Forward is the global political project working to elect a people-backed progressive candidate as the next leader of the United Nations!
Have you ever wondered why you do not have a voice on events impacting the whole world when they originate in another country? Why can President Bolsonaro burn the Amazon, Prime Minister Johnson cut aid to war-torn countries, or nations blocking vaccine distribution to those in need? It is high time to give a voice to people at the global level. But how do we start? Spoiler alert: we have an idea, read on!
The next United Nations Secretary-General is about to be chosen. They will not be elected but selected. The proceedings have already started, and most of the world knows nothing of it.
On the anniversary of the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, it sometimes looks like humanity learned very little from its lack of global leadership truly representing humankind's interests. Vaccines apartheid quickly followed personal protective equipment hoarding, despite big claims that global unity would bring COVID-19 to its knees. The World Health Organization's incapacity to lead the world in the midst of one of the biggest tragedies in recent history did not seem to push world leaders to reconsider the fundamental issue. Global challenges and opportunities cannot be seized if national interests always prevail. A global system of democratic governance is needed, and the people's voices cannot be ignored.
In June 2021, or maybe July - the date of the U.N. Secretary General's selection is not even public - the world will have a new leader. The people will have no say. There will be no free and fair, popular, democratic exercise but rather backroom deals involving - in particular - the Permanent five nations of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, USA, and the U.K.). However, today's planet features many new, vibrant aspiring super and middle powers whose populations long for representation. From India to Brazil, why would citizens accept being considered second class when these countries boast a more robust economy than Russia or a bigger population than France? Being a winner of World War II is a prestigious yet outdated title and does not justify a total grip on the planet's future.
The U.N. leader representing 8 billion people in 194 nations is chosen - ultimately - by five heads of states, all men, some with authoritarian inclinations. Does this make sense? Certainly not. Can this be changed in time for the new appointment? Hardly, but it's worth showing the world that people want to have a say.
Elections must take place for the Secretary-General to have the credibility required to lead the world and for the people to be heard. Given the lack of democracy of the official selection process and the impossibility for citizens to launch an initiative to reform this outdated process, new ways to make humanity's voice must be explored. A point needs to be made.
That's why Colombe & I are launching Forward that is organizing open digital primaries to identify the first people-backed candidate for United Nations Secretary-General's post. People from all corners of this planet can join this initiative, vote and themselves become a candidate. Only two requirements exist.
- Candidates cannot be men: they have to be of another gender. There have been nine Secretary Generals in the last 76 years; all were men. As Antonio Guterres said on the 7th of March 2021, "Gender equality is a question of power. But equal power will not happen by itself in a male-dominated world". Men have had too much power compared to others for too long. It's time to change this at the highest office in the world.
- People joining the Forward initiative, whether as voters or candidates, must have and uphold the following progressive vision: human societies can progress only if every one of its members has access to the same opportunities and enjoy the same rights in every territory, nation, and state. This is particularly relevant in the face of the rampant inequalities fuelled by this pandemic and tearing apart our societies: only in 2020, 140 million jobs have been lost while five billionaires saw their wealth skyrocketing by $310.5 billion.
While those primaries have little chance of success due to the opacity of the selection process and refusal by some United Nations member states to consider democracy, they will send a strong signal and force those in power to reconsider their ways. And it's urgently needed: in the last 20 years, people's trust in the United Nations dropped by 15 p.p.
In the midst of accelerating global trends, the world needs strong global leadership backed by democratic will. Legitimacy goes hand in hand with representation, and the United Nations is in dire need of both.
It's time to rally behind a people-backed, female candidate as The Next United Nations Secretary.
If you want to support the creation of this project, email us at [email protected]
P.S.: This is not part of NOW!, which will keep on having most of our attention! NOW! is certainly working towards similar goals, but in a non-electoral manner due to charitable constraints and the need for the movement to work with politicians from other parties. Think about it this way: Forward is the little light blue sibling of NOW!