By Elizabeth Aguilar
June 28, 2022
On Monday June 27 2022, members of WFUNA’s Geneva office had the pleasure to attend the annual meeting of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Ms. Tatiana Volovaya, with civil society. During the meeting, the Director-General provided civil society representatives with a report of the work of the UN in Geneva and discussed comments and concerns of the NGOs present.
The dialogue commenced with the Director-General outlining the impact various geopolitical developments had on the UN in Geneva throughout recent years. Recognizing that there was a great deal of existing global problems before, new challenges had risen during the pandemic. The increase of the continuing inequality both within and between nations, economic and social consequences in the world like climate change and now adding to the sufferings, the war between Ukraine and Russia. Despite all these problems, there is one thing that unites us all – the global character of all these challenges. Global challenges bring countries and civil society together to create international solutions, thus bringing into account the idea of multilateralism. “It is not the necessity to preserve multilateralism but the necessity of building a new multilateral system for the 21st century,” stated the Director-General. It is important for the new system to have all the voices of the Member States, NGOs and citizens heard equally.
The discussion between the NGOs and Director-General focused on a couple of issues, for example, the civil societies’ contribution to the Human Rights Council, maintaining hybrid meetings even after COVID-19 ceases to exist and the rules of procedure of the NGO committee. It was very apparent that these issues brought into light by the NGOs highlighted how the idea to create a functional system of networked multilateralism is still far from being achieved. The Director-General’s response to these comments circled back to reconstructing multilateralism as a tool to bring inclusivity and trust and using the guide of the UN Secretary-General's Our Common Agenda to do so.
WFUNA expresses appreciation for the comments that were voiced by the NGOs and shares the response made by the Director-General. WFUNA will continue to advocate for a new and functional system of multilateralism and continue our work with the guide of Our Common Agenda.