I wrote this article for the newsletter about Women in Foreign Policy.
WiFP Newsletter: 22nd April 2021
This newsletter, Colombe Cahen-Salvador, Co-founder of NOW! and Forward, discusses the need for people to come together across continents to be able to solve the biggest issues of our times and to create a global political leadership...
For years, I have been working on a simple idea: for humanity to take its next leap ahead, we need to work together to solve the biggest issues of our times. In the modern world, no wall or border will protect us from crises. We have no other choice but to unite. And we need to do it fast.
In 2016, I was devastated by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Along withAndrea Venzon & Damian Boeselager, we realized that, despite being from three different countries, we witnessed the same challenges (like climate change, migration flows that were dealt with in an inhuman manner and high youth unemployment). We realized that to solve European issues, the outdated model of putting national interests always first needed to change. We decided to act. For a few months we worked on the idea of launching Volt, the first pan-European political movement and posted it on Facebook. People from all over Europe started reaching out and setting up groups to discuss our common future and their solutions to the continent's problems. We mobilized tens of thousands of people across 28 European countries. Two years in, Damian was elected to the European Parliament.
Despite this, after the European elections in May 2019, Andrea and I understood that this wasn’t the way forward. We knew that today’s urgent challenges are not just European, but global. We couldn’t even attempt to solve them by focusing on Europe, a continent that represents less than 10% of the world population.
The underlying issue is that the way we see the world and the way the world works are fundamentally wrong. Issues like COVID-19, climate change, nuclear proliferation, human rights or fiscal justice are just some of the reasons to think and unite beyond national borders. We need a global approach to deal with them: countries need to share knowledge, resources, and solutions. It’s not just the right thing to do, but also the smart one.
So, in the weeks following the european elections, Andrea and I decided to create a global movement that would unite people across the world, beyond continents, to systematically solve issues that concern us all. We called it NOW!, and used the following framework: think globally, unite across borders, and leap forward to make the world work as one!
We officially launched NOW! only a year ago but already count over 10,000 members in more than 120 countries. We have launched 5 global campaigns to promote democracy worldwide, propose drastic actions to curb the climate crisis, advocate for a higher representation of women in political power, and push for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. We recently organised stunt actions in front of Pfizer’s offices in over 13 countries, with the aim to pressure Pfizer to allow other companies to develop their COVID-19 vaccine during the emergency.
Members from all continents hit the streets to raise awareness, organise protests and stunt actions or collect signatures. Together, we created a global community that achieved early successes: from forming coalitions of politicians pushing for parity and others helping us create a League of Democracies, to securing the support of the Director-General of the WHO to ensure that health workers across the world would get priority access to COVID-19 vaccines, or organizing protests to support democracy struggles in more than 40 cities on the ground and reaching 4 million people digitally.
Outside of NOW!, I am also working on a new initiative with Andrea: Forward. It's a global political project working to elect a people-backed progressive candidate as the next leader of the United Nations!Through all of those different ideas, I’m trying to bring forward the idea that global issues have to be solved by people across the world, not just one or two countries. Unfortunately, there is no system of governance in place to run for a global election, nor for citizens to have a direct say. As a result, I’m trying to think outside the box to shake it up a bit!
Become part of the NOW! Movement here and vote for a female, progressive, people-backed candidate to become the next UN leader, here