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My UN 🇺🇳 Campaign Update: if it's broken, do you fix it?

Dear friends,

A while ago, I announced my campaign for United Nations Secretary-General. I vowed to keep you in the loop about the campaign,thinking and what's happening at the UN. So here it comes. Below, you can find a recap of my time in Nairobi, details about the political activities of the last month, opportunities to participate and next steps. But first, 

👉 Support my campaign here 👈

The truth is, I fundamentally believe we need a way to work together across the world for us to stand a chance at survival. How else can we deal with wars, climate change, growing disparities, and more? I don't see any other way than to unite, coordinate political action and do better.

But there is a fundamental problem: the current systems enabling collaboration are no longer fit for purpose. I'm talking for example of the United Nations, which is failing to deliver on peace and security, its very mission. I know that it is made of people working as hard as humanly possible to do so, but with such an outdated and unfair system where political figures try to uphold the status quo, how could it possibly be successful?! Over the last couple of weeks, I have met with many politicians/diplomats working at the UN. What they all had in common was either delusion or hypocrisy. I can't recall the number of times I heard: "But why are you running? The UN is doing great!". When I pointed out its trust issues, or simply the failure to deliver on ... climate, Ukraine, Gaza, DRC, Yemen, drug trafficking, pandemic preparedness, and inequalities... the topic was avoided and I was told I only focus on hot topics. Well, they are hot because they are undealt with. 

I attended the United Nations Civil Society Conference in Nairobi two weeks ago, and what I witnessed was heartbreaking. Thousands of people, activists and civil society organisations attended this conference with the promise that it would be the moment to change the multilateral system. But at every small push, however incremental, UN representatives explained during closed-door meetings it would never happen. They would not back any change capable of doing good. Why then bother to organise such a massive conference, and waste people's time?!

United Nations building in Nairobi

On top of this, five countries play geopolitics with our future, using their veto power to stop any meaningful action based on their interests. They cannibalize the work of this organisation, and we all suffer as a result. This must change. And it must change now. I have little hope that this will come from the inside. That's why I'm running to become the next United Nations Secretary-General. 

Because, 

  • Together, by uniting in our millions, we can choose the next UN leader and change the system itself, leaving it no choice but to be reformed. For this, sign here.
  • Together, we can tackle the very threats that risk our survival. Our political programme can become a reality by building a mass movement behind it worldwide.
  • Together, we can start a political revolution. This isn’t about me. It’s really not. I’m just the tip of this movement for survival that will make waves by gaining power in cities, countries, and regions worldwide. 

Recap of the first month 🇺🇳

Apart from meeting with insiders to better understand the system and its flows, I've been focusing on laying the groundwork for the next two years.

Consultations in Nairobi 🇰🇪

As part of my campaign, I am hosting monthly Survival Sundays events. Those are monthly radical grassroots consultations to harness your ideas, vision, and passion to solve the most urgent threats of our times. The United Nations is too remote, isolated and out of touch with the people of our planet. Through Survival Sundays, we change this, involving individuals and communities from around the planet. And we mean it: our teams of volunteers will then take those ideas, work on them and we will push them in our electoral campaign.

On May 5th, 2024, I organised our first Survival Sunday event to crowdsource ideas about how the United Nations could best serve the people of Kenya. Over 100 people attended despite the floods the full in-person event, which lasted for five hours. Citizens told us about how they lost faith in the UN’s ability to deliver on its mandate, promises, and pretences to include and hear them. Anyone reading the news or contemplating the world around them sees clearly the violence, destruction, and injustice. They know that the UN does not consider them equal based on their nationalities. But there is hope. This could change if the United Nations were willing to take a hard look at itself and evolve, be reborn from its ashes, starting by including those left behind. 1. The veto power must be abolished; 2. people’s voices must be heard, and their priorities must be reflected in the work of the organization; 3. the United Nations should put its money where its mouth is.

You can read more about this event here.

Reform of the UN Secretary-General selection process 🔍

As part of this campaign, we partnered with HEC Public Law Clinic to develop a proposal on how to reform the UN Secretary-General Selection Process. Because we don't only call out what's wrong, we try to be as constructive as possible in this incredibly messed up system! Kostia Malanyuk-Lelan and Ludovic Sol developed a proposal after exploring feasible, fair, and inclusive solutions to reform the selection process of the UN Secretary-General within the current framework. The aim is to enhance the UN Secretary-General's legitimacy, power, and effectiveness in carrying out their duties. You can find more details here


Building a team 🫶

This campaign is big, it's disruptive, but it's also complicated. There is so much work to do on this campaign, from building an understanding of the UN, linking this to people's real issues, finding ways to involve a massive amount of humans, successfully having a feminist agenda, and making it more representative through surrogates or other.

I need brains, hearts and people to make it happen. I'm trying to build a team of committed volunteers who would like to support this campaign, the strategy and implementation. Atlas has a big volunteer community focusing on national campaigns and supporting this one, but it's time for a dedicated team! I'm looking for people to think about strategy, communication, events, policies and more. If you have ideas and time, please reach out, and send me all your thoughts!


The political corner | Palestine & the United Nations 🍉

I'm running for UNSG because the UN must be better, and do better. This month, the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit Palestine. Finally! However, this will not become a reality. Unless the US starts doing the right thing. As such, we launched a quick campaign to push the US to withdraw its veto & accept that Palestine joins the United Nations. And it won't do so unless you take action!

👉 Sign our campaign to Veto Genocide, Not Palestine! 🍉 👈

While Palestine becoming a member state will not end the ongoing genocide, stop the invasions or dismantle the occupation or apartheid, it is a step toward fairness and justice. The UN General Assembly voted to Support Palestine's bid to join the organisation and urged the Security Council to admit Palestine as a member of the UN. 143 countries stood on the right side of history. However, for Palestine to be admitted to the United Nations, it must go through the UN Security Council, and just one country is blocking this from becoming a reality. The United States. In April, Biden's administration vetoed Palestine’s bid to become a member There is no way we can achieve peace and security without justice and fairness. Fairness demands that Palestine has an equal seat at the table. Justice demands that Palestine has equal decision-making power. And Peace and Security demand inclusion. 

Sign this petition, and you will receive an email with a text to send to the decision-makers blocking Palestine’s accession to the UN and all our upcoming actions. We want the US veto to be withdrawn by the next General Assembly: September 2024!


Next steps✊

  1. Live Q&A: We received a LOT of questions. So following requests, I'm holding weekly live Q&As on different social media, every Thursday. Feel free to send me all your questions in advance and check out the next one here .
  2. Survival Sundays: We are preparing massive monthly grassroots consultation events - called #SurvivalSundays - to crowdsource policy solutions to the biggest issues of our times. We want you to be involved and come to a conclusion on who should pay for the energy transition, whether sanctions are an appropriate response to authoritarian crackdowns or how to change the United Nations. We will leave no stone unturned: we believe the people must have a voice in shaping political responses to the biggest issues of our times. You can find the first ones online here, but I want to hear from you: what topics should we discuss?
  3. Support our work
    1. With your time…. Finally, our teams are stepping up the work, specifically  1) drafting a political programme for the United Nations, 2) communicating massively on it, 3) building national chapters to run for elections on a similar agenda worldwide. If you are interested in participating, volunteer
    2. or otherwise: to power up our campaign, we are in the process of relaunching our membership process at Atlas. If you can contribute financially or just want to be an official member of our organization, please register as a member today here. We also need to find foundations and high-net-worth individuals to support our work. if you know of anyone, please reach out!

I hope you’ll join this campaign! Because together, united, we cannot be defeated.

 

So #Unite4Survival 🌏🔥

Colombe

Colombe Cahen-Salvador (she/her)

Co-Founder & Candidate for the United Nations Secretary-General 

Atlas

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