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UN Summit of the Future – towards a global Pact for the Future

The future is not something to predict, but something to build. ~ Franco Ongaro ESA

What is the UN Summit of the Future?

The Summit of the Future: multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow will be hosted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 22-23 September 2024. The organisers are calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity“, aiming to strengthen global governance for the sake of present and future generations. The goal is to agree on a concise, action-orientated Outcome Document (“A Pact for the Future”)  in advance by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations and endorsed by Heads of State/Government at the Summit. In addition, the summit may address the possibility of a UN Special Envoy for Future Generations, an option the World Future Council has long advocated for – as well as other institutional reforms or initiatives that protect and enshrine the rights of future generations.

With UN-resolution adopted on 8 September 2022 setting out the modalities for the Summit of the Future, further planning is to take place at the HLPF this July and the SDG Summit in September 2023.

The UN Summit of the Future is a timely initiative by the United Nations as we face historically unprecedented challenges, both in their globality and their vast time horizon: with many of the decisions we make today we are not just affecting the next century or two, but millennial or even geological time spans. It is therefore most urgent to address the long-term impacts of our actions. How can we protect the future against the pressures of the here and now?

The Summit of the Future follows on from a series of UN Summits. Last year, at the UN Environment Stockholm+50 conference in June 2022, relations between humans and nature were top of the agenda, in December 2022, the Kunmig-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted and most recently, the High Seas Treaty, also known as the biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction treaty (BBNJ) was agreed in March 2023.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to end a “senseless and suicidal war against nature: We know what to do. And, increasingly, we have the tools to do it. … I appeal to leaders in all sectors: Lead us out of this mess”.

Future – What future?
UN Summit of the Future 2024

by Herbert Girardet

Topics on this page

Maria Endorsement

“Good, sustainable policies are the powerful levers
we need to address the pressing and complex
challenges of the day. This is where the WFC
comes in, and this is what makes its work so valuable.“

Maria Fernanda Espinosa

WFC Councillor, former Foreign Minister of Ecuador
and President of the 73rd UN General Assembly

Neshan Gunasekera World Future Council

“Rebuilding trust with our Earth is at the heart
of our collaborative efforts at the World Future Council.
It’s been an inspired regenerative journey“

Neshan Gunasekera

Councillor of the World Future Council,
International Lawyer and Educationist

Raina Ivanova World Future Council

“Climate crisis also means child- and human rights crisis.
For this reason, I advocate for socially just climate protection
that is fit for the future, and considers the intersections
to other crises. Only then can we preserve our planet
for current and future generations“

Raina Ivanova

Youth:Present Representative
Youth Climate Activist

Alyn Ware Endorsement

“We have inherited this world and our societies
from previous generations. We are trustees of it
for future generations. World Future Council
advances policies to protect this future“

Alyn Ware

Councillor of the World Future Council
Peace Activist

Wangari Maathai Quote

“We cannot tire or give up.
We owe it to the present and future generations
of all species to rise up and walk!“

Wangari Maathai

Fourmer Councillor of the World Future Council (d. 2011)

Wangari Maathai Quote

“We cannot tire or give up.
We owe it to the present and future generations
of all species to rise up and walk!“

Wangari Maathai

Fourmer Councillor of the World Future Council (d. 2011)

The background of the UN Summit of the Future

Planet Earth is facing existential threats from human impact on the land, sea and air – on its ecological systems and its many forms of life. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing social injustice and wars have challenged international institutions and calls for a newly strengthened multilateral system that is better able to respond to common challenges.

In 2020, Member States issued the UN75 Declaration (Declaration on the Commemoration of the 75 Anniversary of the UN) underlying the necessity to strengthening international cooperation for the sake of nations, peoples to ensure the future we want, and the United Nations we need. The declaration included 12 overarching commitments and called on the Secretary-General to develop and report back to UN-General Assembly recommendations to address current and future challenges.

Our Common Agenda” is the response of the Secretary-General to this call pointing out the interconnectedness of the challenges the world is facing and underlying the requirement to work urgently and together and to rebuild global governance cooperation and multilateralism within the United Nations. It also urges to speed up implementation of agreed frameworks, such as the Agenda 2030 and it’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement. The report also proposes a Summit of the Future to forge a new global consensus on how the future should look like, and steps to secure it.

The Role and Engagement of the World Future Council

The World Future Council very much welcomes this process as it addresses reforms and initiatives the foundation has been working on and calling for since its inception. The World Future Council is well placed to play a leading role in the Summit of the Future, having focussed on the rights of futures generations as its main task since its launch 15 years ago. In particular, the WFC has long pleaded for Representatives/ Guardians of Future Generations to be installed at international, national and local levels, with authority to scrutinize and propose policies to uphold their interests, including the right to peace, intergenerational justice, and a healthy, sustainable environment.

The United Nations has now agreed on seven themes to be deliberated at the Summit of the Future: Global Economic and Financial Architecture, Human Rights and Participation, Sustainable Development Goals, a Global Digital Compact, Effective Environmental Governance, Peace and Security, and UN and Global Governance Innovation. It is also likely to establish a UN Special Envoy for Future Generations, and it could address other institutional reforms/initiatives such as re-purpose the Trusteeship Council to enhance governance of the global commons (e.g. the oceans, atmosphere, etc).

The WFC alongside its Youth Forum Youth:Present actively participated in the Global Futures Forum, which aims to finalise and widely socialise a “People’s Pact for the Future” to feed diverse civil society ideas and insights into official discussions on the Pact for the Future. Please read Youth:Present’s statement here.

WFC has worked in all these areas for the last 15 years and is more the prepared to contribute its considerable know-how. From the very beginning the World Future Council is mainly involved in the preparations of the Summit and its preparatory process.

Who is involved?

In October 2022 the World Future Council set up a working group “Summit of the Future” that is co-chaired by Councillors, Maria Espinosa, Alyn Ware and Neshan Gunasekera and involving our youth forum Youth: Present as well Youth Fusion.

  • WFC-Councillor María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations, Co-chair of the Coalition for the UN We Need Steering CommitteeGlobal Women Leaders: Voices for Change and Inclusion coordinates
  • WFC-Councillor Alyn Ware, Founder and global coordinator of the network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), coordinates the Global Futures Forum, the civil society forum including the participation of young people and facilitated the Peace and Security e-consultations .
  • WFC Councillor Neshan Gunasekera, international Lawyer and Educationist, Member of the Earth Trusteeship Initiative actively contributes to the process and developments of the Global Futures Forum.
  • WFC Honorary Councillor Herbert Girardet, writer, film maker, and as an international consultant and Co-Founder of the World Future Council


The World Future Council proposes priority for the following steps:

  1. Establish Representatives of Future Generations at international, national, regional and local levels with authority to design and review policies to safeguard their rights.
  2. Elevate the concepts of intergenerational equity and trusteeship in legal and political systems and processes, particularly regarding global goods and the global commons which humanity has a responsibility to protect for future generations;
  3. Ensure that youth voices and representatives of future generations are integrated into all SDG processes and forums;
  4. Elevate and implement the UN Human Rights Committee affirmation that nuclear weapons and climate change threaten the Right to Life of current and future generations;
  5. Elevate and implement the UNGA Declaration affirming the Right to a Healthy Environment;
  6. Strengthen legal obligations to protect future generations including through the campaign to take climate change to the International Court of Justice;
  7. Advance core goals to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ through better use of UN common security mechanisms;
  8. Achieve the global elimination of nuclear weapons no later than 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations;
  9. Welcome the UN Human Rights Committee affirmation that nuclear weapons and climate change threaten the Right to Life of current and future generations;
  10. Support the International Court of Justice case on climate change, and call for full implementation of international law applicable to climate.