Similar to the Security Council, a new “Resilience Council” mechanism could be useful for discussing non-military threats and promoting conversations on issues critical to advancing progress across the UN agenda.
  • We need to invest in additional anticipatory, evidence-based foresight capacities for global environmental governance that ensure vital analysis and that can effectively project global trends to guide international decision-making.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #10 – We will boost partnerships

Major points voiced by participants

  • The governance of partnerships in the UN is fragmented. There are bits and pieces of support for partnerships to function in the UN system, but more support is needed for new partnership ideas to be followed-through and for new partnership initiatives to progress.
  • Among the major challenges that partnerships within the UN system face are a lack of predictability, transparency, accountability, and mechanisms to help guide effective partnerships. More thought is required on the concept of “networked multilateralism,” as well as the place of UN Member States in the “partnership-building” space.
  • UNICEF, UNFPA, and UNDP, for instance, deal with thousands of partners. Therefore, it is important to know who these UN agencies are working with, who is able to deliver and share across their platforms, and who identifies what the risk assessment and the deliverables are. This will allow each UN agency to build on lessons learned from other partnerships.
  • There is a gap in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that requires the engagement of the private sector, academia, and civil society. Partnerships need to foster better integration of private sector and public sector financing for achieving the SDGs.
  • Data is important for assessing the progress of partnerships, and further investments are needed to build capacities for tracking global trends and evaluating policy initiatives on pioneering new partnerships.
  • It might be argued that the world has moved beyond the need to create new treaties for the time being. Now the focus could/should be on implementing high-impact partnerships, integrating all sectors across the UN system, and committing to fulfilling the SDGs; key occasions like Stockholm +50 could be taken advantage of in this respect.
  • There is an observable increase in multi-stakeholder coalitions, but they sometimes compete rather than coordinate with each other. Reimagined collaborative approaches are needed to address the traditional and continual challenges, structures, and issues that inhibit human and environmental development.
  • Financing new projects and dynamic partnerships is crucial if we are to bring about normative and operational change, especially in transitioning towards a sustainable future.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • The UN Secretary-General and his team should include in the upcoming Our Common Agenda report a proposal for a new Partnerships Hub, building on existing structures (e.g., United Nations Office for Partnerships, United Nations Global Compact, among others). It should go beyond launching partnerships and focus on identifying good practices and follow-through initiatives. The Partnerships Hub could also help to scale-up existing partnerships, and to ensure that they are better equipped to advance progress across the entire UN agenda.
  • The momentum to create a “New Social Contract” is about, first and foremost, an understanding of partners at the local level. There is a great amount of data at the UN on partnerships that are working and succeeding, so this should be used to create commitments that go beyond basic intentions to partner. The UN has the ability to create partnerships, but the system is not well connected at the operational level where local partners are found. The UN has the most value when it has high functioning offices at the national level.
  • The UN needs to build partnerships in a bottom-up fashion to strengthen local partnerships and become an incubator for demand-driven partnerships. 
  • The future UN will entail more networked and inclusive multilateralism, where different actors and constituencies play a greater role in delivering global public goods. Civil society partnerships are essential in the realization of these goals following the Our Common Agenda report.

Experts Roundtable 3

UN75 Declaration commitments

#5 We will place women and girls at the center and #11 We will listen to and work with youth

Hosted on 1 April 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On April 1, 2021, a consortium of independent civil society organizations took part in the third roundtable of the “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration​. This discussion, sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need, Baha’i International Community, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Search for Common Ground, Soroptimist International, and the Stimson Center, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #5 on “We will place women and girls at the center” and #11 on “We will listen to and work with youth.”

The roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: Azzam Tomeh, Search for Common Ground; Krishanti Dharmaraj, Center for Women’s Global Leadership; Vivek Rai, UN Women; and (moderator) Saphira Rameshfar,Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community.

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is how interdependent we are. And this generation of young people with creative ideas […] can be a catalyst for shaping a better world. The Report of the UN Secretary-General on Youth, Peace and Security, presented in March 2020, lays out a bold opportunity to reimagine a partnership model for youth.”

Azzam Tomeh

All women must be safe. The United Nations has everything it needs and the concentrated power to eradicate gender-based violence, but do we have the will?”

Krishanti Dharmaraj

It’s not enough to bring youth and women to the table; it’s about creating an equal table, where decision making is shared equally.”

Vivek Rai

“It was observed that UN staff are sometimes reluctant to engage on issues that are sensitive and controversial, such as sexual and reproductive health, gender issues, families, and violent repression of young people who are engaged in activism. This is fed by a culture that is too often risk-averse and submissive to power, and it is further expressed by a system that rewards people for avoiding discontent with Member States.”

Roundtable participants

UN75 Declaration Commitment #5 – We will place women and girls at the center

Major points voiced by participants

  • The feminist movement is strong, butwe need to find ways to ensure that the people who are driving this work become equitable partners in decision-making. Sharing power within the multilateral structure does not come easy.
  • Gender-based violence (GBV) transcends borders, religion, culture, class, and all other identities. GBV must be recognized and addressed as a pandemic.
  • Gender inequalities—and all inequalities—cannot be part of the future. We can change course, and the Secretary-General’s report in September 2021 should offer a sense of direction and opportunity.
  • The idea that gender parity will not be achieved for 130 years must be rejected. There are opportunities to rethink and build gendered and intergenerational multilateralism.
  • Intersectionality is key to expanding the framework and the understanding that women and girls are not a homogenous group; it also includes the LGBTQ+ community.
  • There is a concern that anti-rights and anti-gender mobilization efforts are increasing in multilateral foras, which are often the only avenues of recourse for marginalized groups, such as the trans community.
  • We need to acknowledge that certain groups, even among feminist movements, hold more power and privilege than others.
  • Structural exclusion exists, even within the feminist movement. For instance, several leaders of Action Coalition 6 did not invite any NGOs to be part of their Commission on the Status of Women delegation. Support for feminist organizations can be mixed and imbalanced.
  • The UN captures well the issues surrounding gender equality, including through campaigns and high-level dialogues, but this needs to be better translated into action at the community level.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • Gender equality benefits all and placing women at the center requires ensuring they feel mentally, physically, and sexually safe. Safety is central to well-being. Human rights frameworks provide us with opportunities for addressing GBV.
  • Advancing women and girl’s rights also entails being inclusive of the marginalized communities within the wider societal group of women and girls, in all their diversities, such as indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+, and those from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds.
  • It is critical to ensure financing for gender equality in pandemic recovery efforts, but also “building forward better” with a feminist lens that allows for proper power rebalancing.
  • There is a need to close the data gap to adequately reflect the reality on the ground for issues such as child marriage and trafficking. At the same time, the narrative must be changed to show that women are not just victims, but leaders and protagonists of change.
  • Intersectional approaches must be understood along with structural exclusion. The response to structural exclusion is more than sharing power but shifting power to allow other under-represented voices opportunities to meaningfully participate. Patriarchal attitudes must change or a seat at the table is only tokenism.
  • Engaging men and boys in placing women and girls at the center requires healthy role models of manhood/masculinity and accountability.
  • Similar to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women being adopted as a city ordinance or resolution, we need to think of bringing the Generation Equality Forum to cities. Cities are where many modern trends are enhanced, they harbor deep inequalities, and have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Bringing cities closer to gender issues will be beneficial in the long term.
  • The gender-based violence framework should be used over that on violence against women and girls, given that the former is more inclusive. The GBV framework includes (in addition to violence and discrimination against women and girls) bisexual, lesbian, trans women, and trans and intersex men—or those that don’t identify as either (nonbinary).
  • The issue of gender-based violence, combined with peace and security issues, must continue to be a standing agenda item at the United Nations.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #11 – We will listen to and work with youth

Major points voiced by participants

  • Youth are standing in solidarity with one another, but they are frustrated with the systems in place. Governments and multilateral systems have not adapted to the needs of youth. In some countries and regions (such as Africa), youth are the majority of the population, but they are overlooked by governments who have the tools to help them succeed. If young people fail today, countries will struggle to succeed in the long run and meet their commitments to norms and practices for an open and just society for all.
  • The pushback against multilateralism from several countries has prompted youth to question the UN and global cooperation, in general. The UN’s 75 years of history depicts an organization that is patriarchal and bureaucratic, and in need of revitalization.
  • Youth mobilization and action are driven forward by many stakeholders, but we still need to find ways to include youth as equitable partners in decision-making. Also, representation within youth groups is important, as those marginalized tend to not have a voice in multilateral settings.
  • There are governments that do not work for youth and even fewer that work with them. One of the avenues young people must share their voices at the UN is through the UN Delegates program. However, the program is led by governments, which means that it is not the youth who are deciding who represents their voice at the UN.
  • Youth can benefit from intergenerational cooperation. Older generations have the experience to guide younger generations, and this knowledge can be handed down to youth, along with resources and funding. It’s important to also understand that youth can contribute new perspectives and approaches to older generations.
  • Structural exclusion responses should go beyond sharing power. Power should be shifted to marginalized groups, and that power should be given up, allowing those who are directly impacted to be included and heard. 

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • It is crucial that the UN responds to the new generation, who are engaging and working on issues of social justice and equality. The UN must encourage and facilitate partnerships between youth, civil society, and multilateral systems to create a space that reflects the world we know today.
  • The UN must expand its space for discussion to include youth and civil society. In expanding civic spaces, increased communications between Member States and youth will create new ways of learning and empower youth to expand their contributions to transnational issues of critical importance.
  • Intergenerational approaches can help to engender positive structural changes across the UN system. Youth engagement does not mean that other age groups are supplanted, but rather that older generations are co-creating and co-designing solutions with younger generations for a better future for all.
  • International institutions must create and use parallel channels of communication to reach marginalized and disenfranchised communities. Utilizing existing channels of communication more efficiently can allow messages and knowledge to reach grassroots levels and vice-versa. Those with decision-making power have to leave their places of safety and engage marginalized communities to understand and better advocate for their needs.
  • At the country level, youth should be engaged and encouraged by the United Nations to speak out and lead on issues of critical importance.
  • International institutions should aim to invest U.S. $1 per young person living in the world today (this could be over U.S. $2 billion in investments in youth) and remove burdensome requirements for accessing grants. 

Experts Roundtable 4

UN75 Declaration commitments

#3 We will promote peace and prevent conflict and #11 We will abide by international law and ensure justice

Hosted on 15 April 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On April 15, 2021, a consortium of independent civil society organizations took part in the fourth roundtable of the “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration​. This discussion, sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need, Club de Madrid, Together First, and the Stimson Center, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #3 on “We will promote peace and prevent conflict” and #4 on “We will abide by international law and ensure justice.”

The roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: His Excellency Danilo Türk, former president of Slovenia and president of Club de Madrid; Vasu Gounden, African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD); Joris Larik, Stimson Center; and (moderator) Natalie Samarasinghe,Together First.

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“We believe – as far as peace and security is concerned – that the UN needs an updated and coherent conceptual framework for its future activities, as well as understanding what ‘security’ means in the 21st century […] my Club de Madrid colleagues and I identified a number of key elements of such a framework, and that also includes conflict amplifiers and multipliers such as climate change, organized crime, and forced displacement. These are not necessarily priorities on the current UN peace and security agenda, but the UN General Assembly and Security Council have to think more carefully about them and to provide something that we would call a sufficiently robust conceptual framework for peace and security in the future. Additionally, holding a Second World Summit for Social Development would allow Member States to reaffirm social and economic commitments, in light of the COVID 19 Pandemic and to help the United Nations to define what the organization understands by social development.”

Danilo Türk

“UN reform needs to be reinvigorated [through] multilateralism […] led by small states. We can’t rely on the superpowers in the world because they are caught in some kind of zero-sum competition. What we need is for small states to step up to the plate and to play some kind of mediating role. Otherwise, we will push the world into a very dangerous schism.”

Vasu Gounden

“One thing that ties both [peace and rule of law] together is that we live in an era of backsliding both when it comes to issues of peace and stability, as well as to the rule of law and democracy if we look at the key indicators and indexes in these fields. This is quite a worrying trend in areas where we thought we were making progress.”

Joris Larik

UN75 Declaration Commitment #3 – We will promote peace and prevent conflict

Major points voiced by participants

  • We are operating in a context marked by a perceived emerging new Cold War between neo-liberal democracies and neo-conservative autocracies, each side arguing for why it is a better system or a better paradigm for dealing with social unrest, conflicts, instability, pandemics, etc. The implications of what peace and security means needs to be closely re-examined, and the nexus between climate change, inequality, and peace and security needs to be considered despite the rivalries of these competing ideological systems.
  • It is difficult to confront double standards, especially in relation to the implementation of obligations and agreements by powerful states with respect to treaties, particularly regarding weapons of mass destruction.
  • There are instances when non-state actors fill security and public service gaps that are not addressed by local governments. The UN is often unable to engage with these actors because it lacks formal frameworks for dealing with insurgents, multinational organizations, private military companies, and organized criminal organizations.
  • Faith needs to be rebuilt in the UN system, not simply through building trust between people and governments, but directly with civil society actors too.
  • Peacebuilding is still an art, rather than a science, and it is conducted through trial and error.  Better engagement at the local level and a conceptual shift to sustaining peace, prevention, and democracy promotion are at the core of these efforts.
  • The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) has become progressively important in the UN security architecture. As the only peacebuilding body capable of making recommendations to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, the PBC must become even more influential.
  • Prevention should be viewed as an essential part of every commitment in the UN75 Declaration, which broadly cuts across all efforts towards strengthening multilateralism. 
  • The issues highlighted in the UN75 Declaration are merely a reflection of the areas that unite the UN membership. This means that major challenges, such as non-proliferation and disarmament regimes, are touched upon only very lightly in the Declaration.
  • The Peacebuilding Commission is an important instrument for prevention, but it is not the only tool we have for preventive action. We tend to focus too much on country-level prevention efforts; collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations deserve more attention.
  • The social inequalities evidenced and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic provide fertile ground for social unrest and conflict. For this reason, the preventive dimension of the peace and security agenda must go hand-in-hand with a renewed focus on social development and inclusion.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • The Peacebuilding Commission should be upgraded into a Democratic Peacebuilding Council based upon the precedent set by the UN Human Rights Council. It should further monitor early warning indicators of UN member states through a periodic peacebuilding audit, based upon the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.  One participant cautioned that a Democratic Peacebuilding Council might be too revolutionary, while suggesting that incremental approaches to reforming the PBC might be more effective.
  • Following through on the 2020 Peacebuilding Architecture Review, the PBC’s advisory role to the Security Council and General Assembly should be strengthened to promote greater coherence among development and peacebuilding actions at headquarters and in the field. The PBC should further hold discussions regarding initiatives, progress, challenges, and lessons learned to bring greater attention to cross-cutting issues that receive insufficient attention by the Security Council.
  • The PBC must be more active at the regional level by sharing lessons learned, facilitating mutual learning and dialogues, and strengthening inter-regional partnerships while building resilient institutions.
  • Mediation capacities need to be approached as a multi-track and multi-stage process in which local efforts are supported with equal importance. Furthermore, digital gaps in mediation need to be addressed, and lessons learned during the pandemic should be applied to mediation efforts.
  • The UN’s engagement with local actors should be formalized, based on the UN system-wide community engagement guidelines to aid member states, regional organizations, and other actors in strengthening their partnerships with civil society.
  • Prevention is cost-effective, and therefore, we must sharpen our instruments on prevention. In this regard, we must promote local ownership. We must focus on people, participation, and partnerships.
  • There should be a Global Resilience Council, a new, specialized international body to better address in a coordinated manner non-military threats pertaining to resilience, well-being, and human security at the community level.
  • The developed world needs to contribute more peacekeepers to UN missions, and rapid standby peacekeeping forces should be established so that the UN can respond to security threats in weeks, rather than months.
  • The UN should engage in cyber-peacekeeping in similar ways to which it engages in physical spaces. Additionally, digital simulations should be developed to educate the public on what it entails to be a UN peacekeeper.
  • Inclusive social development is a necessary complement to conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping. The UN should convene a second World Summit for Social Development, to strengthen the UN framework on social development and boost the global community’s commitment to the social dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • An international minimum corporate tax could be established on international financial transactions to change the way that the world finances international organizations (including for peacekeeping and peacebuilding), thereby reducing dependency on major donor countries.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #4 – We will abide by international law and ensure justice

Major points voiced by participants

  • While advances made over the past decades must be defended, there has been, unfortunately, significant backsliding regarding the rule of law and democracy.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC), International Court of Justice (ICJ), and other tribunals suffer from a significant jurisdiction gap (particularly among large states), an absence of binding treaties or regulatory instruments due to the voluntary nature of the courts, and a general attitude of benign neglect.
  • International law cannot deliver justice by itself. We need to step up international cooperation and call on all states to adhere to treaties and become parties to international courts.
  • There must be a greater focus on better implementing existing initiatives and instruments, rather than simply creating new tools. We should primarily/systematically take a close look at frameworks that have failed or are failing and ensure that they are made effective.
  • Trust needs to be reaffirmed and increased in the international courts and tribunals by implementing international laws and protecting imperiled international norms, agreements, and ensuring universal participation in these institutions. The fundamental role of international (legal) institutions must be recognized and respected in ending disputes between states peacefully.
  • International law is not viewed by some states on the same terms as national law. It can open a lot of choices to states, and they have the right to decide whether or not to join courts. Furthermore, while withdrawal from treaties is regrettable, it can also be a form of changing laws and fomenting reform.
  • There is a disconnect between modern international law expertise and practice in The       Hague, versus the diplomatic and political processes at the UN. Existing, and particularly older, international legal structures should be strengthened learning from today’s more modern international courts and supra-national courts at the regional level.
  • Contemporary international law is often about coordinating national policies and rules, thus making it much more sovereignty-intrusive. We do not have yet a mainstream political theory which addresses this, and we also need to explain and address the common time gap between international legal developments and what is happening on the ground in a country.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • An International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) should be formed as a mechanism to hold kleptocratic leaders accountable in countries where domestic authorities are unwilling or politically unable to step in. This court would not only prosecute corrupt officials but would also have the jurisdiction to freeze ill-gotten assets being laundered in the financial systems of IACC member states to be eventually repatriated to the nation from which they were stolen.
  • Non-political methods of strengthening the courts should be introduced, such as upgrading or strengthening the ICJ and the UN human rights architecture to be stronger rule-based and impartial expert/technical bodies, while simultaneously, for example, establishing an International Judicial Training Institute.
  • There should be a global campaign to better understand and address the hesitations of the one-hundred or so countries which do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and have not joined the ICC, with a goal of getting at least 50 percent of the world’s nations onboard. Courts will gain legitimacy through greater inclusion, resilience against political pressure, and greater ability to enforce the rule of law, creating normative pressure on great powers to participate and support the upgraded international legal system.
  • International courts should enhance options beyond simply judicial settlement. Methods of peaceful settlement of disputes include arbitration, reconciliation, and more. Also, a compulsory dispute settlement could serve as an effective way of ending disagreements between nations when diplomacy fails (e.g., through a strengthening of Chapter VI of the Charter or its implementation).
  • There is a need to energize the progressive development of the rule of law in every domain, such as at sea and in space, but particularly in areas of rapid technological development, such as artificial intelligence and internet governance.
  • The recommendations proposed in this roundtable should be addressed at the UN General Assembly, but also in the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, since SDG16 (on peace, justice, and inclusive governance) clearly mentions the importance of strong and independent judicial institutions.

Experts Roundtable 5

UN75 Declaration commitments

 #6 We will build trust and #7 We will improve digital cooperation                                                                        

Hosted on 29 April 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On April 29, 2021, the fifth roundtable of the “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise Expert Series” took place, and thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the ​UN75 Declaration​. This discussion, sponsored by the Bahá’í International Community, Club de Madrid, Coalition for the UN We Need, and the Stimson Center, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #6 on “We will build trust” and #7 on “We will improve digital cooperation.”

The roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: His Excellency Jan Peter Balkenende, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and member of the Club de Madrid; Ambassador Juan Somavía, President, Foro Permanente de Política Exterior de Chile (Permanent Forum on Chile’s Foreign Policy), former Ambassador of Chile to the United Nations, and former Director-General of the International Labour Organization; and Ms. ElsaMarie D’Silva, Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation.

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“Disinformation and the spread of fake news constitute a growing threat to democracies worldwide. Other threats arise from intrinsic aspects of the online world: algorithms seem to reinforce ideological and polarizing ideas, whereas anonymity further spreads hate speech … Furthermore, we have been witnesses of how disinformation [and] fake news can shape political processes and determine its outcomes. An age of disinformation requires new views and strategies of the UN.”

Jan Peter Balkenende

“The UN75 Declaration stated that ‘we will build trust.’ The World Summit for Social Development more than 25 years ago gave us a clear political answer: ‘We can continue to hold the trust of the people of the world only if we make their needs our priority.’ We must act immediately to reverse the enormous social development backslide of the pandemic in every country. Otherwise, the whole 2030 Agenda will be in peril.”

Juan Somavía

“…creating technology that is feminist and inclusive is critical, as it can democratize access to information, make visible a highly taboo topic like sexual and gender-based violence, allow one to begin a dialogue without confrontation, and encourage building trust with institutional stakeholders, because an individual or a community can demand accountability, and discuss possibilities and options using evidence-based data.”

ElsaMarie D’Silva

UN75 Declaration Commitment #6 – We will build trust

Major points voiced by participants

  • Disinformation and the spread of “fake news” is generally facilitated by digital platforms where obtaining objective information and data is difficult. This can lead to increased polarization and partisanship, and further jeopardize trust in institutions. Populist movements, for instance, intentionally use mistrust as a political strategy, further deepening existing divisions within societies. 
  • Similar to governments, trust towards the UN has also been negatively affected, and currently sits around 50 percent. The UN must work with the whole of society to rebuild the trust which has been eroded.
  • Building trust requires addressing the root of systemic inequalities, which often link back to the process of globalization and historical cycles of inequality.
  • Building trust is a difficult task but recovering from a loss of trust is even more challenging. We should avoid finding ourselves in the latter position.
  • Achieving this crucial commitment requires multi-stakeholder efforts. All actors, including the UN, states, businesses, education centers, and civil society must collaborate to successfully tackle the multifaceted and deeply rooted issue that is mistrust. Indigenous communities and vulnerable groups should be deeply involved in this endeavor.
  • There is a growing sense of non-representation among people, which causes them to distance themselves from governance systems. This includes governments, political parties, and even religious and spiritual traditions. It is essential that the international community recognizes this issue and promotes more spaces for engagement and participation.
  • Growing mistrust and its origins, as well as the accumulated socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, call for the establishment of a global platform at the UN that cultivates conversations around the best ways to deal with the social crisis issues the world faces.
  • Civil society’s input must be meaningfully included in the Secretary General’s Common Agenda. The path to a multilateral system that is trusted, effective, and inclusive must consider civil society voices.

Major Recommendations: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • The UN should further foster international cooperation and regulations to support nation-states in increasing transparency and accountability of their public institutions, by capitalizing on the existing knowledge-base and expertise.
  • The Secretary-General should launch a Global Trust Initiative, to further identify and understand the roots of mistrust, particularly those at the local level. Traditionally, the UN is associated solely with governments, but it must also strengthen its bonds with civil society to broaden its understanding of local challenges in ways which governments do not.
  • Participatory democracy must be expanded to address the crisis of representation at the UN. It is essential that the UN improves its linkages to civil society organizations and their activities, and creates opportunities for them to engage in meaningful dialogues.
  • A World Summit for Social Development should be held soon as a follow-up to the one which took place in 1995, to develop a global agreement to confront the widespread social backsliding resulting from the pandemic and reinforce the importance and significance of social development in reaching the 2030 Agenda. Otherwise, an unchecked social crisis can seriously undermine the Sustainable Development Goals achievement.
  • A parallel People’s Summit should be organized (possibly under the auspices of the UN) as an autonomous process of conversation and global consensus-building among civil society actors and governments from all regions on the above-mentioned issues.
  • Lack of accountability jeopardizes trust in institutions, but existing global mechanisms and procedures of accountability are insufficient. Adequate accountability measures, such as an International Anti-Corruption Court, should be established to combat corruption, as well as promote transparency and trust.
  • The establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would strengthen trust in the UN and global governance as a whole and improve accountability. This proposed body would engage global citizens with their elected representatives, therefore amplifying local voices in global decision-making. 
  • In the same vein, a World Citizens’ Initiative at the UN, similar to the European Citizens’ Initiative, would promote trust and accountability at the UN by providing citizens with a direct platform to feed their ideas into global policymaking.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #7 – We will improve digital cooperation

Major points voiced by participants

  • Society is in the midst of a digital revolution. The complex challenges associated with it require not only national governments to be at the negotiating table, but also the private sector and civil society to ensure that holistic solutions are achieved.
  • The digital divide limiting connectivity for developing countries must be reduced, as access to information, basic public services, economic development, and civic participation are increasingly tied to internet access.
  • Digital cooperation and trust should not be thought of separately from one another, nor from the challenges that the Sustainable Development Goals aim to overcome. A clear connection must be made between trust, sustainability, digitalization, inequality, human rights, and inclusiveness to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Universal internet access is an imperative, but it also needs to be equally affordable, high-quality, secure, open, suited to the needs of local communities, and democratically managed.
  • There is a moral choice being made by a handful of publishers and governments regarding whether or not software, information, data, and content—all valuable digital goods—are open source and available to the public. High-income nations should better empower low-income countries to take advantage of the digital knowledge humanity has created.
  • Human rights issues induced by technology, such as AI-powered discrimination, targeted internet shutdowns and surveillance, and the use of technology for the suppression of freedom of assembly and association, must be eliminated.
  • Efforts should be made to engage closely with Big Tech around the issues brought about by digitalization, but the risk of technology companies holding monopolistic power must also be acknowledged and reduced.

Major Recommendations: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • A new social contract for the age of artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet should be established to assure that their use does not undermine the rules-based order and respect for human rights. These technologies must support sustainable development, inclusion, fairness, protection of privacy, and accountability for all stakeholders.
  • A Bretton Woods for Digitalization could support the development of these recommended standards, and a Democratic Alliance for Digital Governance formed by governments could ensure that these technologies, particularly AI, avoid bias, are human-centered, inclusive, ethical, and responsible. Additionally, the ethical use of AI could be applied towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to reducing gender gaps (SDG 5), combating climate change (SDG 13), and enhancing anti-corruption efforts (SDG 16), for example.
  • Universal standards should be defined, and similar legislation between nations could be established, for accountability standards surrounding emerging technologies to diminish the risks posed by automated decision-making systems.
  • Access to the internet and digital services should be a human right, and the internet should be considered a public good. The COVID-19 pandemic has powerfully underscored how essential connectivity is in the modern age, and the gender, locational, and disability-based digital divide must be bridged.
  • There should be a greater focus on investing in an affordable range of technology solutions to provide broadband internet access, ensuring that all people have access to affordable internet-enabled devices, and education towards critical digital literacy skills.
  • There should be a call for more software, data, and information to be made open source, rather than proprietary, following the positive example of the International Criminal Court’s legal tools database and its partnerships with external actors to create a common digital public goods. There should be more success stories about how the playing field can be leveled by digital means.

Experts Roundtable 6

UN75 Declaration commitments

 #8 We will upgrade the United Nations and

#9 We will ensure sustainable financing

Hosted on 12 May 2021

Synthesis of Major Insights & Recommendations

On May 12, 2021, a consortium of independent civil society organizations took part in the sixth roundtable of the “​Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration​. This discussion, sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need, CIVICUS and the Stimson Center, in association with the Elders, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #8 on “We will upgrade the UN” and #9 on “We will ensure sustainable financing.”

The roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: His Excellency Lakhdar Brahimi, former Algerian Foreign Minister and UN Special Envoy to Syria; Lysa John, Secretary General, CIVICUS; Tetet Nera-Lauron, Advisor for Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director, Global Governance, Justice and Security Program, Stimson Center; and (moderator) Jeffery Huffines, Senior Advisor, Coalition for the UN We Need. 

Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes

“From Syria to Yemen, and from Myanmar to Palestine, the tragic human consequences can be measured in the millions of people who have been uprooted from their homes and have lost their lives as a result of violence and instability. […] As long as individual [Security] Council members continue to prioritize unilateralism and narrow national interests over peace, security, and protection of civilian populations, this is, sadly, unlikely to significantly change.”

H.E. Lakhdar Brahimi

“Civil Society must continue to be a part of and engaged with all of the follow-up actions from the UN75 Declaration. The momentum that was built last year should not be dropped this year, and we should continue to be part of building forward on these commitments. We support the new international civil society statement on inclusive global governance and the recommendations it includes for a more democratic UN.”

Lysa John

“We can say that the inequality virus is mutating. How on Earth … is it possible that the super-rich elite continue to amass wealth, while billions suffer and struggle to make ends meet? The wealth surge of the world’s richest people shows the brokenness of the world’s economic and financial systems. If there is … political will to achieve sustainable financing, the key here is to democratize global economic governance.”

Tetet Nera-Lauron

UN75 Declaration Commitment #8 – We will upgrade the UN

Major points voiced by participants 

  • The agendas and ambitions pushed forward by powerful countries (which exert high levels of influence on the sitting Secretaries-General) can overshadow efforts to tackle inequality, gender equality, and encourage greater representation of civil society and youth (particularly from the Global South) at the UN.
  • Geopolitical divisions, unilateral action, and narrow national interests have been magnified in the Security Council, which, in recent years, has failed more than succeeded to take effective action on many of the most pressing peace and security issues on its agenda. Practical constraints must be applied to the disproportionate power and influence of the five Permanent Members (P5) of the UN Security Council (UNSC) within the system.
  • Delegations deter ambitious change, shying away from controversial topics, and ultimately hindering major structural reforms. At the practical level, bureaucratic processes and the intergovernmental nature of negotiations can have a detrimental effect on the quality and speed of change. For example, changing the date or name of a formal meeting can take months of consultations and diminish possibilities for major transformation or reform.
  • There is a perpetual disconnect between the silo approaches and the need for a just and transformative recovery. Apart from smaller-scale programmatic, operational, and institutional fixes, business continues as usual and conditions for change are lacking at the UN. Change to current structures will only start through increased trust among Member States and strengthening the UN as a source of hope for the present, but even more, for the younger generations. 
  • We need new types of moments, such as the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco and the Bandung Conference, to instill hope and revitalize the spirit of multilateralism. 
  • Achieving a consensus of all Member States in as many decisions as possible is harmful and hinders progress.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • Limiting future UN Secretaries-General to a single six- to seven-year term in office would decrease the level of political influence to which they are often subject to and would allow them to focus more on the institution’s performance and accomplishments.  
  • Serious political will must be initiated by the P5 to establish a more collaborative approach to the Security Council’s decision-making processes. 
  • The Council needs to be reformed to be more accountable for its actions and in line with modern standards of governance legitimacy. There should be fundamental changes to its membership and governance structure. Increasing the number of Member States in the non-permanent category would allow for better representation of the world in the Council; it would represent a first step forward in enhancing the Council’s legitimacy. 
  • The UNSC could be organized in a similar way to existing governance structures, such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF), to always ensure more broad-based country representation. Given that one of the main challenges to UNSC reform is the veto power, voting structures within the Council could reflect political and economic realities, allowing for different voting power levels but fundamentally removing the veto power. This would promote equitable power distribution and facilitate structural changes within the UN system.
  • Revamping the UN General Assembly agenda-setting process would allow for key issues and resolutions to be addressed without repetition.  An Interest of Preposition can serve as a system for trying out potential agenda items that can be better prioritized over the long-term (two-to-three years) rather than annually. 
  • Through the six UNGA Committees, Member States should have more opportunities for real debates and interactive dialogues on key aspects of the Committees’ work, instead of reading prepared statements. 
  • For a networked and inclusive multilateralism, the coordination function of the UN Economic and Social Council and the political leadership generated through the annual UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development should be enhanced. Both UN entities have great potential to serve as network nodes, fostering policy coherence, and engaging non-governmental partners in the UN’s work.
  • Mechanisms and bodies such as a World Citizens’ Initiative, a UN Parliamentary Assembly, and a high-level office of a UN Civil Society Envoy, as outlined in the international civil society statement on inclusive global governance, should be implemented to allow for better participation and representation of citizens and civil society, which, in turn, would promote accountability through greater oversight of UN Member States’ engagement at the UN and the work of the Secretariat, and assist in driving overall UN revitalization efforts.

UN75 Declaration Commitment #9 – We will ensure sustainable financing

Major points voiced by participants 

  • The makeup of the UN’s revenue system presents several challenges that undermine the UN’s ability to ensure sustainable financing for its operations, making it prone to liquidity crises. Powerful Member States have an outsized influence over the UN’s operating budget, and the increased use of earmarked contributions contributes to fragmentation and accountability issues across the system.
  • Recent events have also shown weaknesses in the WHO’s ability to act due to its heavy reliance on private financing. There should be a move away from such heavy and insufficiently qualified reliance on private and voluntary financing towards greater assessed government financing for vital UN organs, without prejudice to the possibility of fully transparent, no-strings-attached private funding in certain contexts.
  • Leading Member State contributors to the UN budget may not be as invested in the organization as the founding generation was in the mid-1940s. There must be an effort to revitalize interest in the UN’s success among current national leaders.
  • Sustainable financing is also integral to accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, supporting equitable access to vaccines, providing integrated responses through the Peacebuilding Fund, and ensuring the critical resources needed to fund the UN budget and peacekeeping. Shortfalls, payments in arrears, and financing gaps directly impede all of these efforts and the overall effectiveness of the UN.
  • The nature of the UN is one of constant repositioning and reform. However, successful reforms must be financed, and in order to do so, we should shift the paradigm and look at multilateralism and the UN as an investment in vital global public goods.

Recommendations from individual participants: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms

  • Greater government financing, and stronger and more transparent mechanisms to redirect and repurpose excessive and privately held wealth (in line with economic and redistributive justice principles) could provide sound alternatives for addressing the current financing gaps in global governance.
  • Debt relief efforts towards the poorest nations should be maintained to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and to provide much-needed humanitarian support. This could take the form of debt suspension, debt cancellation, or debt swaps, including climate swaps involving the Green Climate Fund.
  • The IMF estimates that “brown” subsidies account for about U.S. $5.3 trillion per year, and it has expressed that a carbon tax may be the most efficient way to mitigate against climate change. A gradual rise in such a tax between now and 2030 could produce around U.S. $1.5 trillion of potential resources, in addition to the money now spent on fossil fuel subsidies. These resources could not only be directed towards programs that help the environment but toward improving the health systems which COVID-19 has shown to be in disrepair.
  • The Secretary-General could create a new “founder’s moment,” to renew the vows of the current generation of national political leaders to utilize the UN to address our modern problems, while increasing their countries’ investments in the world body.
  • Despite increasing global debt levels in 2020, we should think of imaginative proposals to leverage private sector funding through the lending activities of the World Bank and other multilateral development banks.
  • Global economic governance should be democratized across multilateral institutions through clear policy directives by the United Nations to reorient economies away from excessively extractive, speculative, and predatory activities. 
  • The IMF is a potential source of unconditional liquidity for the global economy. Currently, there stands a proposal for the largest Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in the history of the IMF at U.S. $650 billion. Of this, around U.S. $450 billion would go to high-income countries, which could be asked to allocate their shares to low- and middle-income states to be used, for example, for climate change mitigation or debt services repayment.

Annex 1: Participants List

Roundtable #1 (18 February 2021):

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Co-Chair, The Elders

Tom Brookes, Policy Advisor, The Elders

Sara Burke, Senior Policy Analyst, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York

Erich Cripton, Principal Advisor to the Representative, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Ambassador María Bassols Delgado, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations

Felix Dodds, Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School

Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Nick Hartmann, Director of the Partnerships Group, United Nations Development Program

Aditi Haté, Project Manager for Our Common Agenda, Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Oli Henman, Global Coordinator, Action for Sustainable Development

Ambassador Samson Itegboje, Former Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations

Vincent Jechoux, Head of Climate and Development Unit, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations

Ambassador Inga Rhonda King, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations

Keisuke Kodama, Counsellor at the Economic Section, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chair, Global Governance Forum

Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations 

Ambassador Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Daisy Owomugasho, Regional Director for East Africa, The Hunger Project

Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst,Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, The Stimson Center

Marcel Pieper, Senior Advisor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Richard Ponzio, Director and Senior Fellow, Stimson Center

Ambassador Adela Raz, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Megan Roberts, Director of Policy Planning, United Nations Foundation

Edna Ramirez Robles, Professor of International Law, Unversidad de Guadalajara

Marlene D. Ramirez, Secretary General, Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas

Amélie Rioux, Technical Officer, Secretariat of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board at the World Health Organization

Julia Sanchez, Secretary General, Action Aid International

María Antonieta Socorro Jáquez Huacuja, Political Coordinator, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations

Alexandre Stutzmann, Special Adviser on UN75 Strategy and Implementation, General Assembly of the United Nations

Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer, CIVICUS

Marilou Uy, Director of the Secretariat, Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development

Jukka Välimaa, First Secretary of the Fifth Committee, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations

Zach Vertin, Senior Advisor, Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations

Fergus Watt, Executive Director, World Federalists Movement—Canada 

Roundtable #2 (18 March 2021):

Mohammed Abdelraouf, Chair, Major Groups Facilitating Committee (MGFC) at UNEP representing Science and Tech. Major Group & Gulf Research Center Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Executive Director, Plataforma CIPÓ Marianne Beisheim, Senior Associate, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP Berlin)

Cassie Bernyk, Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Maldives to the UN

Caio Borges, Programme Coordinator, Climate and Society Institute

Linda Burenius, Head of Development, Global Challenges Foundation

Amanda Ellis, Director, Global Partnerships, Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University

Pelle Enarsson, Senior Advisor, UN Foundation

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, 73rd President of the General Assembly

Bojan Francuz, Program Associate, NYU-CIC

Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water

Harris Gleckman, Member of the Board, Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability

Maja Groff, Convenor, Climate Governance Commission (Global Challenges Foundation); Principal Legal Officer (fmr.), Hague Conference on Private International Law

Sigrid Gruener, Programme Director, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation

Rebecca Hallin, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN

Agnes Ali Harm, Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations

Nick Rene Hartmann, Senior Partnerships Advisor, UNDP

Magnus Jiborn, Head of Research, Global Challenges Foundation

Takeshi Komoto, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN

Georgios Kostakos, Executive Director, Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability

Giovanna Kuele, Project Coordinator, Igarape Institute

Marina Kumskova, UN Liaison, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Jimena Leiva Roesch, Head of the Peace and Sustainable Development Program, International Peace Institute

Robert Lorentz, Counselor, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN

Felipe Morgado, Programme Officer, UN DESA

Beatrice Mosello, Senior Advisor, Adelphi, Senior Fellow, UN University Centre for Policy Research

Junya Nakano, Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN

Vitorino Mello Oliveira, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the UN

Oyebisi Oluseyi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs

Marcel Pieper, Senior Adviser and Post-UN75 Focal Point, Delegation of the European Union to the UN

Alana Poole, Political Affairs Officer, Executive Office of the Secretary-General

Richard Ponzio, Director, Global Security, Justice & Governance Program, The Stimson Center

Amb. Adela Raz, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Nirere Sadrach, Fridays for Future Uganda

Déborah Silva do Monte, Professor, Federal University of Grande Dourados

Carlos Frederico Silva da Costa Filho, Professor, Federal University of Tocantins

Helge-Elisabeth Zeitler, Climate/Environment Lead, Delegation of the European Union to the UN

Roundtable #3 (1 April 2021):

Mio Akita, Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN

Dana Khalid Al-Anzy, Y17 Society & Qatari youth activist

Josue Arguelles, A Call to Men    

Kehkashan Basu, Green Hope Foundation & NGO Major Group

Mabel Bianco, Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM)

Robert Chatrnuch, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the UN

Isabela Cunha, UNICEF

Krishanti Dharmaraj, Center for Women’s Global Leadership

Amanda Ellis, Global Partnerships, Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University

Safae El-Yaaqoubi, Embassy of Qatar to the United States

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the UN 73rd Session of the General Assembly        

Sharon Fisher, Soroptimist International

Susana Fried, CREA

Rebecca Hallin, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN

Carlos Infante, Generation Change International                 

Xenia Kellner, Young Feminist Europe

Giovanna Kuele, Igarape Institute

Dragica Mikavica, Save the Children

Sahar Moazami, Outright International 

Vitorino Mello Oliveira, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the UN

Richard Ponzio, Stimson Center

Alana Poole, Executive Office of the Secretary-General

Vivek Rai, UN Women

Saphira Rameshfar, Baha’i International Community

Alma E. Santa Ana, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN

Anjum Sultana, Canada YWCA

Azzam Tomeh, Search for Common Ground

Megan White, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN

Yoriko Yasukawa, Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability

Soon-Young Yoon, International Alliance of Women

Nudhara Yusuf, WFUNA, Former Youth Dialogue Coordinator for UN75

Daniel Zavala, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN

Roundtable #4 (15 April 2021):

Mavic Cabrera Balleza, Founder and CEO, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Agustina Briano, Outreach and Development Coordinator, Club de Madrid

Henk-Jan Brinkman, Chief, Peacebuilding Strategy and Partnerships, UN Peacebuilding Support Office

Hillel Joseph Cohen, Political Advisor, Permanent Delegation of Liechtenstein to the United Nations

Sapna Considine, Director, Strategy for Humanity

Luis Consuegra, Strategic Partnerships and Outreach Advisor, International IDEA

Amb. María Bassols Delgado, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations

Walter Dorn, President, World Federalist Movement Canada

Justice Richard Goldstone, Member of the Board, Integrity Initiatives International

Vasu Gounden, Founder and Executive Director, ACCORD

Maja Groff, Convenor, Climate Governance Commission (Global Challenges Foundation); Principal Legal Officer (fmr.), Hague Conference on Private International Law

Sigrid Gruener, Program Director, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development

Faisal M. Al-Hababi, Assistant Professor of Public Law, Qatar University College of Law

María Antonieta Socorro Jáquez Huacuja, Minister Counsellor, Mission of Mexico to the United Nations

Hawanatu Kebbe, Legal Expert, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations

Georgios Kostakos, Executive Director, Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability

Marina Kumskova, Senior UN Advocacy and Policy Advisor, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Joris Larik, Senior Advisor and Nonresident Fellow, Stimson Center and Assistant Professor, Leiden University

Guillemot Le Bourhis, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations

Michael Liu, Executive-Director, Chinese International Law Initiative

Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Anja Mihr, Program Director, Center on Governance through Human Rights; Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform

Amb. Michal Mlynar, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Peter Nagy, Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations

Sumie Nakaya, Organizational Resilience Program Manager/Focal Point for Security, Department of Peace Operations, United Nations

Vitorino Mello Oliveira, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Savita Pawnday, Deputy Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst, Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, The Stimson Center

Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director, Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, The Stimson Center

Simona Popan, Head of Legal Section, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Arnold Pronto, Principal Legal Officer, Codification Division, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations

Lukas Prvy, Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations

Marisha Ramdeen, Senior Programme Officer, ACCORD

Megan Roberts, Director of Policy Planning, United Nations Foundation

Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director, United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK)

Danilo Türk, Former President of Slovenia and President of Club de Madrid

Zach Vertin, Senior Advisor, Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the UN

Hoyumi Yashiro, Advisor, Political Section, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Roundtable #5 (29 April 2021):

Jamil Ahmad, Director, Intergovernmental Affairs, United Nations Environment Programme

Saeed Al Dhaheri,Ministry of Presidential Affairs, United Arab Emirates

Morten Bergsmo, Author, Centre for International Law Research and Policy, Integrity in International Justice

Jan Peter Balkenende, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Member of Club de Madrid

Andreas Bummel, Executive Director,Democracy Without Borders

Yu Ping Chan, Senior Programme Officer, Office of the Envoy on Technology at the United Nations

ElsaMarie D’Silva, Founder and CEO of the Red Dot Foundation

Gillian D’Souza Nazareth, Vice-Chair,Red Dot Foundation

Chantal Davis, United Nations Environment Programme

Debra Decker, Senior Advisor, The Stimson Center

Winifred Doherty, Representative to the United Nations, Good Shepherd

Laura Flores, Institutional Relations and Internal Governance Assistant, Club de Madrid

Maja Groff, Convenor, Climate Governance Commission (Global Challenges Foundation); Principal Legal Officer (fmr.), Hague Conference on Private International Law

Jeffery Huffines, Senior Advisor,Coalition for the UN We Need

Erik Litver, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the United Nations

Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Colette Mazzucelli, Professor, New York University

Mr. Vitorino Mello Oliveira, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Peter Nagy, Third Secretary, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Laura O’Brien, UN Advocacy Officer, Access Now

Eleanor Openshaw, New York Director, International Service for Human Rights

Dan Perell, Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community

Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director, Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, The Stimson Center

Amb. Milenko Skoknic, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations

Amb. Juan Somavia, FormerDirector-General of the International Labour Organization

Leyla Vásquez, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations

Shinobu Yamaguchi, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Roundtable #6 (12 May 2021):

Barbara Adams, Chair, Board of Global Policy Forum

Marianne Beisheim, Senior Associate, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

Lakhdar Brahimi, Member of The Elders and Former Algerian Foreign Minister and UN Special Envoy

Agustina Briano, Outreach and Development Coordinator, Club de Madrid

Andreas Bummel, Co-founder and Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders

Robert Chatrnuch, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Diplomatic Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Dorothea Christiana, Elected-Trustee, United Nations Association of the U.K. and Director of Strategic Development, UN House Scotland

Tad Daley, Director of Policy Analysis, Citizens for Global Solutions

Maria Danielcakova, First Secretary, Permanent Diplomatic Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the United Nations, The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Ben Donaldson, Head of Campaigns, United Nations Association of the U.K. and Together First

William Durch, Distinguished Fellow, Stimson Center

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Brice Fodda, Deputy Legal Advisor, Head of Unit Reforms, Elections, Human Resources and Francophonie, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations

Niccolo Fontana, First Counselor, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations

Maja Groff, Fmr. Principal Legal Officer, Hague Conference on Private International Law 

Rebecca Hallin, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations

Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation

Paul Hanna, Adviser, UN Management and Reform, U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Aditi Hate, Project Manager, Executive-Office of the Secretary-General, UN Secretariat

María Antonieta Socorro Jáquez Huacuja, Political Coordinator, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations

Jeffery Huffines, Senior Advisor, Coalition for the UN We Need

Laura Holbach, Adviser, Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations

Lise Howard, President, Academic Council on the UN System and Professor, Government and Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Hannah Janetschek, Coordinator for European and International Affairs, German Sustainable Development Council

Karolina Janiak, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations

Lysa John, Secretary General, CIVICUS 

John Kane, Assistant Professor, Center for Global Affairs, New York University

Kodama Keisuke, Counsellor, Economic Section of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Giovanna Kuele, Advisor, Igarapé Institute

Volker Lehmann, Senior Policy Analyst, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York

Faye Leone, Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development 

Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of Global Indicators Group, World Bank Group

Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Sarah Meschenmoser, Senior Project Manager, Robert Bosch Stiftung

Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations

Felipe Morgado, Program Officer, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Guido Montani, Professor, International Political Economy, University of Pavia

Tetet Nera-Lauron, Advisor, United Nations Program, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

Kazuo Noguchi, Senior Manager, Hitachi America, and Senior Researcher at Keio University

Vitorino Mello Oliveira, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations

Dan Perell, Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community

Marcel Pieper, Senior Coordination & Outreach Officer, EU Delegation to the United Nations

Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director, Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, Stimson Center 

Vesselin Popovski, Professor of International Peace Studies, Soka University

Valentina Rainer, Adviser, Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations

Laurel Rapp, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. State Department

Alexandre Stutzmann, Special Adviser, UN75 Strategy and Implementation

Jukka Välimaa, First Secretary of the Fifth Committee, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations

Zach Vertin, Senior Advisor, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Fergus Watt, Coordinator, Coalition for the UN We Need

Annex 2: Select Global Governance Innovation Examples from the Roundtables Series

 #1 We will leave no one behindWe propose holding a Second World Summit for Social Development (II WSSD) to advance social development-related reforms and reaffirm social and economic commitments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
#2 We will protect our planetIn connection with the proposed Global Pact for the Environment, establish legally-binding international environmental mechanisms, including, for example, a Global Forest Convention to protect forests, involving not only countries with large forest areas but also those importing and financing forest products.
#3 We will promote peace and prevent conflictGlobal Resilience Council should be established as  a new, specialized international body to better address non-military threats and to build greater resilience, well-being, and comprehensive human security.
#4 We will abide by international law and ensure justiceAccelerate the progressive development of the global rule of law in every domain, such as the maritime order, space, and rapidly developing technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence and internet governance), in parallel to strengthening and  modernizing key international legal institutions. 
#5 We will place women and girls at the centerBring the Generation Equality Forum to cities, similar to how the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women is being adopted as a city-level ordinance or resolution.
#6 We will build trustA World Citizens’ Initiative at the UN, similar to the European Citizens’ Initiative, would improve trust and accountability of the United Nations by providing citizens with a unique way to make their voices heard at the international level.
#7 We improve digital cooperationPursue initiatives, in partnership with the United Nations, to accelerate access to broadband connectivity, especially in rural areas, in support of post-COVID-19 socioeconomic recovery.
#8 We will upgrade the United NationsAddress the United Nations’ democracy and legitimacy deficits by establishing a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as an advisory body to the UN General Assembly.
#9 We will ensure sustainable financingIssue a new Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation of U.S. $650 billion in support of global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and to supplement the reserve assets of the International Monetary Fund’s 190 member countries.
#10 We will boost partnershipsEstablish a new partnerships hub, building on the United Nations Office for Partnerships, to share good practices and identify new and scale-up existing partnerships with the UN system.
#11 We will listen to and work with youthInternational institutions, beginning with the United Nations, should aim to invest worldwide U.S. $1 per young person (estimated at over U.S. $2 billion in youth-related investments) and remove excessively bureaucratic requirements for accessing youth grants.
#12 We will be preparedGavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations should publish agreements and contracts with vaccine developers and manufacturers in a timely manner to improve transparency in vaccine development for future health crises.
Cite to URL:
https://www.stimson.org/2021/fulfilling-the-un75-declarations-promise/