In June the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, hosted its annual flagship conference, the London Conference. The London Conference, held at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, focused mainly on harbouring strategic cooperation and multilateralism within a current global context of competition and crisis. As members of the Common Futures Conversation programme, fellow UK Young Ambassador Maurizio Cuttin and I were duly invited to the London conference on behalf of the British Youth Council to represent youth voices at the prestigious event.
After an introductory speech from the CEO Bronwen Maddox (Chatham House), we listened to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly lay out his the priorities for his tenure.
- Reformation of the UN Security Council- E.g., Permanent presence of Africa, Brazil, India, Germany and Japan
- Reformation of International Finance Institutions- Increased investment towards climate financing
- Ensuring low and middle-income countries can develop sustainably- E.g., Strengthening their debt management infrastructure
- Reformation of Trade Policy and the World Trade Organisation- E.g., Improving the functionality of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism
- Increasing focus on AI and Quantum Computing
Multilateralism is not at odds with national sovereignty and democracy. It’s purpose is to reinforce itRt Hon James Cleverly MP
Cleverly’s speech emphasised the importance of multilateralism in supporting democracy, the rule of law and national sovereignty. He challenged us to remember the UK’s history as a founding member of the UN and, a fortiori, as a paragon of multilateralism. As such, the UK must continue to lead the way in promoting multilateralism.
Cleverly’s speech was a subtle reminder of why our campaign to rebuild the UN Youth Delegate Programme is a quintessential piece of policy that the government must adopt. Creating space for young people to share their views at the most influential multilateral institution (United Nations) sends a profound statement of cooperation at a time when the world is experiencing deep crisis with ongoing conflicts (Russia-Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar etc), global average temperature’s rising and increasing competition between nations for advanced technology.
I do not write this to suggest that a UN Youth Delegate will solve all the world’s problems immediately, but rather it will aid in facilitating much needed UN reform by giving youth the platform to assist in international agenda-setting and orchestration.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran was the latest MP to share Maurizio and I’s view on the matter, vehemently supporting the UN Youth Delegate Campaign and welcoming our efforts to platform youth voice. She joins a growing list of cross-bench MP’s (Jo Gideon, Afzal Khan, Kirsty Blackman) that see the value in youth representation and the meaningful impact youth representatives can have in shaping key decisions.
It was a pleasure to hear from so many key stakeholders throughout the day. Each panel and conversation was enlightening at worst and thrilling at best!
The day concluded with a live speech from Volodymyr Zelensky- who was awarded the Chatham House Prize.
Again all of this would not be possible without the team at Common Futures Conversations. I would like to thank Ben, Katie and everyone else at the CFC and Chatham House team for facilitating UK Young Ambassador presence at this event.