In September 2021, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented the report: “Our Common Agenda”. This report contains recommendations to advance the common agenda, as mandated by Member States in the Political Declaration on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The declaration also included 12 commitments, two of which are to listen to and work with youth and to protect our planet. Member States recognized that young people need to be given a seat at the table in order for decision-making for a sustainable future to be effective.
“Our Common Agenda” report discusses the Secretary-General’s vision on the future of global cooperation. Among the Secretary-General’s key proposed actions focused on protecting our planet, we count:
- Leaders meeting ahead of the global stocktaking in 2023
- Commit to the 1.5-degree Celsius goal and net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner
- Declarations of climate emergency and right to a healthy environment
- Package of support to developing countries
- Measures of adaptation and resilience
- No new coal after 2021 and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies
- Account for the environment in economic models, carbon pricing mechanisms and credible commitments by financial actors
- Post-2020 biodiversity framework
- Transforming food systems for sustainability, nutrition, and fairness
- Action by the General Assembly on territorial threats of climate change and to prevent, protect, and resolve situations of environmental displacement
Beside this, youth engagement is needed across all the 12 commitments of the UN75 Political Declaration, especially the commitment to protect our planet. It is thus paramount that young people continue to be part of the thinking process and the implementation of the proposals to protect our planet. Therefore, keeping up the momentum, the Sovereign Order of Malta Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York will be hosting a panel in the margins of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, to pursue the reflection around “Our Common Agenda” and to exchange views on how to further youth engagement in the United Nations decision-making processes for protecting our planet.