Global Policy UN Watch – February 2024

Global Policy UN Watch

February 2024

Listing his 2024 priorities at a UNGA plenary on 7 February, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the reform of the Security Council as “a lingering issue in an institution which is nearly 79 years old”. He told delegates that “it is totally unacceptable that the African continent is still waiting for a permanent seat”.

At a press conference during the South Summit in Uganda last month, Guterres was critical of “a clear injustice, a flagrant injustice, that there is not one single African permanent member of the Security Council”.


Read the S-G’s complete statement 

Watch his speech

The Group of Four (G4: Brazil, Germany, India, Japan) has proposed a new model for reforms.

“Barbara Adams, Senior Policy Analyst, Global Policy Forum, told IPS: Surely, now 11 (not 5) veto-wielding powers, will not correct the inability of P5 or P11 to put their chartered responsibility for international peace and security above their national security interests.

She pointed out that the G4 proposal for a 15-year pause on use of the veto acknowledges the tension between expanding the number of permanent members and the veto. [As for] the proposal for seats for developing countries, and countries from other regions, they should not need to be justified by the concept of regional representation, she argued.

‘The privilege of permanency in the Security Council extends beyond the use of the veto. The chill factor of this privilege reaches into many parts of the UN system in ways formal and informal such as preferential treatment for senior UN positions,’ Adams declared.”

SIDS4: 4th Small Island Developing States conference preparations get underway

22-24 January 2024

CSocD Civil Society Forum: “Rights are not a market commodity”

9 February 2024

GPF’s Barbara Adams spoke at the Commission on Social Development Civil Society Forum on public sector accountability and the cross-border impacts on social development. She highlighted going beyond GDP as a priority for making the required transformative reforms.

“We have to get beyond the idea that [GDP] is the measure of progress and supports development. Frankly, I think it undermines it…. Not only is GDP inadequate for what we’re concerned about, it actually rewards the problems….

GDP is not just a technical issue…. To change [from having GDP] as the premier measure of how economies talk to each other is political…. [Earlier,] Brazilian minister Diaz said that ‘the belief that economic growth alone would reduce disparities has been proven false‘.

Now, this particular issue is hanging on by a thread in the 2030 Agenda, and by another thread in the preparations for the Summit of the Future. This is an important opportunity to deal with this critical and on-going issue, hopefully not too much further into the future.

As a transformative issue, we don’t have in the multilateral system a process or forum where [income, non-income and wealth] inequalities [within and between countries] are the focus of policies, programmes and accountability.

As we edge towards a World Summit for Social Development in 2025, let’s be extremely ambitious and work to ensure that the Summit gives us a UN Council mandated to tackle and hold accountable Member States and ourselves to reducing all forms of inequalities.”

SOTF: Zero Draft of Pact for the Future introduced

29 January 2024

UN Statistical Commission, 55th Session: UN statistical community pushes for a seat at the table

27 February- 1 March 2024

In the lead-up to the 55th Session of the UN Statistical Commission (27 February-1 March 2024), the Division of Statistics (UN DESA) has been holding several events, focusing on insights and challenges in measuring and monitoring  (unequal) progress on achieving the SDGs, themes ranging from Big Data to Beyond GDP and on communicating results to policymakers. 

17 January 2024: High-level webinar on Beyond GDP highlighted the Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on “Valuing What Counts: Framework to progress Beyond GDP. This calls for new measures of progress beyond GDP– drawing on existing global and national official statistics, in particular the System of National Accounts (SNA), its satellite accounts and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), as well as social and demographic statistics, while exploring indicator initiatives like the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) and new data sources and technologies, including non-official data.

8 February 2024: Insights from SDG Monitoring: Lessons Learned, Linkages with Well-being Discussion and 2025 Comprehensive Review – Sharing insights and challenges with UN agency and government statisticians, Steve MacFeely (WHO) sounded an alarm, noting that the collective work of the statistical community has produced enormous results in a very short period, with the unexpected consequence that “SDG indicators do not just measure 2030 Agenda, they define it!”

13 February 2024: Urgent Action for Gender Equality in the SDGs launched “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: Gender Snapshot 2023”, presenting the latest evidence that progress on gender equality is off-track and very unequal, with notable setbacks particularly in fragile, conflict affected countries and growing vulnerability due to climate change. Panelists highlighted needed action—for gender equality and human rights advocates as well as policymakers as they negotiate a Pact for the Future to take into the Summit of the Future in September 2024.

LLDC3: 1st Session of Preparatory Committee

5-8 February 2024

UN Funding in Crisis

25 January 2024

At the UNGA plenary on the S-G’s 2024 priorities, eight Member States expressed their concern about the liquidity crisis in UN funding. As of July 2023, the S-G’s office has implemented a series of cash conservation measures, including a temporary hiring freeze and reduced spending in order to address the UN’s funding shortfall. A letter of 25 January 2024 from the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet to the President of the General Assembly details the deteriorating liquidity of the UN’s regular budget:

The core problem is this: not all Member States pay their assessments in full. In 2023, we collected 82.3% of the year’s assessment, the lowest in the last five years. As a result, year-end arrears climbed to US$859 million, up from US$330 million in 2022, surpassing the previous record high of US$808 million at the end of 2020.” 

The letter went on to state, “A secondary cause of the liquidity crisis relates to a shift in the payment patterns of Member States, including the unpredictability of both the timing and the amounts of unanticipated collections. In 2023, collections trailed estimates throughout most of the year. We ended the year US$529 million short of anticipated collections.”

Check out GPF’s contribution to the Pact for the Future Zero Draft on how increasing the quality of UN funding is critical for creating a strengthened and effective UN as central to democratic multilateralism.


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