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Survey: majorities in G20+ countries support global democracy proposals

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

The “Global Report on Attitudes to Political and Economic Transformation 2024”, published in June 2024, offers a detailed analysis of public opinion across 22 countries, including 18 G20 nations. Commissioned by Earth4All and the Global Commons Alliance in partnership with a number of groups, the report aims to understand global attitudes towards societal transformations, political and economic systems, and planetary stewardship. 

Among the most relevant findings of the report for Democracy Without Borders is the widespread public support for greater citizen involvement in international governance.

A considerable majority of respondents across the G20 nations covered in the poll support establishing mechanisms and bodies in this field, which underscores a global desire for democratic engagement beyond national borders. Specifically, 62% favor global surveys of citizens’ attitudes, 57% support global citizens’ assemblies, 55% back global referenda on key issues, and 54% support a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).

Support for a Global Citizens’ Assembly and a UN Parliamentary Assembly

These figures highlight a robust demand for citizen participation in global governance and strongly validate and bolster global advocacy of a UNPA through the “We The Peoples” campaign as well as the efforts for a permanent Global Citizens’ Assembly. Another instrument the campaign pursues, a global citizens’ initiative, was not covered in the survey. The figures confirm previous polls that found widespread popular support for a world parliament.

A majority of people support establishing ways enabling citizens to be more involved in international affairs. Source: Earth for All Survey 2024, p.34.

Democracy remains a highly favored political system among respondents, with 81% endorsing it as the best form of governance in this survey. In another recent poll covering 53 countries the figure stood at 85%. This preference underscores a global aspiration for democratic principles, even as many express dissatisfaction with their current political realities. The survey shows that people desire more transparency, accountability, and participation in their political systems. This strong endorsement of democracy highlights the need for political leaders to reaffirm their commitment to democratic values and practices.

Support of democracy remains high but trust in governments low

However, trust in government remains low, with only 39% of respondents believing their governments act in the best interests of the majority. This lack of trust is a critical barrier to effective governance and highlights the need for political reforms that enhance transparency, accountability, and public engagement.

Those surveyed have low levels of trust in their country’s government. Source: Earth for All Survey 2024, p.16.

There is broad support for the concept of wellbeing economies. An impressive 68% of G20 respondents agree that economic systems should prioritize the health and wellbeing of people and nature over profit and wealth accumulation. This indicates a significant shift in public opinion towards more sustainable and equitable economic models. Additionally, 67% of respondents believe that economic inequality is excessive, and 62% feel that the global economic system is unfair to poorer countries. These statistics reveal a growing dissatisfaction with current economic disparities and a call for more inclusive economic policies.

Significant support for reforming national and global political and economic systems

The report also reveals significant support for reforming both national and global political and economic systems. Sixty-five percent of respondents think their national political systems need major changes or complete reform, reflecting a widespread desire for political renewal. Similarly, 67% believe their economic systems require substantial reform. At the global level, 60% support changes to the political system, and 64% advocate for reforms in the economic system. These findings underscore the public’s recognition of interconnected global challenges and the need for coordinated international efforts to address them.

Support for progressive taxation is also notable, with 71% backing higher taxes on polluters and wealthy individuals to fund significant economic and lifestyle changes. This support is consistent across demographic groups, particularly among those most exposed to climate risks and those engaged in politics. Progressive taxation is seen as a crucial tool for addressing economic inequality and funding public goods and services.

Moreover, the report indicates a strong desire for policies that ensure free or affordable healthcare, strengthen workers’ rights, and invest in renewable energy. There is also significant backing for policies supporting work-life balance, citizens’ assemblies for political decision-making, and laws limiting corporate influence in politics. These policy preferences reflect a comprehensive vision of a more equitable, sustainable, and participatory society.

Overall, the report highlights a clear global demand for democratic reforms and equitable economic policies. The findings emphasize the importance of addressing economic inequality, enhancing trust in government, and pursuing comprehensive political and economic reforms to meet the aspirations of people worldwide. This report should serve as a guiding framework for policymakers and stakeholders committed to fostering democracy and sustainable economic transformation globally.