The United Nations is conducting a huge global research project: the MY World survey. Instead of tapping experts to set development goals, it goes right to source, asking people around the world what would make the most difference in their lives.
Watch the video from Huffington Post live, featuring Corinne Woods, UN Millennium Campaign Director, and Amina J. Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning.
In his closing remarks to the General Assembly during the Thematic Debate on “Ensuring stable and peaceful societies,” Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson highlighted the essential link between the rule of law and an inclusive political processes as the binding elements in peace, development and human rights.
To futher support this issue, the Deputy Secretary-General noted the high priority of “An honest and responsive government” in the MY World Survey:
A world survey, organized by the United Nations in support of the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, shows that “honest and responsive government” – and I quote, “honest and responsive government” – is a very high priority for all population groups in all regions.
Inclusive political processes help to ensure the accountability of the State. Being included in political processes empowers people to address inequality, exclusion and other causes of conflict. That is why it is essential that we promote broad-based participation in all levels of the political process, particularly in post-conflict societies.
“An honest and responsive government” has risen to the third priority globally among the 1,855, 839 MY World voters from its previous position as the fourth priority. This was thanks in part to the 1.1 million voices of people aged 16-30. Among this age group, 561,575 people voted for “An honest and responsive goverment.”
This priority is second for voters 31-45, and third for all other age groups with the exception of those 15 and under, who rank it sixth.
Regionally, this priority is second for those in Europe, third for those in the Americas and Asia, and fourth in Africa. It ranks lowest in Oceania behind environmental issues such as “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans,” “Access to clean water and sanitation” and “Affordable and nutritious food.”
The General Assembly Thematic Debate on Ensuring Stable and Peaceful Societies took place 24-25 of April at the United Nations in New York. In his opening remarks, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted that the UN is built upon three pillars: “peace, development and human rights.” He followed by highlighting that the post-2015 development agenda must consider how to promote stable and peaceful societies, as these three pillars are inherently linked.
To highlight this importance further, the Secretary General referenced the MY World Survey as the voice of people around the world asking for this issue to be addressed:
The UN My World survey on the post-2015 development agenda showed that protection against crime and violence ranks high among all population groups in all regions. Let us therefore work together to develop a post-2015 development agenda that will address the underlying causes of violence and conflict wherever they occur. Let us use sustainable development and human rights to provide the foundations for lasting peace. And let us build effective and trustworthy institutions, promote the rule of law and pay closer, earlier attention to human rights abuses.
“Protection against crime and violence” ranks sixth in the MY World Survey amongst the 1,855,839 voters globally thus far. These results are the same irrespective of age, gender, or education level, as it is either the sixth or seventh priority for all groups.
Voters in the Americas placed slightly higher priority on this issue, ranking it fourth. Those in Europe ranked it fifth, and those in Africa, Asia and Oceania it seventh.
What priorities do Bahranians choose for a better world?
For the past month, UN Bahrain has rolled out a campaign to bring the people of Bahrain’s voices to the United Nations using the MY World Survey. These efforts range from unique visits to collect votes at schools, at the APM Terminals (container terminal port management), and at the 16th International Book Fair at the Bahrain Exhibition Centre. It also includes a strong presence on social media and media outlets (see articles below). In culmination, UN Bahrain and its partner Gulf Air have launched a MY World video highlighting the top priorities emerging from the survey, which will be screened aboard all flights starting 1 May .
These efforts have certainly paid off. In just one month’s time, votes from Bahrain have increased 28%, currently numbering 4,092 votes. Yet the UN wants more: “the My World Survey presents an important and unique opportunity for Bahrain, as a small island state, to be heard on a global platform with its particular needs and challenges,” said UN Resident Coordinator Peter Grohmann.
So, what are the priorities of people from Bahrain? Here are a few facts from the voting results thus far:
The top six priorities are: “A good education,” “Better healthcare,” “Better job opportunities, “An honest and responsive government,” “Protection from crime and violence,” and “Freedom from discrimination and persecution.”
57% of voters are aged 30 and younger.
42% of voters are female.
Women place a higher priority on “Protection against crime and violence,” and “Access to clean water and sanitation,” and “Equality between men and women.” Men place a higher priority on “Political freedoms” and “Better transport and roads.”
The older the voter, the higher the priority on “An honest and responsive government” and “Freedom from discrimination and persecution.”
Voters aged 15 and under placed the highest priority on “Access to clean water and sanitation,” “Affordable and Nutritious food,” and “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans” – yet they voted the least for “Action taken on climate change” out of any age group.
To see more MY World and The World We Want Results
Everyone knows what is happening to the planet, but we don’t want to believe it. We’re too caught up in our own consumption, and it’s too painful to make changes. We will have to learn how to share, and to fix the way we live and consume.
As we approach Earth Day and we continue our never-ending consumption, I feel disheartened, but I refuse to fall into pessimism. This month, there has been much talk about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. The discussion about whether we must adapt or mitigate resurfaces, but none of this really matters. It is simply a report that no one will actually read – like many of those major conferences that cost millions of dollars and which lead to nothing. The truth is that over the last 20 years, very little has happened in this area.
Everyone knows what is happening to the planet, but we don’t want to believe what we know, and we continue exactly as we were. We’re too caught up in our own consumption. Our civilization has been built on the basis of consumption and it becomes too inconvenient and painful to make changes.
I have come to believe, even though I myself am a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, that the answer is not in politicians, in the economy, nor in the laws; It is something spiritual. It may sound naive, but ultimately it’s how we are going to change, how we are going to learn to live together if we are to save this world. We will have to learn how to share, how to treat each other with more respect, how to fix the way we live. You may not be able to stop your own consumption, but we can change the way we do it. And if we think in this “new way,” perhaps we can begin to make changes that will make a difference.
For my new film, Human, I’m talking directly to the people about their poverty, their lives, the discrimination they face. Listening to their stories is a very powerful experience. To hear them face to face, rather than through an intermediary, is very impressive.
I talked to a man in Afghanistan who had lost both legs from a mine explosion. “Do you think that the man who invented this mine, which built it, thought of me, of my family, of what we had?” he told me. He was talking about the responsibility of our actions. We all need to be aware that we are responsible for the damage we are inflicting. We are responsible for the legacy we are leaving to our children.
We have lost confidence in our leaders; There is no disease, discomfort and a lack of confidence in what we are capable of achieving. But we need to connect with our politicians the same way the Afghan man connected with me, with a direct message that gives them the strength and the legitimacy they need to act.
There are ways to do this. One of them is the initiative launched by the United Nations with the MY World Survey, which asks ordinary people around the world what they need in order to have a better life at this crucial moment when a new agenda is being formulated to fight against extreme poverty.
Like my own 7 billion others project, the MY World survey is asking ordinary people what their priorities and needs are for a better life. Their answers should be central in the formulation of a new set of goals which will replace the current Millennium Development Goals. For once, it is not just leaders guiding policy, but now the citizens have a voice.
This new development agenda is our opportunity to combine the fight against climate change and poverty; education and clean technologies; clean water and sanitation, in a comprehensive campaign that allows you to save both the planet and people. Both cannot be separated. We cannot work on one rather than the other. Earth Day is no longer just about saving the planet, but also the people.
I’ve always believed that whatever we fall in love with as children never really leaves us, but that it merely gets buried by distractions and obstacles we create when we become adults. That being said, growing up doesn’t need to be quite so tragic. When we’re remarkably clear about our convictions, the people who enter our lives and the circumstances we face move in the direction of our dreams with us. This isn’t a New Age ideal. This is what happens when someone has unwavering vision.
When Saige Martin was 12 years old, he told people he wanted to end poverty when he grew up. Filled with vision and determination, he mapped out his world travels and wrote down the kinds of campaigns he’d build and execute. 11 years later, Saige’s professional and personal dreams are unfolding in front of the world. On April 1, he and fellow United Nations Millennium Campaign Chief Storyteller and Campaign Consultant, William Moore, set out on the first leg of the MY World Global Tour, initiated for the purpose of collecting and amplifying insights from everyday citizens on the ground about the changes they think need to take place to transform their communities for the better. Traveling to 12-15 different countries from now until the end of August, Saige and William will be capturing data and personal stories of the people they meet in villages, classrooms, hospitals, and refugee camps, and sharing these human faces with the United Nations and its leaders.
While the MY World Tour is brand new, the MY World initiative itself has been in effect for more than a year. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched MY World in 2013 as a global survey to inform the decision-making process on the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda. To date, more than 1.5 million citizen insights from 194 countries have been gathered. As part of the new goal to reach 10 million MY World participants, Saige and William are setting out to garner 1 million additional votes, while supporting the UN’s nonprofit partners in cultivating engagement around the post-2015 anti-poverty debate.
So how are they going to do this?
“A major component of the Global Tour is the recruitment of young people as MY World voters and Youth Advocates,” shared William. “Of the 1.6 million votes we’ve collected thus far, 67 percent of those votes have come from people under the age of 30 years old. On each tour stop we will partner with public and private universities, high schools and primary schools in order to expand our MY Campus program, which engages and empowers young people to be change agents in their communities.”
Currently in their first country of the tour, Mexico, William and Saige are already seeing the collective power of the youth.
While working with the UN partner AXIOS, the duo visited two schools, where the students pledged 20,000 votes in the MY World survey. Mexico’s votes now stand at approximately 36,000. They received such a positive response in the region that a contest arose between the schools in the two neighboring towns of San Miguel el Alto and San Juan de los Lagos.
“Long story short, the two schools are now in fierce competition on behalf of MY World,” said Saige. “Motivated by the prospect of becoming MY World Youth Ambassadors, the student leaders are working on bringing in a certain number of votes. Having heard that the San Miguel students had pledged 10,000 votes as their minimum to become Youth Ambassadors, the San Juan student council announced that they could easily bring in 15,000 from their town. We set the bar at 10k for each school and have left AXIOS to coordinate the competition.”
Saige said the San Miguel school is planning to hold a press conference with the mayor in order to get out the vote.
“For both groups it seemed to be an issue of making sure their town’s voice is brought to the table for post-2015, as well as defending communal pride. The deadline to reach 10,000 votes is August 15th.”
On the data front of MY World, information on the priorities of key demographics is viewable at data.myworld2015.org, where visitors can explore voting results by age, gender, income, education, country and region. The MY World staff recently sent out the first wave of “country reports” to the Permanent Missions of over 60 member-states. These reports provide leaders with a bespoke snapshot and in-depth analysis of MY World results in their country.
As for the MY World Tour storytelling component, William and Saige are going grassroots style.
“Our motto going into this trip has become “Have camera, will travel!” shared William. “We have two DSLR cameras, two flip cams, and three MY World tablets that will serve as virtual voting booths whilst we collect votes and conduct citizen interviews on street corners and in other public spaces. Tour followers can anticipate a short video and a series of photo-narratives from each and every country stop on our tour. This content will ultimately be adapted into a public exhibition at the UN when we return to New York City in September.”
Congratulations to William, Saige, and the entire United Nations Millennium Campaign team on embarking on what is sure to be a humanizing and eye-opening journey for the UN and citizens across the globe.
The Toolbox will be sharing updates on the MY World Global Tour on a regular basis. If you’d like to follow the tour via social media, check out the team’s Facebook page, and the MY World blog.
The “Mark A Difference” volunteers in Jordan reiterated their commitment to the Post-2015 cause and to the dissemination of the MY World survey in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. As a member of UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel (HLP), formed to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, Queen Rania met with these very active and enthusiastic youth to discuss the roll out and the outcomes of the “Mark A Difference” campaign in Jordan.
Since the launch of the campaign by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in May 2013, the volunteers have been a valuable asset in spreading the survey across the Kingdom. Aged between 13 and 25 years old, this young crew comes from the different governorates of Jordan and is determined to give a voice to people in their local communities, and the opportunity to tell global leaders what is the future they want.
During the meeting, HM Queen Rania asserted the important role young Jordanians played in promoting the survey across the Kingdom, thus contributing in identifying priorities and challenges that will help shape the post-2015 agenda. The Queen noted that the volunteers’ participation in promoting the survey is a valuable experience, allowing them to get to know, firsthand, the priorities of their country and find ways that can help overcome the challenges of the development agenda.
Volunteers shared with the Queen their experiences from working in the field, noting that the people they encountered showed great interest in participating in the survey and were delighted to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on national development priorities. “It is really fulfilling to see children in schools reading the survey carefully and discussing what they want to vote for” – said Doha, a volunteer from Amman.
Preliminary results from the MY World survey show that the first priorities for Jordan are better job opportunities and better education, followed by better healthcare and honest and responsive government. In this regard, Ali –a volunteer from Irbid- stressed that the first two priorities are closely linked: “If students do not get a proper education, an education that gives them the necessary knowledge and skills to work, then no company will be interested in hiring them”.
Her Majesty added that it is crucial to publish the results of the survey so far so that decision makers and stakeholders can benefit from them. The words of HM Queen Rania strongly motivated the volunteers who are ready to expand their network and continue their efforts in disseminating the survey and the results across the country.
Young representatives also attended the meeting from various local organizations, including Irbid Youth Volunteers, Family Kitchen and X Feer.
People around the world call for better education, healthcare, honest and responsive government and jobs.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented today a new report “A Million Voices: The World We Want”. The report summarizes the findings from public consultations and surveys, that engaged more than 1.3 million people in all 193 UN Member States since August 2012 in an effort to identify priorities for the post-2015 development agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“For the last year, the UN has been encouraging an unprecedented ‘global conversation’ on the world that people want,” said Ban Ki-moon. “The report that we launch today captures the voices of over one million people from all regions and backgrounds. We sought the voices of those that are usually unheard – particularly those people that are poor, excluded or marginalized.”
Almost one million people participated on this consultations through the MY World options survey, using digital channels, SMS and extensive offline interactions through a network of over 700 civil society partners.
Most MY World votes came from India, Nigeria, Cameroon, Thailand, Philippines, Rwanda, USA, UK, Brazil and Indonesia. Half of all participants were under 30 years old.
“I am thrilled that by making a simple phone call people can take a virtual seat at the UN to participate in a global conversation on the roadmap for the future” – Ms Priyanka Chopra
Mumbai, 27 May 2013 – The United Nations has invited citizens from around the world to vote on the issues that make the most difference to their lives. Over 560,000 citizens from 194 countries have already voted in one of the largest global surveys ever undertaken, providing real-time and real-world intelligence on what people think are biggest challenges.
Location: United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber
What is being discussed? On May 31st (12:01am EST) the report of the High Level Panel (HLP) on the post-2015 development agenda will be available to stakeholders, following the submission of the same to the UN Secretary General the previous day. A number of UN agencies and stakeholder groups have come together to organize a discussion of the report taking advantage of the Panel’s presence in New York at this time. This event will take place at a critical time in the post-2015 process as the HLP report serves as the opening chapter of a fairly lengthy book, which is the post-2015 process. Continue reading “Discussion of the High Level Panel’s Report on the Post 2015 Agenda”