As we saw in a previous article, Our Common Agenda looks ahead to the next 25 years and represents the Secretary-General’s vision of Building Forward Better by re-invigorating global cooperation to fulfill commitments already made.
Member States themselves identified 12 areas of action that can only be addressed through greater multilateralism. This does not guarantee action on their part, however, as too often States make public commitments with little or no follow-through. That is up to citizens the world over. It is often only with grassroots pressure from the bottom-up will “leaders” do the right thing for their people. And even then, as Vincentians know all too well, the impoverished of every society may be left out.
So as Antonio Guterrez says, “Now is the time” to think big and act without delay on the following major issues we should all care about. Of the 12 action areas, it seems to me there are six we can actually do something about ourselves in small but significant ways by looking at them with a Vincentian eye, i.e. asking What Must I Do on this issue in my current ministry? So let’s look creatively at those.
LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: especially the most marginalized, whose voice should be heard on every aspect of social change. Build a new social contract for all anchored in Human Rights. This includes leaving no one offline now that broadband access has become such a critical factor for life today.
PROTECT OUR PLANET: we only have one and it’s crying out for care, attention and protection. The great issue of our lifetime. Laudato Si a beautiful guide.
PROMOTE PEACE & PREVENT CONFLICTS: we can promote respectful dialogue in local neighborhoods and communities, we can seek ways to listen—too often a lost art—to those with different opinions to chip away at today’s divisiveness.
LISTEN TO AND WORK WITH YOUTH: again listening is key, help them trust in a better future, ensure meaningful youth participation at every appropriate opportunity.
PLACE WOMEN & GIRLS AT THE CENTER: they suffer the most in poverty and in every crisis, it’s time to give women & girls primacy in efforts to Build Forward Better. Speak out against all gender discriminatory language and laws.
BUILD TRUST: faith in institutions is at an all-time low, especially among the young, and this must be reversed if we are to move forward. Promote integrity and transparency, tackle corruption and demand accountability at every level.
The other 6 action areas:
ABIDE BY INTERNATIONAL LAW & ENSURE JUSTICE
IMPROVE DIGITAL COOPERATION
UPGRADE THE UNITED NATIONS
ENSURE SUSTAINABLE FINANCING
In closing, remember that the entire report can be found on our website below under “News and Updates.”
NGO representative of the CM to the UN