Category: UN Monitor

UNGA Revitalization and selecting the next Secretary-General

By Elena Marmo
In 2007, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) established an Ad Hoc Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (AHWG) which in recent years has addressed the selection process of the UN Secretary-General (S-G). The current S-G Antonio Guterres’ five-year term is set to expire on 31 December 2021 and Member States have begun activities for the 2021 selection and appointment for the UN S-G position, including a thematic debate on the selection process on 23 April. Read more

COVID-19 & LDCs: Upcoming opportunities to address structural impediments

By Elena Marmo and Barbara Adams
The United Nations and Member States begin the 2021 calendar confronted with the need to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and growing global inequalities. Despite the WHO’s efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine “affordable and accessible for all” through the ACT Accelerator and calls by CSOs and UN leadership and world leaders for a People’s Vaccine (a global public good free from Intellectual Property Rights), the global vaccine distribution/rollout has been dominated by wealthy, developed countries, with little if any vaccines available for small and medium developing countries. Read more

Women’s Major Group Position Paper on the HLPF Review

By Elena Marmo
As the global community coalesced to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations in September 2020 under the shadow of COVID-19, Member States in their Declaration A/RES/75/1, made commitments to strengthen the multilateral system and set forth plans to “build back better”. Among the tools to do so, as recognized by UN leadership and Member States, are the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their importance is highlighted by marking 2020 as the start of the Decade of Action, the final 10 years to achieve the SDGs, as well as the widespread recognition that COVID-19 is threatening to reverse development gains over the past decade. Read more

Where the rubber meets the road

By Barbara Adams and Roberto Bissio
A survey among CSOs in “programme countries” evidences a very high level of commitment to UN values and principles, much dissatisfaction with the actual operations at country level and articulation of areas for improvement.
For a number of CSOs, the UN system is appreciated for its inspiration, legitimization and promotion of the values they stand for, but is also viewed as a competitor for funds and influence, often displacing the social sector instead of building it. And frequently it is seen as both at the same time. Read more

UN General Assembly Special Session: Transformation or Continuation of the Status Quo?

By Elena Marmo
The General Assembly (GA) will host its 31st Special session in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on 3 and 4 December 2020. The UN Charter (Chapter IV, article 20) provides for the General Assembly to meet in special sessions which can be "convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations." Read more

UN Reform on the agenda in its 75th year

By Elena Marmo
Following the opening of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and a series of High-level meetings and events parallel to the General Debate, the UNGA plenary and committees have shifted to a pattern wherein the Member States debate and negotiate resolutions on a range of topics. Read more

Re-inventing multilateral solidarity: rhetoric, reaction or realignment of power?

By Barbara Adams
Multilateral solidarity is gaining traction as the slogan for mobilizing support for international cooperation and for the UN. Is it replacing or merely renaming cross-border obligations – many of which have been enshrined over decades in UN treaties, conventions and agreements, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibility in their implementation? Read more

From 2020 HLPF to the first annual “SDG Moment”

By Elena Marmo
The first annual SDG Moment is set to take place on 18 September 2020, designed to reinvigorate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Marking the last decade in which to achieve these goals, the moment will: “Set out a vision for a Decade of Action and recovering better from COVID-19; Provide a snapshot on SDG progress; Highlight plans and actions to tackle major implementation gaps; and Demonstrate the power and impact of action and innovation by SDG stakeholders.” Read more

UN Monitor: COVID-19 Round-Up on UN General Assembly High-level Meetings – 04/09/2020

The 75th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) will open on 15 September and its first weeks will see a number of high-level meetings: the first annual “SDG Moment” launching the Decade of Action, the High-level meeting to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the Biodiversity Summit, the High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing +25) and the High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Read more