UN Reform Campaign

World Campaign for in-depth Reform of the System of International Institutions

Focused International OrganizationsUnited Nations, IMF, WB, WTO
ActiveYes
From - To2002 – Up to date
PromotersUBUNTU - World Forum of Civil Society Networks
SupportersPersonalities, city councils, international organizations, academia and media, citizens.
AimDemocratic governance of globalization

Sri Lanka – United Nations Friendship Organisation (SUNFO) is the National coordinator in Sri Lanka for this campaign.

Why this Campaign?

Humanity is facing particularly grave problems and challenges at present: we still have not achieved peace and security based on justice and freedom in the world; huge numbers of our planet’s inhabitants live in deplorable conditions of poverty; the rich countries continue to be shackled to a model of economic growth whose impact on the environment jeopardizes the sustainability of life for future generations; the loss of cultural diversity is impoverishing, perhaps irreversibly, one of humanity’s most important characteristics.

The process of globalization intensifies the interrelations and interdependence of the world’s problems and challenges. As a result, what happens on a global scale has a decisive influence that, on a local level, affects the life of each and every citizen of the world. Moreover, the globalization process is leading to a weakening of political authority: while markets are becoming increasingly global, the influence of political institutions required for their democratic, equitable and efficient functioning decreases every day.

In such a context, the breakdown of the international system of peace and security -made clear most recently by the war in Iraq and the unilateral course of action embarked upon by the world’s leading power- has caused widespread turmoil, with serious consequences for the System of International Institutions, particularly the United Nations. Unilateral action in questions of peace and security has become part of the global equation, making in-depth reform of the world’s institutional system even more necessary and urgent.

Multilateral international policies intended to resolve the severe development problems affecting the world fail to be implemented due to a lack of political will and of the financial resources called for. Very few of the hopes raised by the UN summits in the 1990s and the United Nations Millennium Summit (including the Millennium Development Goals) are being fulfilled. The United Nations does not have the ability or the possibilities required to confront these development issues, responsibility for which seems to have been shifted onto the market, mainly through policies promoted by the Breton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization.

Faced with this situation, people all over the world are beginning to claim their democratic entitlement to participate in decisions that affect their lives so directly. Global Civil Society should play a key role in promoting the democratization of the System of International Institutions. This Campaign therefore intends to encourage a series of reforms of International Institutions towards a global system of democratic governance, through representative procedures involving the participation of all the actors in the global arena. Its objective is to contribute to the creation of a consistent, transparent, responsible and effective global architecture, based on developing international legislation with widely accepted democratic value and legitimacy. At the heart of this System would be a stronger, more democratic United Nations Organization, with effective control over all its bodies and agencies and over global multilateral organizations. An institutional system that would in this way contribute to building a fairer, more equitable, diverse, sustainable and peaceful world.

Campaign Objectives

  • To ensure that a process of in-depth reform of the System of International Institutions gets underway;
  • To generate concrete and specific reform processes that are effective for themselves and that, within a coherent framework, contribute to the in-depth reform process.
  • To involve the maximum possible number of actors in the global arena in this process: international institutions, different levels of government and Civil Society in its broadest sense.
  • To involve key actors in the current political momentum in the World Campaign: the world of parliamentarians and their international organizations; the world of local authorities and their international organizations; governmental groups and regional and sub-regional groups linked to them; sub-state political bodies; related media; other branches of international Civil Society (i.e. the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement); etc.
  • To continue to draw up proposals within Civil Society (and/or jointly with other actors) based on the conceptual, intentional and methodological foundations of the reform.
  • To contribute to the construction of an international social and political movement capable of generating the process or processes of reform.

Campaign Guidelines

In order to achieve all of these things, we will focus on:

  • Raising awareness among public opinion of the need and importance of an in-depth reform of the System of International Institutions in order to move towards global democratic governance and in this way to contribute to solving the serious problems and challenges facing the world.
  • Carrying out activities and obtaining the support of global public opinion using the usual mechanisms. Continuing to implement tools on the Internet in order to collect signatures in support of the Campaign that are as diverse, representative and numerous as possible. Directing actions intended to gain the global public support not only of individual citizens, but also, and very importantly, to gain the broadest and most diverse support possible from Civil Society organisations throughout the world, in order to have them as part of the Campaign.
  • Setting up committees and/or groups of focal points to promote the Campaign at all possible levels (regional, state, sub-state, local, sectorial, etc.) that contribute in a more active way to attaining the objectives of the Campaign and that are representative of it, not only as instrumental means, but also as explicit objectives of the Campaign, since their existence will really mould a World Campaign.
  • Channeling the pressure of global public opinion to the international powers (international organizations, different levels of government, participants in the global economic scene, etc.) in terms of the importance and the need for in-depth reform.
  • Carrying out all types of events (meetings, consultations, debates and activities in general) aimed at the presentation, dissemination, extension, debate and increase of support for the Campaign, at drawing up proposals and, in general, at achieving each and every one of the Campaign objectives.

In addition to these things, efforts will be made within the agenda of the Campaign to begin processes intended to:

  • Create a “World Commission for In-Depth Reform of the System of International Institutions” that, linked clearly and explicitly to the Campaign, would assume and exercise the role of “lobbyist” for the Campaign. To this end, contacts would be made and developed with the intention of establishing a dialogue with the United Nations System, other international organizations, different levels of government and other important groups in the world sphere.
  • Establish points of contact with the media in order to strengthen the dissemination and all other aspects of the Campaign. In addition to this, where possible, the Campaign should develop its own instruments of communication.
  • Channel the dynamics of the Campaign, wherever possible and at different territorial levels, towards debates and the adoption of favorable and explicit positions on the part of parliaments, city councils, different levels of governments, social movements and organizations, etc.
  • Use the existing possibilities to promote explicit “internal” debates on the issue within the International Institutions themselves (i.e. promoting an annual meeting of the DPI-NGO that focuses on this point; working to introduce these themes as points on the agenda firstly at ECOSOC meetings and then at ECOSOC meetings with the Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO, etc.).
  • §  Work on ensuring that the Campaign’s conclusions be presented to the UN General Assembly and on preparing a petition to convene a world conference on the in-depth reform of the System of International Institutions.

Organisational Structure of the Campaign

The working bodies of the Campaign are:

  • All of the organizations and individuals who have joined the Campaign and who promote it in one way or another.
  • Organizing Committee: Made up of organizations and individuals who, in addition to promoting the Campaign, work specifically on defining its objectives and on its conceptual and strategic development. The Coordinating Committee of the UBUNTU Forum and the members of its Ad Hoc Secretariat are also members of the Organizing Committee. Specific working committees with appropriate methodologies for particular themes may be created.
  • Committees and/or focal points promoting the Campaign: at every possible level (regional, state, sub-state, local, sartorial, etc.) that contribute to attaining the Campaign objectives more actively and that act as benchmarks within the Campaign. They will report directly to the Ad Hoc Secretariat of the Campaign.

MANIFESTO FOR IN-DEPTH REFORM OF THE SYSTEM OF INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

We, citizens of the world, determined to safeguard future generations from war, poverty, injustice, cultural uniformisation and environmental degradation,

DECLARE the particular seriousness of the problems and challenges facing humanity and, in particular, that

  • the globalization process is increasing the interdependence and complexity of world problems and widening the gap between rich and poor people; whilst markets become increasingly global, the influence of political institutions required for their democratic, equitable and effective functioning decreases every day
  • the weakening and marginalization of the system of international institutions as regards peace and security issues has led to unilateral use of force in recent armed conflicts (Iraq), than promoting conflict resolution collectively and in accordance with processes and protocols established through the UN.

In this state of the affairs, we citizens proclaim that a fairer world is possible, and we reclaim our democratic entitlement to participate in global decisions that affect our lives every day. To this end, we

PROPOSE in-depth reform of the system of international institutions to guarantee:

  • democratic governance of globalization to contribute to resolving the grave problems and challenges that face our world;
  • the eradication of poverty and the promotion of more equitable development and respect for cultural, natural and gender diversity;
  • world peace and security, embracing human and environmental security, based on justice and freedom; and
  • the establishment of mechanisms to enable the world’s citizens and civil society organizations to achieve direct representation and participation in global decision-making processes.

The pursuit of these goals requires a stronger, more democratic UN, placed at the centre of a consistent, democratic, responsible, effective system of international institutions. More specifically, we need to democratize the composition and decision-making procedures of UN bodies and agencies to ensure that they are effective and democratic. And we need to reform and integrate within the UN all other global multilateral organizations (IMF, WB, WTO, etc.). To achieve these objectives,

WE PROMOTE a process of:

Mobilization of the world’s citizenry based, for example, on citizens and world organizations’ support for this manifesto so that it comes to the formal attention of the United Nations General Assembly, with a request to call a world conference on the in-depth reform of the system of international institutions.

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