Guterres calls for UN 2.0 to tackle 21st century challenges

Guterres calls for UN 2.0 to tackle 21st century challenges
Guterres calls for UN 2.0 to tackle 21st century challenges

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW YORK — Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday emphasized the need for a “strengthened and updated” United Nations to better reach and support people around the world.

Amid multifaceted crises ranging from conflicts to climate, and poverty and inequality, the world looks to the UN “to help deliver the better, safer and greener world we need,” Guterres said.

“But we cannot solve 21st century problems with 20th century tools — we need a UN 2.0,” he stressed, in a message opening the UN 2.0 week.

The transformation in skills and culture, encapsulated in the UN chief’s vision of a UN 2.0, is focused on fostering cutting-edge capabilities in data, digital solutions, innovation, foresight and behavioral science — to deliver stronger results and help countries accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Secretary-General’s vision is elaborated in a policy brief launched last September.

In his message on Monday, Guterres also emphasized the need for a “forward-thinking culture” at the organization, powered by rapid technological advances.

He added that this was particularly important given the fundamental changes proposed in Our Common Agenda, his vision for global cooperation and getting the SDGs back on track, as well as the Summit of the Future, which will be convened on Sept. 22-23 in New York.

“We’re already seeing what is possible: From online resources for remote schools, to humanitarian aid based on real-time data, and technology that helps countries forecast and build resilience to disasters,” the UN chief said.

“Ultimately, UN 2.0 will make us better partners for countries as they achieve results for their people.”

Also speaking at the opening, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed explained that UN 2.0 is the organization’s response to how “we will pivot and meet the world where it is at and where it needs to go”.

“Thinking about what that means for investing in our staff, but also attending to many of the ‘quintet of change’ issues,” she added, noting the five topics – data, digital solutions, innovation, foresight and behavioral science.

She expressed hope that the transformations will make the UN more fit for purpose.

“That we can actually get out there and raise the ambitions, and be more responsive for the needs,” she added.

Taking place from April 22 to 26, UN 2.0 Week showcases a series of virtual events including panel discussions and best practice sharing dialogues. Over 40 speakers from across the UN system and partner organizations are slated to speak. — UN News

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