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A New Vision for Global Cooperation

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s proposed 2023 Summit of the Future should be welcomed when the General Assembly convenes again on October 25 to discuss Guterres’s “Our Common Agenda” recommendations. The summit might be the last best chance to reform the UN to keep pace with today’s interconnected global challenges.

NEW YORK – The world faces a range of serious threats – from exclusionary nationalism to great-power competition to growing inequality – that are preventing the international community from working together to solve other complex challenges, such as the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the accelerating pace of climate change. But global crises require global solutions, and with his highly anticipated report, Our Common Agenda, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has outlined a new vision for multilateral cooperation.

Written in response to the commitments endorsed at last year’s 75th UN General Assembly, Our Common Agenda is a clarion call for better and more inclusive global governance – the kind needed to build a greener, more equitable, and more secure future. Unusual in length, substance, and scope for a UN report, it offers a set of promising ideas for a bold, yet pragmatic, strategy for transformation.

Guterres’s recommendations place a premium on accelerating the implementation of existing international agreements, beginning with the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Beyond these important initiatives to protect our global commons, establishing a new forum for managing them has become a moral and practical imperative. Guterres breaks new ground here by calling for the all-but-defunct UN Trusteeship Council to be repurposed to oversee the governance of the ocean, atmosphere, and outer space. This revitalized body also would be responsible for improving the delivery of public goods and responding to global threats.

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