The world we want

The United Nations is betting heavily on the internet as a forum for global participation in the world’s development agenda post-2015, that is, the new agenda that will set the course for the world’s development actions once the Millenium Development Goals have reached their expiry date in 2015.

This time, the idea is that citizens like me and you from all over the world participate in a global conversation on shaping the new development goals. For this, the UN has created the Global Survey for a better World, an opinion poll where people can vote for their priorities from a list of development issues. They have also created a site called The World We Want, a discussion forum to promote a global conversation on the new development agenda.

This UN initiative is without a doubt an interesting take on citizen participation in the global governance agenda. It remains to see, however, if this can promote a true global participation, and if this grassroot participation translates into real results when the agenda is finally set.

2 thoughts on “The world we want

  1. One important aspect concerning these issues is the access to internet. Katz & Rice write in their book Social Consequences of Internet Use Access, Involvement, and Interaction (2002) that access to the internet is important for social interaction, the levels of economic activity, awareness of current events, and political monitoring. They go on claiming that it is important that people and communities get involved since it helps to create an understanding for the community as well as create and maintain social capital. One of their conclusions was that the internet contributes to social capital.

    Unfortunately not everyone has access to internet. For the last couple of years there has been an on-going discussion, should the right to internet access be a basic human right? According to UN it should.

    Below a link to UN report and the motion which was passed a year after the report was published:
    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27_en.pdf
    http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/19/64/51/6999c512.pdf

  2. The substantive idea or rather the notion that change is something we can engage in to bring about, is commendable but what can a global survey really tell us other than creating a giant wish-list of things that are unlikely to be achieved in our lifetimes? Call me cynical but this again feels like another PR exercise and again draws me to question what true participation is. Perhaps its to detract from the abject failure of most of the MDG’s? Reeta’s comments point to one of the huge issues with online surveys, the fact that it will automatically disqualify more people than it reaches. In the heirachy of needs I would imagine access to the internet would not figure highly even for those living in the developed world. Surely arguing for this as a human right cheapens and devalues other more fundamental rights that for too many people in the world remain elusive

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