At this critical juncture in human history, only a united global public can pressure governments to reorder their distorted priorities, cooperate more effectively, and share the resources of the world more equitably. As outlined in the sections below, a crucial first step is for UN Member States to implement an international program of emergency assistance to end life-threatening deprivation, followed by a longer-term transformation of the global economy in order to secure an adequate standard of living for all within ecological limits.
Addressing the interlocking crises facing humanity will require a transformation in economic relationships to embrace our collective values and global interdependence. It is imperative that world public opinion embraces the understanding that we are in the midst of a civilizational crisis, and there is little time left for governments to implement a ‘programme for survival’.
It is high time that governments considered life-threatening poverty to be a humanitarian emergency and treated this preventable crisis accordingly. If we are serious about putting the principle of sharing at the heart of our response to global crises, the first step in this process of world reconstruction must be an international program of emergency relief to end life-threatening conditions of poverty.
An emergency relief program can only form an initial stage in a broader agenda to overhaul the global economy. Particular attention must also be placed on guaranteeing access to social protection and essential public services for all; establishing a just and sustainable global food system; and instituting an international framework for sharing natural resources equitably and within planetary limits.
The practice of sharing has a pivotal role to play in a new paradigm for food and agriculture, but it has to be a true form of economic sharing that addresses the power structures and politics underlying an unjust global economy. It is imperative that governments finally accept their responsibility for ensuring adequate diets for all the world's people, and enact policies to democratise and localise food systems.
As a priority for longer-term global reform efforts, governments need to ensure that economic systems are primarily geared towards meeting the basic needs of all citizens. An emergency relief programme and existing forms of overseas aid must give way to the creation of nationwide systems of social protection and public service provision, in line with longstanding international human rights commitments.
Guaranteeing everyone access to essential goods and services will not be enough to create a just and sustainable world. Governments also need to rethink the management of an economic system built upon endless consumption and competition over scarce resources, which will be impossible to achieve without new governance regimes for sharing the ‘global commons’.
As humanity moves ever closer to social, economic and environmental tipping points, it is clear that we can no longer rely on politicians to lead the way towards a better world. It is imperative that millions more people recognise what is at stake and take the lead as proponents for change - the wellbeing of planet earth and future generations largely depends on this shift in global consciousness.