At the New Shape Forum in May 2018, the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) opened applications for working groups who were interested in refining the best ideas from the New Shape Prize competition. After having undergone an international and sustained assessment process, there was strong agreement that many of the proposals received from the New Shape Prize held significant potential and could be further developed along the key aspects of being operational, legitimate and viable.
With these criteria in mind, GCF selected 5 groups to continue the work that began at the New Shape Forum.
Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century
This Working Group's proposition revolves around electing the UN General Assembly directly on a popular vote, and include civil society appointed second chamber to the UNGA. The Security Council should be replaced with an broadened Executive Council without veto rights. The proposal also states to provide the UN with a standing armed force and a Bill of Rights upheld by the International Court of Justice.
Coordinator: Augusto Lopez-Claros is Senior Fellow, School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group. Previously he was Chief Economist and Director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva.
A World Security Community of Democratic Nations
The working group proposes to transform NATO into a World Security Community (WSC). The WSC would act as a global peacekeeper, under the aegis of the UN. Membership would be open to stable, democratic nations. The WSC would become the nucleus for a stronger and more democratic system of global governance. The WSC will establish new mechanisms for preventing conflict and be part of the reconstruction of failed states. The organization would be governed through a ‘qualified-majority voting with opt-out’ system for the member states.
Coordinator: Chris Hamer is a physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, a former National Secretary of Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA), and a member of the World Federalists Association.
Upholding the San Francisco Promise: The Roadmap to a Constitutionalised UN
When the United Nations was formed in San Francisco in 1945, there was a great deal of opposition to the Security Council's veto. The Permanent Five members of the Security Council, according to Paragraph 3 of Article 109, agreed to a facilitated way of holding the Review conference in ten years’ time. As a result, the holding of the Charter Review was adopted as General Assembly resolution 992(X) in 1955 and that same year approved by the Security Council. A committee was then formed to undertake the organization of a review conference, but the endeavour never came to fruition: the committee repeatedly delayed convening the review, and then ultimately stopped meeting altogether. However, it was never officially disbanded, meaning that it remains in legally in existence, and that Charter Review as per Article 109 is still on the table. The Working Group is exploring if this review could be activated to open up the Charter for a constitutional reform, enabling the UN to fulfill its initial objectives.
Coordinator: Shahr-yar Sharei is the founding Executive Director of the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research (CUNCR).
Getting from Here to There
The working group looks at ways to foster a truly global partnership to manage global risks and global commons and how to build a broad-based coalition of stakeholders committed to global governance innovation. The objectives are to create a shared agenda for global governance reform, to promote the values and principles for a rules-based global order, and a sense of global identity and citizenship, and developing strategies for implementing various proposals to address global risks. A number of ‘smart coalitions’ taking forward specific initiatives in different ways would provide the coalition with its impact.
Coordinator: Natalie Samarasinghe is Executive Director of the United Nations Association – UK and one of the New Shape Prize awardees. In 2013, she co-founded the '1 for 7 Billion' campaign to improve the selection process for the UN Secretary-General, which contributed to the most transparent and inclusive process in UN history.
Planetary Condominium: The Legal Framework for the Common Home of Humanity
The objective is declaring the Earth as a common heritage of humanity, achieving a recognition in international law of the entire Earth System, in a favorable Holocene-like state, as a Common Heritage of Humankind. This new object of International Law should be registered as a global condominium, a coordination platform where all positive and negative externalities can become visible, aggregated and accounted for. The UN Trusteeship Council could be revived as guardian of the new heritage and other global commons. Would this condominium be a more successful regime to efficiently mitigate global catastrophic risks?
Coordinator: Paulo Magalhaes is a jurist and researcher at CIJE- Center for Legal and Economic Research at the University of Porto. He is a member of the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and co-founder of ELGA – Environmental Law and Governance Association.
The groups developed the proposals with the goal of bringing the new systems and methods proposed one step closer to fruition. The refined proposals were presented at the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, an initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron, in November 2018.
The Global Challenges Foundation is committed to supporting and catalysing the development of better frameworks of global governance, and the ongoing New Shape Process is one aspect of this. Read more about GCF’s other projects under Our Work.