Download this document as pdf
How would a Pact for the Future that adopts the proposals of the Secretary-General change our world?
Strengthen international cooperation so it delivers fully and fairly on existing agreements, while enabling us to respond effectively to new threats and opportunities for present and future generations. In so doing, restore trust in multilateralism and in each other.
The 75th anniversary of the UN came at a time when the whole world was confronting the shared threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, the risks and opportunities of technological advances, and stagnation on the Sustainable Development Goals. In recognition of these trends and our unprecedented interconnectedness, Member States pledged to strengthen global governance and asked the Secretary-General for his recommendations to address current and future challenges (A/RES/75/1). The Secretary-General responded with Our Common Agenda, calling for solidarity between people, countries and generations, and a corresponding renewal of the multilateral system to accelerate implementation of existing commitments and fill gaps in global governance that have emerged since 2015. The report proposed a Summit of the Future as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take these steps.
The General Assembly decided that the Summit of the Future would take place in September 2024, building on the 2023 SDG Summit, and that its outcome would be an intergovernmentally negotiated, action-oriented Pact for the Future, comprising a chapeau and five chapters on sustainable development and financing for development; international peace and security; science, technology and innovation and digital cooperation; youth and future generations; and transforming global governance. At the invitation of Member States, the Secretary-General issued eleven Policy Briefs containing more detail on certain proposals from Our Common Agenda, to support Member States in their preparations for the Summit.
ACCELERATING THE SDGs
The proposals in Our Common Agenda aim to turbocharge the 2030 Agenda. The specific ideas from the report that are suggested for consideration at the Summit of the Future focus on the “how” of global cooperation, to in turn enable us to deliver on the “what” by: (a) getting the SDGs back on track, while also (b) responding to new opportunities and challenges.
SAFEGUARDING THE FUTURE
Decision-making at global level consciously avoids foreseeable harms to and safeguards the interests of future generations through an Envoy to represent them, a political declaration (as part of the Pact for the Future) with clear commitments, a dedicated intergovernmental forum to debate progress, and better use of foresight, data and science to evaluate the future impact of policies and actions. Present generations also benefit from this longer-term thinking.
MANAGING GLOBAL SHOCKS
International responses to complex global shocks of significant scale are improved through standing authority of the Secretary-General to convene a time-bound Emergency Platform that would add value through high-level, multi-sectoral coordination, advocacy, and accountability for the contributions of participating actors. This would not displace or duplicate existing mechanisms.
MEANINGFUL INCLUSION OF YOUNG PEOPLE
Youth participation, and consequently trust, in decision-making is expanded and strengthened through dedicated national youth consultative bodies, a global standard for meaningful youth engagement, a framework to track progress, avenues for youth participation in UN decision-making processes, and a standing UN Youth Townhall.
MEASURING WHAT WE VALUE
We measure what really matters for sustainable development impact, progress and resource-allocation, based on a set of critical metrics that complement GDP to cover what is needed for prosperity, human well-being, and protecting our natural environment. This is achieved through a political commitment to value what counts accompanied by a dashboard of key indicators, and support to countries on related statistical and data capacities.
OPEN, FREE, AND SECURE DIGITAL FUTURE
We harness the opportunities and manage the risks of digital technologies by adopting a Compact, as part of the Pact for the Future, that outlines a vision of an open, free, and secure digital future for all anchored in global cooperation for human development and SDG progress, human rights, and governance by humans for humans. The Compact offers a digital governance framework to guide global, regional, and national approaches around shared principles, priorities, and objectives – such as accelerating digital connectivity for all, building digital public infrastructures, strengthening public regulatory capacities, and nurturing AI governance. It promotes sustained multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation via existing forums, an annual Digital Cooperation Forum, and a new AI Body to align artificial intelligence with human rights, the rule of law, and the common good.
A GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR ALL
A transformed international financial architecture is fit for purpose, more inclusive, just, representative, effective, and resilient, responsive to the world today rather than as it looked following the Second World War. This architecture invests up-front in SDGs, climate action, and future generations. This entails reforms in the following six areas: (i) global economic governance, including enhancing the voice and representation of developing countries in decision-making of the international financial institutions and setting up an apex body bringing together the entire system under the United Nations to enhance its coherence and align its priorities with the 2030 Agenda; (ii) lasting solutions on debt relief and lowering the cost of sovereign borrowing, including through the creation of a Debt Workout Mechanism and ultimately a sovereign debt authority; (iii) international public finance, including massively scaling up development and climate financing, including through Multilateral Development Banks; (iv) global financial safety net, including by ensuring that all countries have access to the full capital account toolbox, revamping the role and use of SDRs, ending surcharges, and setting up a multilateral currency swap facility; (v) addressing short-termism in capital markets and sustainable finance; and (vi) an inclusive and equitable global tax architecture that combats tax avoidance and evasion.
SHARING THE BENEFITS OF SPACE
The benefits associated with the rapid growth of outer space activities are harnessed in the most inclusive way, while the risks are mitigated, through (i) a regime or frameworks for space sustainability covering space traffic management, resource activities, and debris removal; (ii) an international agreement on peace, security, and the prevention of an arms race in space; (iii) more inclusive governance approaches; and (iv) strengthened UN system collaboration.
A NEW AGENDA FOR PEACE
Our collective security system can better prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in both traditional and new domains, guided by principles of trust, solidarity and universality. Prevention at the global level is bolstered by addressing strategic risks and geopolitical divisions, including nuclear disarmament. Prevention at the national level is strengthened through focusing on underlying drivers and redoubling investment in sustainable development. An updated approach to peace operations and peace enforcement recognizes the realities of today's conflicts and the value of regional approaches. We are better equipped to prevent the weaponization of emerging domains and promote responsible innovation, e.g. in cyberspace, outer space, lethal autonomous weapons, AI, and biorisks. A stronger collective security machinery includes a reformed Security Council, a revitalized General Assembly, and an enhanced Peacebuilding Commission.
A new vision for the creation of learning societies emerges, with education and life-long learning universally recognized as a global public good. International cooperation is strengthened to advance the vision and support delivery of commitments made at the 2023 Transforming Education Summit.
INTEGRITY IN INFORMATION
The digital space is safer and more inclusive with all stakeholders protecting human rights, guided by a voluntary UN Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms, with enhanced understanding of information integrity globally, as well as a dedicated capacity in the UN Secretariat to support the implementation of the Code and to respond to online mis- and disinformation and hate speech affecting UN mandate delivery and substantive priorities. These developments might be acknowledged in the Pact for the Future.
The UN System is better able to support Member States, including on the above changes through cultural and skills transformation in UN System entities. “UN 2.0” is about upgraded expertise in innovation, data, digital, foresight, and behavioural science to enhance UN System results, help build similar Member State expertise, and accelerate shared progress towards the SDGs. These developments might be acknowledged in the Pact for the Future.
Read the 11 full policy briefs: https://www.un.org/en/common-agenda/policy-briefs
Last updated 25 September 2023