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The Pact for the Future: UN's Call to Action for Global Cooperation

By: Ahmed Fathi

New York: — The United Nations Headquarters is set to host a landmark event: the Summit of the Future. (Sept 22-23) This high-level gathering, themed "Multilateral Solutions for a Better Tomorrow," will convene UN Member States, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), academic institutions, the private sector, and youth representatives. The Summit's overarching aim is to forge a new global consensus on the future and delineate actionable steps to secure it today.

Proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his visionary "Our Common Agenda" report, the Summit seeks to address pressing global challenges. Guterres emphasized the need for a "New Agenda for Peace," advocating for increased investment in peacebuilding, enhanced support for regional conflict prevention, reduced strategic risks such as nuclear weapons and cyberwarfare, and a peaceful, sustainable use of outer space. This initiative, according to Guterres, represents a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate global action, recommit to fundamental principles, and further develop the frameworks of multilateralism so they are fit for the future."

In preparation for the Summit, the UN Secretary-General released 11 policy briefs on February 13, 2023. These briefs present concrete ideas to advance the Our Common Agenda (OCA) and address key areas of global concern:

1. Addressing the needs of future generations.

2. Improving international responses to complex global shocks through an emergency platform.

3. Ensuring systematic participation by young people in decision-making processes.

4. Developing metrics that transcend gross domestic product (GDP).

5. Enhancing global digital cooperation through a global digital compact.

6. Reforming the global financial architecture.

7. Promoting the peaceful, secure, and sustainable use of outer space.

8. Establishing a New Agenda for Peace.

9. Ensuring information integrity.

10. Transforming education.

11. Implementing ‘UN 2.0’ to modernize the organization.

The preparatory journey for the Summit included a ministerial meeting on September 18, 2023, where ministers from various countries outlined their priorities. The Summit aims to culminate in the adoption of "A Pact for the Future"—a concise, action-oriented outcome document. This document is to be agreed upon by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations, reflecting a unified commitment to addressing global challenges.

In a letter dated October 19, 2023, co-facilitators Antje Leendertse, Permanent Representative of Germany, and Neville Melvin Gertze, Permanent Representative of Namibia, outlined the preparatory process. They scheduled informal consultations on November 9, 2023, to discuss the approach, timeline, and plans for the Pact for the Future. These consultations marked the beginning of a series of closed informal discussions held in December, allowing Member States to voice their perspectives on substantive issues to be included in the zero draft of the Pact for the Future.

In 2024, the co-facilitators introduced an initial draft, known as a "zero draft," laying the groundwork for the Summit. This preliminary document will encapsulate the shared aspirations and pledges of the global community, with the goal of promoting a future that is peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable for everyone.

As the world grapples with unprecedented challenges—from geopolitical tensions and climate change to technological upheavals and socio-economic inequalities—the Summit of the Future stands as a beacon of hope. It is a call to action for nations, institutions, and individuals to come together, transcend differences, and work collaboratively towards a better tomorrow. The outcomes of this Summit could reshape global policies, reinforce multilateral cooperation, and pave the way for a resilient and inclusive future.

The UN Summit of the Future is not just an event; it is a pivotal moment in history. It encapsulates the urgent need for collective action and the shared responsibility of humanity to secure a future that is equitable, just, and sustainable. As delegates gather in New York, the world watches with anticipation, hoping that this Summit will indeed lay the groundwork for multilateral solutions that will safeguard our common future.


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