The Co-chairs of the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism (HLAB), H.E Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and H.E Stefan Löfven, former Prime Minister of Sweden, have been invited by the co-facilitators of the Summit for the Future, Germany and Namibia, to provide an update to UN Member States in New York on Tuesday, 14 February.  The Co-chairs welcome this opportunity to brief on the work of the Board, before the planned delivery of the HLAB report to the UN Secretary-General on 18 April. Ahead of the briefing and finalization of the report, the Co-chairs are issuing the following statement.

Our Board has identified six transformational shifts in global governance that will help deliver on the most urgent challenges the world is facing today in peace and security, the triple planetary crisis, growing economic inequalities, and a widening digital divide. These shifts offer bold, practical steps that could position the multilateral system as a legitimate, effective network to address immediate and long-term risks, harnessing existing capacities, institutions, and practices and offering new opportunities for collective action, transparency, as well as better outcomes for people. We also recognize that all of these shifts will require full gender equity to be successful.

The six transformational shifts we propose are:

  1. Empower equitable, effective collective security arrangements. Recognizing that the risks to our collective security and stability extend well beyond purely military threats, we will propose a re-envisioning of collective security and a broadening of the relationship between the UN and regional organizations. We will call for a reinvigorated effort to reform the Security Council, making it more representative of today’s world and less hampered by the actions of a few Member States, while strengthening the peacebuilding architecture to respond to the full range of conflict drivers worldwide. We are also looking at ways to strengthen and accelerate de-nuclearization efforts.
  2. Ensure abundant and sustainable finance that delivers for all. Our recommendations to strengthen the global financial architecture will build on the ongoing momentum for reform that seeks to deliver the right scale of finance for critical global public goods and inclusive economic development. We will put forward suggestions that make governance structures and decision-making in international financial institutions more inclusive and representative. And we will advocate changes that support the rapid mobilization of capital from public and private sources at the scale required to deliver transformational change in several areas, including the environment, digital space, and education. 
  3. Regain balance with nature and provide energy for all people. We call for a transformational agenda to address the triple planetary crisis, based on ambitious targets that hold all actors accountable; decarbonization strategies to achieve an orderly, fast-tracked transition from fossil fuels to clean energy globally; and vastly enhanced investment and major reforms of our trade and intellectual property architecture to enable a just, green transition that delivers energy to the 800 million people lacking access today. Following-up on the recognized human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, we will propose an upgrade of the environment within the multilateral system.
  4. Achieve a just digital transition that unlocks the value of data and protects against digital harms. The Summit of the Future in 2024 must be the moment the international community comes together to close the digital governance gap. Aligned with the important work of the Global Digital Compact process, our recommendations in this area focus on strengthening public capacities to adequately participate and regulate in the digital age, ensuring that the benefits of digital innovation are more widely shared, improving digital literacy, preventing digital harms, and securing human rights online. We will also focus specifically on data governance. The wealth and safety of nations over the next century may well depend on our ability to unlock data’s potential in fair, equitable, and safe ways. 
  5. Manage current and emerging transnational risks. In an age of accelerated developments, our global governance system must become more flexible, future-oriented, and capable of addressing risks both preemptively and as crises emerge. Our recommendations in this arena focus on developing dynamic, networked approaches to managing the risks arising from climate change and other environmental shifts, pandemics, artificial intelligence, bio-risks, use of outer space, and transnational organized crime. 
  6. Inclusive, accountable, and legitimate multilateralism. Over the course of our consultations, the loudest and clearest call was for the multilateral system to become more effective by becoming more inclusive, meaningfully involving a broader range of actors in global decision-making. We have listened to this call and will make a set of recommendations to enable more direct participation of civil society (including faith actors, youth, and local/regional governments) and the private sector in global governance. The Board is emphasizing the need to put gender equity at the centre of all governance efforts on local, national, regional, and global levels. 

The High-level Advisory Board is tasked to provide independent advice that can assist UN Member States in preparing the Summit for the Future in 2024. As such, the Board is also coordinating closely with other tracks leading up to the Summit and working to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving the transformational change our Board is proposing will require political courage and a sense of common purpose. Actioning change will require leadership not only from UN Member States but also from company boards, civil society groups, youth networks, and by individual people. Ultimately, the effectiveness of our multilateral system will be measured by whether it delivers for people and sets us on a course to deliver mutual prosperity, inclusivity, and a safe, healthy world for future generations.