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www.alliance21.org > Workgroups > Thematic Groups > World Parliament > Forum: Proposal for a World Parliament for the Twenty-first Century (October 2002 - October 2003)

World Parliament

World Parliament

A Few Proposals Produced by the Debate

1. Values and Principles for a World Parliament

Promote personal maturity and sovereignty. “Parliamentary” democracy has become demagogy, because parliamentary majorities control the executive branch. We all have to make a cultural leap to see ourselves as Sovereign Citizens. Human beings must be rigorously educated from childhood to think of the world with rights and a prince’s responsibilities, rights and duties shared with all other Citizens.

Develop self-governance. That is to say, base global governance on the voluntary coordination of behavior for the benefit of all, on decision making entrusted to those who are most affected by the decisions. Modern technology makes this possible. The World Parliament should try to influence governments with the help of a well-informed public opinion.

Organize ourselves through self-regulation and continuous adjustment. Implement tools for self-criticism for all the elements of the organization of global governance and of the World Parliament. We will thus be able to design improved versions of our own societies, and to avoid that the best of our previous successes do not become future obstacles through excessive conservatism.

Institute peace, cooperation, and generosity among international actors. The obvious prerequisite to democracy is cooperation. The people who expect to bring about such democracy must obviously first be in a state of cooperation with each other before they can agree to design appropriate government institutions. War must be declared illegal.

Make progress in the means for transparency. For every citizen to remain informed on everything taking place at the World Parliament. Transparency means that a government body is open at all times to inspection during its debates. Transparency is not easy to implement because it runs up against fundamental self-protective human reflexes when facing the possible danger of being stabbed in the back.

Move toward representation by tasks. In countries that claim to be democratic today, political parties announce a complete program. On the other hand, "communities of ideas" are formed around a single aspiration, for example “food for everyone" or to "put an end to racism," giving the elected officials of these communities a program that is clear to everybody.

Uphold the principle of consistency. Consistency is indispensable to prevent contradictory laws to be voted in, canceling the Parliament’s credibility. It cannot support the criminal behavior of one state and condemn another for the same behavior...

2. The Architecture of Global Governance

Combine centralized and decentralized approaches. The World Parliament can be a combination of different departments: a head section, fairly centralized as in the U.N. structure, a recognizable icon. A section that includes NGOs and overall communication. A section for research, touching upon the level of the individual, all over the world, by putting in a complementary position all the nonprofit organizations that are already doing everywhere in the world what the World Parliament attempts to do on a global scale.

A voice of the peoples with a single seat at the U.N. This peoples’ seat will have no veto, voting, or opinion power. Completely non-threatening. The power in this seat will literally be the will of the world population. Its method will be to present reasoned and very well-thought-out solutions to world issues.

A Council of Sages. Thinkers, scientists, men from the field... democratically elected and in charge of giving their opinion and their understanding. It would preside over bodies of analysis and evaluation of the global situation and of the parliamentary system. It would formulate a set of measures.

An international Peace Force. Its first mission is to intervene peacefully "as soon as the first signs of tensions appear," before conflicts break out. It will exercise a "right of peaceful intervention" to operate at the very beginning of a conflict.

Give NGOs a democratic legitimacy. NGOs can set criteria to become Supranational Volunteer Democratic Organizations [ODVS - SVDO]. They could set up the Peoples’ Assembly immediately. In conflicts among organizations legitimacy is a key consideration.

Institution of "transnational embassies." That is to say, not representing a specific nation and at the service of all of the Earth’s inhabitants, in coordination with the World Parliament.

3. Organization of the World Parliament

A Chamber of Advisers ... This "collegial chamber" comprises students, administrative staff from colleges and universities, socioprofessional networks and researchers... or a Council of delegates, which would include representatives of activist organizations. Both would be third parties to be added to the classic binomial territorial chamber - citizens’ chamber.

"Professional politicians," in the same way that judges are professionals. They study politics at "Independent Political Academies." Trained for very dense intellectual work, having enough time to find consensuses among themselves and the necessary independence from political parties.

Representation by task or "community of ideas." Which would reflect the main concerns of the Earth’s inhabitants and would lead to representation on a clear and precise contract that is to be necessarily fulfilled. These could include banners such as: "Food for everyone," "Right to housing for all," "Equal access to justice"… These communities would kind of play the role of political parties without being antagonistic, but rather, complementary. Competent people of the field, not politicians. A Chamber of Proposals that is also a third party to add to the higher, or territorial, and lower, or citizens chambers.

Automatic dismissal of elected officials who do not vote according to their people’s will or comply with it. According to organized polls. This would consist in a simple vote on the dismissal, or not, of a person from his/her position.

Organization in "sociocratic circles" and networks of actors, from the bottom to the top. Deliberative circles at a human scale (no more than a very limited number of people) of the actors concerned (clients, infrastructure suppliers, etc.) should form networks, and when the dimension and the complexity of the community unit grows, nests of networks.

One of the practical aspects that make sociocracy work is the double link among circles. This means one or several representatives at the next level up and one or several to bring the decision making back down to a lower level. This ensures bottom-up and top-down communication. It also takes into account a bilateral delegation of the execution of the tasks. One can thus establish eight levels of small circles from the street to the planet, where everyone can move up or down on the ladder.

In the "professional politicians" version, each level of government would be fairly independent, so it would not be possible for a politician to move from the bottom up. Every legislator - cantonal, provincial, national, or continental - would be catapulted to his/her position by a combined lottery, for a single term.

A simple tool to establish gender balance: positions by pairs. Every position would have to be held by a man-woman binomial to make parity a reality and not only wishful thinking.

Multiple voting. This refers to a voting technique that allows the voter to state choices that really cover all his/her leanings. Every voter has "ten points for positive votes" and ten other for "negative" ones, which have to be distributed among the proposals that seem important to us.

A period of time to study the programs. This period would be financed with public or collective funds. A period of a few months for technical teams who are candidates to prepare them, and a period of a few weeks for citizens so they can study them before voting on them. The team having obtained the most votes in two rounds would be in charge of its implementation over a period four years, i.e., in charge of governing.

Local and regional assemblies. Their range of functions would be broad and not pre-established, or even depending on the experiences of each of these future bodies.

A systematic self-evaluation cell, which analyzes the effects (feedback) caused by all the decisions made by the Earth Assembly. There is where a mixed assembly of wise persons and researchers will be able to balance the government by the people and for the people.

An Art Committee. Art is the most fundamental step in world affairs. People in the world can have a variety of political opinions, but they can be united on the fundamental basis of art, because it is universal. One can understand its deep meaning with no need for explanation or translation.

A possible list of work teams on the World Parliament: Coordination team; team for the evaluation the preliminary work; team for the evaluation of the functioning of the World Parliament; writing team; financing team; web and media teams; several logistical teams, etc.

4. Objectives and day-to-day development of the World Parliament

Principle of consent: Meetings with an "approval round" where the president asks every person individually if he or she agrees to a particular decision or not. After the arguments are presented, the other participants present their objections. For the discussions to be efficient, there should be a maximum limit of 20-25 people per meeting.

Transparency and the Internet. All information, all projects, and all expenses must be accessible on the Internet, and this in all languages, for "absolute transparency." Every proposal could be on the Internet, or discussed in collective forums, with agreements and disagreements recorded and published on Web pages so that everyone can form an opinion.

For the funding: establishment of world taxes and regulation and management of the common goods. Regulation and establishment of taxes on international activities including monetary transactions, the exploitation and conservation of natural resources (equitable access to the land, minerals) and the world "common goods," including the ocean zones and the polar regions, space, radio wave bands. Taxes on national military expenses or transfer of military expenses to world needs, with, in addition, disarmament or transarmement processes.

The World Parliament as a consultative body to collect complaints and proposals. The World Parliament should be: a) a place where one can present and debate global issues; b) where one can work toward consensus; c) where proposals or recommendations of meaningful solutions based on research are brought to the attention of the populations, the media, and governments; d) a place to denounce elected officials of any nation who do not heed the will of their population.

Local and regional assemblies, day-to-day. A first round of discussion must consist in a gigantic brainstorming session to propose the best possibilities, components, and means of implementation for a better world. Then, it will be necessary to develop the means and forums to discuss every proposal. Several meetings and groups, with tools such as sociocracy, the technology of open forums , the chaordic theory , etc. will broaden the discussion. At the time of implementation, a core team will have been formed to back and work firmly to implement the proposal(s).

5. Strategies to build the Parliament and to achieve global democracy

Simultaneous policy. Citizens and organizations are committed to voting for parties, which in turn are committed to adopting "simultaneous policy." This means than once in power, governments sign "preliminary commitment agreements" on which, after the signature of a given number of countries in the world, everyone is committed at the moment of their simultaneous and definitive signature, in order, this way, to prevent investment-capital flight collectively. Simultaneous policy could include policies and provisions for the creation of a World Parliament if necessary. (see "Simultaneous policy" in the chapter on examples of initiatives)

Progressive voting. Technically, it seems very difficult, to start with, to have all the people of the planet vote. But to get the vote of a sample comprising a tenth of the voices of every country selected through a draw, would already be statistically significant, along with the psychological impact this being the people’s will.

An example of a World Parliament set up according to representation by task (community of ideas). Year 1: determination by poll of the "communities of ideas"; Year 2: publication of the official communities of ideas and call to local candidates; Year 3: local elections; Year 4: setting up regional and national institutions; Year 5: formation of the World Parliament and setting up of national "embassies." Advantages: 1) this ensures a true representation of the world population thanks to a single election at the most local level possible; 2) it prevents state recuperation thanks to the absence of central elections, a media campaign for local representatives subordinated to central power being difficult to conceive; 3) it highlights the essential concerns of humankind and relativizes the importance of some of the concerns of the holders of state power; 4) it gathers the populations of the world in non-state international bodies.

Examples of activities and recommendations, to be undertaken by a World Parliament. Determine "scales" (indices) of accomplishment in several fields, similar to the Human Development Index, Freedom Index, etc.; list and develop in detail everything that any nation can usefully replicate from any other nation; identify examples of enhancement of production power through the integration of a number of different sectors; support the Internet and computer cause; fight superstitions of all kinds, such as terrorism, the scientism, etc.; underscore the non-democratic nature of the United Nations; abundantly examine development and cooperation strategies; emancipate the chains of reactionary conservatism on their theoretical battlefield through education; etc.

Two strategically important fields: global democracy and basic rights, where global civil society would be able to act with greater immediate success before solving problems such as world peace, world poverty, and global inequality. NGOs have very limited means, power, and legitimacy. The U.N. often has its hands tied. A World Parliament cannot change things from one day to the next, but by working with other organizations with similar aims, it could force minor changes that could add up to become major ones.

Progressive endorsement of the World Parliament. This was Jean Monnet’s strategy for a European system, in which the European Parliament went from being mainly an advisory body to having a veto power over nearly 80% of European Union legislation. The first step would be to constitute a World Parliament and invite a few countries, in particular those with a neutrality tradition such as the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Costa Rica, etc., to be part of it. A first success in this direction would determine the next steps, in which other countries would endorse the Parliament progressively.

An example of multiple approaches. a) educational: encourage public authorities, educators, parents and citizens to develop children’s critical abilities and cooperative and social self-confidence; add psychology courses, develop awareness of the causes of destructive competition, make it possible for decision making to be in the hands of voters and informed administrators; b) community-based: encourage organizations to converge in order to gain greater influence at the United Nations and other supranational authorities while trying to institute a World Parliament alongside the U.N. in view of merging with it; c) administrative: support the merging of the current developments of proposals for a World Parliament outside of the U.N., including initiatives such as the temporary WCPA/GREN/CFE parliament, etc. ; d) national: encourage national governments to develop consent, and if possible consensus, on national legislation and constitutional evolution aimed at increasing democratic governance (temporary representation, subsidiarity, sustainability, accountability, responsibility, networks, etc.) ; e) multilateral: encourage citizens of the world and national political decision makers to develop these democratic changes multilaterally; this will include principles for a development policy that will require broad agreement and major cooperation among once-competing national governments.

6. Next Steps

Try a virtual simulation of the Parliament as of now. The World Parliament Experiment is a simulation on the Internet of active global democracy. Participants can submit petitions on political issues, procedures, or representatives and can vote on them. The task of representatives (NGOs, for instance) is to make these decisions effective in real life.

Consultation of the people. It would be necessary to begin consulting the people on the provisions and the organization of the Parliament. That is to say, survey the population on the kind of structure with which it is prepared to identify.

Convocation of a general meeting of civil society for world democracy. A “World Democratic Political Forum” or World Forum for a World Parliament addressing the participation of political parties and political figures of world relevance, could lead to reconciliation between world civil society (as gathered in particular at the Porto Alegre forum) and the economic elite (as symbolized by the Davos forum). On the other hand, a "World Social Assembly” could assemble civil society exclusively, as the guarantor of a world citizens’ alternative to offset the political sphere, which, day after day, seems unable to meet the global challenges. This Assembly would seek a pact later, after it has achieved a true position of power thanks to a broad citizens’ consensus.

Write basic documents for an action campaign. Each text would cover a different key field and would describe succinctly: a) a basic world problem that we are currently facing; b) how it affects humankind; c) the benefits that we would get if we could solve the problem; d) the cost of the resolution of the problem; and e) specific recommendations on what could be done to solve it. Then those who are interested at the World Parliament could truly support and work on the most important issues, even before the World Parliament is completely instituted.

Commit to working on a common charter of values and a model for a World Parliament 1) establish a clear text on the values of the World Parliament; 2) take a detailed look at the World Parliament model that we choose to propose and implement; 3) work on the Charter of Commitment on "Communities of Ideas," or delegation by task, as well as on how it can operate from the local to global and how to get it broadly endorsed; the Charter of Values must be a strong and powerful text on the principles and humanist values on which we have debated, and build on the Major Texts (Human Rights, Earth Charter, etc.)

Set up groups by region or language. Developing discussion lists in our own languages is a step toward our organizing as local and regional communities. We do, however, need to maintain this multilingual discussion list. Combining these two approaches is fundamental.

Forum: Proposal for a World Parliament for the Twenty-first Century (October 2002 - October 2003)

-I. Foreword
-II. Introduction
-III. Calendar
-IV. Summary 1
-V. Summary 2
-VI. Summary 3
-VII. Summary 4
-VIII. Summary 5
-IX. Summary 6
-X. Second Stage (May - October 2003) and Follow-up to the Project

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