Future Thinking and Future Generations: Towards A Global Agenda to Understand, Act for, and Represent Future Generations in the Multilateral System

This paper was commissioned by the UN Foundation as a contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda. It was co-written by UN Foundation Senior Fellow, David Steven, and Bojan Francuz from the NYU Center on International Cooperation.

This paper argues that we need a new global agenda to understand, act for, and represent future generations in the multilateral system.

This agenda should be rooted in an evidence-based understanding of where the people of the future are likely to be born, and requires the development of a new science and economics of the future.

Specialist institutions can play a catalytic role, but future generations have a much broader interest in how societies are governed and whether they are equipped to prepare for the future.

With more people yet to be born this century than are currently alive, the United Nations should now expand understanding of We the Peoples to include all the people of the 21st century – both living and yet to be born.