Introduction

The UN Summit of the Future (SOTF), proposed for September 2024 in New York, is a critical milestone in the reform process initiated by the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda (OCA) report. The SOTF is intended to “advance ideas for governance arrangements in the areas of international concern mentioned in this [OCA] report, and potentially others where arrangements are nascent or require updating.” This hybrid gathering will take place a year after the SDG Summit and a preparatory Ministerial Forum on the Summit of the Future which are both scheduled for September 2023.. 

Describing the second SDG Summit in 2023 and the Summit of the Future in 2024 as “twin summits,” Guterres said the two high-level events share the common objective of “creating conditions for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive future.” The “twin summits” are “our last, best chance to deliver on … a multilateral system that manages and solves global challenges in a timely, effective and fair way,” the Secretary-General underscored.

Building on the first round of C4UN regional consultations undertaken in June 2021 that discussed priority issues on the role of civil society and the United Nations in each of five regions globally, national and regional C4UN partners and global civil society are once again invited to organize and participate in a series of regional discussions. These Regional Futures Forums are intended to bring critical and diverse intergenerational civil society perspectives into preparations for the first annual civil society-led Global Futures Forum (GFF), provisionally scheduled for 20-21 March 2023 in New York. A youth engagement track parallel to the Global Futures Forum is also planned, see here.

A key outcome of the Global Futures Forum will be the development of a proposed “People’s Pact for the Future”, as a civil society declaration of both principles and advocacy designed to feed into the General Assembly’s preparatory negotiations on an intergovernmental UN Pact for the Future and related SOTF outcome instruments (e.g. the proposed Declaration on Future Generations, a Global Digital Compact, and a New Agenda for Peace, as well as reform of the global financial architecture to reduce inequality and fulfill  2030 Agenda & Paris Agreement commitments).

Despite the importance and progress of the proposals included in Our Common Agenda, there is a need to raise greater awareness of the thematic tracks under discussion in the General Assembly and their potential impacts on the UN’s ability to resolve the challenges of our time. Given this panorama, it is critical to promote debate around key questions: What mechanisms or actions based on Our Common Agenda are priorities for each region, taking into account their particularities? What elements are of priority interest among countries of the region in the preparation of the intersecting SDG Summit and Summit of the Future? How should the multiple actors of each region become protagonists of the OCA processes underway and the opportunities they present?


Objectives

  1. Increase the visibility and knowledge of the Our Common Agenda reform proposals and the preparations leading to the Summit of the Future among the various stakeholders in each region.
  2. Contribute to further identifying thematic elements of Our Common Agenda of priority importance for Member States and other interested actors in each region that can inform the People’s Pact for the Future to be presented at the Global Futures Forum.
  3. Promote the development of common positions between countries and among constituencies in each region to be jointly taken to the HLPF, SDG Summit, and the preparatory Ministerial Forum in September 2023 for the Summit of the Future In 2024. 
  4. Identify the synergies and thematic interlinkages between the OCA and the 2030 Agenda to feed into various UN regional processes, including the five regional CSW meetings & ECOSOC Regional Sustainable Development Forums in preparation for the 2023 HLPF & SDG Summit. 
  5. Identify opportunities opened by the “Our Common Agenda” intergovernmental tracks leading to the Summit of the Future to deliver on an ambitious set of outcomes that will reinforce and accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, Paris Climate Agreement, and other existing global agendas.

Guiding Questions

  • Identifying synergies: What OCA proposals would you want to see reflected or modified in the Summit of the Future, including its proposed Pact for the Future outcome document, that would complement the SDG Summit and accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda? 
  • What’s missing: What particular global governance proposals not mentioned in the OCA report – whether institutional, legal, normative or operational – should be included for consideration in the Summit of the Future that would also accelerate the achievement of the SDGs by 2030? 
  • Next steps: What participation modalities (e.g. for maximizing civil society participation and organization) and intergovernmental outcomes would you recommend for both the SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future that would complement and reinforce the synergies and interlinkages between the OCA and 2030 Agenda? 

Suggested Draft Program

  1. Welcome words and housekeeping (5 minutes)
  2. Opening remarks and context (5 minutes) 
  3. Contribution from National/Regional UN Representative (5 minutes)
  4. Contribution from Member State (5 minutes)
  5. Contribution from Civil Society Representative (5 minutes)
  6. Open discussion on the guiding questions above (45 minutes)
  7. Crafting of key takeaways (10 minutes)
  8. Next steps and closing remarks (5 minutes)
  9. Chat Storm: Messages from the region to the UN (3 minutes) 

Total duration: 90 minutes


Suggested Background Materials

UN Resources