Proposed by UK Network for Civil Society Link with UN General Assembly (UNGA-Link UK)
Initiated by Campaign for a More Democratic United Nations (CAMDUN)
Background: Governments have no option but to operate the age-old system of power politics which they inherit, and which nowadays is reinforced by links with industrial-military complexes. There is therefore a need for a countervailing influence within the UN, yet the General Assembly turned down the proposals for a linked UN Second (Peoples) Assembly (MAPW 1983, INFUSA 1985-89 and CAMDUN 1990), annual We the Peoples Assembly of selected UN-NGOs (Harold Stassen 1984) and annual World Civil Society Forum (Commission on Global Governance 1995). These rejections may have led Boutros Boutros-Ghali to write “the change needed [in the UN] is to obtain the participation of non-state actors in international affairs” (Ottawa Citizen, 7 April 2003). There is now renewed hope of achieving an institutional non-state link with the General Assembly by civil society organisations (CSOs) concerned with international affairs establishing a World Civil Society Union (WCSU).
UNGA-Link’s proposal dates from 2003. It calls for a meeting of representatives of international CSOs concerned with global governance to discuss initiation of a transparent and accountable World Civil Society Union (WCSU). The Association of World Citizens, CIVICUS, CONGO, Montreal International Forum, Union of International Associations, World Federalist Movement, World Federation of United Nations Associations and other such CSOs should be invited to participate in the meeting to discuss this proposal for a WCSU.
UNGA-Link suggests that the Constitution of the proposed WCSU should provide for affiliation by national and regional CSOs concerned with global governance. The hope and expectation is that the proposed WCSU when established would apply successfully for observer status at the UN General Assembly as a parallel organisation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. This seems consistent with the statement in the UN Secretary-General’s report to the World Summit in September 2005 for revitalising the General Assembly by “establishing mechanisms enabling the Assembly to engage fully and systematically with civil society” [In Larger Freedom, Annex, item IV, 8b (iii)].
The immediate need is the convening of the proposed meeting of international CSOs to discuss the proposal. One or more organisations to convene the initiating meeting are therefore needed. Any offers or enquiries, please? Sponsors and endorsers in support of the WCSU proposal would also be most welcome.
In the longer term other global sector entities such as United Cities and Local Authorities, Global Compact (business) and Indigenous Peoples Forum might follow the same path, and in due course representation of these sectors, parliamentarians and civil society might become part of the UN as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly under Article 22 of the Charter.
Jeffrey J. Segall,
Co-founder of CAMDUN and Honorary Consultant of UNGA-Link UK