By Delia Paul

Ahead of the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020, the Stimson Center, a US-based think tank, presented proposals to strengthen the UN, address climate, peace and security challenges, and reinvigorate global governance. The report provides a roadmap for maximizing results at the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) high-level meeting to mark the anniversary in September 2020.

The report titled, ‘An Innovation Agenda for UN 75,’ discusses “20 global ideas for 2020” in four thematic areas: conflict and state fragility; climate governance; the global economy; and global institutions and civil society. The recommendations build on the work of the Albright-Gambari Commission, previously known as the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, which was co-chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Foreign Minister of Nigeria Ibrahim Gambari.

An Innovation Agenda for UN 75 argues for urgent collective action to stem the current crisis of global governance, which the authors say has resulted from the lack of justice and human security for many people in today’s globalized world. On conflict and state fragility, the authors emphasize conflict prevention, the role of women in peace processes, and establishing UN capacity for rapid deployment of specialists and police to UN peace operations. They also call for a greater emphasis on preventing violent extremism.

On promoting climate governance and expanding green technology, the report recommends strengthening the links between the UNFCCC and other international regimes, defining goals for global climate adaptations, establishing a Green Technology Licensing Facility within the Green Climate Fund (GCF), pursuing early wins on limited short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane, and establishing a multilateral mechanism to govern climate engineering research and experimentation, especially solar radiation management.

On the governance of the global economy, the authors propose creating a “G20+” grouping with a small secretariat to enhance coordination between the G20 and the UN system, the Bretton Woods institutions and related bodies. Other proposals include strengthening cybersecurity, deterring cross-border tax evasion, and giving greater powers to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Finally, on global institutions and civil society, the report suggests creating a strong UN Peacebuilding Council to replace the current Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and mandate it to act on conflict prevention. Further recommendations address the role and membership of the UN Security Council, creating a UN Parliamentary Network as an advisory body to the UNGA, and enhancing the mandates of various other global governance institutions, such as the UN Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.

The 82-page report seeks to inform the multilateral and multi-stakeholder process that was set in motion in June 2019, when the UNGA agreed to begin negotiations on a political declaration expressing Member States’ commitment to multilateralism and their vision for a common future, to be adopted in September 2020 at the UN’s 75th anniversary celebration. Related to this process, Stimson notes that a series of three Global Policy Dialogues will be organized, addressing: preventive action, sustaining peace, and global governance (December 2018 in Doha, UAE); global security, justice and economic institutions (June 2019 in Washington, DC, US); and climate governance and innovation with regard to the Paris Agreement on climate change and beyond (October 2019 in Seoul, Republic of Korea). In addition, an online knowledge platform on Global Security, Justice and Governance Innovation will be reporting on activities in the lead-up to the September 2020 UN Leaders’ Summit. [Publication: An Innovation Agenda for UN 75]

Delia Paul is a Thematic Expert for Poverty Reduction, Rights and Governance (Malaysia/Australia) at The SDG Knowledge Hub.