The Secretary-General’s call for “prevention, prevention, prevention” as the top three priorities of the UN is a demand for a more future-oriented organization, prepared for emerging challenges and capable of innovating to meet them. Indeed, Our Common Agenda places particular importance on intergenerational solidarity, orienting the work of the UN to address problems that will have an impact for decades to come.
For UNU-CPR, the focus on prevention has meant building a foresight capacity, delivering scenario-based futures analyses, identifying new trends that may affect the work of the multilateral system, and offering innovative solutions for them. In particular, it has meant work on the role of AI-driven technologies in creating new risks, researching the effects of newly generated large-scale population movements, and examining how the COVID-19 response may have affected the health and wellbeing of people around the world.
Multilateralism is going through a period of profound and rapid change. Power shifts, new technologies and deep social and economic changes are reshaping politics between and within States. The need for international cooperation to tackle global threats is greater than ever, and many multilateral institutions face unprecedented demands. But designing and delivering collective responses to global challenges is also increasingly complex.
UNU-CPR has led research on strengthening global governance since its inception. How can the UN and its partners launch and sustain genuinely new approaches to global public policy problems, transcending existing organizational habits and boundaries? By developing cutting-edge research, clarifying the complex dynamics in multilateral forums, and designing clearly-targeted, evidence-based proposals, UNU-CPR has stimulated discussion on the future of multilateral cooperation and effective options for engagement.