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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.