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Taking the UN75 Declaration Forward: Making a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance a Reality

Project Note

Contributed by Stimson Center, The Coalition for the UN We Need

Posted 8 July 2021

Taking the UN75 Declaration Forward: Making a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance a Reality

Event Summary
Hosted 25 June 2021 at World UNITY Week
Watch the event recording.
On 25 June, the Stimson Center, “We The Peoples: Call for Inclusive Global Governance” campaign, and the Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN) hosted a discussion at the World UNITY Week on the idea of a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance.
In September 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will bring out his much anticipated Our Common Agenda report. To take forward the UN75 Declaration’s twelve commitments and the Secretary-General’s vision of a more inclusive and networked multilateralism, a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance has become a moral and practical imperative. Creatively mobilizing diverse actors worldwide, the summit would seek to upgrade and equip the global governance system to better address major issues confronting the international community, and to usher in a new compact with citizens to enhance and rebuild confidence in their multilateral institutions.
In this special session of the One World Town Hall, individuals, and partners from across global civil society were invited to learn about and contribute specific strategies and actions to achieve progressive global change through a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance.
Lead-off speakers for the event included Andreas Bummel, co-founder and Executive Director of Democracy Without Borders, Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst with the Global Governance, Justice & Security Program at the Stimson Center, Fergus Watt, Coordinator of the Coalition for the UN We Need, and Dr. Joni Carley, Values-driven Leadership & Cultural Development Consultant. The event was moderated by Dr. Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Governance, Justice and Security Program at the Stimson Center.

Key Speaker Quotes

“We are here to consider a process for global change with partners across civil society, culminating in a 2023 World Summit on Inclusive Global Governance. We need multi-stakeholder dialogues, leading to a UN that fully embraces civil society’s talents and diversity for better problem solving for the future.” – Dr. Richard Ponzio 
“The summit is also an instrument working towards an opportunity to build dynamic change and an irresistible momentum. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic that underscores the slogan of ‘global problems requiring global solutions.’ We are dealing with existential problems, such as the climate crisis. How do we put the citizens at the core of these global solutions? Our vision is a democratic, inclusive UN that is effective in dealing with global challenges.” – Andreas Bummel 
“Building inclusivity into the summit’s title highlights the intention to bring in diverse voices. Mobilizing actors worldwide, the summit will seek to usher in a new compact with citizens to rebuild confidence in institutions. […] A more inclusive system that can better cope with 21st century challenges while seizing new opportunities is within our reach.” – Cristina Petcu 
“The main problem with the UN is that you have multilateralism a la carte. What we need is an organization that is more than just a meeting room for bargaining amongst governments. We need a UN with more agency. The UN needs to reflect global public goods and global public interests.” – Fergus Watt 
“We must build on our collective efforts, rather than each of us building something new, and educate our populations on cooperative processes. C4UN provides an important platform for cooperation on UN transformation. Working toward the 2023 Summit will help build synergy and momentum.” – Dr. Joni Carley 

Major Points Voiced by Participants

  • The UN75 Declaration is a one-time statement that can potentially lead to a more legally binding document for global governance innovation and change.
  • The Coalition for the UN We Need’s UN75 Peoples’ Declaration includes a set of principles that should be followed by governments.
  • There is a need for greater representation of civil society at the UN level; the lack of regular citizens’ voices is at the heart of many problems facing the UN. Representation by indigenous groups, youth, women, and other marginalized groups should be secured at every governance level.
  • The “Call for Inclusive Global Governance” offers three specific institutional changes to strengthen the inclusive and democratic character of the UN: a World Citizens’ Initiative, a UN Parliamentary Assembly, and a UN Civil Society Envoy.
  • Climate change is an issue that has been spearheaded by youth, who are leading movements like Fridays for Future, the Sunrise Movement, and Extinction for Rebellion. Unfortunately, these movements do not talk about global governance.
  • The pandemic has shown that we need more interconnectivity; we need a more centralized information platform (i.e. regarding vaccinations and combatting disinformation).
  • The international system is too large, there are too many institutions and not enough of them are working well.
  • UN75 provides a window of opportunity to take action now on the weakening of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. But a strong post-UN75 effort requires a bottom-up approach.
  • Now we live in a challenging time, and yet we have the greatest potential for progress. Optimism should be instilled and built on as a practical and moral imperative.
  • The pandemic showed that there is a great need for global cooperation, and it has highlighted the importance of global governance and the UN.
  • The UN should find new and creative ways to be seen in underserved communities. Many people do not know about the organization because the UN is rarely present at the community level.
  • The UN should focus more on promoting civic responsibility at the international level.
  • There needs to be a formal platform for individuals to bring their concerns forward to the UN. This would encourage more direct people-to-people action.
  • The European Citizens Initiative came into being because of concerns regarding the European Union’s democratic deficit. The UN should adopt the European Citizens Initiative model and create a World Citizens Initiative to allow global citizens to have their voices heard at the UN.

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