Venue: Strasbourg, France/Brussels, Belgium
The background of this photo of humbly yours is where the battle of Waterloo took place almost 200 years ago. I am standing on top of the monument dedicated to that senseless war, where the newly formed European nation-states, many of them involved in that one summer-day battle, were killing each other at the rate of 4000 persons per hour!
Here at CUNCR’s office in Brussels, on one side, we are not too far away from Waterloo, and the reminder of how sovereign nation-states, in absence of a federation, may choose to violently manage conflicts. And on the other side of us, just a few kilometers away, are the modern, eco-friendly, institutional buildings of the European Union. The European Parliament and the EU Commission buildings are yet other working monuments, reminding us that nation-states, by yielding absolute sovereignty in exchange for shared sovereignty, have gained collective security. Yes, under the supra-state institution of the European Union, a war between France, Germany, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and their other union members, is unthinkable.
Against this backdrop, the think tank of the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research started its work in the second half of 2017, to empower and enable global citizens’ rights. This includes their cardinal right of representation in the context of international lawmaking and global governance.
As CUNCR’s very first project, we took the subject of global environmental rights and the urgent need for climate justice. The seminar proved to be an excellent opportunity for those concerned about the threat of climate change and the shortcomings of the international law to deal with it. The outcome of the seminar included the pillar that in dealing with climate justice, there first needs to be a recognition of the environmental right, not only at the national level, but as an international citizens’ right.
In the meantime, we started the ongoing efforts of staff development and web development. Our release 1 website is up and running, and the young LLM professionals Kelci Wilford and Ali Haxhijaj have joined our full-time staff, in addition to the great support and assistance we are getting from our part-time volunteers and professional collaborators from intriguing and diverse nationalities.
As part of our infrastructure development, we are happy to announce that we have been awarded, by a renowned Silicon Valley software company, a free multi-user license for a contact relationship management (CRM) system. We will implement the software in early 2018 and it should greatly enhance our ability to at least technologically handle and manage thousands of relationships, whether as supporters or partners.
During this period, we have started planning our seminar/research activities for 2018 and as part of the process we have been identifying academic or organizational partners. And we have already started our collaboration with, Workable World Trust, Democracy Without Borders, the Land Beyond, and the European Neighborhood Council.
In September, we formally entered the “Global Challenges Foundation” competition. As GCF is striving to come up with solutions to global problems, our submission was probably unique in offering not a solution, but a process: that of Charter review, as was the San Francisco Promise at the time of the UN founding. The founders of the UN have already envisioned a mechanism, needing only to be triggered, for the transformation of the UN to tackle global governance challenges.
Last but not least, in the past few months, we have been developing a CUNCR Fellowship program, which is in the process of finalization and offers the opportunity for doctorate academic researchers and civil servant practitioners to come to Brussels. While learning more about supra-national and federal institutions in general, and the EU specifically, fellows would also in turn make contributions to our research and educational work of UN transformation and constitutionalization. I would like to express my and the people of CUNCR’s greatest appreciation to Professor Joseph Schwartzberg and Workable World Trust, and Dr. John Sutter, for their generous contributions to make this possible. With their seminal contribution, we are designing this program with participation from all continents in mind, and as a high-impact fellowship, with focus on quality research with high potentials of policy applications.
Please read on in this report on our half-year activities and future ones.
In short, as an independent startup think tank, we have achieved a lot in just a few months of operation. I think in 2018, and especially in 2019, we will start getting the recognition from civil society and governments alike for the potential contribution CUNCR can make in the paradigm transition to a democratic global governance. With our founding members’ vision, and the help of our individual and organizational supporters, let the research for global constitutionalization begin!
Venue: Strasbourg, France/Brussels, Belgium