Fifth Session


Colloquium on Civil Society Perspectives on the Future of the United Nations

Date: September 17, 2020

Time: 6.35 pm to 8:35 pm


President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin (along with other leaders of the Allied powers during World War Two) aspired to bring permanent peace and to protect people by establishing the UN system. Over the last 75 years, the role of the UN, including the civil society, have evolved in the pursuance of global peace.

In this international webinar, panelists of this session highlighted various contributions of the UN, including its work in making the world a better place, with one participant echoing the words of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld when he said that the “UN was not created to take mankind to heaven but to save humanity from hell”. Participants noted that the UN continues to remain at the center of a rule-based multilateral world. Participants further noted that the world currently faces multiple crises, with weakened multilateralism and declining faith in the UN system. Reflecting on the UN’s achievements, failures, challenges, and potentials, this session’s panelists underlined the critical role of civil society alongside the Member States in designing the future course for the UN. In particular, the panelists highlighted that women and youth must have an equal voice in building an inclusive future and UN system, which is what the world wants and needs.

Some panelists even suggested that the UN is at a major crossroads, facing a make-it-or-break-it situation.

By the end of the discussion, there was a general consensus that there is no alternative but to make the UN function more efficiently and effectively to fulfill its Charter mandates and make a positive difference in the lives of people.