UN General Assembly sets date and modalities for a Summit of the Future

Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024 / UN also establishes a Youth Office

In two resolutions adopted on September 8, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly decided to establish a Youth Office and decided to hold a Summit of the Future in September 2024. Both resolutions come from recommendations in the UN Secretary General’s Report Our Common Agenda.

The Youth Office is being established to enhance ‘engagement and advocacy for the advancement of youth issues across the United Nations, in the areas of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights,’ and to help facilitate ‘the full, effective, constructive and inclusive participation of youth in decision-making.’

The UN already has a position of Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, but this position has very little authority or institutional support. The establishment of the Youth Office strengthens and extends engagement of youth across all sectors of the United Nations.

Summit of the Future: Purpose and Potential Outcomes

The purpose of the Summit of the Future (full title is Summit of the Future: Multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow) is to address a range of critical issues impacting on the future, including peace, security, the climate crisis and sustainable development.

The Summit is expected to adopt a Pact for the Future to connect and amplify current obligations to protect the environment and social/political order for future generations, and to establish new commitments and institutional measures.

Proposals for consideration include to:

  • Establish a UN Envoy for Future Generations and/or a UN Office for Future Generations;
  • Repurpose the Trusteeship Council to better govern the global commons;
  • Boost the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, to assist international conflict resolution, accountability and justice;
  • Develop the Secretary-General’s Proposed Emergency Platform and Associated UN Rapid Crisis Response Capacities for better war prevention;
  • Establish a Global Health Threats Council to better prepare for future pandemics;
  • Establish an International Anti-Corruption Court.

For discussion of these and other proposals, see Road to 2023: Our Common Agenda and the Pact for the Future

Summit of the Future: Timing and process

Due to the urgency of addressing current global issues impacting the future, the summit was originally proposed for September 2023. However, this date was blocked by a small group of states (primarily Pakistan, Brazil, and Russia). The compromise reached was to hold a ministerial meeting in September 2023 in order to maintain momentum on the proposals, followed by the conference proper in 2024 for adoption of the Pact for the Future. This provides more time for advocacy that would likely be required for the more ambitious proposals.

UNFOLD ZERO is cooperating with the World Future Council, Coalition for the UN We Need, Stimson Center, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Youth Fusion and other key civil society networks in the UN preparation process for the Summit. We will be organizing a number of public events over the next two years to highlight and build support for some of the key proposals.

One of the proposals UNFOLD ZERO and the World Future Council have submitted for the Pact for the Future is for it to include a commitment by UN member states to achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons no later than 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations.