Looking Ahead to 2020 and Launch of UN75

by | Jan 2, 2020 | News, Vincentian Family, Vincentian Family at the U.N.

The UN has its share of critics, and in a cynical world it is too easy to dismiss the institution, but the UN is much more than a “talk” show case.  It feeds, shelters and protects millions of people every day. It protects people in some of the most challenging situations in the world. It vaccinates almost half the world’s children. It supports the creation of international laws and norms, helps to prevent conflict and build peace, and provides practical support and advice to governments on a host of issues – from tackling organized crime to empowering people with disabilities. And its “talk” functions are essential – it remains the primary international forum for member states to come together, to resolve their differences peacefully and to adopt shared solutions to the challenges faced. Talking is infinitely preferable to war. Time is running out for global solutions. Globally we need to discuss how we can move from where we are – and are headed – to where we need to be. The costs of not talking, not communicating are too high.

Next year will see many important milestones: the start of the decade of action and delivery for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals; major conferences on climate change, biodiversity, nuclear non-proliferation and health; the 25th anniversary of the landmark Beijing World Conference on Women, the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and the 10th anniversary of UN Women.

To mark its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations will launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of global cooperation in building the future. This initiative is very different to previous UN anniversary campaigns which have focused on the UN’s historical record and contemporary context. This is to be a global listening exercise – about the UN listening and learning, responding and engaging with as many different people and constituencies as possible.

The UN75 initiative will support all of them, by encouraging debate and action on the global trends shaping the ability to take forward the world’s commitments in these areas; by bringing these issues to a large and diverse global audience; by supporting dialogues in the lead-up to and within the margins of these events; by highlighting the importance of enhanced global action to all these areas; and by stimulating a critical discussion on how we can reinvigorate support for global cooperation and make it more effective and inclusive.

With a launch date of January 2, 2020, this platform will seek to reach as many people as possible.  There will be different ways to engage with UN75, with a short online survey, physical and online dialogues held in collaboration with partners, a toolkit for those wishing to organize their own dialogues, an online feedback form to capture the results of the dialogue (with the option to provide feedback via partners for those without internet access). In addition, The UN is working with partners to conduct polling, focus groups, traditional and digital media analysis to capture the widest possible range of views, and statistically significant data to support the dialogues.

The campaign is funded entirely by voluntary contributions, from Member States and foundations, and through pro bono support from partners.

Survey results and dialogue feedback will be disseminated on an ongoing basis – online and through partners, publicizing actions that can be taken by individuals and groups to support the future we want.  Results will also be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials at meetings and events. The most high-profile of these will be a high-level meeting of Heads of State and Government in New York on 21 September 2020 dedicated to the 75th anniversary.  They will create a political declaration based on “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism.”

2020 will be an important year. At a time when trust – between and within many countries – is fraying, the UN will need to listen better to those who feel left out and left behind, foster greater understanding and empathy, greater knowledge about the risks faced and greater collaboration on solutions in all regions and sectors. UN75 is an opportunity to do that.

Natalie Boone is the AIC NGO Representative to UN-NY