Warning that the world faces a stark choice between breakdown and breakthrough, Secretary General António Guterres today presented his vision for the future of international cooperation – Our Common Agenda – to the United Nations General Assembly.
For the Next Generation Fellows, publication of this long-awaited report offered the chance to find out how the Secretary-General plans to deliver his commitment that young people should be designers of their own future.
“Our Common Agenda sets out plans for a more far-sighted multilateralism,” says Next Generation Fellow, Aish Machani. “We strongly endorse the SG’s call for global solidarity with young people and future generations at a time when we are confronted by an emergency we did not cause.”
The Secretary-General describes Our Common Agenda as an agenda for action and has promised it will make a tangible difference to young people’s lives. He will convene a Transforming Education summit in 2022, lead a new push to provide young people with jobs and economic opportunities, and continue to promote action to end the climate emergency.
Our Common Agenda also makes a new commitment to the 10 billion people who are yet to be born this century. The Secretary-General promises to set up a Futures Lab, calls for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Future Generations, and proposes that A Declaration on Future Generations is agreed at Summit for the Future in 2023.
“When the Secretary-General asked us to set out a vision and plan for young people and future generations in a companion report, Our Future Agenda, we didn’t know whether our ideas would really influence his thinking,” admits Next Generation Fellow, Valeria Colunga.
“But when we first saw an advanced copy of the Our Common Agenda yesterday, we were absolutely delighted to discover that he has really listened to us, picking up on our proposals for a Recovery Barometer and a jobs guarantee for young workers, for example.”
Our Future Agenda was the result of an open and inclusive process that started with a Big Brainstorm and continued to gather and debate ideas from around the world. Civil society also made a contribution through a We the People’s digital consultation and subsequent report.
The Next Generation Fellows are now committed to turning this new agenda for next and future generations into reality, and are already making plans for the Summit for the Future.
“In our report, we make a commitment to fight without fear for a more just, resilient, and sustainable world and underline the importance of young people as champions of multilateralism,” says Jevanic Henry, a Next Generation Fellow from St Lucia. “But young people will not wait for those in authority to act. We believe it is time for leaders to catch up with us or risk being left behind.”The Next Generation Fellows were nominated BRAC, Girl Up, Restless Development and the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and hosted by the UN Foundation.