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.
The appeal of the campaign: "We the Peoples – It’s time to give citizens a voice at the UN"
The biggest challenges facing us such as the pandemic, climate change, violent conflict and inequality are global and cross cutting in nature. They need collective responses from the international community. The UN is the key arena to make this happen.
As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it’s time to give people a direct voice in its affairs. The UN’s legitimacy, relevance and ability to tackle contemporary challenges can be enhanced by making it more open and accessible to ordinary citizens.
As global citizens and as representatives of civil society from around the world, we urge the UN to establish the instrument of a World Citizens’ Initiative which will enable citizens to put forward proposals on key issues of global concern for discussion and further action at the highest political level. The UN should put any matter that reaches a certain threshold of support from people onto the agenda of the opening debate of each annual session of the General Assembly.
We firmly believe that the addition of the new instrument of a World Citizens’ Initiative will enhance the agency of citizens all over the globe, empowering them, the UN and its member states alike to tackle global challenges in our increasingly complex and interconnected world more effectively.