Declaration of the 2022 Global People’s Assembly
Global Justice to Achieve SDGs:
Sustainable Equality for All
Seven years after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals — nearly halfway to the Agenda 2030 Deadline — the visionary promise of social justice and a fair, rights-based, equitable and ecologically-just world for all appears more remote than ever, despite the hard work and best efforts of civil society and dedicated activists across the globe.
The political, financial, economic and social architecture — as well as the individuals who lead these systems — is failing us. Rising food and energy prices, loss of livelihoods, climate change, environmental degradation, war and critical gaps in healthcare — including inequities in the fight against COVID-19 — are pushing excluded people to the margins and making our planet uninhabitable.
Austerity, the lack of universal social protection, descent-based discrimination and slavery, violence and the deterioration of civic space exacerbate inequalities and exclusion. All the while, elite private interests profit. Youth and old fear for the world we now inhabit and bequeath to future generations, while the rich and powerful use their resources to maintain their privilege. At the current pace, unless there is radical change, the world will not meet its 2030 SDG commitments until 2065 and it will take nearly 300 years to achieve gender equality.
We the People are 1,300 civil society participants from 127 countries representing diverse, excluded and marginalized people, testifying to the current state of injustice as global leaders gather for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. We have solutions to the current unjust, unequal and extractivist systems and our voices must be heard. This declaration of the 2022 Global People’s Assembly has been developed with the input of more than 30 national and regional people’s assemblies.
Our Vision for Transformation
Sustainable Equality for All is grounded in the principles and practice of universal human rights, democracy, and good governance. Development strategies and policies must respect these principles.
We envision a world defined by inclusion, accountability, transparency and respect for the principle of intergenerational equity to protect the interests of future generations. No one is excluded, marginalized or discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, diversity, ethnicity, gender identity, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation, work and descent, or economic and migratory status. We call for global democracy and robust civic space.
Our world is one in which meaningful participation and collaboration exists between governments, parliaments, international institutions and civil society; where political and economic power is actively shared between the Global North and Global South; and in which countries end militarism, while meeting and exceeding their international obligations, including the Paris Climate Accords and Sustainable Development Goals.
The time to act is now. Hear our voices and take action with us today for Sustainable Equality for All.
We call on the governments of UN member states to:
1. Public Health and People’s Vaccine
- Establish a global roadmap for vaccine equality, which goes beyond the June 2022 action of the WTO Ministerial Conference and includes a complete TRIPS waiver covering diagnostic tests, treatments and COVID-19 vaccines plus the adoption of the pandemic treaty proposed by the WHO. Ensure free and universal access to all vaccines and treatments, prioritizing the most marginalized countries, people and communities to ensure that No One is Left Behind.
- Reverse cuts and strengthen public investments in the right of all to full access to universal public health, based on the principles of the social and economic determinants of health, guarantee sexual and reproductive rights of all women and deliver accessible, affordable and adequate prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support for all with respect to communicable and non-communicable diseases particularly in low- and middle- income countries.
2. Social Protection
- Invest and recommit to achieve SDG 1.3 and act now to ensure progressive realization of the guarantees of the right to Universal Social Protection for all by 2030.
- Establish without delay a solidarity-based Global Fund for Social Protection to support countries with the design, financing, implementation, rollout and monitoring of social protection floors.
3. Civic Space and Human Rights
- Honour, uphold and respect human rights, civic space and protections for civil society activists and environmental defenders. Recognise that human rights are universal, indivisible and essential to sustainable development. Provide open invitations to UN rights experts. Reaffirm the principles of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
- Guarantee the fundamental freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression – both online and in person – in all countries. Release unjustly imprisoned human rights defenders and environmental activists. Uphold the rights and freedoms of all to participate fully in economic and civic life, including women, children, older persons, youth, persons including women with disabilities, indigenous people, people living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTIQA+, communities discriminated on work and descent (CDWD), sex workers, migrants and refugees.
4. Gender Equality
- Take a human rights-based and gender transformative approach to the implementation of all aspects of the 2030 Agenda and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related crises. Place equality, the elimination of inequalities and the unjust distribution of power at the centre of all policies and actions. Actively ensure the participation of women, girls and LGBTQIA+ people in the creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes at all levels.
- Recognise, fund and support feminist, women, older people and youth organizations and movements, with priority given to those formed and led by people historically marginalized, on the basis of gender identity and expression, class, caste, age, sexual orientation, indigeneity, race, ethnicity, disability, work and descent or religion. Provide multi-year, flexible, core operating support and adopt funding practices that encourage collaboration rather than competition between organizations and movements.
- Acknowledge the value of the care economy, fairly compensate care providers and redistribute the care burden placed on women and girls.
5. Climate and Environmental Justice
- Meet and exceed the Paris Climate Accords. All countries must take immediate steps to reduce their emissions commensurate with the Paris Agreement Goal of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees and in proportion to their historical and current emissions. Phase out all fossil fuel subsidies by 2024 and rapidly increase support for renewable energy.
- At COP27, rich countries must meet their commitments to provide at least US$100 billion annually for climate financing, while also acknowledging their historical responsibility as the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions and committing to ambitious post 2024 funding targets. These resources must be provided as grants, not debt-inducing loans. The financial targets must include a focus on locally-led adaptation so that a higher proportion of climate finance reaches local communities.
- Rich countries should recognise and provide full compensation for loss and damages caused by the impacts of climate change that are being experienced by the communities and nations at the frontline of the climate crisis. We call on the UN to immediately establish the delivery of a specific, just, inclusive and equitable ‘loss and damage finance facility’.
- Fully implement environmental rights and call on the UN to develop the means to implement the Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment at the national, regional and global levels. We further support governmental and non-governmental efforts to codify the crime of “ecocide” as part of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We call on governments to work together with indigenous groups and to learn from their care of the planet. Their perspectives are needed to overcome capitalist systems and to nurture better dynamics of local production and consumption.
6. Debt Justice
- Unconditional cancellation of public external debt payments by all lenders – bilateral, multilateral and private lenders – for all countries in need in the face of the health, economic and climate crisis, for at least the next four years, as an immediate step, followed by a clear programme for the unconditional cancellation of unsustainable and illegitimate outstanding debt.
- A fair, transparent, binding and multilateral framework for debt crisis prevention and resolution, under the auspices of the UN, to address unsustainable and illegitimate debt.
7. Economic Justice
- Convene a fourth Financing for Development Conference – FfD4 to bring democratic accountability to global finance. These systemic issues cannot be addressed at national or regional levels alone and require an ambitious multilateral response under the auspices and leadership of the United Nations. A UN Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reform Summit is needed to discuss and implement transformative pathways to a new global economy.
- Establish a universal, intergovernmental tax body at the United Nations and negotiate a UN tax convention to comprehensively address tax havens, tax abuse by multinational corporations and other illicit financial flows to ensure a fair global tax system.
- Implement progressive rights-based tax systems on income, wealth and trade. Levy extraprofit taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals profiting massively from the crisis. Scrap tax incentives that benefit elites. Implement multi-jurisdictional Financial Transaction Taxes on currency trading, stocks, bonds and derivatives.
- Uphold and renew commitments to 0.7% of GDP for development cooperation and provide adequate predictable and sustainable funding to support the operation of CSOs around the world.
8. Pathways to Peace
- Member States to cooperate with the UN to bring the 32 ongoing wars to an end – including an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine – and free communities from fear, insecurity and violence.
- Reduce military expenditure by at least three percent annually (25% by 2030) and redirect military spending towards peacebuilding and the realisation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
- Increase efforts to address and identify appropriate responses to climate-related security risks.
9. UN Reform
- Make global institutions more democratic, representative and inclusive by limiting the use of the veto in the UN Security Council and ensuring civil society’s right to meaningful participation, based on the best practices of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and the International Labour Organization, which provide effective, transparent and formal mechanisms for inclusion.
- Support the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly and a UN World Citizens’ Initiative to provide meaningful access for people, elected representatives and civil society. Pursue these recommendations within the context of the 2024 UN Summit of the Future and its preparatory process.
- Ensure that the influence of the corporate sector, especially multinational corporations do not take over and silence the voices of the People and civil society as their representatives.
 Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), “Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2022”
 UN WOMEN, “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2022”