The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that universal social protection systems are the foundation for social inclusion and economic prosperity. Countries that had more social protections in place before the pandemic were better prepared for the multitude of socioeconomic issues related to health, jobs, gender equality and the environment.

With this lesson in mind, where do we go from here? Coordinated and improved preparedness measures across all levels of government and in partnership with stakeholders are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. UN Secretary-General António Guterres even stated, “We need to build a global system that deals with problems before they turn into catastrophes.”

This month UN DESA is launching its Future of the World series to share insights and experiences to reduce risks and make our future systems more resilient. Through policy briefs and accompanying policy dialogues co-organized with the UN Development Programme, the Future of the World series will strengthen the UN’s preparedness to respond to multi-dimensional and systemic risks in today’s interconnected world.

The first set of policy briefs cover the impacts of new SDG data, wildfires and the future of work, which will also be the focus of the first Global Policy Dialogue on 15 September. In that virtual event, speakers will consider the ramifications of the changing nature of work and lifelong learning—and what we need to do now in order to be better prepared for what’s next. Speakers also will debate crucial issues such as economic insecurity, the gig economy, informal work, fair wages, the role of artificial intelligence and policies to support workers.

Upcoming policy briefs and policy dialogues to be released later this year will offer analysis of rural and urban community-building, the future of the environment, and ways to build trust in government.

Read the new Future of the World policy briefs on UN DESA’s website and watch the UN DESA Global Policy Dialogue on “The Future of Work” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. EDT on 15 September. It will be broadcast live on UN DESA’s Facebook page or you can register here.

Photo: UNDP Perú/ Jasmín Ramírez Romero