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Proposal: Address the greatest common existential threats facing humanity

The ultimate problem we face today is not the coronavirus, or deadly pathogens, or any other single one of these threats. It is our inability to solve most any global existential challenge we collectively face.

Join us in the discussion.

The Issue

Problem Defined

Despite our dire common need, we haven’t been able to create an empowered global public health system to protect us from deadly diseases, a global environmental authority to coordinate efforts to save our planet, or a mechanism to prevent the widespread diffusion of weapons of mass murder. The interests of nations overpower our collective needs.

There's a mismatch between the global nature of the existential challenges we face and the national way we have organized ourselves to face them. Our political leaders have failed to protect us not because they haven’t done their jobs but because they have done the very job we hired them to do.

Background
Expand all bullets
1.
An historical backdropMORE

Most textbooks say the bullet killing Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 sparked World War I. Technically, it did. But if empires were not already crumbling, if new technologies of mass murder had not already been created, and if rigidly sovereign states had not organized themselves in a dangerous configuration domino-like alliances, that assassination would have been a personal and political tragedy, not a global cataclysm.

In the years after World War I, both the liberal internationalists and the authoritarians and hyper-nationalists understood the race was on to reshape the world. The liberals dithered. The idealism of Woodrow Wilson Fourteen Points gave way to cynical manipulations by big powers. The grand idea of a League of Nations collapsed under the weight of the nationalist “America First” in the US. The fascists, Communists, and ultranationalists marched. Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin all wielded the new tools of power and capitalize on people’s fears and insecurities. Two decades following the “war to end all wars,” our world faced another cataclysm.

In 1941, however, the direst year of the Second World War when it appeared likely the forces of fascism and intolerance could win, something remarkable happened. In January, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared his Four Freedoms, the rights of every human to live in dignity. In August, FDR and Winston Churchill announced the Atlantic Charter, setting out a broad vision for a more peaceful post-war world. These principles were the North Star giving navigational direction and hope to peace-loving people around the world as the deadly war raged on.

When victory finally arrived in 1945, leaders like Harry Truman, Churchill, and others helped establish a set of international treaties like the 1945 UN charter supported by a series of institutions including the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, and, later, the European Union, all designed to counter the rigid sovereignty and extreme nationalism that had fueled WWI and WWII respectively.

With our world again in ruins, our economies devastated, and a cascade of collapses – of lives, health infrastructures, economies, governments, and global power structures -- only just beginning, we find ourselves at yet another transitional moment for our planet. Like with the two World Wars, we see the same jockeying for power and influence, the same constellation of people organizing to seize the momentum of this moment. Revolutionary communications technologies are similarly bringing people together in new ways and creating new possibilities for good and for ill.

It would be easy for many people to lose hope at a time like this when so many lives and livelihoods are being destroyed. But just as FDR and Churchill put forward the aspirations in 1941 for the world they hoped to build after the war, we must all, in the absence of equivalent leaders, come together to establish our own collective North Star, the set of core principles around which we would like to reconstruct our world better as we overcome this crisis.

In 1648 the modern nation state was born. In 1945, wise leaders recognized states needed to be tempered by international institutions. In 2020 the post-war world has come to an end and something new (or chaos) will emerge. The fight is now on to determine what this next phase of our history will be -- and our global coalition of citizens from around the world is entering it in a very big way.

2.
Declaration of Global Interdependence - Full TectMORE

OneShared.World is a broad and inclusive movement of stakeholders working collaboratively across diverse cultures, communities, ethnicities, organizations, entities, interests, generations, and nations to ensure a better future for humankind and the sustainability of our common home.

We seek to promote the democratic expression of our common humanity as an essential pillar of our global power structure and drive real and meaningful change in practices, structures, systems, and outcomes ensuring tangible progress toward addressing our greatest collective needs.

Recognizing, as the COVID19 pandemic has powerfully reminded us, that we are all one humanity facing common existential challenges, we:

  • Hold that only an appreciation of our deep interdependence with each other and all the species and ecosystems on our planet must underpin efforts to successfully champion a healthy, safe, and sustainable future;
  • Assert our mutual responsibility for our common well-being;
  • Affirm that concern for the welfare of humanity begins with each one of us and that the goals, processes, and desired outcomes of our effort must be aligned; and
  • Believe that even at this time of crisis the magnitude of the threats we face pales in comparison to our potential for coming together to build a better, brighter world.

Therefore, OneShared.World adopts the following declaration:

The common and essential aspirations of humanity have been reflected well in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals, which we fully support.

Although our existing states and international institutions have made a tremendous contribution to global peace, security, stability, and well-being, these entities have proven incapable of sufficiently addressing many of our greatest common needs.

These include but are not limited to:

  • A failure to build the predictive, preventive, and responsive infrastructure to protect us from global pandemics like COVID-19;
  • A failure to prevent the dangerous proliferation of nuclear, chemical, cyber, and other weapons of mass destruction;
  • A failure to address climate change, to prevent environmental degradation, and to defend the survival of all species and the sustainability of our planet;
  • A failure to protect the most vulnerable among us from hunger, malnutrition, discrimination, disease, and disorder; and
  • A failure to establish structures that embed our most cherished collective values in the management of our global commons and financial system and in the applications of our powerful technologies.

Our inability to meet these common challenges is rooted in a fundamental mismatch between the priorities of our national governments and our collective needs as humans sharing the same planet. While our existing states and international organizations remain essential, we can only address our greatest global challenges by expanding our concept of and capacity for collective action.

In this spirit, we seek to build a third pillar of the global power structure beyond sovereign states and the essential international institutions our governments have created. This third pillar is a fully inclusive global social movement and political force representing the democratic expression of our common humanity.

We understand that the force of our common aspiration as humans must augment and inspire, not replace, the critical work being done by many governments and international institutions.

We demand from the leaders of these institutions at all levels a commitment to informed decision-making that balances national interests with global public interests for mutual benefit across geographies and generations. 

We believe our movement must be built from the ground up around a network of individuals, organizations, and entities working together on the local, regional, national, and global levels.

We appreciate that although new technologies enable historically unparalleled opportunities for collaboration, people who must be part of this process are not yet connected to this global communications grid.

Recognizing diversity as our greatest strength, we declare our interdependence and mutual duties and responsibilities as individuals and members of distinct communities, organizations, entities, and nations all in this together.

We pledge ourselves to:

  1. Support the establishment of a predictive, preventive, and responsive infrastructure to protect us from shared existential threats;
  2. Ensure that the most disempowered among us may enjoy the same essential liberties as the prominent and powerful, that our human commonality is celebrated within the context of our essential diversity, and that our equally worthy lives may be lived in dignity;
  3. Work directly and through our communities, organizations, entities, and nations to safeguard our common humanity and shared home;
  4. Forge a safe and sustainable global environment for all the species and ecosystems on our planet;
  5. Guarantee the health, safety, and well-being of all children and all people and to ensure they have equitable education, health care, and security;
  6. Support and share artistic expression in all its forms to help engender connection, respect, meaning, and communication across cultures; and
  7. Uphold and promote human fellowship through mutual consideration, respect, empathy, and kindness.

In assigning our names to this declaration, we commit ourselves to acting to the best of our abilities in pursuit of these principles and call on all people and all organizations, entities, and nations to come together to collectively address our most pressing common challenges.

To this end, we citizens of our various countries and our shared world mutually pledge to each other the energy of our lives, the opportunity of our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Sources
2.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

United Nations - United Nations Document (December 10, 1948)

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Milestone document in the history of human rights drafted as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Go deeper
1.
Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

​High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development - United Nations Document (September 25, 2015)

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

The forum is the United Nations' central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.

Authors

OneShared.World is a broad and inclusive movement of stakeholders working collaboratively across diverse cultures, communities, ethnicities, organizations, entities, interests, generations, and nations to ensure a better future for humankind and the sustainability of our collective home.

We seek to establish the democratic expression of our common humanity as a pillar of global power and influence to drive tangible progress toward addressing our greatest shared challenges.



Jamie Metzl
Founder & Chair - OneShared.World
Jamie Metzl is a technology and healthcare futurist, geopolitical expert, novelist, entrepreneur, media commentator, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, Singularity University faculty member, and the Founder and Chair of OurShared.World. In 2019, he was appointed to the World Health Organization expert advisory committee on human genome editing. Jamie previously served in the U.S. National Security Council, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. He serves on the Advisory Council to Walmart’s Future of Retail Policy Lab and has been an election monitor in Afghanistan and the Philippines and advised the government of North Korea on the establishment of Special Economic Zones.

Jamie appears regularly on national and international media his syndicated columns and other writing on science, technology, health, politics, and international affairs are featured regularly in publications around the world. He is the author of a history of the Cambodian genocide, the historical novel The Depths of the Sea, and the genetics thrillers Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata. The highly revised paperback edition of his bestselling non-fiction book Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity was released in April 2020.

A founder and Co-Chair of the national security organization Partnership for a Secure America, Jamie is a board member of the International Center for Transitional Justice, the American University in Mongolia, and Parsons Dance, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former White House Fellow and Aspen Institute Crown Fellow. Jamie holds a Ph.D. from Oxford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.

The Solution

Proposed Actions
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1.
Forming OneShared.WorldMORE

If this virus has taught us one thing, it’s that we are all one humanity facing an enemy that does not meaningfully differentiate between us. It has shown us once again how deeply we are all interconnected, that however individualistic any of us may be our fates are linked to everyone else’s.

If the pandemic miraculously abates in the United States over the summer months and brunt of the pandemic shifts from North to South, America’s relief will be short lived. If the virus mutates and grown in poor countries with weak public health and governance infrastructures and vulnerable populations, it will mutate and grow, then come back to the US in the Fall and potentially harm me or people I love. My health and well-being, in this respect, aren’t just about me. My health and life reside in every other human and, for that matter, every other species and our shared ecosystem. As Benjamin Franklin (allegedly) said, "we must all hang together, or ... we shall all hang separately.”

Once we realize that we are all interdependent, that each of our security and well-being resides in everyone else and in our common ecosystem, we realize that helping others is not charity, it’s one of the best investments we can make in helping ourselves.

But it’s not enough to pay tribute to our interdependence, recite a few kumbayas, and go home (time to retire that metaphor, I guess).  Like our forebears in the war years of the last century, we’ve got to fight and win for this principle.

The stool of global power is wobbly because it has only two legs, the bigger leg of state power and the smaller leg of international institutions dominated by states. Although our states and international organizations are absolutely essential, we’ll only be able address the common greatest threats we face by expanding our capacity for collective action. We must hang together to avoid hanging separately. The best and perhaps only way to do this is by adding a new global power center to augment and inspire, not supplant our existing institutions. That power center, the third leg of the stool, is the political force of our democratically expressed common humanity.

In recognition of this critical need to come together to save ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries and our world, people from 34 countries have come together to form OneShared.World

Expected Results
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1.
Public OutreachMORE

We have collectively drafted the Declaration of Interdependence, which released on May 6 in multiple languages. On that day we called on all people of the world to sign the Pledge of Interdependence, launched emergency action agendas to strengthen global public health infrastructure and support the most vulnerable populations in the Southern Hemisphere, issued a call to artists around the world to share work celebrating our shared humanity, demanded that world leaders place our interdependence agenda at the heart of their considerations in all global leadership meetings, and declared May 6 Global Interdependence Day.

2.
PartnershipsMORE

Working with allies and partners around the world, we will launch a series of global campaigns designed to aggressively apply the principles of interdependence to a series of global existential challenges we can only face together. We will provide tool kits and trainings helping people who sign our pledge and join our campaigns to pressure leaders to make decision that wisely balance local, national, and common global priorities. As we help make clear that appreciating our interdependence is the cornerstone of our collective security, we will work with aligned organizations, political parties, and others around the world to translate these principles into platforms, norms, and institutions. We will work with governments and international institutions to help build institutions at all levels working to collectively address our greatest common challenges.

Budget

The entire movement was created and launched with no budget and the tens thousands of hours of work of hundreds of people around the world. Our budget committee has identified a preliminary budget of $25 to build necessary infrastructure after our launch. Our greatest currency is the power of our wonderfully impossible but desperately needed idea and the hope it brings.

The Conversation

5 days ago
In essence what is learned from Corona is that outdoors infection risk is very low, from touching surface is low (to medium) and finally that indoors there is a real risk that should and could be minimalized. I think therefore that it is sufficient to (besides keep breathing (through your nose, now thats hygiene!)) wear masks indoor, keep distance, and wash your hands before going in or going out any indoors place. (Also take your mask off in a hygienic way and dispose of it or at least the front part.) Now my suggestion would be not panic, make overkill or dictate more than this and see what happens... my guess would be that these actions will be more than sufficient and prevent hospitals from filing up etc.... panic overkill and dictation would lead to more stay at home orders, problems in supply and production chains, loss of jobs etc. but can also become even worse than that... with the most extreme being to dicate a vaccin and vaccin passport and more like this (this=no freedom) . This road (of fear) will lead us down a dark path and will divide humanity (in two!?) and destroy us. My hope is that one shared world sees and acknowledges that, or at the very minimum never advocate these kinds of policies. And personally I am not happy that this one shared world still has too many markings of the US (just look at this forum, even when I joined they asked for my ZIP code and if it was not in the states just enter 99999 ..... this is not a 1 global humanity signing up kind of feeling!?) and should not be like that ... and that is a fact not an opinion!!! my opinion would be that panic, overkill and (world) dictatorship are trademarks of the US itself .... so this a bad omen to begin with!! LOL
5 days ago
Amen!!
5 days ago
I agree, and like too add the following welcoming message from chiselbits after joining... all American(s)!! Yeah right.... This aint gonna fly brother!!!!
"Welcome to TheChisel community as a Charter Member!
You are joining a burgeoning movement of friends and neighbors, actively engaged in refreshing our dreams of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.Race you to the Liberty Bell!
All the best,
Ben and TheChisel team "
11 days ago
One of the existential threats facing humanity is the one posed by the existence of nuclear weapons. Although there are many ways to diminish this threat, there is only one way to reduce it to zero, and that is by eliminating all nuclear weapons and ensuring they will never be built again. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 countries in 2017, provides a pathway for this to happen. The Treaty itself was the result of a unique partnership between the UN, national governments and a global coalition of civil society organizations. I hope Oneshared.world will want to look at both the Treaty itself and the process by which it was adopted as models for going forward to address other existential threats, as well as a concrete example of what has to happen with respect to the nuclear threat.
11 days ago
We are all agreed that national governments have largely failed us. But how do we build a "political force representing the democratic expression of our common humanity" that is truly democratic? The problem with governments is not that they are not democratic. Most of them are now "democratic" in the normal sense of the word. Most social movement organizations, by contrast, are NOT democratic in the normal sense of the word. They consist of a self-selected group of people who have chosen to work together on some issue or project. How do we build a democratic force from that? It's a genuine question. I don't think anyone has managed to solve it yet.
5 days ago
Well Timmon Wallis, that is very simple aint it!!? you want (world) democracy , just make a constitution (by law) and hold elections (with as much as possible representation in the whole world) . This has happened so many times in the past and has been solved in this manner countless of times. How come you 'don't think anyone has ever managed to solve this'? are you blind? (and deaf?). this is a genuine question, I am really wondering how you could have missed the fact that we have done this many times in our past (on a national level, ohw yes and the Europeans tried it, but fear of public opinion and narrowminded national politicians have completely corrupted this process and so EU is not even democratic)....
20 days ago
What do young people care about globally? What wisdom can elders bring to this discussion? And how do the struggles of youth initiate us into a new way of being as a species?
11 days ago
Young people care, above all, about their own future, and especially about whether there will be a liveable planet for them to live on. That's why climate change is their number one priority, but also other issues of survival as a planet as well as individually (the ability to pay back student debts, find a good job, get the health care they need, etc).

Older people have decades of experience in organizing social movements and campaigns. They have learned the hard way what we are up against - the corruption of politicians by big corporations, the intransigence of the existing system and its resistance to change, but also the possibilities for change that are out there, despite all the odds.

Young people still have the openness to learn new things, the idealism and vision to know what kind of world they want, and the tenacity to fight for it.

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