The Importance of Establishing A Participatory Model of World Democracy or Global Governance
by Rob Wheeler

 
 

This paper describes how a participatory model of global governance could be structured, developed, and established. It then explains how this would lead to much more effective global programs, policies, proposals, and international laws being developed and implemented. The paper provides an overview of how a participatory model of world democracy would actually work. It is thus my contention that such a model of global governance would provide significant improvements to most of the other models of global governance that have been proposed to date.


HOW A PARTICIPATORY MEANS OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE COULD BE STRUCTURED AND OPERATE

Advocates of a World Parliament or World Government have put forward many proposals over the years for how the world's people could be represented and how many representatives there should be in such a World Parliament. I would suggest, however, that what is important is not the actual size or means of representation; but rather that the World Parliament is structured to be as effective and as equitably representative of the world's people as possible. And even more important, that the structure and model of decision making must be as participatory (both individually and collectively) and as fully accountable to the world's people as possible.

Many people have suggested that an assembly of hundreds or even several thousand people could meet each year, which is fine; however I would suggest that the real work and decisions of the parliament should be taken up instead, or in addition, in local and regional assemblies and in open and participatory committee or commission processes. In this way hundreds of thousands or even millions of people could participate actively in the process; and specific means could be created so that the best ideas (coming from any and all peoples) will be included and fully considered in the process.

Now some might ask, how do we know that civil society would be able to come up with as good or better ideas than government officials? Well, it has been repeatedly demonstrated by past experience. For example the International Criminal Court, the LandMines Convention, the Global Action to Prevent War, the NonViolent Peace Force, Social Watch, Transparency International, and Debt Forgiveness are all initiatives that were thought up and initiated by civil society. Similarly many of the best ideas that have been introduced during UN Global Conferences and Commission meetings have also come from civil society, though unfortunately many, if not most, of them have been ignored by the governments.
In addition, there is no reason that a world parliament, consisting primarily of civil society representatives and participants, could not borrow from and use many programs, initiatives, and ideas that have been developed and put forward or implemented by various governments. In fact, one of the benefits of a process based upon the convening of local and regional assemblies and issue area commissions is that it would probably be much easier to find the best programs in the world and then to replicate and scale them up around the world - however in a way that is the most appropriate for each situation or region.

In fact, there is no reason that government and agency officials could not participate as well in the local and regional assemblies or issue area commissions. And their contributions might be much more appropriate and useful if they participate as individuals rather than as government representatives or officials. Though we would still have to be careful about any potential conflicts of interest, vested and monied interests, etc.


PARTICIPATING IN ISSUE AREA COMMISSIONS AND LOCAL AND REGIONAL PEOPLES ASSEMBLIES

Do you have doubts however whether it would be possible to create an effective means of global governance based upon decisions that are made in local and regional assemblies and by issue area commissions? Let me explain how it could work.
First, a formal process would need to be established to create a responsible and effective structure that will enable everyone that is interested to participate. First the organizing, and then the coordinating, body for the World Parliament could create rules and guidelines and oversee the development of a structure and process that would create substantive issue area committees or commissions which would discuss and make recommendations for specific proposals, policies, and initiatives for each of the primary issue areas. Then the World Parliament could consider, vote on, adopt, and begin to implement each of them that is passed.

Each of the committees or commissions could create a list serve for discussions and proposals, a webpage and eForum where the work of the commission could be introduced and decisions could be archived, and other means of communication to share what is being done in their issue area - such as a brochure, newsletter, periodic updates, etc. Then anyone that wants to could sign up or register to participate in whichever issue area commissions they are interested in. They would be added to the list serve, receive the newsletter and updates, and would be enrolled in the decision making process for that issue area.

As the number of people that join a particular committee or commission grows and the discussion begins to become unmanageable, then additional lists could be set up to deal with particular sub-topics within each issue area (thus creating sub-commissions to deal with particular sub-topics); and an eForum could be set up to archive the discussions and contributions for each commission, sub-commission, or substantive issue area. In this way, we will be able to collect and present the most popular and worthwhile proposals, initiatives, and discussion in a way that does not overwhelm our interested participants. And each one of us will be able to choose how involved we want to get with any particular discussion, topic, or issue area.

Now you might ask, would someone have to sign up to participate in a particular commission in order to participate in the decision making process for the particular issue area that they are interested in? Actually no, because we could also include a network of local, regional, and supra-regional assemblies that they could participate in instead. And they could also sign up to receive the eNewsletters and updates for a particular commission without having to participate in the work of the actual commission itself.

Then whenever a local or regional assembly is held they could participate in that process in person. Thus someone that has a good idea for a proposal or initiative wouldn't necessarily have to participate in the commission process in order to submit the proposal or initiative for consideration. However I would suggest that it would probably be easier to get others to take a proposal seriously if the presenter was actually participating actively in the process - but it wouldn't be necessary.

Thus one of the primary means for submitting proposals could be through a local and/or regional assembly, then if it is approved at the local or regional level it could be introduced at the supra-regional or global level as well. Thus, anyone that wants would be able to discuss many if not all of the programs, policies, and proposals that have been made through participating in a local or regional assembly with people that they may already know or actually work with. This could also provide a good opportunity for someone to see how others might respond to their ideas and proposals.

As the network of local assemblies grows, then more regional assemblies could also be held. Some regional assemblies may be organized to focus on a particular issue area or a limited number of issue areas; while others might include many if not all of the commissions and issue areas. It would thus be up to the organizers, participating organizations, and participants in each region to decide how they would want to organize this. Local assemblies might also want to select or elect official representatives that would represent and present the work and outcomes of their local process; however, in addition some if not all regional assemblies might want to welcome and invite all interested people to attend and/or participate.

What might also be important however would be for each commission, or those participating in a particular substantive issue area within their region, to designate or select coordinators or leadership for their region who would work with the local and regional assemblies to organize and coordinate the specific programs and discussions for their issue area within the meetings of the local and regional assemblies. However, again, we would want this to be as open and participatory a process as possible; and thus we will probably want to develop specific rules and guidelines to ensure that the process is organized and run in an appropriate manner.

In addition, as this process develops we will probably want to organize regional assemblies that bring together the participants of smaller or more local regional assemblies. Thus a country or region that is as large as the United States or Europe could include maybe 30 regional assemblies, and then perhaps 5 or 6 supra-regional assemblies.

In addition, the regional assemblies may decide that they also want to organize and hold a continental assembly - which in the case of North America could thus include representatives and participants from the region of Canada, the US, and Mexico. However, it could be up to each region to self-organize and decide what geographical regions could be included in which assemblies. And there is certainly no reason that we should have to organize things according to local, state, or national jurisdictions or boundary lines, though in some cases it might be easier to do so.

What will be important in regards to all of this, however, will just be to make clear decisions, which are well documented, so that everyone will know what these decisions are and we can see how well each of them work. Thus, we will be able to make corrections, improvements, and modifications as we go along.

Similarly, some regions may choose to directly elect representatives of the region as a whole to participate in the global assembly or world parliament, while others might leave it up to the regional assemblies themselves to select representatives to participate in the world parliament. Some regions may decide instead that representatives should be selected by each commission within their region to represent their issue area; while other regions might let each local assembly or region select representatives without regards to their area of expertise or issue area. Again, what will be important is that we agree on and document what is being done in each area; pay attention to how well it is working; and then be willing to make modifications and improvements as we go along and as the process develops.

The same is true of the roles, duties, and responsibilities of both the world parliament and the local and regional assemblies. These could evolve and change over time as we learn from experience what works or does not work and what is needed at any particular time. Thus, we will need to develop as much transparency, fluidity, and clarity as possible as to how things are being organized and what seems to work or does not work within any region, sub-region, or point in time.

The same is true of developing, agreeing on, and combining proposals that are made. Because an open and participatory process can be expected to result in the introduction of a large number of proposals, some of which are likely to even be somewhat contradictory, we will need to develop specific processes for how proposals can be made, discussed, considered, voted on, combined, etc. In addition, we will have to decide whether proposals and initiatives can be proposed at the same time in multiple regions or whether they would have to be approved within one region or within one substantive issue area first.

I personally think that it would probably work best to develop and organize as fluid and dynamic a system and process as possible; but we will see over time what works and what does not. One important thing is that we will have to ensure that anyone that has a good idea is able to present it in an effective way, so that he or she does not have to compete unfairly with ideas that could be put forward by a big organization, interest group, or what have you in a more organized way. Finally, we will need to develop and agree on the means for ratifying, approving,and implementing specific proposals, which will be discussed later on in this paper.


WHO WOULD ORGANIZE THE COMMISSIONS AND PARTICIPATORY PROCESSES

Now one might ask, how could this all be set up and work? Let us start with the commissions. There are experts, activists, and civil society organizations that deal every day with specific issue areas - such as peace, environment, and social and economic justice, etc - all around the world. Anyone that has attended a UN Global Conference or Commission Meeting can tell you that there are thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, of civil society representatives and organizations - representing all stakeholders or Major Groups - from around the world that attend these events, are quite knowledgeable about the issues, have developed excellent proposals and initiatives, and could provide leadership in processes such as this.

If we could thus propose and agree on some common procedures by which such people and organizations could come together and work, then different organizations could sign up to take the responsibility to organize participatory processes within and for each sector or issue area, in different places around the world. This could thus work pretty much the same wayas how and when such groups organize civil society participation in the global conferences and commissions, the world social forum, countless other regional and global conferences, and in networks and coalitions around the world.

There are in fact already a good number of networks, civil society organizations, and processes that have taken on such functions and organizational tasks for UN related processes and work. It would thus be fairly easy for them to organize procedures and processes for our global governance processes as well if the basic organizational framework and model was developed and put in place first. This framework could thus again include such things as: a Website to report on the processes, activities, and work being done within each sector or issue area; a means by which a common agenda and priorities could be discussed and set; rules and guidelines under which the organizers would proceed; and processes for establishing an on-line newsletter, e-forum, and listserve through which all of the people that are interested could be informed and participate.

Thus one of the responsibilities for the coordinators and organizers of each sector and issue area would be to draft and distribute periodic updates and reports, or newsletters, about what is happening and being done within their issue area. And of course policies and procedures would need to be put in place to ensure that this is all done in an open, participatory, and responsible manner so that the coordinators and leadership can be held accountable for their actions and behavior as needed.

In addition, as time goes on and we become better organized, we would also need to create materials and processes to include people that can't use or don't have computer and internet access as well. And as we all have learned, while internet processes have been incredibly helpful and can inexpensively link and include people from all around the world, there is nothing like a real live meeting or conference in order to discuss things with a lot more focus, clarity, and depth of discussion.

Thus we could begin to organize local, regional, and even global organizing processes to bring people together both within specific sectors and issue areas and cross-sectorally. This is thus where the idea of holding local and regional peoples assemblies comes in. If all of those that are interested and that want to participate in a particular issue area, or region, are registered in a common registry, directory, and data bank; then it would be pretty easy to invite them to come together for meetings.

Thus all of those that are interested in peace and disarmament issues within a specific geographical region or community could come together to talk about the different issues and proposals that are being considered and discussed within their sector at the global level as well. The group could thus welcome and discuss whatever proposals and ideas are put forward and also develop their own proposals for programs or actions and, over time, specific means of implementing programs and policies that have already been agreed to and put in place at the global level. These proposals could then be sent in for consideration by other local and regional organizing processes and groups - as well as at the global level.

Then in addition, local and regional assemblies could be held, bringing people together cross-sectorally. This will be important so that people can learn about what is being considered and done in all of the different issue areas and sectors; so that programs and policies can be developed, integrated, and implemented cross-sectorally; and so that everyone has an opportunity to participate in discussions and planning - whether they are actively involved in a particular sector or issue area or not. In addition, local and regional assemblies will be a great way to develop and attract the interest of the people and the media; and to bring everyone together at the local and regional level to consider and discuss important global issues and how they relate to similar issues at the local, state, national, and regional levels.

With such a structural orientation we would thus be establishing two overlapping organizational processes and models - one based on geographical participation and organization and the other based on sectoral or substantive issue areas. And any and everyone that is interested would be able to participate in whichever organizational processes and meetings that they choose. As long as the processes and procedures are open, transparent, participatory, equitable, and fair and the means by which we operate and the decisions that are made are recorded and easily accessible, we will be able to deal with whatever problems may arise.

With modern communication technologies it is even possible that local and regional assemblies could meet at the same time as the World Parliament as a whole; and thus people could participate fully in these processes from wherever they live or are located. Thus if one of the themes that was being discussed one year was the effort to outlaw war, then different assemblies around the world could make presentations focusing on this through Video TeleConferencing that would be shown in other assemblies, as well as at the global assembly, all around the world.

In addition, as more of the work begins to be done in local and regional assemblies and within the commissions, then the actual global assembly could, over time, take on and serve more of an educational, celebratory, and ceremonial function, as well as to draw the world's attention to the decisions and commitments that have been made, rather than for the actual decision making processes themselves.

We could thus create a number of People's Agenda Commissions - which would focus on and cover each of the primary issue areas. For example the principle substantive issue areas could include Peace and Disarmament; Social and Economic Justice; Human Rights; Environment and Sustainable Development; and Global Governance. In fact, for the Millennium NGO Forum that accompanied the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, we also broke this down even further - creating something like 36 different focus areas and workshop sessions.


HOW DECISIONS COULD BE MADE AND PRIORITIES SET

One idea that was shared during a World Parliament 21 e-Forum, on establishing a new architecture of global governance, several years ago was that the substantive issue areas could be organized according to what were called: Communities of Ideas. See: http://www.wp21.org/. Thus, all of the principle proposals for Peace and Disarmament could be grouped together, along with the interested people, thus making up a particular Community of Ideas. Each Community of Ideas could thus develop their own eForums for discussing particular topics and ideas.

Thus, for example, in 1999 10,000 activists participated in the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in the Netherlands. We came up with and responded to the Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice, which included more than 40 specific proposals dealing with peace and disarmament, within 8 primary issue areas, including such topics as Standing PeaceKeeping Forces, Child Soldiers, Preventing and Ending War, Mediation and NonViolent Conflict Resolution, and Peace Education, etc. See: http://www.haguepeace.org/.

For each of the issue areas, or community of ideas, we could thus create a different eForum, through which we could then discuss the best strategies for developing, funding, and implementing each of the program and policy recommendations. In addition, we could provide concise overviews of what is already being done in each issue area, along with a summary of the proposals that are already being considered or have actually been adopted by the UN and/or governments. And, we could also develop a specific means for comparing and discussing specific proposals as well as for prioritizing and voting on them.

Fortunately, a good deal of work has already been done in this area. For example, the Global Democracy Experiment has created an open internet forum and electronic voting system that anyone can participate in and use. They have developed what is called the World Parliament Experiment. If you go to http://www.world-parliament.org/, then you can post your own proposals and ideas for dealing with a global issue or problem. Whoever else is interested can also go there and read the proposals and motions that have been posted. Then we can all vote for the ones that we think should be further discussed, developed, and funded.

The motions and proposals that thus gain the most support will then be voted on again to see how many people from around the world like each of them the best. In addition, people can submit comments so that the proposals and motions can be further refined. And people can also introduce new proposals or motions to amend ones that have already been passed, if they can get enough support. The developers of this web tool can also set it up so that a specific section will deal with each Community of Ideas or Commission Area or so that a local region can have their own discussion area. This is certainly a technology that we should use and take advantage of.

In addition, World Vote Now has developed a process and web capability so that everyone on earth can vote on specific questions of interest to the world community. See: http://www.worldvotenow.com/. The initial intent is to demonstrate the extent of public will for such things as eliminating poverty, ensuring healthcare for all peoples, etc. World Vote Now is thus organizing global referendums on important global issues in order to show a popular mandate that governments and international organizations will be expected to follow.

World Vote Now also plans to develop a Post-Referendum list of Resolutions for eliminating suffering; thus I think that we could use their technology so that everyone that is interested, from all around the world, can vote for and ratify the best motions or proposals that we come up with. Can you imagine the results that could occur, if for example, we could get millions or tens of millions of people to support a particular proposal for outlawing and putting an end to war? We might actually be able to hold political leaders that engage in military aggression, or war, personally accountable for their actions.


ESTABLISHING FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND OVERARCHING GOALS

One of the essential elements of this overall proposal would be to focus on how such a world government and parliament could function or operate most effectively and responsibly. Thus among the first things that we must do would be to determine the fundamental goals, within each sector or issue area, that we would set out to achieve. This after all defines and is the purpose of government. Governments are set up, purportively, to provide the services to and for the people which they cannot achieve separately on their own.

Thus all of those, around the planet, that are interested would be invited to participate in a discussion and deliberation for and within each issue area as to what are the fundamental goals and objectives for that issue area. The first thing to do would thus be to define and agree on the primary or fundamental overarching goal for each sector. These goals would thus include such things as to: Eliminate poverty and ensure that all peoples' basic human needs are met; Put in place procedures to solve all national, international, and internal political conflicts peacefully and to outlaw and put an end to war; Ensure that all peoples' basic human rights are fully respected and met; and that the needed steps are taken to protect and restore the natural environment and to make the transition to a fully sustainable society as rapidly as possible; etc.

DRAWING ATTENTION TO IMPORTANT GLOBAL ISSUES

After such fundamental and overarching goals as these are adopted and agreed upon, it would then be necessary to determine what the fundamental objectives, steps, and activities are that would be needed to achieve them. Of course different people, with different political, philosophical, and world views, would have fundamentally different ideas and approaches about this; however that is one of the beauties of this approach. One of our primary goals would thus be to include and integrate all of these various approaches and perspectives as we develop a common approach and a diversified, inclusive, and comprehensive program.

Thus, for example, when establishing programs to eliminate poverty some people will likely argue that we must eliminate all foreign debt, while others would argue that we must increase opportunities for international trade, still others would suggest that we must fundamentally restructure the basis of our economic systems, some would argue that we need to reform our tax policies, while others would argue that we only need to ensure that government provides opportunities for everyone to have a job, and others still would argue for a basic guaranteed income and a maximum amount of money that any particular person could be paid. Obviously some of these approaches might be oppositional or conflicting - as they are already in the real world of today.

However with such an approach and model we would also have the opportunity to forthrightly and openly consider and debate such things both among those most knowledgeable and engaged within each sector, and among humanity as a whole. And we would have the ability and opportunity to design laws and programs that would incorporate many different approaches. We would then be able to compare the results coming from each of them.

This would thus enable many more people to participate actively in such discussions and considerations, at both the national and international levels, and the discussion and debate would be significantly richer. For example, today it is most difficult for those that would argue that we need to restructure our entire economic system to be taken seriously and to have the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind their beliefs. This would thus give them a way, a place, and the opportunity to do so.

Similarly in both the United States and Brazil there is a movement, that includes hundreds if not thousands or tens of thousands of economists, activists, and other experts, that organizes a big conference each year and talks about how we could provide a guaranteed basic income for all peoples and thus ensure that basic human needs are met, while also reducing government bureaucracies and thus our social welfare expenditures. It is a great idea that has been talked about in the US for years, but very few people take it seriously or even realize that such a movement exists, for it is not easy to get the media to cover such things or to include a forum within the existing political process - that people pay attention to - where it can be discussed and debated.

The same thing occurs with many political issues which challenge the status quo - such as investigating what actually occurred on 9-11 when planes were flown into the World Trade Center, etc - and which would seem to be ignored or covered up by the government itself. See: http://www.911truth.org/.

There are tens of thousands of people in the US that are deeply concerned about this and thousands of people who have studied the matter on their own thus producing tens of videos, books, and expert presentations looking into the matter. However, because we do not have a participatory political process where the people can put forward serious issues for discussion and consideration - and can argue the legitimacy, worth, or importance of the government's actions and approaches to various programs and activities - such things often tend to be ignored by both the media and the populace at large.
Thus it was fairly easy for the Bush Administration to appoint a Commission to look into the 911 situation that was biased, politically compromised, and did not seriously consider or respond to the most important questions that were raised both by these researchers, by a number of congressional representatives, and even by groups of people that lost family members during this national tradegy. See: www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20041009142411882.

The result is that half the people in New York City, according to a reliable and respected public opinion polling company, believe that "leaders in the Bush administration knew 9/11 was coming and 'consciously failed to act' and two-thirds want a totally new 9/11 inquiry from Congress or New York's Attorney General" AND still the matter is not discussed in the mainstream media. See: www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040830120349841. (8/30/04 Zogby Poll)

While this could be considered a domestic matter it has certainly had international repercussions considering that the 911 incident served as a rationale for the US invasion and occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq; and there are plenty of other issues such as this that also have international importance and consequences. Thus if we had a participatory model and process of world parliament or government - within which such matters as these could be brought up, dealt with, and discussed - it would be much more difficult for them to be ignored by the media and the powers that be.


PARTICIPATORY PRACTICES WOULD LEAD TO EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION

Now to go back to describing how a participatory model of global governance could work, let us suppose that we could all agree that we need to ensure that business acts responsibly in terms of producing and providing goods and services in a sustainable manner. Some people would thus argue that we need to establish a system of regulations requiring businesses to do certain things; while others would instead argue that we need a system of incentives to encourage them to do the right thing.

First though we would need to determine who's responsibility it is to ensure that such processes are carried out in a sustainable manner - ie what is the responsibility of the producer and the seller, of government and at what levels, and of the consumer. Then we must consider what would be the best ways of ensuring that all of these stakeholders carry out their responsibilities appropriately.

If we can first agree, for example, on what is an acceptable level of toxic waste or exposure that is released into the natural environment, then that could at least be a good thing to begin with; however even here there will likely be a difference of opinion among people and in different parts of the world as to what is acceptable. However, if we can at least develop participatory, open, and inclusive processes of governance, then we can enter into a worthwhile public debate about such things.

Then in doing so we could at least establish some specific, though perhaps different, parameters and regulations in different parts of the world; and as long as we reliably record what is agreed upon we will then once again be able to observe the results that we get as we go along and thus improve things over time. One of the problems with our existing models of governance is that we have such a hodge podge or confusion of disconnected approaches and program activities, which are not recorded or archived in any specific place, that it can be quite difficult to compare what is actually occurring based on different approaches.

As it is today, all of the UN Member States agreed, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, to develop 10 year Frameworks on Sustainable Production and Consumption; however there was no requirement that they would have to do so. Thus a country like the US, that consumes more natural resources than any other, has taken no steps towards actually developing their framework, much less implementing it. And, in addition, no global process has been developed for reviewing whether the 10 year Frameworks are actually sufficient for adopting Sustainable Production and Consumption practices.

However, if we (as activists within the Participatory World Parliament process) were to develop an overarching framework and global program for ensuring corporate, consumer, and government responsibility for sustainable production and consumption, with variations or different approaches towards implementation being tried in different countries and places around the world, then we could document the different approaches and report on the results that occur. Thus we could improve all of the differing approaches over time and select the best, given the different circumstances and situations, as we go along. And in addition, the local and regional assemblies and issue area commissions could ensure that all countries do in fact take their committment to developing a 10 year Framework seriously and carry it out. Thus, for example, civil society has alreadycreated a coalition, called the North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance or NASCA, that is working on the development of and advocating for the US, Mexico, and Canada to create and implement their 10 year Frameworks. The World Parliament could thus work with networks such as these to ensure that governments do take their obligations and commitments seriously and that they are carried out and implemented in an appropriate manner.

Similarly, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Transparency International, Social Watch, and other such organizations monitor government compliance with their treaty obligations related to both human rights and social programs. So, there are any number of both civil society and intergovernmental networks, organizations, and programs that a World Parliament could work with to ensure that inter-governmental agreements are kept and implemented responsibly.

Again, going back to the notion of establishing a participatory model of governance, if we were to actually develop and implement such a model of global governance, then a good number of differing approaches could and would be put forward by organized groups and interests and by the people at large. In fact this already occurs today, at both the intra-national and international levels, however typically most of the best ideas and suggestions that are put forward are just ignored or blocked when they do not have the support of specific or powerful political interests or interest groups.

Instead, with a participatory process, all of the various suggestions and proposals that are made could be cataloged and recorded on a website (in an accessible and understandable manner) and then promoted; thus making it much easier for all of those people that are interested to consider and discuss the different ideas and approaches. With such an approach it would be much more likely that the best ideas and programs would rise like cream to the top, rather than those that are merely favored by one special interest or powerful government or another.


RULES AND PROCEDURES WILL NEED TO BE ESTABLISHED AND ENFORCED

Of course we would still have to deal with the matter of political lobbying and money being spent by vested interests to promote or defend against any particular political policy, program, or action. However, one of the first things that we could do, under a participatory model of global governance, would be to establish rules and guidelines for such behaviors and activities that are based on agreed ethical principles and that the people as a whole are pleased with and support.

I am almost certain that if you asked the people what they thought about how corporate interests are able to lobby for and against specific legislation around the world, and through this means effect if not actually determine the results of the political process, that the people as a whole would seriously disapprove of it. Thus if we were to openly debate and establish enforceable rules about such things, as a first order of business in setting up the new world parliament, then we could take effective steps to preclude or limit such influences.

And in addition, if we could begin to model how this could be done at the international level, then it would be more likely that it would also begin to happen more often in lower levels of governance as well.

We could also develop and put in place some type of a process and procedures so that people can file a challenge or ask for a hearing to ensure that all of the processes include accountability and are open and fair. And we could require that all agreements and decisions that are made have to be recorded and openly posted and displayed so that everyone can read them.

We could also include a specific web page or section explaining how all of the political procedures and processes are organized and function so that everyone that is interested can monitor and participate fully in them. In addition we could provide information about the structure, processes, and rules of procedure that are adopted around the world thus making it easier for everyone to compare how things are done in different parts of the world.


ESTABLISHING SUCH A PARTICIPATORY MEANS OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE

So, now finally, we come to the question of how we can actually establish such a structure and a process. Again, we are fortunate that a number of initiatives are already being developed that could help substantially with this. First, the World Citizens Registry has established a Peoples Congress with 20 delegates and 20 deputy delegates, which have been elected by tens of thousands of voters from more than 110 countries over the past several decades. We will be holding an election in 2007 to elect additional delegates to the Congress. The election can be used as a means to draw attention to both the work of the Peoples Congress and to the overall movement. See: http://www.recim.org/.

The intention of the Peoples Congress over the next period of years is to determine in which fields a supranational authority is needed; how such global institutions may be democratically established; and the structures that should be created. It will also develop recommendations for a world constitution; present them to the governments for their consideration; and express the opinion and will of the world's people in response to our common global problems.

The Peoples Congress thus recognizes that any type of a supranational authority will have to be truly democratic in nature; that it should deal with specific issue areas that cannot or are not being adequately addressed by nation states; and that the opinion and will of the world's people must be included as an important part of the process. The Peoples Congress could thus study and make recommendations for how a participatory means of global governance could be developed as well as established.

I have decided to run for election in the Peoples Congress in order to contribute to the effort to create a more democratic means of global governance and to ensure that it is as participatory, effective, and accountable to the world's people as possible. If you like the ideas that I have presented in this paper, then your support for my candidacy and for the ongoing work of creating a participatory means of global governance would certainly be appreciated.

The Community of World Citizens is also working on an effort to bring all of the different organizations and networks that are working on global democracy together, to develop a common website to promote all of our efforts, and to establish an international registry and directory in order to enroll as many people and organizations as possible in supporting world democracy. If we are able, through this, to increase the number of people that register to vote for and support the work of the Peoples Congress, as well as the movement in general, then we will be able to establish much more legitimacy for the recommendations and findings of the Peoples Congress.

The Peoples Congress may also be able to serve as a prototype for the development of a World Parliament, local and regional assemblies, and a commission within the Participatory World Parliament process which deals with global governance. However, the Congress would have to develop specific means by which it will welcome and include input from the world's people in its process, as well as to favor a participatory approach to world democracy.

There are already, however, a number of indications that the Peoples Congress would be likely to do so, including its efforts to establish mundialized cities, to create a Consultative Assembly for the Peoples Congress, to participate in building a common coalition and registering as many people as possible, and its support for the efforts of the Global Partnership for World Democracy. Again see: http://www.recim.org/.


THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR WORLD DEMOCRACY

The Global Partnership for World Democracy could also serve as a primary means by which participatory democracy could be established. The intention of the Partnership is to develop a list of the best proposals and initiatives for solving our common global problems and then to develop as much support as possible for adopting and implementing these programs, proposals, and policies. The Global Partnership is thus launching a global effort to develop a Partnership Agenda and Action Campaign along with a Breakthrough 2007 Initiative in order to bring as much attention to the process as possible and to present our proposals and recommendations to the United Nations and its Member States.
The Global Partnership is being developed through City Montessori School which also organizes a Global Symposium and a Chief Justices Conference that is held at the school in Lucknow India in December each year, during which the Global Partnership will continue to be discussed and developed. See: www.cmseducation.org/symposium and http://www.gpwd.org/.

We are also planning to hold regional conferences around the world in order to engage the world's people and invite them to contribute their ideas and proposals for the Global Partnership Agenda and Action Campaign. Not only could this listing of proposals and initiatives serve as a basis for the work of the various commissions that will be needed to establish a participatory means of global governance, but in addition, the regional conferences that are held could serve as a prototype for the ongoing local and regional assemblies that we would want to establish.

In fact, one of the proposals that is advanced through the Global Partnership for World Democracy, as well as the coalition building effort of the movement as a whole, could be this initiative to create a participatory means of global governance or world democracy. In addition, the process of organizing these regional conferences and welcoming proposals for solving our global problems and establishing a more democratic means of global governance could be integrated with the work and processes of the Peoples Congress.
In this way we would be able to develop both the framework and a network for establishing a participatory means of global democracy. And we would also be able to demonstrate and begin to develop legitimate electoral processes and specific recommendations on which a world constitution and a more democratic structure of global governance could be based.


RECOGNITION AND LEGITIMACY

Real legitimacy and authority to make decisions and govern however will require two things. First is the support and recognition of the world's people and the second is acceptance and recognition by the world's governments. While the first requirement, support by the world's people, is perhaps the more important; the authority and effectiveness of a participatory means of governance cannot be established without the recognition and acceptance by the world's governments. This can best be created in three ways: first, by actually organizing and establishing the processes, procedures, and policies that we want to be recognized; second, by enrolling millions of people in the process; and third, by formally inviting governments to support and to participate in the effort.
All three of these objectives could be accomplished through the development and work of the Global Partnership for World Democracy -- combined with the efforts of Simultaneous Policy (http://www.simpol.org/), the World Parliament Experiment, World Vote Now, etcetera -- and initially presented to the world's people and governments through the Breakthrough 2007 Initiative and the Peoples Congress.

No matter what type of a structure and architecture we decide to develop, we are probably better positioned than ever before to succeed in actually establishing a more democratic means of global governance. However, if we want to create a more participatory model of world democracy, then we will have to begin to develop and agree on specific strategies and proposals for how to do so. I hope that this paper can serve as a basis for discussing the possibilities. Please send in your questions, comments, suggestions, and recommendations. Your response and feedback is more than welcome.

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Rob Wheeler

is the Coordinator of International Steering Committee of World Movement for Global Democracy (WMGD) Mr. Wheeler has served as an NGO Representative at the UN for the past ten years-representing the Global Eco-village Network, the Association of World Citizens, the Millennium Peoples Assembly Network, and the International Institute for Sustainable Future. He served on the Executive Committee for the Millennium NGO Forum, as well as on the Steering Committee of the World Civil Society Forum.

Rob Wheeler robineagle@worldcitizen.org 717-264-5036