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Appeal for a Federal Democratic Global governance

A national/inter-national structure is not enough. The current coronavirus crisis requires global cooperation and solutions which the existing national/inter-national political system is incapable of delivering.
Seven billion human beings are now living in a world globalized by the economy and technology but divided into almost 200 national states which adopt separate measures with scarce coordination and effectiveness. The Covid-19 pandemic shows each of them prioritizing their own vision and interests, which causes unnecessary damage to the world economy and the global society, and costs thousands of human lives.
By definition, national states are unable to deal with global issues. Their failures don’t just affect their own citizens but have spill-over effects on all the inhabitants of this small hyper-connected planet, damaging global commons. Global coordination and policies are urgently needed to defend the global ecosystem and world public health, and to protect the economy and employment all over the planet. Of course, national sovereignty must continue to be respected for national affairs, but effective global decision making is also necessary to protect the welfare and survival of humanity as a whole.

To effectively tackle pandemics such as Covid-19, we need concrete binding action at the global level, such as early warning systems, information sharing, delivery and enforcement of norms, management of transmission across borders and vaccine-treatment research. Yet, while the World Health Organization (WHO) is mandated to deliver these functions at the global level, it lacks funds and enforcement mechanisms. Nowadays, 127 UN member states have still not fully complied with them due to a lack of financing and political will, the WHO can’t tackle countries that do not comply with the International Health Regulations and existing global disease control measures -such as PEF, CEF and GHSA- constitute a globally fragmented strategy, with disjointed funding, disintegrated policies and weak authority. The crisis shows that all the current health national/inter-national system is unprepared to tackle global pandemics as Covid-19, as well as world issues such as antimicrobial resistance and global warming related emergencies.

We the signatories of this document, some few of the seven billion world citizens, urgently ask national leaders and inter-national institutions to take lessons from the Coronavirus crisis. Let’s work together to enable a better integrated 21st Century political system, reinforcing regional institutions, reforming the United Nations and making each level of governance more representative and effective; for example, through the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly able to deliver world health norms, the empowerment  of an International Criminal Court capable of sanctioning eventual violations, and the building of a World Health Organization equipped to respond to global health challenges.

We the signatories don’t propose a world state or government. National states are needed to manage national problems, but an enhanced global governance system is needed to tackle global issues such as this pandemic. Otherwise, the panic generated by insufficient national responses to recurrent global crises will continue growing discontent and anger, eroding national democracies and strengthening nationalism and populism, with their simplistic “sovereigntist” responses to complex global affairs, and their threat to human survival.

Humanity has become a real community of fate. Hopefully, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us how small the Earth is and how close we are to each other. The time of applying the principles of federalism and democracy to the global scale has come. Shared sovereignty, coordination and cooperation at the global level or national populism. A more federal and democratic political structure able to regulate globalization or further crises and chaos. That’s the question we face.

Daniele Archibugi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, University of London
Garret Brown, University of Leeds
Richard Falk, Princeton University – Queen Mary University
Fernando Iglesias, Cátedra Spinelli – World Federalist Movement
Lucio Levi, University of Torino – Editor of The Federalist Debate
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University
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