UNU Action Debate: ‘High Time for UN Reform?’ High-Level Reflections Ahead of the ‘Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape’

UNU Action Debate: ‘High Time for UN Reform?’

High-Level Reflections Ahead of the
‘Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape’

“Today's risks are so dangerous and so global in their nature they've outrun the international system's ability to deal with them. We're trying to solve today's problems with yesterday's tools. We believe a new shape of collaboration is needed to address the most critical challenges in our globalized world.” 
Laszlo Szombatfalvy, Founder, Global Challenges Foundation 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious and complex in equal measure. A kaleidoscope of grand visions, the 2030 Agenda aims to rebuild our world from the ground up – through a ‘future-proof’ work plan covering everything from the environment to education to healthcare.

The question is: do we really have the foundations, the architecture, and the craftsmen to achieve this massive task? Is the UN, now in its 70s, up to leading this challenge? If not, does it have the time and capacity to reform itself while ‘on the job’? 

In this context, UNU-MERIT and the Global Challenges Foundation are hosting an ‘action debate’: a panel discussion to thrash out practical routes to reform. Featuring high-level speakers from the worlds of academia and diplomacy, the debate will map out the future of global governance, probing the following lines in particular:

1. What lessons, if any, has the UN system learned from the Millennium Development Goals? 
2. Should the new UN Secretary-General seek a root-and-branch reform of UN structures and governance? 
3. How can UN member states, like the Netherlands, help to solve global challenges?
4. What are possible new forms of global governance?
5. How can existing or new structures engage citizens in governance and help them to feel better represented?

Ultimately, the event aims to:

- Provide an open and frank debate on the capacities of present structures, especially the UN, for tackling global threats;

- Help the audience to grasp the issues at stake in terms of complexity, importance and urgency; 

- Plan for the future while learning from the past, e.g. from the MDGs;

- Identify new ways of looking at structures and responsibilities: i.e. who are the most important actors, what are the mechanisms for checks and balances, what structures are accountable, and what is the role of non-state actors?

- Leave both speakers and audience with a heightened sense of commitment, empowerment and responsibility.

The debate will take place at Maastricht University, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, on Monday 6 March, from 18.30-20.00. The event will be followed by a small reception until 21.00.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

About the speaker

Prof. Dr. Folke Tersman, Head of the Department of Philosophy at Uppsala University, Sweden, Member of the Board of the Global Challenges Foundation;

Prof. Dr. Jakob Rhyner, Vice-Rector for United Nations University (UNU) in Europe and Director of UNU-EHS; 

Mr. Anthony Antoine, Director (ad interim), UNU-CRIS

Dr. Maty Konte, Researcher, UNU-MERIT

Mr. Selahattin Topal, Master's student in Public Policy and Human Development, UNU-MERIT

Moderator: Mr. Diego Salama, Communications Officer, UNU-MERIT

Venue: Aula, Maastricht University, Minderbroedersberg 4-6

Date: 06 March 2017

Time: 18:30 - 21:00  CET