Global leaders at the UN General Assembly have called for reform and renewed multilateral cooperation to address pressing global challenges. During the Assembly’s crunch week, leaders discussed the need to address the state of the environment and ensure responsible use of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the importance of the UN’s visionary Our Common Agenda in bridging the gap between the world as it currently is and the world as it should be.
The coming year will be critical in preparing for the Summit of the Future, with four main areas of work ahead. One priority is renewing the social contract based on human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes strengthening the public sector, creating green and digital jobs, ending violence against women, and promoting human rights. The UN chief emphasized that the high-impact initiatives set out at the SDG Summit will enable the UN to step up its activities in these areas.
Another key area of focus is engaging youth and future generations. The report recognizes the important role young people play in global governance and proposes the establishment of a new UN Youth Office to make global governance more responsive and accountable to their needs, with an emphasis on climate and education.
Transforming global governance is also a critical objective. The report highlights the need to adapt intergovernmental decision-making to modern realities and proposes discussions on strengthening global governance in areas such as health, environment, and digital cooperation. Proposals for deep reforms to the international financial architecture are gaining traction globally and will be pursued at key meetings, including the upcoming COP28 climate conference in Dubai.
The Secretary-General also emphasized the importance of transforming the UN system itself by updating its culture and skills across key areas. Initiatives include launching a Scientific Advisory Board, establishing a UN Futures Lab, and increasing engagement with stakeholders like civil society, parliamentarians, and the private sector. Advisory bodies on regional government and artificial intelligence will also be set up.
Mr. Guterres highlighted several policy briefs and reports that provide a successful model for next year’s marquee summit. He urged governments to strongly engage in the coming days to achieve an inclusive, effective, and networked multilateralism that the current circumstances demand.
The call for reform and multilateral cooperation comes at a crucial time when global challenges require unified responses. The proposed initiatives and ideas outlined in Our Common Agenda provide a roadmap for addressing these challenges and creating a better world for all. With strong engagement from governments and various stakeholders, the UN can lead the way in driving positive change and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.