Brief

Elevating the Environment in the Multilateral System

Enabling the UN to play a more meaningful role in a global transition towards a more sustainable relationship with nature.

The widespread recognition of our planetary emergency has prompted a range of initiatives to reduce our use of fossil fuels, develop net-zero approaches to industry, and accelerate a just, green transition before more critical tipping points are reached.

One proposal advanced by the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism (HLAB) is to elevate the environment within the multilateral system, enabling the UN to play a more meaningful role in identifying cross-cutting planetary risks, fostering greater accountability and transparency around our impacts on the environment (including with the private sector and international finance), and generating the resources and information needed to successfully transition into a sustainable relationship with nature.

This Technical Note offers an overview of the HLAB recommendations on elevating the environment within the multilateral system. It is informed by the role that UN University Centre for Policy Research played as secretariat to the HLAB and its ongoing research agenda to support the Summit of the Future.

The insights offered in the Technical Note are the result of dozens of expert events over the past 18 months, consultations with environmental scientists, and an extensive literature review. The paper has three sections: (1) an overview of the current environmental architecture in the multilateral system and past reform efforts; (2) an explanation of the HLAB recommendations on elevating the environment; and (3) some considerations for how the proposals might be taken forward in the context of the 2024 UN Environmental Assembly and the Summit of the Future.

Access ‘Elevating the Environment in the Multilateral System’ here.

Suggested citation: Day Adam, Nickel Catharina. Elevating the Environment in the Multilateral System : UNU-CPR, 2023.