The Push For a Transformed United Nations
Most of humanity’s catastrophic risks are not from anyone trying to destroy humanity. Rather, accidents and unintended consequences are piling up because we don’t have the tools to address them. Our world interconnectivity has grown dramatically over the last several decades, but our international governance and public policy has lagged far behind. Humanity has been trying to deal with global issues at just the national level, and it is clearly not working. We do not have suitable global systems to get things done.
The United Nations is the natural hub for the global systems we need, but it is currently inadequate. Compared to the world’s needs, the UN is underfunded, understaffed - and most critically - not given the necessary authority to make things happen. Power is still held by nations, and they have not granted the UN the power to manage our world affairs. So, in this global anarchy, countries jostle for influence and fail to cooperate on the shared work of avoiding catastrophe.
The Human Survival Project will build a global grassroots movement calling for a Charter Convention to fundamentally transform the United Nations, to make it capable of addressing catastrophic threats to humanity. The “Charter” is the guiding document upon which the UN operates - the equivalent of a government’s constitution. At this Charter Convention, nations of the world will gather in negotiation to keep the best aspects of the current United Nations, while essentially restructuring it. The success of that Convention will be judged by whether the new UN is capable of preventing a global collapse of civilization.
We at The Human Survival Project are not alone in desiring a transformed United Nations. In fact, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Ever since the UN was imperfectly designed in 1945, smart people have put forward countless good ideas for improving it. A long list of think tanks, academics and policymakers have pushed for a stronger UN for decades. But the missing piece has been cultivating public will.
There is not yet a robust citizen-facing grassroots campaign to push countries around the world to support a transformed United Nations. Citizens around the world need support and coordination in pushing their national governments to support UN transformation. The Human Survival Project will start that campaign.
The campaign will offer three main types of assistance to the world:
Increase public understanding of the catastrophic threats humanity faces, and the need for a transformed United Nations. We will push solid information and promising solutions into the public realm, through educational materials, podcasts and appearances in a wide range of media outlets. This communication will be in multiple languages, free of jargon, in a way that average people can understand.
Coordinated advocacy that unifies many issue areas behind transforming the UN. Each catastrophic threat - climate change, destruction of nature, pandemics, advanced warfare, technology, etc. - has a collection of organizations, academics, policymakers and concerned citizens grappling with it. We will build a network that helps people across many issue areas to cooperate on creating governance systems that are capable of addressing the various problems we face.
On-the-ground capacity for activism in many countries. No amount of conferences and policy papers will fix the UN. Citizens communicating with their government officials will. The campaign will support people in many countries to build political will to transform the UN. This will be a combination of tried-and-true advocacy methods, as well as cutting-edge methods that will attract attention due to their novelty.
We are very early in this process. We are currently crafting a detailed strategic plan, and are seeking funding to hire staff and grow the campaign. This website will offer occasional updates as news emerges.
We understand that our goals are extraordinarily ambitious. But the threats we face are extraordinarily dangerous, and without a stronger United Nations, human civilization will fail. We notice a growing number of people who understand humanity's critical situation and care deeply, but don't know how to help. And as even more come to understand the seriousness of our existential threats, people will demand solutions that are as big as our problems. We will help these concerned world citizens find each other and work together. Humanity now has global communications tools - internet, social media, YouTube, podcasts - that can help build a global grassroots effort that would have been impossible just a couple decades ago. Despite the challenges, we have enormous potential to protect the future of humanity, and create a future we can be proud of.
If you’re excited about the possibilities here and you want to donate your time or money to the effort, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us.