Mondial Article (Winter 2023)
Toward the Summit of the Future:
Building the UN We Need
Nudhara Yusuf is the Global Governance Innovation Network facilitator with the Stimson Center’s Global Governance, Justice and Security program. Nudhara also serves as Coordinator of the Global Futures Forum and Global Youth Coordinator at C4UN, and is an honorary advisor to the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY.
Rebecca A. Shoot
Rebecca A. Shoot is the Editor-in-Chief of Mondial and Executive Director of Citizens for Global Solutions. She is the Co-Convener of the Washington Working Group for the International Criminal Court and Senior Advisor to Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament She also serves as the Co-Chair of the Communications Task Force for the Summit of the Future convened by the Coalition for the UN We Need.
For those inspired by the discussions of reform envisioned in previous pages, the coming year presents what has been hailed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the United Nations (UN). The Summit of the Future (SotF) will convene in September 2024 as an unprecedented high- level event, bringing together world leaders “to forge a new international consensus on how we deliver a better present and safeguard the future.” Per its conceivers, the Summit’s goals are to: “enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments including to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Charter, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives.”
The Summit of the Future is the culmination of a years-long initiative of the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Ahead of the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the Secretary General launched a Global Conversation, which spurred more than 3,000 civil society dialogues worldwide
and surveys involving some 1.5 million people in 195 countries. This discourse informed the Our Common Agenda (OCA) report released in September 2021, which now forms the basis of the SotF agenda.
Nudhara Yusuf, the Executive Coordinator of the Global Governance Innovation Network, contextualized the SotF’s importance and relevance as follows:
The Summit of the Future is an opportunity to take 79 years of lessons learnt at the United Nations and feed it back into the system. This is really an opportunity for us to update the fundamentals so that we are no longer working with 20th century tools, logic, and principles, to address 21st century challenges. But this is also a moment to build trust with and within the multilateral system – this is about the countries that weren’t there in San Francisco in 1945, and the generations that will not be yet present in New York come September 2024.
The Summit is a critical milestone but it does not exist in a vacuum in New York. Nor is it solely an enterprise of Member States. The Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN), with organizations including GGIN and the co- publishers of this journal, CGS and WFM-CA, currently aims to galvanize civil society and citizens around the globe to take part in this watershed moment. In 2023, the organizations collaboratively convened the Global Futures Forum as a means for civil society to provide input on seven thematic tracks echoing themes within the Our Common Agenda report. Chief among the outcomes of this process is the Interim People’s Pact, which will coalesce as a People’s Pact for the Future at an anticipated civil society conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 2024, several months before the SotF convenes at the UN premises in September. .
While the modalities of participation are still evolving, C4UN provides updates on the inchoate processes through the Summit of the Future Information Clearinghouse (ICH), “an independent, collaborative endeavor providing a variety of stakeholder audiences with access to accurate, objective and timely information focused on the SotF preparatory processes and other developments related to the Secretary- General’s OCA report.” The Clearinghouse includes as a series of Policy Briefs across the agenda’s thematic issues.
Nudhara Yusuf addresses the resonance of the Summit of the Future at the outset of the 78th UN General Assembly High-Level Week.
As Ms. Yusuf concludes, “Civil society has a fundamental role to play in raising ambition, generating accountability, and working with agility across the different tracks and chapters of the Summit of the Future. We hope the People’s Pact for the Future will be one key tool in this theory of change.”
Mondial is published by the Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) and World Federalist Movement — Canada (WFM-Canada), non-profit, non-partisan, and non-governmental Member Organizations of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Government Policy (WFM-IGP). Mondial seeks to provide a forum for diverse voices and opinions on topics related to democratic world federation. The views expressed by contributing authors herein do not necessarily reflect the organizational positions of CGS or WFM-Canada, or those of the Masthead membership.