After two years of hybrid meetings, UNGA 77 is a return to pre-pandemic summitry. There will be, of course, the world leaders’ speeches—some 200 of them. But today, more than ever, UNGA week is less about the UN and more about what happens outside of the building.
Indeed, for two weeks, a diverse cohort of stakeholders from all disciplines, will meet on the sidelines to advance solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We, too, will be hosting our own annual “Global Goals in Action” multistakeholder forum on September 20th. As I’ve said before, this is simply a sign of the times that multilateralism is changing and it’s not up to politicians to solve society’s biggest problems; solving the SDGs is everyone’s business.
Every year we set to put together a special edition asking our contributors to answer questions such as: Are we on the right track to solve the SDGs by 2030? How do our (individual and organizational) goals align with the SDGs? How can we create uncommon collaborations? More recently we also ask: How has the pandemic accelerated or derailed solutions?
This last question is important. As more studies and data become available, we are learning that since the pandemic we have lost decades of progress. Achieving the SDGs was hard enough before, now we are dealing with next level simultaneous disruptions. As I write this note, my children have just left for their first day of in-person school. According to new reporting from AP, math and reading scores saw their largest decrease in 30 years. That’s just a top of mind quick illustration. We’ve chronicled learning setbacks for two years now. The picture is very dramatic.
At Diplomatic Courier we are no longer talking about resilience and crisis management. We are talking about transformational change. In that regard, this year’s UNGA, with the “Summit of the Future” is very promising. UN Secretary General António Guterres is hoping it will produce a “Pact for the Future.”
But will this transformational change come from the highest levels of leadership? Business? Civil society? Or, the promise of Big Tech? We’ve invited a group of multidisciplinary thought leaders practicing transformation in their industries to debate what this moment means for advancing the Global Goals. We’ve also engaged with Midjourney, the AI design bot, to help us imagine what the future might look like. What will it take to finally move from practice to action? As always, we invite your comments and letters to the editor.