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Update on the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and the World Citizens' Initiative

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In early November, Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders, held a meeting in New York for governments and civil society organizations to discuss the UNPA and the World Citizens’ Initiative (WCI). The Canadian mission hosted and ten governments were represented. UN75 was also discussed as the 75th anniversary of the United Nations gives momentum to efforts such as WCI and UNPA to democratize the UN specifically and global governance more generally.

The WCI campaign was officially launched the following day with around fifty non-governmental organizations in attendance and Japanese television coverage, along with a few opinion pieces written. So far, more than 80 NGOs have endorsed the campaign.

The World Citizen’s Initiative is a global civic participation campaign that would allow citizen- launched initiatives to be addressed by UN bodies such as the General Assembly or the Security Council, with the initiative’s representatives directly making their case. Such an approach would strengthen the UN’s democratic legitimacy and give global citizens a way to feel more connected to the work of the United Nations.

There are already similar mechanisms elsewhere. For example, the European Citizens’ Initiative, which was the first transnational direct democracy tool. It provides a model for how the WCI might work.

The WCI proposal is complementary to other efforts to broaden participation and inclusion at the United Nations, such as the work to include major groups and civil society and the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

Both civil society organizations and individuals may join the campaign.

We the Peoples: A Voice for Global Citizens: a UN World Citizens’ Initiative

James Organ and Ben Murphy

Democracy Without Borders, Democracy International, Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, 2019

This short report presents a recommendation for the United Nations to create a World Citizens’ Initiative (WCI) and includes a suggested legal framework, as well as considering the background of citizens’ initiatives.

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