To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres is sponsoring a global dialogue initiative to hear ideas from everyone on how to tackle the global challenges facing humanity. There are two mechanisms for providing input: 1) as an individual, everyone can respond to the UN75 survey using this link to share your concerns and ideas on what is most important for the international community in general and the UN in particular to address over the coming years; 2) a global dialogue initiative described here for a group to discuss and submit feedback to the Secretary General on what they’d like to see the UN do to improve the state of our world.
CGS had two Zoom “UN75 global conversations” to discuss our answers to the questions and prepare our group response. In our response, we incorporated some ideas from the UN2020 People’s Declaration and Plan for Global Action, which we discussed and provided input for the final draft earlier this year. Here is a link for you to read the CGS complete reply.
Here is our response to the last 4 questions:
What does your group most want to see in the year 2045 when the UN will turn 100?
We want a peaceful, free, just and sustainable world community–achieved by transforming the UN into a democratic federation of nations with a World Constitution that provides the framework for using the rule of law to settle disputes between nations, protect our global environment, contain global pandemics and end human rights abuses. The Constitution should create a World Parliament with members who are directly elected by the peoples of the nations to create world law, establish an executive branch that is responsible for enforcing world law, provide for a judiciary branch to adjudicate world law, ensure adequate checks and balances across branches and limit the power of the world federation to only address global issues facing humanity.
What are the main obstacles and challenges your group thinks will most affect this vision?
The UN and other international organizations lack a democratic way of making decisions and a way of making decisions binding, especially on individuals. Other obstacles are things that prevent countries and people from acting together. One is inequality between rich and poor, both within and across countries. Another is the lack of a non-national common language for international communication. More generally, one major obstacle is the focus on limited national interests rather than the common good of all humanity.
How can global cooperation — and in particular the UN — better help manage these challenges?
The UN must give the people of the world a voice by implementing ideas such as the World Citizen Initiative and continuing global dialog. Democracy at the global level is both a human right in itself and a way to promote a sense of world citizenship. If we all participate in decision-making, we develop a sense of having a stake in the decisions. In addition, working on common goals such as sustaining the biosphere and promoting human rights can unite people. The wealthy can and should help the poor through funding the Sustainable Development goals. Also, all countries can help move towards the rule of law based on justice through institutions such as the ICC, the International Court of Justice and an International Court of Human Rights.
What would your group advise the UN Secretary General to do to address these challenges? (list top 1-3 ideas)
The Secretary General should encourage the GA to embrace the World Citizen Initiative and use Article 22 of the UN Charter to establish a consultative UN Parliamentary Assembly directly elected by the people, which will allow all people a voice in setting the UN’s agenda. We also support fully funding the Sustainable Development Goals as a high priority. This may require finding new sources of revenue such as a tax on financial transactions or taxes on the transnational sale of weapons. Finally, we recommend that the UN bolster the ICC and ICJ by promoting membership in the former and expanding the acceptance of the latter’s compulsory jurisdiction through the “optional clause” declarations under Article 36(2) of the ICJ Statute.
We hope that the UN75 effort to hear from “we the peoples” does not end after UN Day 2020, but rather that a mandated post-2020 follow-up mechanism is established to continue to make the UN system more fit for its purpose and more democratic.