On Tuesday (22 June) UNA-UK’s CEO Natalie Samarasinghe took part in the keynote session at the Coalition for the UN We Need’s Global Town Hall, sharing insight on the recent UN75 and We the Peoples global consultations carried out by the UN.
The virtual Global Town Hall was held ahead of UN Charter Day on June 25th. It considered ways to take forward the UN75 Declaration adopted by member states in September 2020, which asked the Secretary-General to report back by September 2021 with recommendations “to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges”.
Natalie, speaking in her capacity as UNA-UK’s CEO and co-founder of the Together First campaign, shared her perspective on emerging themes from the consultation processes leading up to the Secretary-General’s anticipated “Our Common Agenda” Report.
Her remarks focused on three key outcomes: the resounding call for an inspiring vision for the future, growing focus on achieving transformation, and recognition of the UN’s role and capacity.
Specifically, Natalie highlighted calls for an inclusive and forward-looking UN, noting concrete proposals to protect and expand civic space such as through the appointment of a civil society focal point:
People are calling for a global system that takes account of future generations, adopts a human security approach and works with stakeholders to anticipate and respond to crises and challenges. They want a global system that champions a swift and just transition to ‘carbon zero’ well before 2050, works with stakeholders to manage global commons and global public goods, and nurtures the notion of global cooperation as a global good.
They want a global system that delivers a green, equitable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19; supports female leadership and inclusive decision-making at all levels; and measures progress in relation to human and planetary well-being. And they want a global system that embraces inclusion; makes participation and consultation part of its DNA; and leverages the capacities of stakeholders, including through partnerships.
In closing, she stressed the significance of the consultation follow-up process and opportunities for progress:
I have seen throughout the last year a genuine desire on the part of the UN to engage and to listen - let’s seize these opportunities to make our voices heard.
Recognised as a partner in the UN75 consultation - the global conversation on how we can build “the future we want, the United Nations we need” - UNA-UK’s Together First campaign ran its own year-long consultation, and held dialogues with participants from all UN regions, culminating in the publication of a ‘to-do list’ for the international community. These recommendations were included in the landmark UN75 report presented to Member States in September 2020.
UNA-UK also contributed to the “We the Peoples” consultation in May 2021, carried out by the UN Secretary-General’s office and facilitated by the Igarapé Institute. The consultation is part of a wider follow-up process to the UN75 Global Conversation, and to the UN75 Declaration.
Photo: Natalie Samarasinghe speaking at the C4UN Town Hall