UN @ 75: The Future of Partnership and Multilateralism

The signing of the UN Charter in 1945, signaled the beginning of the new dawn in multilateralism. 75 years later we need to ask ourselves: what future do we want and what UN do we need (for that future)?

The 2020 ACUNS Annual Meeting not only provides an appropriate moment to critically reflect on 75 years of UN history, but also and perhaps more so provides an opportunity to constructively discuss the future of multilateralism and the role of partnerships in the future governance of our common global good. UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call “to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system” is timely. Brexit; the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and UNESCO; Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the Eurasian Economic Community; The Philippines’ and Burundi’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court; and Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission, can all be cited as examples of what many consider to be a ‘crisis in multilateralism.’

Crises in multilateralism are not new, but now more than ever, the opposition to multilateralism seems to be triggered by a fateful combination of nationalist and populist tendencies in politics, and a growing distrust in international organizations among the people whom governments and inter-governmental organizations intend to serve. There is a need to not only reaffirm and reinvigorate the merits of multilateralism, but also to reconceptualize multilateralism as an all-inclusive and
encompassing global partnership. The UN has the potential of becoming our global partnership hub; not only as a landing platform for all stakeholders at all levels: public and private; international, regional, national and local; civil society and business; political parties, faith groups, labor unions, professional associations and educational institutions; but also—and more so—as springboard towards a new-multilateralism.

SDG 17 calls for multi-stakeholder partnerships in such crucial issues as capacity building, the co-production of knowledge and innovation, enhanced policy coherence, and entrepreneurship must be met with a strengthened effort to (re)build trust among those with a stake and an interest in the future of multilateralism and global partnerships. The Academic Council on the United Nations System therefore invites you to submit individual paper proposals and panel proposals on a wide variety of topics and issues that speak to the general theme of the Annual Meeting: UN @ 75: THE FUTURE OF PARTNERSHIP AND MULTILATERALISM.

Such proposal topics can include, but are not limited to:
> Public-private partnerships
> Trust building
> Leadership and resilience in multilateralism
> The role of the Global South in multilateralism and Global South partnerships
> The role of business and corporate stakeholders
> The history and future of multilateralism and international organizations
> The relationship between NGOs and IGOs
> The reform of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations
> The role of higher education in researching and teaching multilateralism and partnerships
> Local communities in/and global governance
> (Future) technologies in the development of dialogues between different stakeholders
> The position of young people in determining their future
> The cooperation between global and regional IGOs
> The future governance of such issues as development, security, education, and health