COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the need for cooperation across borders, sectors and generations. Our response will determine how fast the world recovers, whether the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are achieved, and how well we handle pressing challenges: from the climate crisis to pandemics, inequalities, new forms of violence, and rapid changes in technology and in our population.
But just when we need collective action more than ever, support for global cooperation has been flagging. In many countries, public trust in traditional institutions is in decline and relations between countries have been under strain. Will this pandemic bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater mistrust? Global dialogue – and action – is now more urgent than ever.
Hence by a resolution adopted by UN Member States on June 14, 2019, the UN will mark its 75th anniversary with a one-day high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2020 on the theme, ‘The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.’ The text was agreed through intergovernmental consultations led by the Permanent Representatives of Singapore and Iceland.
Also related to the 75th anniversary commemoration, a Youth Plenary will be convened in conjunction with the 2020 ECOSOC Youth Forum and include a “youth-driven, global” dialogue on the theme of the commemoration event.
The resolution also says Member States will commemorate the signing of the UN Charter on June 26, 2020 and UN Day on October 24, 2020 through observance ceremonies in New York, in addition to marking the anniversary in September.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, events will take place through a virtual format, with pre-recorded statements by heads of state and government.
Launch of UN75
January 1, 2020 saw the launch of the UN75 initiative – the largest, most inclusive conversation on the role of global cooperation in building a better future for all. The initiative saw the UN spark dialogues throughout 2020 in diverse settings across the world.
In a ‘global reality check’, four innovative data streams will build the first ever repository of crowd-sourced solutions to major global challenges.
The UN75 dialogues together with a ‘One-minute Survey’ that anyone can take, opinion polling in 50 countries and artificial intelligence sentiment analysis of traditional and social media in 70 countries, has generated compelling data to inform national and international policies and debate.
In calling for participation, the Secretary-General António Guterres said:
“No country, no community, is able to solve the complex problems of our world alone. We need to come together, not only to talk, but to listen. It is absolutely essential that you all join the conversation. We need your opinion, your strategies and your ideas for us to be able to deliver better for the people of the world that we must serve.”
Intended to engage constituencies across borders, sectors and generations, the UN75 team has collaborated with a wide multi-sector network, including the UN Resident Coordinators, for a diverse and global reach, and for dialogues to be convened in every country of the world.
In a global listening exercise, with an emphasis on youth and groups not already engaged with the UN, the UN75 initiative aims to better understand expectations of international cooperation in light of pressing global challenges.
The views and ideas that are generated will be presented, by the Secretary-General, to world leaders and senior UN officials on September 21, 2020.