As the UN turns 75, the organization is revealing the results of a global survey of nearly a million people in 193 nations—what matters most to them, and how do they view the need for global cooperation at this time of unprecedented crisis? Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser Fabrizio Hochschild explains the purpose and findings of the report.
All UNGA 2020 Videos
The world is facing an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime crisis. World leaders and corporations alike need to not only rebuild, but reimagine what life could look like after the COVID-19 pandemic. In a special GZERO Media series, Eurasia Group and Microsoft experts present solutions to some of the biggest issues of the 21st century.
Moving Multilateralism Forward: Madeleine Albright, Caroline Kennedy, and John Frank discuss with young adults
Watch: "Moving Multilateralism Forward," an intergenerational dialogue between Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State; Caroline Kennedy, former US Ambassador to Japan; John Frank, Microsoft Vice President of UN Affairs; and four current and former students of the Marble Hill School for International Studies in the Bronx, NY. These veteran diplomats and young minds discuss the future of multilateralism, the unprecedented challenges facing the international community, the power of young people in leading change, and the promise that technology has to be a force for good.
John Frank, Vice President of UN Affairs at Microsoft, discusses how to include people around the world in the digital economy,on UNGA In 60 Seconds.
Satya Nadella famously said, "We saw two years of digital transformation in two months" due to the pandemic and the need it created for virtual communication, work, and learning, but still nearly half the world's population lacks connectivity.
First, how can we begin to bridge the digital divide? Then, how can digital skilling lead us into a better global economy?
Video: The need for digital inclusion: access, training, and activating skills for the next billion jobs
Nearly half the world's population lacks internet connectivity at a time when digital communication has never been more critical. As part of a special partnership between Eurasia Group and Microsoft, GZERO Media examines the power of connecting more people—and how teaching digital skills could create the workforce the 21st century needs.
In this extended version of Ian Bremmer's conversation with UN Secretary-General António Guterres for GZERO World, the two discuss a wide range of geopolitical issues and how they've been exacerbated by the pandemic. Guterres shares his views on the urgent need for global climate action, equitable distribution of vaccine once approved, and Europe's emerging role as an example of successful intergovernmental cooperation. Guterres also lays out his vision for a more "inclusive" multilateralism, one that involves deeper partnerships between organizations like the UN and World Health Organization with multinational corporations and private stakeholders.
Colombia’s President Iván Duque on early pandemic response: “Multilateralism didn’t work as it should”
In an interview with GZERO Media, Colombia's President Iván Duque discusses early missteps in global coordination on pandemic response that he feels exacerbated the spread of the virus. "If we all had acknowledged what was really going on in Asia, maybe we would have taken faster draconian measures to protect the world," he told Ian Bremmer.
While Colombia was initially praised for a swift and successful approach to COVID-19, infection rates and cases have spiked in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions ease in order to alleviate strain on an already battered economy. In the conversation, Bremmer and Duque also discuss the Venezuelan refugee crisis, and how economic fallout of the pandemic has forced at least 100,000 to leave Colombia and return home.
On September 16, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts on climate and sustainability to address the future of "net zero" in a livestream panel.
Our panel for the discussion on Net Zero: Climate Ambition and Action included:
- Julia Pyper, host and producer of the Political Climate podcast (moderator)
- Gerald Butts, Vice Chairman & Senior Advisor, Eurasia Group
- Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft
- Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School, Tufts University
- Mark Carney, Finance Adviser to the UK Prime Minister for COP 26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance
Select quotes from our panelists:
In a new interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, conducted on the eve of the 2020 General Assembly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres confronts the challenges of leading a multilateral organization in an increasingly nationalistic world. "I am not naïve," he tells Bremmer. "I know this is going to be a very tough ideological battle."
Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations
On October 7th, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — presented a live panel discussion, "Digital Inclusion: Connectivity and Skills for the Next Billion Jobs," about the acceleration of digitalization, the changing workforce, and the need for digital access for all.
The conversation was moderated by Sherrell Dorsey, founder and CEO of The Plug, and our panel included:
- Kate Behncken, Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies
- Lisa Lewin, CEO of General Assembly
- Parag Mehta, Executive Director and Sr Vice President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
- Dominique Hyde, Director External Relations, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
Also featured: special appearances by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, and Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the International Telecommunications Union.
Marietje Schaake, former member of EU Parliament and international policy director of the Cyber Policy Center at Stanford University, discusses the role of cyberspace and the urgency to protect it in UNGA In 60 Seconds.
Protecting people in cyberspace is of vital importance for the United Nations. Secretary General Guterres has said that cyber is shaping history, but that we also risk that it's slipping away from us. What does that mean, exactly?
Well if you ask me, technology has shaped history. But more than anything, it's shaping the future. And I see a unique and urgent role for the United Nations in making sure that the public interest is defended. Anything from governing for public health, for public safety, and of course, for peace in cyberspace.
Now the question is, how has the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some of these questions?
Our October 14th livestream discussion, "Digital Peace: Trust and Security in Cyberspace," presented by GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group - focused on the need for a global framework to govern cyberspace.
The panel was moderated by Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, and included:
- Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University
- Marina Kaljurand, Member, European Parliament; Former Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
- Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft
- Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford
A major theme that emerged from the discussion is how the healthcare sector has become more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the pandemic. But this sector also poses a major opportunity for governments and other actors to work together on protecting the world from such attacks — with huge resources already being mobilized to do so.
Born in the ashes of World War II, the United Nations now marks its 75th anniversary amid another global crisis. But is the world ready to come together today as it did decades ago? Ian Bremmer offers a brief history of the organization, and some memorable moments from years gone by, as the UN's 193 member states gather virtually for the 2020 General Assembly.
Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations
On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:
- Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
- Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
- Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
- John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
- Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)
Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.
In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.
GZERO Media caught up with Japan's Permanent Representative to the UN Kimihiro Ishikane during the 2020 UN General Assembly. In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Ishikane talked about pandemic response, and how it has impacted the broader picture of US-China relations. Regarding a global fissure potentially caused by the world's two biggest economies, Ishikane said: "China is not like the former Soviet Union. Our system is completely intertwined, and I don't think we can completely decouple our economy and neither is that desirable." He also discussed the legacy of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, who stepped down recently due to health complications.
Microsoft's President Brad Smith and Ian Bremmer discussed the impact of disinformation campaigns—both domestic and foreign--on the US democracy. The use of fake stories is creating polarization and an ill-informed public, they agreed. In discussing the impact of Russian interference in US politics, Smith said, "In all of the years of the Soviet Union, did the Soviet Air Force ever develop an aircraft that did as much damage to the United States as Russian disinformation campaigns have done through social media over the last four years? I would argue that the answer is no."
Watch more: Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?
As the United Nations wraps two weeks of a (historic and unprecedented) 75th General Assembly, made almost entirely virtual due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, some clear themes and threads carried throughout, giving us a sense of what the next several years could look like for the organization. GZERO Media covered the world's largest diplomatic gathering extensively, receiving a great deal of access to delegates, world leaders, and policymakers.
Movses Abelian, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, acknowledges that this year's gathering of world leaders presents unique challenges. But, he says, the work of the UN continues. For two decades he has had a pivotal role in organizing thousands of key diplomatic meetings during these important weeks in NYC. In this video, Abelian explains the General Assembly, how it has worked in the past, and what to expect this year.
Gerald Butts, Vice Chairman & Senior Advisor of Eurasia Group, discusses reasons the rapid global response to climate change warrants optimism on UNGA In 60 Seconds.
There's a lot of doom and gloom out there about climate change. Can you give me a reason to be optimistic?
I'm going to say something you don't hear set very often when it comes to climate change. You should be an optimist. You should be a skeptical optimist, but an optimist nonetheless. Let me explain what I mean. We are scaling up climate solutions faster than even the most ardent among us thought possible a decade ago. Consider this. In 2010, about half of US electricity was generated from coal. This year less than 20% will be, and it's trending towards zero at increasing velocity.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
It's UNGA week, very unusual New York to have the United Nations General Assembly meetings. You know, the city is locked down. It's almost always locked down this week, but usually you can't get anywhere because you've got all these marshals with dozens of heads of state and well over a hundred foreign ministers and their delegations jamming literally everything, Midtown and branching out across the city. This time around, the security cordon for the United Nations itself is barely a block, and no one is flying in. I mean, the weather is gorgeous, and you can walk pretty much anywhere, but nothing's really locked down aside from, of course, the fact that the restaurants and the bars and the theaters and everything else is not happening given the pandemic. And it's not just in the US, it's all around the world.
From climate change to connecting more people to the Internet, big companies like Microsoft are seeing an increasing role within multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of UN Affairs, explains the contributions tech companies and other multinational corporations are making globally during this time of crisis and challenge.
In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Nicolas de Rivière cautions against an overly halcyon view of the UN's history. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations explains that throughout its 75 years the organization has confronted adversity. This moment is no exception, but "we have no other choice" than cooperation in order to address today's biggest crises, he explains. Rivière also discusses the global pandemic response, a need for greater commitments to climate action, and a recent move by the US to push for renewed sanctions against Iran.
How does having "the mind of a pessimist, and the soul of an optimist" affect Trevor Noah's view of the world? Microsoft President Brad Smith interviewed him for this first edition of "In Conversation," a discussion series launched from the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
This video is provided by Microsoft, which is partnering with GZERO Media and Eurasia Group for special coverage of the 2020 UN General Assembly. See more on connecting through crisis at #UN75: gzeromedia.com/unga
Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, joins Ian Bremmer on this week's World in 60 seconds to discuss multilateralism, optimism, and the return to normal in the post-pandemic world.
|9.16.2020||Net Zero: Climate Ambition and Action|
|9.23.2020||Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding|
|10.7.2020||Digital Inclusion: Connectivity and Skills for the Next Billion Jobs|
|10.14.2020||Digital Peace: Trust and Security in Cyberspace|
Watch: Tolu Olubunmi in conversation with Dr. Samira Asma from the World Health Organization on how they are advancing health data innovation in the age of COVID-19.
This content is brought to you by our 2020 UN General Assembly partner, Microsoft.
When the coronavirus came to Greece in March, the country was only beginning to emerge from a decades-long financial crisis that had brought it to its knees. Citizens feared the worst, but instead the country responded swiftly and effectively, and cases have stayed down. In an extended GZERO World interview with Ian Bremmer, Greece's Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, talks about his country's pandemic response, its "improved brand" on the European stage, and recent tensions with neighboring Turkey.
Ian Bremmer looks at how 27 nations in the European Union were able to put aside decades of inter-continental grievances and come together to aggressively and almost immediately respond to the economic toll wrought by the coronavirus. One person, in particular, played an outsize role in bringing about that unlikely outcome: Christine Lagarde.
Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response
With over 80 million people displaced worldwide, or one percent of the global population, refugee advocates were terrified that the coronavirus would tear through camps and communities. And while that largely did not come to pass, the pandemic has been devastating in other ways, as countries that were already limiting refugees closed their borders entirely.
On GZERO World, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi takes stock of how the pandemic has upended refugee communities worldwide. Shortly after Ian Bremmer spoke to Grandi, news broke that the High Commissioner, himself, had contracted COVID-19. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television Friday, October 9. Check local listings.
Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees
This UN General Assembly features speeches from world leaders, high-level delegate meetings, and (sometimes heated) debates about the biggest issues the world is facing. This year will be no different, but the format certainly will be. Here's our look at the first virtual UNGA, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted much of the UN's work to the digital realm.
What does "net zero" mean, and how can companies, and perhaps even governments, achieve neutral carbon emissions? Climate change is a problem that impacts far more than weather systems—it has a human toll, one that is rapidly increasing. Microsoft and Eurasia Group have teamed up with GZERO Media to talk about real solutions to one of the biggest crises of our time.
What most worries European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde about the future of the global economic recovery? "Hubris," she tells Ian Bremmer in a new GZERO World interview. Hubris on an individual and national scale.
Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response
The annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the world's largest diplomatic event, normally entails leaders and representatives from the 193 UN member states descending upon New York for a full week of speeches, high-stakes meetings between governments, and street protests. UNGA has also had its share of surprising moments, like Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev (allegedly) banging his shoe on the desk, or Venezuela's Hugo Chávez suggesting that US President George W. Bush was the devil himself.
This year's UNGA will be very different because of COVID-19. Hotels in New York won't be full of diplomats, metal detectors, and secret service agents. The "contact sport" of diplomacy will go virtual, with great uncertainty over how improvisational breakthroughs often found on the sidelines of UNGA summits will translate to the digital world. And more individuals from around the world than ever before will be able to take part. In other words, UNGA will be very different, but hardly less important (or dramatic).
While governments around the world race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, intelligence services and criminal organizations see an opportunity: to steal vaccine research, keep tabs on the competition, or hold critical information for ransom. The vaccine manufacturing process involves a wide group of public and private organizations that have access to sensitive vaccine and manufacturing details as well as the personal information of trial participants. In addition to the risks of stolen intellectual property or personal information, hacks could also delay or derail elements of the quest for a viable vaccine. Here's a look at what hackers are after at each stage of the vaccine development process.
One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.
During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has radically accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the global economy, creating an opportunity for millions of new businesses and jobs. However, it has also left millions jobless and exposed yet another vulnerability: hundreds of millions of people lack access to this technology.
To be sure, this divide was already present before COVID-19 struck. But unequal access to the internet and technology is going to make the multiple impacts of the pandemic much worse for offline and unskilled communities, among others. In fact, there is not a single global digital gap, but rather several ones that the coronavirus will likely exacerbate.
This year's United General Assembly will be very different. Hotels in New York will not be full of famous heads of state, metal detectors, or US secret service agents as the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world's largest diplomatic gathering into a mostly online affair to enforce social distancing. A virtual UNGA requires a 20th century institution — which turns 75 and still thinks in analog in many ways — to rapidly embrace 21st century technology. How will UNGA adapt to its new virtual setting? Here are a few things that will change.
At the outset of the pandemic earlier this year, people in high places said that the coronavirus was shaping up to be the "great equalizer." But, in fact, the twin health and economic effects of the pandemic have been anything but equal. The poor have suffered and died more than the rich. Ethnic minorities in Europe and the US have borne the brunt. Pre-existing inequalities have been exposed, and deepened, by the disease.
Nowhere is that clearer than in the pandemic's disproportionate impact on women. What are the particular challenges for women in this crisis, and what does recovery look like for over half of the world's population?
The twin blows of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis it unleashed have added around 250 million globally to unemployment rolls. It has also changed the nature of work for many of those who have been lucky enough to keep their jobs. But this disruption has also accelerated digitalization, which Microsoft projects will create 149 million new jobs over the next five years. As more people learn to work from home, what does this mean for work, education, and skilling? We look at the new "digital" jobs that the global economy will need to fill by 2025, and which skills will be needed to get hired.