Climate change: Secretary-General backed Global Assembly calls on nations to step up ahead of 2022

Global Assembly - climateaction

Climate change: Secretary-General backed Global Assembly calls on nations to step up ahead of 2022

“The Global Citizens’ Assembly for COP26 is a practical way of showing how we can accelerate action through solidarity and people power.” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

On December 18th, the 2021 Global Assembly on climate held its last meeting. This marked 68 hours of learning and deliberation addressing the framing question: “how can humanity address the climate and ecological crisis in a fair and effective way?”

The Global Assembly is set to become a permanent part of the international decision-making infrastructure, where citizens claim their seats at the global governance table.

The outcome of this cycle of the Global Assembly is the People’s Declaration for the Sustainable Future of Planet Earth (a name chosen by the assembly members). The declaration sets out how this ordinary group of people wants the climate and ecological crisis to be addressed, following a shared learning and deliberation process.

The final People’s Declaration can be read in full at this link from 10 am CTU on 20th December:

It’s been more than four months since the UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared “code red for humanity” and a month since COP26 in Glasgow. Although the conference saw some steps forward, it has been condemned by many as a failure. But a new approach to international governance, which was presented at COP26 in five events in the Blue and Green zones, has given rise to hope.

The first-ever global citizens’ assembly, composed of 100 people chosen by sortition, forming an accurate snapshot of the human population, is enabling ordinary people, from all walks of life, to join the conversation.

The backgrounds of the assembly members range from a gold miner in Myanmar to a forester in Thailand, a housemaid in Côte D’Ivoire to a Bedouin goat herder in Socotra (“one of the most isolated landforms on Earth”). The members of the Global Assembly range in age from 76 to 16, they speak 39 languages and come from 49 countries. Of the 100, about half identify as women and half as men, with 2 identifying as neither and only 63 self-identifying as having full literacy with 9 who cannot read or write at all.

The climate crisis is a crisis in governance. The outcomes of the Global Assembly are a telling reminder that the climate crisis is a consequence of a crisis in governance: not an absence of solutions but a failure of political will to act on them.

“The Global Assembly is an invitation to an actionable alternative, it is a qualitatively new infrastructure for global climate decision making. There is no reason to recycle outdated systems; it goes against the grain of every single human impulse, emotional or rational. Nothing lasts forever but at the same time, nothing is more natural than rebooting our systems when they need updating.” Susan Nakyung Lee, Core Delivery team, Global Assembly.

This is a Bretton Woods moment. The Global Assembly provides the opportunity for a permanent institution to hold the diversity of voices around climate change globally and provide the political mandate for some hard choices to be made. To build smarter and more empathic ecologies of care between people and across oceans, to open up the conversations on trade-offs that obstruct change.

Without these new kinds of democratic structures, modern government systems are in danger of slipping into authoritarianism.

“The struggle is to expand democracy beyond simply electing politicians to include policy development and implementation as well. It’s going to be messy – renegotiating democracy always is – but that’s a good thing; it’s authoritarianism that represents simplicity and order.” Claire Mellier, Core Delivery Team, Global Assembly.

The motives and agenda of members of the Global Assembly are completely different to that of traditional decision-making bodies.

“It’s not just about delivering a package to world leaders. This theory of change can often engender extractive processes and tokenism. The Global Assembly is about rewriting the relationship between power holders and everyday people altogether and scrambling those boundaries. A global citizens’ assembly has no political mandate to satisfy other than the common good.” Susan Nakyung Lee, Core Delivery team, Global Assembly.

“The Global Assembly has achieved a unique platform. I hope all will join in supporting the Global Assembly becoming permanent infrastructure for international governance, here to help the current failing systems drag themselves out of their awful paralysis. That day cannot come soon enough.” Sir Mark Rylance.

Related Post