Foreword

“Enlightened Universe”, a monumental art installation by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón was unveiled on 24 October 2015 in Central Park in New York City in celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The commemorative work of art depicts seventy life-size figures joined in hand around a globe, creating a human chain of global citizenship, respect for nature and shared responsibility. The sphere measures 6,371 millimetres in diameter to correspond to the Earth’s average radius of 6,371 kilometres and the figures represent the seventy years of the United Nations.       ©UN Photo/CIA PAK

The notion of global citizenship has been discussed as offering a possible path to a place where people are concerned not only with problems and challenges in their immediate surroundings, but also with those that transcend geography and political borders. A global citizen accepts the notion that global solutions are good solutions for all nations, and accepts the rights and responsibilities derived from being a global citizen. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, the concept has been revived as necessary for humanity’s efforts to ensure peace and prosperity for all while protecting the planet.

We live in a world that is more interdependent and interconnected than at any time in humanity’s history. Still, international relations and people’s lives are defined by laws and norms based on sovereign States and bilateral and multilateral relations between them.

The creation of the United Nations in 1945 established a new platform for cooperation and collaboration which aimed to achieve a more peaceful and prosperous world for everyone. While much success has been achieved by the United Nations system in sustainable development, peace and security, human rights and humanitarian support, new challenges have arisen that are beyond the capacity of any one individual State or organization to resolve on its own. Climate change, organized crime, rising inequalities, unresolved conflicts, mass displacement of people, global terrorism, infectious diseases and similar threats do not recognize, nor are confined by, borders. They necessitate a new paradigm of cooperation and collaboration between States and among the peoples of the world.

In this issue of the UN Chronicle, we have invited a number of distinguished contributors to share with us their perspectives on the nature of global citizenship and explore how this concept can be translated into solutions to global challenges and concerns.

We would also like to know, what does global citizenship mean to you?

Tweet your answer to us @_UNChronicle, and it could be one of the select responses that we will share on social media.