In 2020, the United Nations will celebrate its 75th anniversary. Much has changed in the world since the founding of the Organization in 1945, yet the spirit of multilateralism and global cooperation continues, sustained by a fundamental understanding that the world’s continued challenges can only be solved collectively.
Some pressures, such as climate change, operate on an unprecedented scale, involving everyone and every part of the world, and threatening the future of our planet. Others carry a degree of complexity that eludes simple solutions, such as poverty and inequality, protracted conflict, migration and displacement, and rapid changes in demographics and technology. Without effective cooperation across borders, sectors and generations, the consequences will be far-reaching, now and into the future.
Even as we need bold and collective action more than ever, however, multilateralism, despite its long history and continued value, is under question as never before. Unilateralism is on the rise, coupled with a growing disconnect between people and institutions. Renewed support for global cooperation could not be more urgent, as expressed by UN Member States in several resolutions.
It is time to stake a claim on a future where multilateralism regains its essential role. Towards that end, the United Nations will mark its 75th birthday by hosting the biggest-ever global conversation, UN75. Launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN75 aligns with the UN General Assembly’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary in September 2020.
Leading up to that moment, UN75 will develop dialogues reaching every part of the world. These will tap into a wealth of ideas and diverse perspectives on rejuvenating global cooperation and achieving a just, peaceful and sustainable future for all. They will reflect the fundamental truth that for the United Nations to fulfil its commitment to the people it serves, it must listen to and be held accountable by them.
UN75 asks three big questions:
Online and offline, dialogues will span communities, issues and ages. They will reach classrooms, boardrooms, parliaments and village halls, ideally in all 193 UN Member States. Given the future-oriented nature of the discussions, youth will play major roles, as will civil society, academia, the private sector, media and governments. Together, they will assess current and future risks and opportunities, and source solutions for collective action.
In short, UN75 will:
Reach as many people as possible.
ConnectBring together diverse, lesser heard voices, and shape a new global dialogue.
AmplifyProvide channels for people to talk—and be heard.
ActShare and advocate solutions.
The ideas generated are expected to:
- Inform public debate
- Be taken up by national and international decision-makers
- Inspire broader civic engagement
- Deepen global cooperation
This UN75 toolkit shows UN organizations and country teams how to get started on the conversation. It provides comprehensive information, tips and insights on how the dialogues can work and have the most meaningful impact.
Mark your calendars: A timeline for UN75
24th Oct 2019
Soft Launch UN Day
2nd Jan 2020
24th June 2020
UN Charter Day
21st Sept 2020
24th Oct 2020
Soft Close UN Day
31st Dec 2020
UN75: Some key messages
Preparation: The Conversation Begins
On UN Day in 2019, the Secretary-General kicked off the UN75 dialogue, inviting people to participate and committing to bringing their voices to the attention of world leaders. From this point onward, all UN country offices can gear up for UN75, including through initiating focus groups for key stakeholders. Other methods for dialogue will be further elaborated and with supporting tools developed in the coming weeks and months.
First, keep these principles in mind
The dialogue process should build on inclusive debate aimed at both creating engagement and raising awareness. Several key principles will help ensure consistency, legitimacy and ownership. These should be applied through preparing, conducting and following up on the dialogues, in both online and offline forums.
Who should be talking?
The types of participants in UN75 will vary. At the country level, activities should build from local contexts and priorities. Broadly, however, some general categories and plans for outreach include:
NB: In establishing a focus group, an established good practice is to work with ONE group of stakeholders at at time, rather than trying to combine them.
Use a clear and transparent selection process with well-defined and justifiable criteria. The quality of the consultation(s) will depend largely on credible representation of particular stakeholder groups, especially those often marginalized from conventional processes. Criteria for identifying stakeholder representatives could include:
A stakeholder mapping at the national and subnational levels can help define and balance participation within stakeholder groups, clarify dynamics and relationships that may influence the consultations, and ensure that no one who should be included is left out.
Data for the mapping can be disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, residence (rural, slums or urban), and sectors of economic activity, in order to reflect the situation and living conditions of different major groups. Some consideration may need to be given to how different forms of marginalization intersect. A male leader of an indigenous community, for instance, may bring different perspectives than a woman from the community.
When consulting individuals, special attention should be given to actors who typically would not participate, such as adolescents, migrant workers, homeless people, sex workers etc. Some participants may have skill gaps or time constraints (such as a burdensome loss of a day of wages) that require accommodation. Some may need separate time, perhaps with a process facilitator, to develop their inputs within their own structures before sharing them with the broader consultation. Personal security risks for some marginalized groups must be kept in mind.
The diversity of civil society should be taken into account, considering that these groups are highly heterogeneous, cutting across economic, social (including education and health), environment and governance (including transparency and human rights) groupings, and social movements.
When appropriate, identify and work with established civil society networks and platforms, which are country-based umbrella organizations to represent the collective interests of their members. A well-functioning platform can provide a powerful and legitimate avenue for a strong, cohesive and credible voice for civil society, although actual consultations should not be limited to such groups.
When appropriate, identify and work with institutions for tripartite social dialogue (e.g., economic and social councils). Governments, employers’ organizations and trade unions will be represented in these structures. Some of these also include actors from civil society.
Ensure that membership-based organizations representing massive numbers of citizens are given an extra representative voice as compared to smaller groups or NGOs. For instance, such organizations may be allowed two more delegates than smaller organizations.
What’s our story?
A consistent, coherent narrative or story for the consultation, in line with the UN75 key messages, describes the participants’ involvement and how that will result in a significant and evident impact. The narrative is the foundation on which all activities are based and should be defined at the beginning, while keeping in mind the need for change during the consultation based on feedback from participants.
The narrative should guide participants in understanding:
How to engage?
The following points may be useful for preparing a consultation plan, including to uphold the principles of inclusion, equity and accountability.
Some suggestions for guiding inclusive consultations include:
Where to engage?
Selecting the method of consultation should factor in several elements:
Different forms of engagement can be used alone or in tandem to reinforce each other, and based on what is feasible in a given country context. Some common options include:
The role of the facilitator/moderator
A facilitator is a crucial actor in any consultation. Facilitators are expected to contribute to drafting the concept note and agenda. They must be non-biased and neutral, and to facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the consultation, by guiding the discussion and ensuring a results oriented process.
A well-prepared facilitator can aid in building consensus between participants and generate strong, accurate and usable feedback. Some broad guiding principles for the facilitator are:
To be added/elaborated: Market research partners – will give one page guidance note for moderators
Preparing to talk
Where in-person dialogues are involved, notify participants of the venue at least a week in advance. To facilitate a fruitful and engaging discussion, the venue should be quiet and in a peaceful location with limited potential for bystanders. Meetings could also be held in easily accessible urban areas, but also remotely, near or within the locales of target population groups.
Consultation: What are we talking about?
Consultation using framing questions with a moderator and rapporteur
Whether online or in person, dialogues are intended to stimulate an inclusive, bottom-up debate on the most pressing issues the world faces today as well as the role of multilateralism in solving them. The process should inspire people to imagine future scenarios based on their own experiences and ideas.
A set of guiding questions has been designed to stimulate meaningful debate at different levels and with a range of stakeholders across different contexts. In a given country, it may be necessary to align the questions with local concepts of development as well as human rights, environmental and labour rights treaty obligations of the government.
While adapting the questions to different groups of stakeholders, keep in mind that the questions should remain recognizable so that results within and across countries can be compared and aggregated, and presented in a credible and powerful way in the intergovernmental process.
Some questions to guide the conversation
Check these short thought pieces to refresh on some of the most pressing issues from the UN75 team: need links
Feedback and follow up
Feedback and follow-up is part of upholding the principle of accountability and the rights of participants. It helps ensure the accuracy of the process and improve its quality. Each consultation should include some form of reporting back the results as well as a brief opinion poll capturing the level of satisfaction with the process. A feedback mechanism can encourage participants to offer real-time suggestions or criticisms about the process as it unfolds.
UN75 will provide both moderator and participant feedback forms, which will be tracked by the codes pre-assigned to each dialogue. In time the UN75 website will allow audiences anywhere in the world to provide feedback from dialogues.
Documentation of the process and results is critical so that results within and across countries can be compared, aggregated and presented in a credible and powerful way at different levels. Some typical forms of documentation include:
- Registration of participants
- Data set indicating who participated; who was consulted; how stakeholders were identified; which methodology was used.
- Relevant demographics (gender, age, rural-urban, occupation, income, education level, disability, etc.)
- Video and audio recordings (short videos, testimonials of people who have participated) capturing people’s life experiences
- Photos or web stories generated from the consultation
- Media stories
- Social media data
- Reports from rapporteurs
- An analytical summary report with key findings
Once these have been captured offline using the moderator excel document then please copy over answers onto the online moderator form so that they can be recorded and analysed centrally.
Participants should have the opportunity to validate results substantively and raise suggestions or concerns regarding the process.
Validating the findings of consultations can involve simple steps, such as sharing meeting reports or survey results, and requesting additional inputs and suggestions. Some validation can take place during focus groups and meetings by using participatory visual methods that give instant feedback about what participants are saying. All materials and documents should be shared among participants at the end of the process. A mechanism, such as the feedback form for participants, should be in place to respond to individuals or groups of participants who feel they have not been adequately involved. .