Campaign for a UN
World Citizens’ Initiative
A voice for global citizens
We are all connected
The coronavirus pandemic, climate change and many other challenges underline the fact that all people on this planet are connected to each other. As world citizens we are all in the same boat but we have no say at the United Nations (UN) as the most important arena of global politics. The Security Council decides on matters of international peace and security and the General Assembly makes recommendations, launches treaty negotiations or is engaged in international agenda-setting. The UN, however, is an exclusive club of appointed government diplomats. The UN’s democratic deficit has been complained about for decades. While the UN has made some effort to include civil society organizations and other major groups in some of its deliberations, there are no means for ordinary citizens to take influence.
Examples for citizens' input
In many countries there are instruments that allow citizens to provide input for consideration of the executive or legislative branch of government. In the European Union there is the official instrument of a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which gives citizens the power to submit a legislative proposal to the European Commission. In principle, the ECI enables everyday citizens to identify a problem, propose a solution and submit their proposal, based on the support of one million EU citizens, to the European Commission for review. The ECI represents the first transnational tool of participatory democracy in the world.
A UN World Citizens' Initiative
The idea of a UN World Citizens’ Initiative (UNWCI) is that if a certain number of global citizens endorses a citizen-launched initiative, UN bodies such as the General Assembly or the Security Council have to put the item on their agenda and give representatives of the initiative the floor to make
their case. In terms of the General Assembly, this could be done during the annual general debate while heads of state and government are present.
A UNWCI will allow global citizens to have more impact in a world with growing dilemmas that require global cooperation of both states and citizens alike. It will help create a citizen-based global political sphere.