Article | Last updated: 2016-09-22 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norway will develop ideas for reform of the UN in its project UN70: A New Agenda.
Why UN70: A New Agenda?
Norway has a fundamental interest in a well-functioning global legal order in which right prevails over might, and where relations between states are governed by binding standards, conventions and legislation. Geopolitical changes, global challenges and lack of political and financial stability impose new demands on international cooperation and on the multilateral system's ability to adapt and take on new tasks. The international legal order and the UN's global role cannot be taken for granted. How can multilateralism and the UN, with its limitations, solve tomorrow's challenges?
We need to adapt, change and improve the UN as an intergovernmental arena as well as an actor in its own right. This is most of all the responsibility of the owners of the UN, that is the member states. Norway wants to contribute in the work of securing the future relevance of the UN, and is launching the project "UN70: A New Agenda". This is an initiative in support of preparing the UN for the next era.
How will UN70 work?
The project aims at developing ideas for reform. Norway will work together with member states, the UN itself, researchers, civil society and others. Based on the dialogue with a group of member states and our common reform proposals, we must engage with the wider membership. We must work to create space for new initiatives from the Secretary General.
The adoption of the SDGs, the conference on Financing for development, COP 21 in Paris, the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 and the ongoing review of Peace operations and the Peace Building Architecture provides opportunities to discuss reform. The UN70 project will not substitute for any of these ongoing processes, but rather build on them. Issues and proposals that emerge from these processes can feed into the work of the group of partner countries. UN70 will also work to initiate and stimulate debate about the UN in Norway. UN70 is a vehicle for the government to coordinate, update and develop our UN-policy.
What will UN70 propose?
Exactly how, and in what areas, we can make a difference is what this project will find out in the coming months. But we have some ideas and here are a few examples:
- We will look at how the Secretary-General can optimise the use of the "good offices" function.
- We will look at more systematic ways for the Secretary General to take the lead in "issue-based alliances" such as "Every Women, Every Child" and "Energy for All".
- Look for ways to better include development actors in crisis response (with reference to the crises in the Middle East and North Africa).
- Consider how the next Secretary General can build on the «Human Rights up Front» initiative to further develop the integration of Human Rights in all activities of the UN.
- How the Secretary General can make use of his office in order to modernize the Secretariat into an international civil service.