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Reinvigorating Multilateralism

The United Nations' global consultation last year showed that the vast majority of people want more international cooperation to address problems like pandemics and climate change. To meet that demand, world leaders must commit to strengthening multilateral institutions, starting with the UN itself.

MADRID – Last year, the United Nations conducted a worldwide consultation involving more than one million people from 193 countries. The feedback pointed to some important facts. And this year’s UN General Assembly must respond by bolstering rules-based multilateralism.

For starters, the consultation found that the expectations and hopes of the world’s women, men, girls, and boys are strikingly similar. People want better access to basic health care, sanitation, and education. They also want to see more solidarity with those hit hardest by the pandemic and with those living in poverty. Respondents’ top concern over the longer term is the twin crisis of climate change and accelerating biodiversity loss. Almost 90% of participants agree that global cooperation is vital to deal with today’s challenges, and a majority believe that the pandemic has made international cooperation even more urgent. Especially encouraging is that young people worldwide clearly want more international cooperation.

Last year’s consultation was a call to action. Now, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has released Our Common Agenda, which follows on the UN75 Political Declaration adopted by all UN member Heads of State and Government one year ago. The new agenda sets out a bold plan for how we can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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