The UN’s new independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Livingstone
Sewanyana, has said a new world order is possible.
“I believe a new world order based on universal respect for human rights, social justice, rule of law and equitable
development is possible,” said Mr. Sewanyana setting out his vision in his first report
to the Human Rights Council.
“The mandate that has been entrusted to me requires a holistic approach, ensuring that all rights are promoted and
protected in an environment that gives due recognition to participation, inclusion and transparency.
“I will aim firstly to examine the various forms and practice of democracy. There is a growing need to investigate the
existing governance practices across the world and identify obstacles to the growth of democracy and equitable
development. I would also like to engage States and others in efforts to address obstacles to free, fair and inclusive
elections and, where appropriate, to identify best practice.”
The expert said he would also examine how the right to participate in public affairs could be better realised, paying
due attention to the issues of gender equality and civil society, and how to make such institutions more responsive and
Turning to the issue of corruption, the expert stressed that he would like to engage States and others in efforts to
promote good practices that demonstrate effective private-public partnership, the enforcement of labour rights and
environmental protection, as well as the commitment of businesses to non-discrimination and other steps that respect
Countries that adhere to the principle of “open government” pledge to protect civil society organizations in efforts to
demonstrate greater transparency, more accountability and more responsiveness to their own citizens. Mr. Sewanyana said
it was important to gather information on citizen monitoring and the space given to civil society to participate and
contribute to the work of national and international anti-corruption bodies.
The expert is also keen to explore the role of new global governance forums which have emerged separately from the
United Nations and where international priorities are also set. He said he would like to study their constitutions and
practices, applying the principles of transparency, participation and accountability in order to develop recommendations
aimed at strengthening their contributions to democratic governance and human rights.
The fifth area on which Mr. Sewanyana intends to focus relates to global economic challenges. International responses,
from austerity measures to classical approaches to international investment, have so far proven insufficient to address
the causes and consequences of such challenges. The expert wants to find ways in which the international community could
better respond in a way that promotes a world order that is more democratic and equitable.
Mr. Sewanyana said he would also aim to investigate the connection between youth, fragility, violence and opportunity.
“Young people face unique challenges and are especially vulnerable in uncertain environments. Limited access to
resources, education, training, employment and a lack of economic opportunities constrain their prospects, and in some
cases may push them to resort to violence,” he added.
“I look forward to working constructively with a broad cross-section of society, including governments,
intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations and those in the private sector, to create a better
understanding of the need to promote a democratic and equitable international order. In addition, I look forward to
consulting with a broad range of civil society organizations to further increase knowledge of, and engagement with, the
mandate,” the expert concluded.