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Assembly > Medias > December 2001, 10

One Page Turned and a New Page to Write on

An international assembly usually concludes with a final communiqué. The World Assembly of Lille ended simply with "a blank page" that remains to written on.

The Assembly marked the end of a long process that began ten years ago with the launching of the Alliance and its regional and socioprofessional workshops and resulted in the drafting of Proposal Papers and "Breakthroughs." The Charter itself was temporary. It was revised on Monday on the basis of the various commentaries and it was made broader in its principles. "But the work remains to be done": The new version is now on the Alliance Web site, at the disposal of anyone who still wishes to amend and improve it, for completion and final publication in April 2002.

The future remains to be built, which means first that the Charter for a Responsible, Plural and United World will contribute to the thinking of international bodies, starting with the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre. In fact, one of the WSF organizers greeted the Alliance process: "We know," he said, "that the world cannot continue as it is and we urgently need proposals by the civil society."

Alongside the principles, several concrete proposals have been formulated. The Lille Assembly will be the starting point of new actions. Theme-based and regional meetings have been planned, exchange networks will be set up … "We don't really know yet what the Alliance will become," said Pierre Calame, "but clearly it will become multipolar." The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind, which had committed to back it until the Lille Assembly, will continue to provide support, but, as wished for by many, future developments will doubtlessly call for seeking other partners.
Some have suggested the idea of a "World Parliament." Not an Assembly of states, as in the present international institutions, which are in fact largely questioned and often judged undemocratic, but "a Parliament of the citizens of the world."

It is a project for which we still have to elaborate the form. Pierre Calame admitted that the idea needed some time to develop: "I don't yet see in what form it could materialize," he said.

Time will tell. The Alliance, which is neither an institution nor a NGO, is not aiming for power. It provides, according to its advocates, a method and a spirit.
The method is what made it possible to set up, probably for the first time, unprecedented tools for dialogue among different, sometimes divergent cultures, languages, and social contexts. It is also about systematically bringing together different fields of competence and knowledge. Specialization only leads to everyone's working within their own bubble. Only a cross-sectional vision can be constructive. "It is striking," observed Pierre Calame, "to see that the mapping confirms the idea that all the groups are challenged by the same principles." The idea of a new governance appears just as necessary to those thinking about a new education, as to those working for corporate responsibility and those building an environment-friendly economy… Issues related to the biosphere do not only concern scientists, but also farmers, NGOs, and elected officials. And so on.

There is much to say about the assessment of Lille, which has already filled a considerable mass of papers, files, and translations. More will still be published, and probably amended and improved.

The Assembly ended as it began, to the beat of the drums for peace. The Mayor of Lille, Ms. Martine Aubry, came to greet the Assembly participants. "We are asking ourselves the same questions," she said, highlighting the importance of the civil dialogue promoted by the Alliance. "A dialogue that must take place," she said, "in a spirit of attention and tolerance," adding that politicians needed to "hear the voice of voiceless and of those who have been excluded."

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