Since “A New Agenda for Peace,” was launched on July 20, 2023, a wide range of member states, think tanks, and other experts have been eager to discuss its recommendations and reflect on the accomplishments and perceived gaps of this policy brief from the United Nations (UN) secretary-general.
As member states are currently in discussion on how to take the New Agenda for Peace forward into the 2024 Summit of the Future, Jenna Russo had a chance to talk with one of the document’s lead penholders, Asif R. Khan, Director of the Policy and Mediation Division within the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, to hear his reflections on the document and next steps in the lead-up to the Summit of the Future.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity. It took place on September 8, 2023.
The consultations that fed into the New Agenda for Peace were very broad. Over the past year, you’ve received inputs from a wide range of member states, members of the UN system, civil society groups, think tanks, and other experts from across the globe. What did you learn from that process? Did anything surprise you?
Well, we wanted the policy brief to be something that was seen as credible by member states of different ideological persuasions and from different regions. So, the consultations were critical, and the document is much stronger because it includes the priorities and concerns of different players. This is not to say, of course, that there aren’t deep divisions, but I think member states saw the value of engaging with a document that provides a unifying narrative and vision of the secretary-general in the peace and security arena.
The vast majority of the interlocutors we spoke with expressed a keen interest in strengthening multilateralism, even though they may disagree on how to achieve this. Even as the geopolitical environment is shifting, there is a real appetite to create a common understanding around current developments. This is why we’ve spent so much time on the opening sections of the document, to try and provide, in writing, a clear-eyed analysis of the current moment and how we are thinking about these issues. Overall, I was surprised and quite delighted by the interest and engagement we got from different constituencies, especially the genuine engagement of member states from all regions. Read more