United Nations opens up channels for direct participation of people in international decisions

05 May 2014

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New York
– The United Nations will devote the first week of May to getting out the vote for its MY World opinion poll, organizing a multitude of activities in more than 50 countries to raise awareness of and boost global participation in its efforts to foster a conversation with the world's citizens that will better inform future international policy-making.

The United Nations, the force behind MY World, will bring together over 700 international partners during the MY World Week of Action with one goal in mind – to get as many people as possible to raise their voice and express their views on what matters most in shaping a better world for them and their families.

Since late 2012, nearly 1.7million people from 194 nations have voted in the MY World poll through paper ballots, via SMS/mobile phones or online. The survey asks participants to rank their top 6 issues of 16 provided. The information, to be collected until 2015, will then be used to guide the UN policymakers in the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda.

The MY World Week of Action is slated to run from May 5 through May 11, with Global Vote Day on May 8, during which organizers will use crowdsourcing in hopes of drumming up an additional 500,000 votes to bring the total to 2 million. The week will also coincide with the World Youth Congress in Sri Lanka, where a MY World voting booth will be available for attendees to have their say.

“Over the past several months, we've made great strides in getting the world's citizens to share their opinions on the issues that matter most to them. Our efforts, however, are far from complete,” said Corinne Woods, director of the UN Millennium Campaign. “We need at least 10 million people to participate in MY World before we can call it a success that is truly representative of the world at large.”

With nearly 1.7 million respondents surveyed, preliminary My World results suggest the following trends:

  1. Good education followed by better healthcare and better job opportunities rank as the top-3 most important issues, among voters overall. That trend essentially bears out among those from low- and medium-income developing countries and for respondents with less than a secondary education. 
But for those from wealthier developed countries and with higher levels of education, an honest and responsive government rises in prominence, displacing better job opportunities in the top 3. 
In fact, among those from very high-income developed countries, better education was the only issue in common with low- and medium-income developing countries. Healthcare and job opportunities fell to 6th and 11th, with access to clean water and sanitation ranking 3rd.
  2. A generation gap of sorts appears to be forming among overall respondents with those under 30 years old worried more about job opportunities than their over-30 counterparts, who seemed more concerned about living under honest and responsive governments.

  3. As for a gender gap, men and women tended to share the same top-7 concerns. Women, however, have voted less by mobile phone/SMS as men due to various barriers to access. Thus far, roughly 97,000 have voted through such means, compared to nearly 267,000 men.

  4. Of the 1.7million surveyed so far, roughly 746,000 responded through paper ballot, nearly 380,000 through mobile/SMS and almost 456,000 online.

For more information about MY World and to view more results, please visit www.myworld2015.org.