Planetary crisis demands immediate global governance overhaul

30 November 2023 – As the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) convened in Dubai, a crucial report by the Climate Governance Commission shed light on the urgent need for transformative changes in global governance to combat the escalating climate crisis. This comprehensive report, “Governing Our Planetary Emergency,” was released on November 28, 2023, coinciding with the critical discussions at COP28.

The report paints a concerning picture of the current state of our planet, describing it as a “deepening planetary emergency” and a “worldwide polycrisis”. It argues that the severity of the situation is exacerbated by inadequate policy responses and institutional mechanisms lagging far behind the needed pace of change.

Key among the report’s findings is the call for a declaration of a planetary emergency by the United Nations General Assembly. This bold move is seen as a necessary step to galvanise global action and response. The report also advocates for a comprehensive review and overhaul of the UN climate negotiation process, aiming to make it more effective in delivering tangible results.

The commission, which includes experts and contributing members such as Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of The Club of Rome, emphasises the need for novel approaches to global governance. Their collective expertise has informed the development of a series of near- and medium-term proposals designed to bring about substantial improvements in international governance systems. These proposals are geared towards addressing the multifaceted aspects of the climate crisis within a one-to-five-year timeframe.

Among the immediate measures proposed is the creation of a Science-Policy-Action Network to monitor planetary boundaries and the enhancement of the role of the UN Environment Program. The report also suggests the introduction of economic and financial measures, such as a global carbon tax and an international levy on short-term currency trading, to support climate action.

Regarding citizen engagement, the report highlights the role of the “We the Peoples” Campaign. It suggests the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) to give elected representatives a role in UN decision-making, enhancing global governance inclusivity and accountability.

The report also envisions the transformation of the UN Environment Program into a Global Environment Agency, which would serve as a central authority on climate and other crucial planetary environmental governance issues. This agency would, over time, be vested with the mandate to make binding decisions based on majority voting.

The Climate Governance Commission plans to form high-level working groups to refine and advocate for these recommendations. Additionally, it is partnering with organisations like the World Federalist Movement and Citizens for Global Solutions to launch the Mobilizing an Earth Governance Alliance campaign, aiming to unite various actors in addressing the planetary emergency.

The report’s launch highlights a growing consensus on the need for drastic changes in how the planet’s environmental crises are governed. With the upcoming “Summit for the Future” scheduled for September 2024, there is a window of opportunity to begin implementing some of the report’s critical proposals.

Download the full report

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