Every person in the world now has the opportunity to speak up at the United Nations, and already 1.8 million people have submitted their messages.
In an attempt to engage with the world’s population, a team headed by the United Nations Millennium Campaign is polling individuals across the globe and making those results available to everyone, including U.N. decision makers.
“How do you make sure an indigenous woman is influencing decision making in New York?” asked World We Want Co-chair Ravi Karkara, an advisor for the U.N. Millennium Campaign on child and youth engagement. “One of the criticism of U.N. Millennium Development Goals,” which set out to end poverty by 2015, “is that they’re very top down.” This new initiative aims to be bottom up, surveying “the people who are not part of the traditional development conversation, including the poorest of the poor.”
Global Youth Advocates, such as Girl Guides and Oxfam, polls villagers, urban slum residents – the majority of which were not submitted electronically – on what matters to them.
On May 16, World We Want and U.N. Millennium Campaign will present the interactive database to the General Assembly. “When you’re sitting in the General Assembly, you don’t have time to read through thousands of pages,” said Karkara.
Instead, organizers argue decision makers can use the database to easily access the priorities of their own communities. And the data doesn’t stop there.
“This platform allows for open knowledge sharing across the world,” said Karkara. “We have no copyright. It’s data by people for people.”
The survey found that a good education is the number one priority of the global community; action taken on climate change was last on the list. As an interesting aside, Karkara’s team shared that of the respondents who cited “fast cars” as a priority, these were also more likely to prioritize protecting rivers, forests and oceans and taking action against climate change than the general public.
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