Interim People’s Pact for the Future
2023 Civil Society Perspectives on the Summit of the Future
Source: Coalition for the UN We Want
Following the successful Global Futures Forum in March 2023, that brought together civil society organizations from around the world to amplify their voices on the official discussions leading to the 2024 Summit of the Future (SOTF), conference outcomes and recommendations have now been consolidated in the interim People’s Pact for the Future.
Designed as a contribution to negotiations leading to the 2024 UN Summit of the Future, the interim People’s Pact sets out recommendations for a strengthened UN system under seven themes: development and the SDGs, environmental governance, human rights and participation, the global digital compact, improved global economic and financial architecture, peace and security, and UN and global governance innovation.
Development of the People's Pact also relied upon pre-GFF consultations that included over 1600 civil society representatives across the seven thematic tracks. Recommendations in the People's Pact are followed by “next steps” – suggestions for advancing multilateral progress, including at the September 2024 UN Summit of the Future.
According to Nudhara Yusuf, Coordinator of this year's GFF, “this Interim People's Pact is an evolving document and therefore we welcome and look forward to constructive feedback as we continue engaging in further regional, online and thematic consultations in the coming months".
To ensure that diverse civil society perspectives are engaged in the preparatory processes leading to the 2024 United Nations Summit of the Future (SOTF) and the preceding 2023 SOTF Ministerial Forum to strengthen and revitalize multilateralism, the Global Futures Forum (GFF), led by the Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN), took place March 2021 in New York, with an additional UN Missions Engagement Day on March 22, 2023.
The Forum included over 180 participants in person, each day. Over 2,000 individuals registered to participate online. Participants included civil society representatives, UN member state delegates, secretariat officials, and other stakeholders.
The seven thematic areas that civil society has chosen for deliberation stem from a combination of the United Nations’ pillars and the tracks identified in Our Common Agenda, namely:
1. Development and the SDGs;
2. Environmental governance;
3. Human rights and participation;
4. The Global Digital Compact;
5. The global economic and financial architecture;
6. Peace and security;
7. UN and global governance innovation
Below are the recommendations from the second track, Environmental Governance.
The Four Recommendations
- Promote a Decarbonization Agenda
- Upgrade existing global governance structures
- Establish an Environmental Governance Agency
- Prioritize Transformative Education that promotes Empathy and Empowerment
According to the IPCC 2023 report, the world has warmed 1.1oC and will likely surpass 1.50C before mid-century. Rising global temperatures will increase the probability of breaching planetary boundaries and crossing tipping points that, once crossed, will result in irreversible changes to the Earth’s biosphere and life support systems.
Our natural ecosystems are already under stress. By 2064, unabated deforestation could devour the Amazon, which produces 20% of the Earth’s oxygen. The triple environmental crises are largely fuelled by unsustainable production and consumption. However, despite numerous environmental and climate conventions and treaties, action has staggered under the combined constraints of limited ambition and accountability. Since 2019, SDG progress has slowed, particularly SDG 12, 13, and 17, the lowest performers even in major economic groups like the G20.
Hence, redefining our relationship between people and the Earth, and consumption and production, are critical to realign the world economy in a way that respects planetary ecological boundaries. We need effective and enforceable global environmental governance mechanisms, regulations, and possibly even new institutions to address these challenges. The transboundary nature of climate and environmental impacts makes it critical for local and national action to be aligned with regional and global conventions.
Our recommendations seek to drive system-wide changes in global environmental governance – focusing on top-down and bottom-up solutions, building on the UN Secretary General’s recommendations in Our Common Agenda (OCA) that seek (a) to reinforce and expand the application of “common heritage” principles, (b) to drive intergenerational action to protect the global commons through inclusive and effective multilateralism, and (c) to ensure that environmental justice abides by human rights obligations, ensuring the protection of marginalized groups such as indigenous peoples, women and girls, persons with disabilities, and ecologically vulnerable populations.
This requires a deepening of the UN75 Declaration commitment to “listen to, and work with, young people...” and heighten their participation and representation in the global discourse leading to the Summit of the Future’s Declaration for Future Generations to ensure that current generations protect and regenerate the planetary resources to meet the needs of future generations. As the Secretary-General said, “The choices we make, or fail to make today, could result in breakdown or a breakthrough to a greener, better, safer future. The choice is ours to make.”
1. Promote a Decarbonization Agenda based on the mission of “decarbonization without deindustrialization” to deliver jobs, growth and sustainability in the Global South and beyond. Developing and least-developed countries must, with the support of technology co-development and financial transfer, leapfrog to a 100% renewable electricity network to power clean energy infrastructure, including EV fleets and green hydrogen networks to achieve a just transition. The De- carbonization Agenda seeks to reduce consumption, outlaw planned obsolescence, reduce waste, re-skill the workforce, and drive global sustainable production and manufacturing opportunities.
• Mainstream greening of all components of the economy. This includes ensuring that national budgets align with inclusive growth and green policies to support the sustainable transformation of sectors through responsible reuse, repurpose and recycling programmes. Improve welfare through direct environmental benefits; and nudge individuals and businesses towards sustainable business models and choices.
• Embed SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, in all aspects of the economy to drive sustainable production in the Global South and constrain unsustainable and wasteful consumption in the Global North. Externalities on all products and services should be priced into the cost to encourage a transition towards sustainable choices such as public mobility, resource efficiency, circular economy etc.
• Establish a global clean energy de-risking facility funded through international public money to accelerate access and flow of low-cost de-risked public and private capital at scale.
• Shift the narrative of “technology transfer” to “co-development” to bridge the technology divide. This includes pooling resources among countries, ease of licensing, co-owning intellectual property rights (IPRs), sharing of co-benefits, and pooling resources through innovative financial and non-financial incentives to reduce the cost of technology development and aid in accelerating the pace and scale of technology access, development, and use, globally.
2. Upgrade existing global governance structures to enhance the role of enforcement mechanisms. Strengthening the role of regional and international courts to apply law emerging from international policy considerations and taking steps needed to enable their jurisdiction across countries is indispensable in tackling the climate crisis.
• Accept the concept of a common heritage of [hu]mankind in relation to climate, as recommended in the Vanuatu resolution, to get access to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to make rulings on threats and destructive incursions in the global commons. We recommend that all future UN treaties include a provision for arbitration by the ICJ and encourage all UN member states to accede to the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ as, to date, 74 UN member countries have done.
• Include Ecocide as the 5th crime in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). We recommend the promotion of a cross-jurisdictional crime of Ecocide to ensure protection of ecosystems through nationally and culturally appropriate criminal enforcement mechanisms. Ecocide law, with international, regional and national enforcement mechanisms according to the principle of subsidiarity, can represent a strong example of effective polycentric governance and protection for the global commons.
• Strengthen engagement with the regional court systems which often are able to advance certain matters more quickly than global processes.
• Advance the resolution on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This most recent human right has great potential to inspire meaningful change. CSOs will continue to contribute legal content and perspectives.
3. Establish an Environmental Governance Agency with binding, supranational authority to provide effective, integrated, equitable and accountable global governance of the Earth System including both the capacity to regulate and to mobilize the necessary resources. While setting up such an Agency has proven politically difficult, the robust scientific analysis by the IPCC, IPBES etc., on planetary boundaries and approaching tipping points confirm the urgent need for such an institution now.
• Create a Smart Coalition of like-minded organizations and states working on global governance issues based on the learning from setting up the ICC and the Landmine ban. The Smart Coalition should be initiated before the Summit of the Future to advocate for establishing the Agency and deliver a polycentric governance system, with responsibilities allocated across governance levels based on the principle of subsidiarity. The Climate Governance Commission recommends the Agency work across levels of environmental governance to ensure the protection of the global commons for the benefit of all. The Agency would also analyze obstacles to progress based on the science of the integrity of the Earth Systems and the principles of Earth Trusteeship.
• Set up a UN Parliamentary Assembly (articulated below) to complement the Agency and ensure inclusive deliberation, justice, legitimacy, and accountability.
• Create a global responsible research programme on climate-altering technologies, which brings together diverse and inclusive voices, including indigenous communities and experts from developed, developing and emerging economies, for robust scientific assessment and international cooperation between States, intergovernmental bodies and the UN (UNEA), international institutions (Climate Overshoot Commission), global conventions (London Convention/ Protocol, CDB, and Kunming-Montreal Protocol) and academic and financial institutions to prevent uni- and multilateral action of unproven geoengineering technologies.
4. Prioritize Transformative Education that promotes Empathy and Empowerment to drive a democratic demand for proposals on global governance. Lack of empathy – between people, and between peoples and the environment – is one of the biggest crises in the world today. Equally, if someone feels disempowered to act, they are the objects of another’s goodwill rather than the authors of action. As we think of our common future, we must realize that today’s youth play a transitive role in the collective ancestry of future generations. They, alongside older generations, need to be ready to create and adopt new and effective modes of global governance to protect and regenerate the biosphere.
• We urge UN Member States to implement the recommendation emerging from the UN Transforming Education Summit - Action Track 2 which calls on UN Member Governments to “empower learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future – through an emphasis on foundational learning for basic literacy and numeracy, education for sustainable development which encompasses environmental and climate change education and skills for employment and entrepreneurship”.
• Implement and track the progress of SDG Goal 4, Target 7 to “ensure that, by 2030, all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development”.
• Embed the planetary emergency at the heart of all National Curricula through innovative learning experiences combined with appropriate examination and assessment. Empower youth and teachers to deliver intergenerational transformative education programs to local communities to generate universal solidarity to protect and regenerate the biosphere.
• Ensure the transfer of knowledge and good practices from diverse parts of the world and from one generation to the next to promote a more harmonious interaction with the natural world.
To read the whole report, go here: https://c4unwn.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Interim-Peoples-Pact-for-the-Future-Compressed.pdf
Last updated 11 June 2023