UN Sec-Gen Establishes Advisory Board on Multilateralism; Indian Economist Jayati Ghosh Among Members

The high-level advisory board has been tasked with making “concrete suggestions” on how to make multilateral arrangements more effective and inform the debate in the proposed 'Summit for Our Future' in 2023.

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New Delhi: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres on Friday, March 18, announced the establishment of a high-level advisory board (HLAB) on ‘Effective Multilateralism’. 

The HLAB, to be chaired by former President of Liberia and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, has been established to build upon the ideas put forth in the Secretary-General’s ‘Our Common Agenda’ report, released in September, 2021.

The September, 2021 report contains recommendations in four areas: renewed solidarity between peoples and future generations; a new social contract anchored in human rights; better management of critical global commons; and global public goods that deliver equitably and sustainably for all.

Moreover, it calls for “stronger governance of key issues of global concern,” which, among other things, proposes a ‘Summit for the Future’ in 2023 which seeks to discuss “governance arrangements in certain areas that could be considered global public goods or global commons”.

According to the UN’s March 18 press release, these areas include “climate and sustainable development beyond 2030, the international financial architecture, peace, outer space, the digital space, major risks, and the interests of future generations.”

The HLAB has been tasked with making “concrete suggestions” on how to make more effective multilateral arrangements on the aforementioned issues, with the press release specifically mentioning “the centrality of women and girls, and the need to take into account the interests of young people and future generations.”

Interestingly, the press release specifies that the HLAB’s recommendations will be “non-binding,” but will inform the debates that the member states will participate in at the proposed ‘Summit for the Future’.

“The Board will be supported in its work by the Centre for Policy Research of the United Nations University in close coordination with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General,” the press release reads.

Apart from the aforementioned joint chairs of the HLAB, Indian development economist Jayati Ghosh has been appointed to the board. Ghosh, who is currently a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has previously been a professor and the chairperson of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Ghosh is also a member of the UN’s HLAB on Economic and Social Affairs.

The other members of the board are as follows:

Xu Bu (China), president of the China Institute of International Studies

Poonam Ghimire (Nepal), a climate activist and Next Generation Fellow (2021) with the United Nations Foundation

Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda), chairman and managing partner of SouthBridge, a Pan-African financial advisory and investment firm and former president of the African Development bank and minister of finance and economic planning in the Rwandan government.

Azza Karam (Egypt), secretary-general of ‘Religions for Peace’, a multi-religious leadership platform, and professor of religion and development at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam

Nanjala Nyabola (Kenya), a writer and researcher based in Nairobi whose work focuses on the intersection between technology, media, and society. She is the director of Advox, the digital rights research and writing initiative of Global Voices

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Singapore), senior minister of Singapore and co-chair of the G20 High Level Independent Panel on global financing for pandemic preparedness and response, the Advisory Board for the UN Human Development Report, and the Global Education Forum, and chairs of the Group of Thirty

Anne-Marie Slaughter (United States), CEO of New America, a think tank, and a professor emerita of politics and international affairs at Princeton University

Ilona Szabó (Brazil), founder and president of the Igarapé Institute – a think and do tank committed to human, digital and climate security, and an affiliate scholar at Princeton University

Danilo Türk (Slovenia), former President of Slovenia and is current president of the Club de Madrid, an organization of over 100 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers of UN Member States

(With PTI inputs)