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Making the Most of the Summit of the Future

To shore up struggling multilateral governance institutions, the United Nations has planned a “Summit of the Future” for 2024. For the event to succeed, it will need to produce a meaningful Declaration on Future Generations, a comprehensive Global Digital Compact, and a New Agenda for Peace.

DOHA – Since early 2020, the number of people affected by hunger has risen by 150 million – a trend that has been exacerbated by the three Cs: conflict, climate change, and COVID-19. And when it comes to global threats, rising food insecurity is just the tip of the iceberg. As the recent failure of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference also showed, we urgently need new, innovative governance approaches and institutions if we are going to tackle our biggest challenges.

To improve the international community’s tools for managing enormous, complex global problems, the United Nations is planning to hold a Summit of the Future in September 2024, which will be preceded by a ministerial meeting in September 2023. Among other things, this intergovernmental process will highlight the need for more capable responses to the rising risks of nuclear war, runaway climate change, resurgent poverty, and threats to human rights.

Though no significant global problems will be solved overnight, the Summit offers a rare opportunity to achieve some high-profile near-term wins, and to strengthen the conditions for even more ambitious global-governance improvements in years to come. The hope is that the Summit will deliver three new global policy frameworks: a Declaration on Future Generations, a Global Digital Compact, and a New Agenda for Peace.