Introduction

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:

1.

What kind of future do we want to create?

2.

Are we on track?

3.

What action is needed to bridge the gap?

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:

Engage

Reach as many people as possible.

Connect

Bring together diverse, lesser heard voices, and shape a new global dialogue.

Amplify

Provide channels for people to talk—and be heard.

Act

Share 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

Official Launch

24th June 2020

UN Charter Day

21st Sept 2020

UNGA 2020

24th Oct 2020

Soft Close UN Day

31st Dec 2020

Official Close

UN75: Some key messages

The United Nations will initiate the largest and farthest-reaching global conversation ever to commemorate its 75th anniversary.  2020 will be a year of listening, reflection and learning for the United Nations.

The United Nations will drive as many global conversations amongst as many people across the world as possible. It aims to build a global vision of what the world expects the year 2045 to look like, but more importantly, drive action to realize that vision.

concerns around global threats, their visions of what would happen in the absence of global cooperation and their ideas for global and local action. UN75 will connect people. It will listen and amplify their voices. It will catalyse action.

The UN75 campaign is distinct in the people it will reach and the questions it will ask. It places a special focus on youth and people who wouldn’t normally know or care about the UN.

Any individual, community, school or parliament who wants to be a part of the global conversation can do so.  The dialogues are open to all and designed to create an inclusive and open environment. Detailed guidelines on how to join or host a global dialogue will soon be available on the UN75 website (www.un.org/un75)

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.

Ensure inclusion:

The future belongs to everyone. The multilateral system, too, is universally owned. In that spirit, every effort should be made to make the consultations as inclusive as possible, across parameters that may include age, sex, disability, ethnicity, location and so on. The principle should guide both the choice of participants in the dialogues as well as issue of access. Participants should be able to reach and use facilities where dialogues are held, for instance. Online access may need to allow for varying levels of connectivity.

Promote equity:

Dialogues can take an active stand on issues of equity by redressing power and other imbalances. This includes effectively involving those who are commonly underrepresented or marginalized in decision-making processes. It may also entail moderating dialogues with sensitivity to everyone being able to speak, and to power dynamics between the moderator and the participants. .

Uphold accountability:

People who participate in the consultations should be able to provide feedback and influence the results and process, so that the process becomes collaborative, not just extractive. Any issues around ethics or confidentiality should be clarified at the beginning of the process so that it avoids any unintended consequences such as negative impacts on people’s rights.

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:

The UN Secretary-General has suggested that all Member States consider holding dedicated dialogues in 2020, or integrating the theme of global cooperation into planned existing events. UN75 will support and publicize these, and reach out to all levels of government, including cities. It may be important to engage as well as semi-governmental organizations such as a national human rights institution or ombudsman.​

Since national and regional parliaments are essential forums for dialogue, outreach should be conducted via national governments, as well as through organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and all UN agencies are encouraged to bring youth into the centre of the debates. Outreach will comprise connecting with high schools and universities as well as local youth movements. ​

Well placed to support UN75, these organizations are already coordinating closely with UN75 on planned events and consultations at the global, national and subnational levels.​

The UN Global Compact will mobilize business partners to participate in and support UN75, including at the country level. This process can tap existing coalitions supporting the 2030 Agenda, such as the Global Compact’s Local Networks, as well as industry groups.

In conjunction with the UN Foundation, a “2045 Project” will be launched, featuring public debates, future-oriented policy white papers, events, panels and substantive dialogue series. These will take place over several months and in diverse regions, culminating in a common repository of ideas and insights for collective action.​

Think tanks and universities throughout the world can contribute research and convene policy dialogues, in many cases linking with established research tracks and workstreams. A series of town halls is planned through a consortia of partner universities. ​

A dedicated media strategy will amplify the voice and visibility of UN75. Social media partners will host some of the dialogues, and generate broad participation. These actors will also be invited to consider their own role and contribution to fostering understanding across different constituencies.​

UN75 will encourage all UN entities to convene, support or coordinate dialogue events with their local, national and regional partners, from remote field stations to UN headquarters, and regional offices and commissions. The UN Chief Executives Board has agreed that each UN entity will lead its own agency-wide strategies and partnerships to explore thematic aspects relevant to their mandates. Many UN entities have already begun planning UN75 events. UN staff, including staff councils and unions, will be important instigators and participants in the dialogues, and key allies for social media outreach.​

UN75 is coordinating with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, both celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2019. Other partners may include regional organizations such as the European Union, the Organization of American States, the African Union, the Arab League, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Group of 20.​

UN2020, UN Associations, Together First and others will be key allies since they are dedicated to using the 75th anniversary as an opportunity to take stock and strengthen the organization.​

Diverse groups offer essential perspectives and should be systematically included. They may comprise people with disabilities, LGBTQI advocates, migrants, refugees, internally displaced people, religious leaders, traditional authorities and others specific to different contexts.​

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:

  • Credibility
  • Competence and local knowledge of development issues​
  • Institutional capacity​
  • Representation of an otherwise marginalized community or group​
  • Membership-based organizations that are most representative of constituencies with regard to economic and social issues​
  • Accountability to the community or group being represented​
  • Gender and generational balance​
  • Location in urban, rural or remote areas.​

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:

  • What is the fundamental purpose of the dialogue?​
  • Why am I participating?​
  • What’s the value of my participation?​
  • What impact can my participation have?​
  • What actions can I take? ​

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:

  • Develop an outreach strategy based on the most effective ways of sharing information (e.g., notification, civil society networks, electronic media).
  • Disseminate information about the consultations in advance so that different groups can have sufficient time to engage in the process, including those who may wish to conduct their own internal consultations before participating.
  • Tailor communication tools or channels to the values and norms of stakeholders, and guarantee a gender-sensitive and culturally sensitive approach. Use local languages where needed to be more accessible.
  • Remove/manage constraints that may block the participation of certain groups of stakeholders (e.g., sociocultural and economic issues, gender, capacities and abilities, time and mobility, legal and regulatory, political sensitivities, personal security risks).
  • Use existing dialogue institutions, forums and committees at the country level, standing committees (e.g., civil society advisory committees), or institutions for tripartite social dialogues (e.g., economic and social councils).
  • Establish culturally appropriate consultation mechanisms through creating consultative groups or consultations at the local level.
  • Adopt confidentiality safeguards depending on issues discussed and national context, especially where freedom of opinion is not respected.
  • Mitigate ‘consultation fatigue’ by conferring with civil society and other key stakeholders at consultations/events they are organizing, aiming for a multiplier effect.
  • Allow organizations with representative structures (e.g., trade unions and employers’ organizations) sufficient time to consult with their members.
  • Consider co-convening or co-organizing a consultation with key national partners to promote national ownership and accountability.
  • Consider active engagement with civil society coalitions and their national partners
  • Include all relevant information in the consultative process, including background summaries of major development, social, economic or environmental trends. A list of background thought pieces is provided here
  • Draw lessons from previous consultative processes, and capture lessons from current ones that can inform future exercises.

Where to engage?

Selecting the method of consultation should factor in several elements:

  • The nature and scope of the issues to be discussed
  • Reasons for involvement and expected outcomes
  • Time available
  • Resources available
  • The participants engaged in the consultations

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:

In-person dialogue sessions: People meet together in a physical location; these sessions could also include electronic links to people who cannot be physically present.

Online discussions: The UN75 team is working to develop a comprehensive online platform to host and facilitate digitally moderated dialogues. Alternative digital hosting platforms may also be available to UN country teams and stakeholders, as outlined below.

Voting, polls and surveys, once typically elaborate and expensive undertakings, can now tap newer and less intensive options such as short questions asked by SMS. The UN75 team is developing a simple survey for individuals to complete, coming soon!

Livestreams (also known as web streams and web casting) are an easy way for participants in different locations to watch, listen and participate in an event in real-time.

Social media chats, Q&As using Twitter, Google Hangouts, Facebook, etc. are easily discoverable by a vast, diverse audience, and encourage them to contribute to the consultation. Chats and Q&As are also useful at live events. Social media streams can easily be embedded in the UN75 consultation platform. See additional communications resources here

Interactive questions or statement prioritization are ways for all participants to contribute and prioritize a question or statement (whether they are there in-person or not). Moderators or participants can submit statements, allowing anyone to comment on the questions and push them to the top of the list so that they are addressed.

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: 

  • Operate transparently
  • Communicate clearly
  • Operate with integrity
  • Respect different perspectives
  • Constructively address conflicting positions and power imbalances within the discussion groups
  • Facilitate the sharing of different perspectives
  • Be accountable
  • Ensure the process adapts to local needs
  • Evaluate the consultation approach

To be added/elaborated: Market research partners – will give one page guidance note for moderators

Preparing to talk

All dialogues should be grounded in a clear concept note and terms of reference. In some cases, these may need to be adapted (language, format) based on different audiences. All participants must have access to this information before they participate. In some cases, the facilitator may establish a workflow for pre-consultation communication with participants. Once a time for the consultation has been decided, facilitators should:
  • Fill out the UN75 registration form to register your consultation and provide an identification number for your consultation. This will be used to track the various dialogues.
  • Inform participants of the consultation agenda and other background materials
  • For in-person groups, invite around 12 people from the same constituency group (e.g. youth), which will usually result in 8 to 10 participants attending the group.
  • Document demographic or socioeconomic data on attendees but share these only with participants’ permission.
  • Audio, videos and photos and smartphones or tablets and a tripod can be used to capture photos, audio and video that can then be embedded into the moderator feedback form consultation platform.
  • Infographics and data visualizations are a much more interesting and engaging way to make complex information easily accessible. They can involve interactive timelines, maps and statistics.

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

THE WORLD IN 25 YEARS

World A (Current trends continue) (10-15 min)

What kind of a world will we live in, 25 years from now, if the current trends continue?

Describe a day in your life 25 years from now – the UN’s 100th anniversary. What is happening in your life? Your family? Your community/country?  (warm up). How do you see the world if the current trends continue? Will we have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals[1] / Global Goals? What new challenges may arise?

  • Do you think your children will have the same educational opportunities as you had?
  • Do you think you will be more or less mobile?
  • Do you think you will live in more or less security?
  • Do you expect to live in a more or less healthy environment?
  • Do you think we will be more or less equal as a society?

Moderator to add other questions based on local context

World B (Dream world) (15-20 min)

What kind of a world do we want to create, your dream world?

Now I would like you to think about what your ideal world would look like in 25 years. What is different from the world you see today compared with  if the current trends continue? Describe a day in that world you envision 25 years from now.

What kind of future do we want to have created with and for our children and grandchildren? What kind of opportunities exist in this Dream world?   What is happening in this Dream world?

SDGs in the Dream World

What kind of opportunities exist for children and young people in the Dream World? What kind of educational opportunities exist? How do we take care of diseases and how do we heal sick people? What does the environment look like? How would science and technology impact the everyday life? Is there inequality within and between countries, between different groups of people in one country, between different age groups? Are all people treated fairly and equally? How do countries work with each other?

OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS (10-15 min)

Do you think the Dream World is achievable in 25 years? What would stop it from happening? What obstacles could get in the way?

Are these obstacles different from/the same as the ones faced by your parents? What obstacles do you expect for your children?

What are the three biggest obstacles you see to create the future you want?

Are these obstacles likely to be more personal/local events or risks which are more global in nature such as climate change or nuclear war?

Are there people in society unlikely to ever have the future day you want?

YOUR CALL FOR ACTION (20-25 min)

How can we bridge the gap between these two worlds? What action should we take now to make a better world for future generations? What action needs to be taken to address the obstacles?

What is happening today around you in your town/community/social group that will contribute to this future? (give local and global examples)

What opportunities exist today that can be developed to create the world we want? What can you do as an individual and what are you doing for a better world? Which people and/or institutions are most likely to support you? Beyond what you can do yourself, do you need additional support to access/make the most of your opportunities?

Who has to take action to address the obstacles? What should be the role of your government? Businesses? Civil society? Parents (for youth)? Others? What forms of action and collaboration might be needed at the local, national and international levels? What type of role might the United Nations and other multilateral bodies have in facilitating this? What common values do we need to share globally to achieve this vision?

How should it be decided which actions should be given priority? For your country as a whole, who should/will decide on priority actions to achieve a better future? Do you expect those choices will benefit you/ your family/ your community? Do you believe the process should/will include your voice? Will it be fair? Transparent? If not, what needs to change?

How much do you know about national and international commitments for people and planet such as the Sustainable Development Goals / Global Goals? If you have heard of these, do they make a difference in your life? If so, how? Could they make a bigger impact, and if so, how?

Do actions by other countries affect your life—or your future hopes or concerns?  If so, how? How important is it for countries to work together? What impact do you think this will have on your life? Your future? What would need to change to ensure the impact is positive? 

What is one message you would like to share with people in other countries? What is one action you would like them to take?

Thank you for your participation!

[1] Descriptor: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all 193 United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

Resources to get started

Videos, podcasts, social media tools, branding guidelines and more are on Trello.

Quick looks

Check these short thought pieces to refresh on some of the most pressing issues from the UN75 team: need links

Climate change is the defining crisis of our time and it is happening even more quickly than we feared. As the infinite cost of climate change reaches irreversible highs, now is the time for bold collective action

New technologies can make our world fairer, more peaceful, and more just, but they also threaten privacy, facilitate autocratic control, and fuel conflict and inequality. We have a choice to make in how we harness new technologies. For good or for bad

Diverse demographic trends mean some parts of the world are rapidly ageing; others still have very young populations. At the same time, record numbers of people are on the move, through migration as well as forced displacement. These issues present profound economic and social challenges and opportunities.

Evolving conflicts and violence are increasingly complex and beyond the reach of States. Organized crime and gangs have increased in strength. New approaches are needed, and a resurgence of collective and ethical responses.

Multilateralism is under strain, even as the need to work together has never been greater. How do we reconnect to what multilateralism means to each of us, to the real problems people face?

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.

Documenting

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.

Validating

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. .