Citizens Worldwide Overwhelmingly Affirm Belief in International Cooperation to Address Global Challenges


8 January 2021 (UN News)*People worldwide have overwhelmingly highlighted their faith in multilateralism to address global challenges, the results of a year-long survey by the United Nations has shown.

United Nations | The UN undertook a global crowdsourcing opinion campaign as part of its 75th anniversary celebrated in 2020.

“That represents a very strong commitment to multilateralism, and to the mission of the United Nations. Now it is up to us – Member States and the UN Secretariat – to meet the expectations of the people we serve,” he added.

Launched to mark the Organization’s 75th anniversary, the exercise was the UN’s most ambitious effort to date to gather input from the global public, and the largest survey on priorities for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short-term challenges 

With the coronavirus pandemic reversing progress in human development and widening inequalities, many respondents prioritized access to basic services and support to the hardest hit places and communities in the short-term.

The top immediate, short-term priority globally was universal access to healthcare, according to the results.

In addition, given the impact of the global crisis on children and education, greater investments in education and youth programmes ranked high among respondents, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and central and southern Asia.

UN Barbados and the OECS | A woman from St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean holds up a sign after completing the UN75 survey about her hopes and fears for the future.

Long-term challenges 

Similarly, while people expect access to health services to improve over the next 25 years, respondents in all regions identified climate change and environmental issues as the number one long-term global challenge.

Other longer-term priorities vary according to income levels, but include rising concern with employment opportunities, respect for human rights and reducing conflict.

Respondents in higher human development countries tended to give the highest priority to the environment and human rights, those in lower human development countries tended to accord the highest priority to less conflict and meeting basic needs, such as employment, healthcare and education.

UN’s role 

Many respondents also looked to the United Nations to lead in international cooperation to address immediate and longer-term global challenges, the results showed, with many also want the Organization to innovate – to be more inclusive, engaged, accountable and effective.

In surveys and UN75 dialogues held around the world, participants called on the UN for moral leadership; a more reformed, representative and agile Security Council; and an inclusive and participatory UN system, with improved understanding of the work of the Organization among citizens around the world, and which shows more care for the needs of ordinary people.

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