Since its foundation, Young UN has been involved in various activities and strategic work streams across the UN system. Just as the network grew autonomously and self-organized, activities and topics have emerged throughout the network, depending on members’ initiatives and arising opportunities.
So far, Young UN has met with numerous UN stakeholders, departments and representatives of senior management, both to present the network and to offer ideas and constructive solutions to political and internal issues. Furthermore, the so-called Young UN Policy Lab has submitted proposals for a large variety of work streams and processes, many of them at the request of UN senior management – for example from the Deputy Secretary-General, the Secretary-General’s Executive Committee, and the High-level Committees on Programmes and Management. Topics have ranged from attracting and retaining young talent, to relevant skill sets for the achievement of the SDGs or to aspects of frontier technologies like artificial intelligence.
Young UN has also initiated a wide range of concrete and often locally driven activities for positive change: from workshops on value-based leadership and integrity as a UN civil servant to starting a bike advocacy group to constructively engage management on practical sustainability concerns at the UN headquarters in New York. Following discussions in the working group on SDGs, Young UN sent a letter to the UN pension fund to request information on the extent to which the fund’s investments are aligned with the sustainable development goals. Other members of the network are investigating sustainable and ethical investment options for staff.
In addition, Young UN conducted a UN-wide Global Ideas Survey with more than 600 respondents, covering a wide range of agencies, departments, contract types and duty stations. Building on the results of this survey, Young UN has contributed ideas to all three UN reform tracks: the management reform, development reform, and peace and security reform.
Below some results of the Global Ideas Survey: Respondents were asked to list five words that describe the UN as it currently is, based on their own experience and perception (left side), and how they would like it to be (right side).
The full results of the Global Ideas Survey can be found here.