While progress has been made in fostering sustainable development, securing peace and prosperity, and advancing decent work for all during the past 75 years, the UN is facing an unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 socio-economic crisis. In his opening remarks, the Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Guy Ryder, stated that the 75th anniversary of the UN represents a crucial turning point towards a world of shared prosperity based on the collective commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an opportunity to redouble efforts to promote the principles of multilateralism and international standards, and the ILO’s unique experience as a tripartite organization can offer effective solutions to the challenges the world is currently facing.
“The 75th anniversary of the UN represents a crucial turning point towards a world of shared prosperity based on our collective commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
– Mr. Guy Ryder
The head of the UN75 team, Under-Secretary-General Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond stated that the world is more interconnected than ever before and the most pressing global challenges, including conflict and violence, climate, digital technologies, inequality and shifting demographics, require joint solutions. Yet, multilateralism has been under fire in recent years due to a lack of trust and the resurgence of nationalism. To commemorate the 75th anniversary and foster greater multistakeholder participation on global issues, the UN launched a large-scale public dialogue and data collection effort to receive inputs on the public’s views on what kind of future they want to create, whether the world is on track and what actions are needed to bridge the gap. Based on the information gathered so far, people’s immediate priorities, largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, include better access to healthcare, greater solidarity and rethinking of the global economy and inequality. In terms of long-term priorities, people wish to improve environmental protection, respect for human rights and access to education. Many people globally remain particularly concerned about the challenges to eliminate poverty, and many are worried about climate change. However, it is possible to shape the future of international cooperation and sustainable development; over 90% of the respondents in the UN’s data collection effort deem international cooperation as essential, and this sentiment has been increasing during COVID-19, highlighting that people in all nations recognize the irreplaceable value added of multilateral efforts to tackle the greatest global challenges.
The #COVID19 crisis is putting labour rights at the forefront of human rights, and the @ILO's experience will be essential for the future of international cooperation, says UN USG @HochschildF in #UN75 webinar with staff. https://t.co/gj4UXpkhLl pic.twitter.com/HSry0Rjjsr— International Labour Organization (@ilo) August 27, 2020
The townhall meeting gathered more than 200 ILO staff members and there was broad engagement with many questions submitted to the interactive part of the dialogue. It is clear that multilateralism must have an inclusive approach, and the ILO’s long-standing example of tripartite cooperation can help lead the way. The discussion highlighted the imperative need for the UN to adapt to arising challenges, including technology, and shape the post-COVID-19 world that can accelerate actions towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There is a continuous need to ensure human rights and labor rights for all, and the ILO’s 100 year long history and the UN’s 75th anniversary is a reminder of the resilience of multilateralism.