The urgency of a pact for the Future

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Image of a Russian drone attack in Ukraine. EFE/EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV
Image of a Russian drone attack in Ukraine. EFE/EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV

If we stay stuck in what we are experiencing these days, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Hamas' attack on Israel, it may seem a bit misplaced and idle to talk about the future. But the crises of the present can only be resolved by taking a long view, the possible convergences, the necessary understandings. This is what we futurists propose, that, when studying the past and present trends, we use strategic foresight to create scenarios of possible futures that allow us to reduce uncertainty, eliminate or mitigate threats and risks, take advantage of opportunities and propose a horizon better and sustainable. We fully agree with this and support what the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Every war jeopardizes the future of those who suffer it directly, but also of the international community as a whole. Even more so now that in the globalized world nothing escapes its consequences. The current international scenario fully justifies urgently addressing the repeated call of the Secretary General of the United Nations to the international community to sign a Pact for the Future, to overcome the crises of the present and the strategic and existential threats that weigh on humanity. A universal pact for peacecooperation and development, to be built today, to collectively assume a change of course.

Far from a catastrophic reading, based on indisputable evidence and observation of reality, with the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law on its side, Antonio Guterres It often seems like a voice crying out in the desert of indifference and inaction of the member states. We have seen it these days, when it is playing hard to contain the madness of war in the Near East, being the object of distortions and threats, when it is doing what it is supposed to do and appealing to the consequence of the States, which makes Only one month, during the 78th General Assembly, they displayed politically correct rhetoric, but which is not being honored but is even contradicted with forceful facts.

From the 75th General Assembly, in 2020, to the 78th held this year, it seemed that we were entering a stage of greater multilateral commitment to decisively confront strategic and existential threats, and build a future of peace, sustainable development and cooperation. Indeed, on the 75th anniversary of the creation of the UN, the General Assembly set the parameters, mandating the Secretary General to present a report and an agenda to enter this new stage. Guterres presented the proposal in 2021 “Our Common Agenda”, with four axes: sustainable development and climate action beyond 2030; a new peace agenda; a Global Digital Pact; and an agreement on the sustainable and peaceful uses of outer space. And three milestones for the following years: a summit on the transformation of education; a social summit; and a summit on the future, ensuring compliance with the 2030 Agenda.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS

For the Future Summit, to be held in September 2024, on whose preparation work is already underway, it is proposed to celebrate a “Pact for the Future”, which is an effective commitment of the member states to the new generations. The Pact, according to a decision adopted at the recent ministerial meeting, should cover five groups of topics: Sustainable Development and Financing for Development; International Peace and Security; Science, Technology, Innovation and Digital Cooperation; Youth and Future Generations; Global Governance Transformation. The latter clearly has to do with the reform of the UN, a United Nations 2.0, as Guterres calls it, a new Security Council that can influence the prevention or containment of wars, also with new issues, and an expanded capacity to supporting states in anticipatory governance on crucial emerging issues.

In this framework, the proposal for the Pact for the Future includes a new agenda for peace that revitalizes collective security, along with an inclusive financial system, political decisions based on multidimensional economic indicators and not only on GDP, management of benefits and risks of digital and technological development, especially Artificial intelligence, information codes of conduct, protocols to effectively manage global crises, closer cooperation in outer space, transformation of educational systems, inclusion of young people in global decision-making, safeguarding and defending the rights of generations future. And all this with a UN 2.0, better equipped to support Member States, through the use of data, digital tools, innovation, foresight and behavioral sciences.

The commitment in principle exists, it was made official by the heads of state and government this year. But It will be necessary to see if the political will to sign it is maintained. Logic indicates that precisely now we should do it even more. In the words of Guterres, this is a unique opportunity, perhaps the last, to, “by reaffirming the Charter of the United Nations, revitalize multilateralism, advance the implementation of existing commitments, and agree on solutions to new challenges.”

In my opinion, this Pact should have the same moral and political force, and strategic clarity, with which the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration of Human Rights were signed. after World War II. The situations are not identical, but they are of equal drama and urgency, and in these existential situations, only commitments of this level are possible. Furthermore, no one would be saved from an existential crisis.

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