European Perspectives on Taking Forward the UN75 Declaration: From Reflection to Innovation & Action
Contributed by ACUNS, Leiden University, Plataforma CIPÓ, Stimson Center
Posted 16 June 2021
Published in collaboration with Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS), Plataforma CIPÓ, and Leiden University.
The opinions, assessments, valuations, positions and, where applicable, judgements expressed are within the responsibility of the authors or the persons making the corresponding statements in this publication, which aims to capture and distill, while employing the Chatham House Rule, the ideas conveyed by the 4 March 2021 expert roundtable participants. They do not necessarily and not in every case correspond to the positions and opinions of the event co-sponsors.
On 21 September 2020, the United Nations’ 193 Member States adopted the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations, which outlines a vision and twelve distinct commitments addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, threats, and opportunities. The milestone UN75 Declaration further 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.” Based on “a process of profound reflection” on the future of multilateralism and global governance, the Secretary-General’s report Our Common Agenda (forthcoming this September) is expected to reflect diverse stakeholder perspectives, from civil society and business groups to Member States, youth representatives, and thought leaders.
As an independent, multi-stakeholder contribution to the consultations and substantive preparations for Our Common Agenda, the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Stimson Center, Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS), Plataforma CIPÓ, and Leiden University convened, on 4 March 2021, a global public forum which gathered some 500 participants from all over the world, and three roundtables with select experts from Europe and beyond. The back-to-back events sought to offer diverse perspectives from Europe and other regions in response to the overarching question: “In marking 75 years of the United Nations, how can the results of last year’s intense reflection now be turned into action and contribute to innovation and strengthening of the world body?” The program’s two main goals were: first, to identify the international actors chiefly responsible for advancing the UN75 Declaration’s vision and individual commitments, detailing, in particular, the unique capabilities, ideas, and networks within Europe needed to advance the UN75 Declaration against the backdrop of COVID-19; and second, to propose concrete ideas and inclusive strategies for the Secretary-General to consider for his forthcoming report’s recommendations on strengthening global collective action to realize the UN75 Declaration’s full potential and for holding international actors accountable to its implementation.
The event consisted of five sessions: a global public forum; three expert roundtables on the themes of 1) Sustainable Development and Climate Action, 2) Peace & Security and Humanitarian Action, and 3) Human Rights, the Rule of Law, and Democratic Governance; and a closing session to draw common threads from the roundtables and discuss key elements of a “strategy for change.”
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