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Why 1,500 of Americans are Showing Their Support for the United Nations

More than 1,500 Americans are convening at the United Nations on Friday for the 2019 Global Engagement Summit. This is an annual gathering of Americans who support a robust partnership between the United States and the United Nations. These supporters include students and members of dozens of United Nations Associations of the United States, from around the country.

The summit’s focus this year will be on climate action. To that end, Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to deliver a keynote address calling on individuals to press for local action in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. The United States has signaled its intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord, but state and local governments are still taking key steps to abide by the spirit and strictures of the agreement. Guterres’ remarks are expected to be a call-to-action for individuals to implement climate solutions at the local level.

Beyond the Secretary General, key international figures at the UN and in the US government will participate in the event. This includes the new chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliott Engel, the Acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce, Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Michael Scott Peters, U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations.

The full program is here. It will be live streamed on  UN TV starting at 9am EST.

This gathering of Americans at the UN comes at a critical time for the US-UN relationship.

Year after year, national poling shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a strong relationship between the United States and the United Nations. Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — agree that the the United States should not go-it-alone on foreign policy and should leverage partnerships at the UN to take on big global issues. The latest public opinion polling finds that 88% of Americans “support active engagement at the United Nations.” This includes, 65% of Republicans and 58% of Trump voters who agreed with the statement that
“the UN is still needed today.” Incidentally, this sentiment is much stronger among millennial voters, 86% of whom agreed with that statement.

This support for the United States by American voters of all stripes does not always translate into support for the UN by American policymakers. As we enter election season in the United States, the Global Engagement Summit is a useful reminder for those policy makers that support for the UN is real–and runs deep among American voters.