AUTHORS: Titus Alexander and Robert Whitfield, Trustees
Humanity has evolved through groups of people cooperating amongst themselves and competing with others. In today’s world, violent competition with others can be catastrophic and a shared human identity is essential not only for survival but for a just and prosperous world for all. Public understanding of, and support for, global cooperation is therefore fundamental for global decision-making to be effective.
What is needed
There are many initiatives in this area, which could be harnessed through three strands of action:
Education and awareness
UN member states have pledged to promote education for human rights and global understanding[i], UNESCO and many other agencies seek to ‘nurture our common humanity and help learners become active global citizens’. But most of the world gets no education or information about human rights, global issues or the role of global institutions.
Accelerated Global Action is needed to ensure that:
Knowledge and Skills Sharing
The UN recognises knowledge as a strategic asset, and has a strategic vision and recommendations for action[ii], many of which have not yet been implemented. The development of the internet is greatly improving equitable access to knowledge, but Accelerated Global Action is needed to
Accelerated Global Action is needed to deepen civic engagement in global issues and the SDGs within and between countries and build on the Civic Charter’s global framework for people’s participation[iii].
These three strands of education, knowledge and civic engagement should be brought together in a new kind of networked global agency, the ‘People’s Knowledge Agency’. A networked international agency to coordinate and promote impartial knowledge-sharing, education and civic engagement in global issues, so that every community, education institution and government agency throughout the world can use their experience and intelligence to help solve global problems.
A question of timing
After the Second World War, there was for a few years an active movement towards World Government. Henry Usborne lead a crusade for World Government but despite significant support from a number of prominent people around the world the People’s Convention in 1950 ended in failure. It was acknowledged that not only had the World Federalists failed to sieze their moment (1942/3)[iv] but that the People’s Convention would have required extensive global citizenship education for many years preceding the Convention in order to enable to people to respond as desired.
For a radical strengthening of global governance in the 21st Century, the sooner a greater emphasis is placed upon the creation of a global consciousness, in the manner described above, the sooner the world’s citizens and their governments will be in a position to respond and support. As Baratta concludes, “clearly immense works of preparing world public opinion for new political leadership will be required.”[v]
[i] Declaration for Human Rights says signatories will “strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms”; Convention on The Rights of The Child says signatories will provide “education in conditions of peace and security” ; See also World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy - Montréal, 1993)
[ii] Dumitriu, Petru (2016) Knowledge Management In The United Nations System, Joint Inspection Unit, Geneva: https: //www.unjiu.org/en/reports-notes/JIU%20Products/JIU_REP_2016_10_English.pdfSee also: The Knowledge for Development Partnership (K4D) (2014) Knowledge Development Goals
[iii] Civic Charter: The Global Framework for People’s Participation (2016), facilitated by the International Civil Society Centre, https: //civiccharter.org/about-the-civic-charter-how-it-came-about/
[iv] Baratta, J.P. (2004) p 528 The Politics of World Federation Praeger, Westport Connecticut
[v] ibid p 531