Multilateral efforts and global cooperation proved to be essential tools during the international response to COVID-19, a shared global challenge. If anything, a lack of effective cooperation exacerbated the spread of the pandemic and delayed solutions. The crisis has served as yet another wake-up call to remind us that we need renewed global mechanisms and approaches to other challenges of a similar scale, such as climate change.
A year after the start of the pandemic, setbacks and possible improvements in handling the crisis have become clearer and it becomes possible for countries and international organisations to digest lessons learned about our multilateral system and its institutions. With such hindsight Club de Madrid advocates for an equal vaccine distribution, a fair, green and sustainable economic recovery and for fulfilling the UN75 Declaration. Adopted last year, this landmark document enshrines many of the principles outlined above and ideas to guide reforms of the multilateral system and the United Nations.
To that end, we have contributed to the report “Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise”, a collection of expert insights and recommendations led by the Coalition for the UN We Need to support the advancement of the UN75 Declaration. Club de Madrid contributed via its President Danilo Turk and Member Jan Peter Balkenende to commitments 1 (We will leave no one behind), 3 (We will promote peace and prevent conflict), 4 (We will abide by international law and ensure justice), 6 (We will build trust) and 7 (We will improve digital cooperation) of the UN75 Declaration. These recommendations offer an important insight into our organizational push for revitalising the multilateral system and institutions, and into the belief in shared societies, whose importance became even more apparent in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts convened by the Coalition for the UN We Need met from February through May 2021 during a roundtable six-part series to hammer out the report. Their analysis and proposals to the United Nations’ Secretary General resulted in three central pillars of action: building more inclusive global governance, leveraging post-COVID-19 green recovery for global governance innovation, and ensuring a comprehensive and skillfully-led strategy for reform.
“To better cope with the next pandemic, the prospect of runaway climate change, extremist violence in fragile states, cross-border economic shocks, and ever more sophisticated cyber-attacks, the world needs a better way of marshalling its talent and resources—new tools, networks, and institutions. Building on the inspirational UN75 Declaration, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has laid out a vision for a “new social contract” and a more operational “new global deal” to build a green, post-COVID-19 recovery into the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report shows how close coupling of justice and security imperatives can best drive the work needed to take this vision and plan forward toward the kind of networked and inclusive multilateralism that is needed to deal with critical global problems. Such a rethink, sealed by a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance, has become critical. Creatively mobilizing diverse actors worldwide, the summit and the preparations for it would look to equip our common institutions with the tools, structures, and connectivity needed both to rebuild institutional trust and competence, and to face with confidence humanity’s perilous next quarter century.”
Beyond UN75: A Roadmap for Inclusive, Networked & Effective Global Governance
Stimson Center —an organisation promoting international security, shared prosperity & justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement, and policy innovation— also published its own report on fulfilling the UN75 Declaration.
President Danilo Türk and María Fernanda Espinosa, the former President of the UN General Assembly and a Member of the Group of Women Leaders, co-wrote the Foreword of the report titled ‘Beyond UN75: A Roadmap for Inclusive, Networked & Effective Global Governance’.
“The report considers how three powerful ideas championed by UN Secretary-General AntónioGuterres—a new social contract, new global deal, and networked and inclusive multilateralism—can advance the ambitious and far-reaching commitments embodied in last year’s UN75 Declaration”, write both leaders in the foreword. You can read the full report below.
A 2nd World Summit for Social Development: Adopting a new Social Contract for the COVID-19 era
In the report’s pages we strongly advocate holding a 2nd World Summit for Social Development, a key recommendation in the “Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise” report. As stated by Club de Madrid President, Danilo Turk, this would allow Member States to “reaffirm social and economic commitments, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help the United Nations to define what the organization understands by social development.” The benefits of such a Summit also include the strengthening of the UN framework on that same area, while boosting the global community’s commitment to this social dimension.
Following up on the 1995 first World Summit for Social Development would further reinforce the importance of social development in both reaching the 2030 Agenda goals and in preventing heightened post-pandemic inequalities.
While COVID-19 has had a generalised, extensive impact across the planet, it is true that it has also deepened previous cleavages and exacerbated existing inequalities, making its impacts disproportionately distributed to different social groups. A 2nd World Summit for Social Development would facilitate the current structuring of the post-COVID world.
In line with the “Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration’s Promise report, we believe that justice and inclusion should be the very core of rebuilding efforts and of the transformation of the multilateral system as a whole, and that this is the only way to truly leave no one behind.
Our Common Agenda: Club de Madrid’s own take on breathing new life into the UN framework
Club de Madrid’s very own report “Our Common Agenda – UN After 75: Proposals to reinvigorate an inclusive, networked and effective multilateralism” containing principles and ideas to follow through with the UN75 Declaration was published in April. The report touches on many similar central issues, highlighting the importance of, among other things, digital inclusion while also taking into account digital divides.