World Donations Account
What does the earth cost?
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The UN will meet in New York from the 25th to the 27th September, to discuss the main humanitarian issues. How this can be practically implemented and funded, explains JOACHIM° ACKVA



Translated by Stefanie Jaekel and Christine Crawford.

PEACE1 throws cash out of hot air balloons to surprised passers-by in major cities. The money raining from the sky symbolizes the joy of sharing and the fact that more private assets exist in the world today, than ever before.

"We, the 10 percent of the population, own 90 percent of the world's wealth and consume nearly 80 percent of its resources", Federal Minister Gerd Müller stated, as he described the current global conditions.2 He ended his speech at the G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau with: "We have to re-learn how to share."

One thousandth of private wealth is enough
PEACE makes a concrete proposal: What if we were to place one thousandth of global wealth in one place, like a bank account. One thousandth would equal 1 euro of 1,000 euros worth of assets. To an individual this is barely noticeable, but globally it's an enormous sum: One thousandth of the world's wealth is equal to one hundred times the UN's average annual budget, which is the equivalent of 293 billion US dollars.3 If such a huge sum was made available annually to the global community, it could pay for many vital services and solve many of the economic issues that we face.

One thousandth would represent the same amount to everyone. An individual with little money would contribute a penny and a billionaire would contribute a million pounds. The main objective is that everyone – rich or poor – contributes the same proportion of their wealth.

The number of people in agreement can be seen via the results of a multi-national survey carried out by PEACE in spring 2015:4 9 million Britons, 14 million Russians, 21 million Japanese, 38 million Germans and 70 million Americans, would be willing to pool one thousandth of their private assets for the global common good. Of course, these survey results cannot be 1:1 transferred into reality. However, they do suggest that this could be a real possibility: There is definitely a willingness amongst individuals worldwide to place one thousandth of their private assets into a global community checkout. Although, it does not exist just yet.

An account for 7.2 billion people
A world donations account would be a new joint account, that every single person in the world could pay into with the aim of solving and financing solutions to planetary issues. The issues to be targeted are quite clear. The next step is "to develop sustainable humanitarian goals" to deal with these issues.5 At present, there is general agreement surrounding these goals. Next September, world leaders will meet in New York to resolve an anticipated 17 issues, which will be used as a guide for future global cooperation.6 Funds from the world donations account would be utilised to develop and implement solutions to challenging issues, which would otherwise be hugely underfunded and unsuccessful.

Unfortunately, money alone is not enough. Financing must be accompanied by "appropriate strategy, strong public management and effective implementation," according to independent British think tank "Overseas Development Institute". They have considerable experience dealing with activities requiring such global cooperation.7 Such requisite conditions can most likely be found under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). They offer a relatively high degree of legitimacy as a global state merger. Important tasks in accordance with the UN Charter are world peace, human rights preservation and the promotion of international economic, social and humanitarian cooperation.

However, so far the UN does not possess such capability and is often dependent on the goodwill of member states. Along with other issues, this is the main criticism the UN faces. Nevertheless, via its affiliated organisations, they have received the most Nobel Peace Prizes out of all the winners over the years. PEACE's survey (courtesy of Motivaction NL) included a sub-question: Provision will be made for the account to be managed by people from across the whole world. Who would you prefer to have a direct influence on a UN world account?

1. A global representation of seconded national members of parliament.
­– In favour: 11 percent

2. A global representation of randomly selected "regular" people.
– In favour: 35 percent

3. One main account divided into "sub-accounts" for each issue identified by the UN. Each main account holder can decide which sub-account or issue they wish to finance.
– In favour: 54 percent


The above findings lead to the following draft:

1. Board of Trustees
A world account could be supervised by a Board of Trustees consisting of reputable, experienced and independent individuals. These requirements are met by UN secretary generals who are committed to the emancipation of all dependencies in accordance with the UN Charter. For example, the incumbent and the former UN secretary general could be asked to create this body. Currently, this would be Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Péres de Cuéllar.

2. Sub-Accounts
A sub-account could be created for each of the issues the UN decided upon. Each account holder could decide which sub-account they wanted to support and pay into.

3. Liaison Office
The Board of Trustees could be supported by a liaison office, coordinating internal and external bodies. Proven management models could be used, for example, the model used for World Hunger Aid (Welthungerhilfe). It is recognized for its honest and transparent conduct and operates worldwide with only 7.1 percent of the total budget spent on marketing and administrative expenses (2013).

If everyone joined
The UN does not have the authority to create an account which relies on voluntary contributions from people across the world. A world donations account could be established on a small scale initially by willing individuals.

According to statistics, a world donations account could hold up to 70 billion US dollars. In a carefully calculated scenario, where only one in ten of those surveyed that said they would deposit money-actually did make a deposit, there would still be approximately 7 billion US dollars in the account. That would still go down in history as a huge amount of money contributed by the world's people. This would be for example higher than the UN's annual budget in 2015 (2.9 billion US dollars).

Of course, it is possible that the account could receive much more than the estimated 70 billion dollars. After all, potential account holders could be enticed to donate with the promise of a greater sense of community and social acceptance. The experimental economics specialist and Zurich professor Ernst Fehr says: "If faith in another's cooperation prevails, then their level of cooperation will be high; if faith in another's lack of cooperation prevails, then their level of cooperation will be low."8 He sees the effects this has on all areas of society and strongly recommends "creating environments that encourage people in their altruistic systems"9.

Using the own name as advertising media
How is it possible to create a credible cooperative association? Many of those surveyed think an individual could promote, show their support and involvement for the account, by wearing or somehow displaying a small visible planet symbol. This would show others: "I am prepared to contribute a thousandth of my assets to a future world donations account."

The more promotion the idea receives, the more awareness and interest it will generate. This could create a self-propagating global movement, triggering massive media coverage and resulting in the creation of an account much faster and more effectively than other routes.

The planet symbol should be culturally neutral and independent of any marketing medium. The degree symbol (°) is a potential idea. Account holders could position the symbol just after their first name: e.g. Joachim° Ackva. Depending on the media or platform used (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), it could also feature elsewhere in the text. Weblinks and social media 'likes' may link to www.planetearthaccount.de or -.org where the symbol's origin would be clear.

What would happen to the money?
Initially, the only certainty regarding a world donations account would be the need to invest one thousandth of personal wealth. Everything else would be speculation. If the account funds exceeded expectation, it could be possible to invest in a number of sub-accounts (relating to each of the UN's targeted issues). This could ultimately save a lot of money, because generally any progress made with one issue, improves another issue in a different sector.

The environment, economy, quality of life and health, all benefit equally from improved energy, water and wastewater infrastructures. Better health and nutrition will lead to higher levels of education. Increases in levels of education are linked to better health, skills and expertise. The more prospects and possibilities for life improvement that people see, the lower the risk falls for potential setbacks – and so on.

Such synergy demonstrates why an integrated approach like a world donations account could save a lot of trouble and expense. Grants awarded to states, co-financing and investors would increase the impact of a world donations account.

Many worrying situations and trends could be tackled by clearly defined humanitarian goals. Some examples:

1. The global civil society has been regressing steadily for the last nine years. In 2014, a total of 28 countries lost a number of civil liberties.10 – The account's funds would be a brilliant resource for rebuilding civil society on a world stage. Funds could be allocated to reward effective governance, which would directly benefit citizens affected by rising subsidies. It could be used to sponsor countries which: reduce corruption, enforce human rights, use environmental resources productively, regulate their economy, stabilise financial markets, reduce crime, introduce effective education and power supplies, control systems and inhibit illegal activity.

2. Every five seconds a child dies of hunger and easily preventable illnesses.11 – A world donations account could create a global network capable of overcoming extreme poverty. A UN report estimates that an expenditure of 66 billion US dollars is required annually.12 More than one billion people would benefit. Such a program (similar to the Brazilian "Bolsa Familia" program), could be linked to school attendance or children's healthcare. It could even end the myth that saving lives contributes to population growth.

3. Since 1970, the animal population which makes up the very fabric of life – sustaining ecosystems – has halved.13 – A world donations account could add to existing funds or completely finance the protection of or sustainability of forests and seas. This particularly applies to the protection of 2.3 percent of the earth's surface, where more than 50 percent of the remaining biodiversity (biological core zones) exists.

4. Between 2000 and 2010, humanity lost 6 percent of the earth's agricultural regions.14 – A world donations account could help finance essential soil conservation, costing around 10 billion US dollars annually, to stem the loss of fertile land and the spread of deserts.

Conclusion
Potency, legitimacy, synergy and visible global community spirit could create a unique world account. Risk-reward ratio: If it fails for some reason, one thousandth of private wealth would be "run into the ground". In contrast, if a world donations account goes to plan, it could solve numerous issues affecting mankind. – Whoever backs this idea can use the symbol ° to communicate.

On June 19, 2015 Ackvas book "Es regnet Geld für ein Weltkonto. Die Tausendstel-Frage" was released.



[1] PEACE stands for Planet Earth Account Community Enterprise.- Cf. URL: http://www.planetearthaccount.de, 19.06.2015.
[2] Own translation of the following original quotation: "Wir, die 10 Prozent der Bevölkerung, besitzen 90 Prozent des Vermögens und verbrauchen nahezu 80 Prozent der Ressourcen".- Kinkartz, Sabine: G7-Gipfel: Afrikas Spitzenpolitiker zu Gast, in: Deutsche Welle (08.06.2015), URL: http://www.dw.de/g7-gipfel-afrikas-spitzenpolitiker-zu-gast/a-18502381, 11.06.2015.
[3] The United Nations' average annual budget designated by the 68th General Assembly on the 27th December 2013, for the 2014-2015 Biennium (including the supplementary budget agreed on the 29th December by the 69th General Assembly) amounted to 5.8 billion US dollars, equivalent to 2.9 billion US dollars per year. The official figure for the world's assets is 263 trillion US dollars. In addition, there is an estimated 30 trillion US dollars in offshore assets.- Cf. URL: www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Aussenpolitik/Friedenspolitik/VereinteNationen/StrukturVN/Finanzen/Uebersicht_node.html, 15.06.2015; Credit Suisse Research Institute (ed.): Global Wealth Report 2014, Zürich 2014, pp. 4, 15, URL: https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=5521F296-D460-2B88-081889DB12817E02, 15.06.2015; Shaxson, Nicholas; Christensen, John; Mathiason, Nick: Ungleichheit: Mehr als die Hälfte bleibt im Verborgenen (Oder warum die Ungleichheit größer ist als wir dachten), London 2012, p. 6, URL: http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Deutsch/TJN2012_UngleichheitOffshore.pdf, 15.06.2015; Henry, James S., Tax Justice Network: Neue Erkenntnisse zum Preis des Offshore-Systems, London 2012, p. 5, URL: http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Deutsch/TJN2012_KostenOffshoreSystem.pdf, 15.06.2015.
[4] A four-figure number of people were interviewed per country by TNS and Motivaction market researchers (NL). The countries surveyed own about half the world's private assets.- Ackva, Joachim°: Es regnet Geld für ein Weltkonto. Die Tausendstel-Frage, Norderstedt 2015, p. 73ff.
[5] A list of the 17 goals cf. URL: www.planetearthaccount.de, 15.06.2015.
[6] For the "Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda" cf. URL: http://www.bmz.de/de/was_wir_machen/ziele/ziele/millenniumsziele/index.html, 15.06.2015.
[7] Cf. Greenhill, Romilly; Ali, Ahmed: Paying für Progress: how will emerging post-2015 goals be financed in the new aid landscape?, London 2013, p. 4f., (Overseas Development Institute Working Paper No. 366), URL: http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8319.pdf, 15.06.2015.
[8] Fehr, Ernst zit. nach: Precht, Richard David: Die Kunst, kein Egoist zu sein, München 2012.
[9] Klein, Stefan: Was ist gerecht?, in: Zeit Online (22.07.2009), URL: http://www.zeit.de/2009/31/Klein-Fehr-31/seite-4, 15.06.2015.
[10] Freedom House (ed.): Freedom in the World 2015, p. 1, URL: https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/01152015_FIW_2015_final.pdf, 15.06.2015.
[11] In 2013, 6.3 million children died before their 5th birthday – one every five seconds. With continued development, researchers predict that by 2030, 4.4 million children will still be dying unnecessarily before they turn five.- The United Nations Children's Fund (ed.): Committing to Child Survival – A Promise Renewed. Progress Report 2014, New York 2014, URL: http://www.unicef.org/philippines/APR2014_Sep2014.pdf, 15.06.2015; URL: http://www.unicef.de/presse/2014/eine-million-neugeborene-sterben-an-ihrem-ersten-lebenstag/56930, 15.06.2015; Liu, Li et al.: Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2000-13, with projections to inform post-2015 priorities: an updated systematic analysis, in: The Lancet (31.01.2015), Vol. 395, No. 9966, pp. 430-440, URL: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2814%2961698-6/abstract, 15.06.2015.
[12] Sustainable Development Finance Report from the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts: Final Draft, 08.08.2014, p. 10.
[13] WWF (ed.): Living Planet Report 2014. Species and spaces, people and places, Gland/London/Oakland/Enschede 2014, p. 4, URL: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/, 15.06.2015.
[14] Immel, Karl-Albrecht; Tränkle, Klaus: Aktenzeichen Armut, Wuppertal 2011, p. 150f.


23.06.2015

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Comments


Benjamin Fredrich   21:36 Uhr 01.07.2015

Hallo Olaf, ich stimme dir zu. Und wie findest du den Artikel?





Thorben   09:46 Uhr 01.07.2015

@olaf: \"grüner und oranger Einfärbuing\"? Ich sehe hier rot und blau... :-D





olaf   23:44 Uhr 30.06.2015

Balkendiagramme sind der Redaktion zu langweilig, na da sind 2 Kästen und eine Abbildung mit grüner und oranger Einfärbung gleich besser.





Joachim° Ackva   18:46 Uhr 25.06.2015

Sehr geehrter Herr Holm,

vielen Dank für Ihre Zustimmung und Kritik. Wie Sie eingangs schon bemerken, greift das Artikelformat zu kurz. Deshalb gibt es auch das Buch. Ihr Kommentar beleuchtet insbesondere zwei Fragen:

1. Ist die bisherige Arbeit der UN aus Sicht der UN-Charta als Erfolg zu werten?
2. Wie kann die operative Arbeit eines Weltkontos transparent und erfolgreich sein?

Zu 1.
Nach meinen Recherchen würde sich die Welt ohne die UN und insbesondere ohne ihre 17 Sonderorganisationen in einem erheblich schlechteren Zustand befinden. Die zu kleinen Erfolge im Sinn der UN-Charta haben vielfältige Ursachen. Dazu gehören z.B. mangelnde Unterstützung durch Mitgliedsstaaten, dadurch zu geringe Kompetenzen und finanzielle Ausstattung. Diese Punkte könnte ein Weltkonto ändern. Es geht dabei jedoch nicht um Art „Weltstaat“, der den Einzelstaaten Kompetenzen abnimmt. Im Gegenteil: Ein Weltkonto bekäme eine eigene Kraft direkt von uns Menschen. Mit dieser könnte es die einzelstaatlichen Kompetenzen im Sinne der „Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele“ fördern und stärken. Und darüber hinaus könnte es die zwischenstaatliche Zusammenarbeit fördern. Unsere heutige Erde ähnelt einem großen Mehrfamilienhaus. Ein Weltkonto wäre darin die bislang fehlende Gemeinschaftskasse für Instandhaltung und für mehr Gemeinsinn.

Zu 2.
Verlangen nach Transparenz ist zweifellos geboten, ähnlich wie bei einer sauberen Hausgeldabrechnung. Diese Forderung zwänge das Kuratorium, entsprechend zu handeln. Es stünde unter weltweit kritischer Beobachtung und spürte hohen Effizienz- und Transparenzdruck. Freilich würde man das Kind mit dem Bad ausschütten, wenn man wegen befürchteter Misswirtschaft ein Weltkonto von vorn herein ablehnt. Eine erste Einzahlung stellt naturgemäß immer einen Vertrauensvorschuss dar, dem sich ein Weltkonto als würdig erweisen müsste. Falls es das in grober Weise nicht täte, würden die Folgeeinzahlungen abnehmen und das Projekt hätte mit Recht keine nachhaltige Zukunft.
Aufgabe, Kompetenz und Verantwortung für ein Weltkonto läge beim Kuratorium. Es wäre seine Sache, transparente, nachvollziehbare und erfolgreiche Arbeit zu gewährleisten. Ein bewährtes Management-Modell für die von Ihnen genannten operativen Entscheidungen ist im Artikel kurz erwähnt (Welthungerhilfe) und im Buch detaillierter beschrieben.

Herzliche Grüße

Joachim° Ackva





Rannug Holm   16:27 Uhr 23.06.2015

Sehr geehrter Herr Ackva,

Ich begrüße den Grundgedanken ihrer Ausführungen sehr. Allerdings greifen einige Punkte, zumindest aus dem kurzen Artikel hier meines Erachtens zu kurz. Sie schreiben selbst, mit Bezug auf das Overseas Development Institute, dass eine "Finanzierung von geeigneter Strategie, starkem öffentlichen Management und guten Durchführungskapazitäten begleitet werden muss.

Die Annahme, dass dieses realistischerweise unter dem Dach der UN zu finden sei, scheint jedoch fraglich.

Oder würden sie die Arbeit der UN hinsichtlich ihrer wichtigen Aufgaben gemäß der UN-Charta (Sicherung des Weltfriedens, Schutz der Menschenrechte) als Erfolg werten?

Selbst wenn man in allen Unterkonten ein pralles Budget zur Verfügung hätte - wer würde die nötige Arbeit vor Ort verrichten. Eigens angestellte UN-Entwicklungshelfer, oder lokale NGOs? Wenn die biologischen Kernzonen geschützt werden sollen, werden dann die entsprechenden Gebiete ausreichend gesichert? Stellt man den Nationalstaaten, in denen sich die biologischen Kernzonen befinden, Geld aus den Unterkonten zur Verfügung um den Schutz dieser zu gewährleisten? Wie möchte man verhindern, dass wenn man dieses Geld aus dem Weltkonto in die Hände anderer Organisationen oder Nationalstaaten gibt, es nicht für andere Zwecke verwendet wird? Welche Sanktionsmöglichkeiten gäbe es bei einem Fehlverhalten des Kuratoriums?

Die Basis für ein Weltkonto ist meines Erachtens nicht ausschließlich die Einzahlungsbereitschaft, sondern auch unbedingt transparente und nachvollziehbare Strukturen, die schlussendlich dort eine nachhaltige Entwicklung schaffen, wo es zur Zeit aus eigener Kraft schwierig erscheint. Ihre Idee scheint eine gut gemeinte Ergänzung zur Idee eines Weltstaates, wie ihn unter anderem Ottfried Höffe vorschlägt, zu sein. Und so sympathisch mir diese Ideen auch scheinen, so zweifelhaft erscheint mir doch die Umsetzung, wenn man sich nur auf solche Dinge wie die Einzahlungsbereitschaft konzentriert.



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