Armillary Sphere, Copyright Office du Tourisme Genève / Baud V. Maydell Global Peoples' Convention
30th December 2000

Geneva / Switzerland

Jet d'Eau, Geneva, Copyright Office du Tourisme Genève / Donald Stampfli

Global Peoples Convention

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1. Occasion

Between 30th December 1950 and 5th January 1951, the first Peoples' World Convention (PWC) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in an attempt to realize the age-old dream of establishing world peace through world law. All nations throughout the world were called up to hold elections and send delegates to the PWC, with a view of drafting a democratic world constitution that would then be presented to the United Nations and all national governments for ratification. 
Four people were actually elected by the time the convention opened - in the case of the State of Tennessee by the voters of this US-State (by virtue of a state law), and in the case of Nigeria by Tribal Chiefs (since Nigeria was then a British colony). Bills had been put before several national parliaments (in France, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, and others), asking them to decide on the possibility of relinquishing part of their national sovereignty in favour of a world authority-to-be. 
50 years later this event will be commemorated by a new Global Peoples' Convention, to be held in Geneva on 30th December 2000, in a major new effort to draft a world constitution as a legal basis for world peace. 

2. Aims of the Global Peoples' Convention

  1. The Global Peoples' Convention is to lay the foundation-stone for a worldwide discussion of the question of how we, the peoples of the world, imagine that a world in peace should look like, in very concrete terms. 
  2. It is to describe the moral principles that should guide this debate - such as the aspects of security, justice, equality, human rights, environmental protection, etc. 
  3. It is to point out the main problems that threaten global peace - such as hunger, access to fresh water, climatic changes, aids, nuclear weapons, etc. 
  4. The political institutions are to be discussed that have to be established in order to create a world of secure, just, and lasting peace; the relevant subjects here are world constitution, world parliament, world federal state, and the concept of "world order by world law". 
  5. The creation of regional networks is to be encouraged in order to enable a direct dialogue with the local population, and to coordinate concrete measures that are to be undertaken.
  6. A process is to be set in motion that will lead, as a first step, to the creation and ratification of a democratic world constitution. 
  7. The timing of a follow-up meeting is be agreed upon, for an exchange of first insights, for the presentation of a first provisional world constitution, and for the decision-taking concerning further steps. 
  8. The global awareness is to be reinforced of the fact that the present problems may be enormous and yet we can solve them; thus a sense of confidence is be conveyed, and at the same time a sense of personal responsibility to be developed. 
  9. Parallel to the Peoples' Convention, the event of 50 years ago is to be honoured in a suitable way. 

3. Vision

As a "Leitmotiv" for the Peoples' Convention, a "vision" has been put to words that describes the aims of the convention in a simple and convincing way. 

4. Organizational Form

(The form of organization chosen for the realization of the project is largely modelled along the structures which had been successfully used to organize the "Hague Appeal of Peace" in The Hague, May 1999.) 
As a first step, the founding of an "Association Geneva Peoples' Convention" is planned as a legal basis for the whole project. 
As a second step, the establishing of a foundation according to Swiss law is taken into consideration, to be formed by the Association Geneva Peoples' Convention together with two or three additional initiating organizations. 
Two members of the initiating organizations each are to form the foundation's council. 
The council is to establish a Coordinating Committee upon which the overall responsibility is bestowed for the realization of the project. 

The Coordinating Committee is in charge of 
  - logistical, administrative and legal matters; 
  - personnel & financing. 
It decides on the middle- and long-term strategy to be followed in order achieve the given aims. 
It defines the broad outlines of the convention's program. 
It convenes an Organizing Committee, an Advisory Committee, and a Honorary Committee. 
It maintains contacts to governments, NGO's, and the media. 

The Organizing Committee is in charge of the conventions day-by-day organization. 
It establishes the detailed program, and carries it out. 
It organizes regional preparatory meetings, builds and broadens net-works. 
It defines the criteria to be used when choosing and inviting delegates from around the world, establishes contacts, and decides on the final composition of the delegations. 
It assists with the organizing of travel arrangements, with settling immigration formalities, and is in charge of organizing accommodation and meals. 

The Advisory Committee is composed of individuals coming from political, scientific and academic fields, who will give expert advice on specific subjects. 

The Honorary Committee is composed of outstanding personalities who have contributed to peace through words and deeds, either locally, regionally, or on a global scale, and who have thus gained a high degree of public respect. They are to give guidance and vision to the project. 

Supporting and Participating Organizations are invited to introduce ideas, to make local propaganda, to maintain contacts to the media, to representatives from governments and the business community, and to support delegates in building local net-works. 

5. Place, Conference Center

The Peoples' Convention is to take place in Geneva
The following localities are to be considered: 
  - UNO (Palais des Nations)
  - CICG International Conference Center Geneva
  - Palais Wilson
  - World Economic Forum
  - Auditorium at OMM/WMO World Meteorological Organization
  - Auditorium at University; Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales
  - Hotel Intercontinental
  - Hotel President Wilson
The conference center should accommodate about 600 persons. 
Rent should be free of charge, including basic translation service. We expect support from the town and the state of Geneva, from federal authorities, from the United Nations. 

6. Election of Delegates, Global Representation

If at all possible, all of humanity should be represented at the Peoples' Convention on an equal basis; an over-representation of certain nations, peoples, or regions, especially of the highly industrialized nations, is to be avoided. 
For this purpose, all nations worldwide are divided into three Global Groups, "East", "West", "South", with each group having right to an equal number of delegates; these three Global Groups are then divided into three "World Regions" of equal strength each. 
On a large scale, nine World Regions are thus defined which are all more or less equal in terms of size and population, and also taking into consideration their geographic, cultural and historic cohesion. 

The total number of delegates is fixed at 270 representatives; therefore, each World Region is entitled to a delegation of 30 members .

Every regional delegation should include a number of representatives from national governments

Approximately 50 % of all members should be women

7. Program Details

The duration of the whole event is set at nine days. Half of each day is to be dedicated to a general (global) subject, and to one of the nine world regions. Two half-days are set out as breaks. 

Thematically, the Convention's  program can be presented in the following approximate details: 
Sat 30th Dec.00 am
opening session   "Africa"-Region  
Sun 31st Dec.00 am
  general subject "Arabia"-Region  
Mon 1st Jan.01 am
    "India"-Region break
Tue 2nd Jan.01 am
  general subject "Pacific"-Region  
Wed 3rd Jan.01 am
  general subject "China"-Region  
Thu 4th Jan.01 am
  general subject "Eastern Europe"-Region  
Fri 5th Jan.01 am
    "South America"-Region break
Sat 6th Jan.01 am
  general subject "North America"-Region  
Sun 7th Jan.01 am
closing session   "Western Europe"-Region  

  (am = morning, pm = afternoon) 

8. Opening Session

At the opening of the convention, the general aims, the procedure and future steps are to be spelled out again in detail. 

9. Closing Session

On the last day, delegates are to be reminded that  this Peoples' Convention is not meant to be a purpose in itself but rather serve as a starting point for a global action: This action consists in setting in motion an intense discussion between governments, NGO's and individual citizens about the question: how do we, the peoples of the world, conceive a democratic world government to function in the name of world peace. 

10. General Subjects

A range of five subjects of global interest is to be determined, for which we consider a global and democratic solution has to be found urgently - such as disarmament, environment, drinking water, food, etc. 
Experts from around the world are to be invited to elaborate on these subjects. 

11. World-Regional Subjects

To a large extent it will be up to the regional delegations of 30 participants each to decide for themselves which subjects are to be presented, and how. The general aim is to describe one's wishes and ideas concerning the concept of a future world constitution and world government - as well as the course to be followed in order to get there. 

12. Breaks

On the two half-days set out as breaks, the organization of a tourist program can be taken into consideration, e.g. a bus excursion, or a ship cruise on the lake of Geneva. 
Talks are to be held with possible organizers, such as Swiss Tourism, the tourist boards of the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Valais, etc. 

13. Cultural Program

On each day of the conference, a cultural program that is associated to the world region of the day, is to be organized, such as 
   - typical meals and drinks from this region (lunch, dinner, snacks); 
   - exhibition of skilled craft; 
   - concerts, plays, as evening entertainment. 

14. Presidency of the Convention

To be determined. 

15. Translations, Convention Language(s)

The officially accepted Convention languages have to be determined, and the question of translations into which other languages. 

16. Seating

On the left: 
In the middle: 
On the right:
3 groups "West" 
3 groups "South" 
3 groups "East

17. Badges

Badges for every participant are to prepared, with name and first name, possibly also including some visual identification of regional origin. 

18. Travelling to Geneva

As a rule, everybody travels at his/her own expense. On request, the foundation will organize and/or subsidize air travel. Early negotiations with airlines are to be taken up. 
Individual taxi transfer between airport and hotel, v.v. 

19. Accommodation

All delegates should be accommodated in one or at the maximum three hotels, in order to facilitate transfers. 
A sufficient number of single rooms are to be reserved, negotiations for special rates to be held. 

20. Meals, Drinks

Breakfast: individually at the hotel. 
Lunch and dinner: it is desirable that these meals are taken in common, perhaps alternatively at different places. 
Snacks, drinks: ideally these could be provided and sponsored by the respective world regional groups of the day. 

21. Transportation within the Town of Geneva

Six to seven 50-seater busses are needed for daily transfers from the hotels to the conference center and back, and for transfers to eating places. 
Cost and sponsoring to be clarified. 

22. Clothing

It is to be examined whether winter clothing would have to be put at the disposal of delegates coming from tropical countries. 

23. Logo

A logo is to be created, consisting of text and picture, that can be used on all written products (letters, fax, internet presence). It should be simple, easily recognizable, and memorable. 

24. Budget

The budget depends on expected sponsoring. 
The following specific items are to be covered: 
- rent of conference center 
- translation service 
- flights and taxi 
- accommodation/breakfast 
- lunch, dinner 
- bus transfers 
- documentation 
- cultural program 
- organization 
Total cost
9 days at SFr. 10'000 
8 days at SFr. 10'000 
270 pax at SFr. 1'500 
270 pax / 10 days at SFr. 100 
270 pax / 10 days at SFr. 80 
10 days at SFr. 2'500 
500 ex. at SFr. 100 
9 events at SFr. 10'000 
3 staff, materiel, office space
(or free) 
(or free)


25. Sponsoring

A list is to be drawn up, of institutions and personalities that could be approached for contributions. 
Procedure, timing, responsibilities to be clarified. 

26. Press Releases

A first info to the media is to be released at the time of founding of the association; further info's are to follow every four to six weeks. 
For the first info, a list of names and addressees is to be drawn up (with emphasis on international papers and NGO's). 
Edition, print, mailing, costs to be clarified. 

27. Internet

The project is to be published in the internet, with utmost openness, at its own proper web-site. Regular updates on the development of the preparations, on the convention itself, and on follow-up activities are to be made. 
The internet presentation is to be interactive, in such a manner that a free exchange of opinions is enabled. 
An expert HTML-programmer (preferably on a voluntary basis) is to be engaged to establish and maintain the site. 

28. Documentation, Protocol

Details about the ongoing work, as well as details concerning the actual progress of the Convention itself, are to be documented and published in the fullest possible way. 
All delegates are to be able to distribute their own documentation to participants and the press. 

29. Commemorative Activities

The referring event of December 1950 is to be honoured in an appropriate manner. 
A documentation is to be put together, about the events background history, the people involved, existing documents, photographs, newspaper articles. 
Possibly, an exhibition room could be prepared in the vicinity of the conference center, for commemorative purposes. 

30. Further Procedures AFTER the Geneva Peoples' Convention

Participants are called on to start setting up their own local networks immediately following the Convention, in order to start a dialogue among the population about the details of a world constitution-to-be. 
All such local networks are to be interconnected in such a way as to enable extended discussions on a regional level. 
A permanent Coordinating Center is to bring the ongoing discussions together to a global level, and to publish them in an appropriate way. 
The Coordinating Center supports local representatives with the setting up of local networks - such support may include logistical and financial aid. To a large extent it is responsible for the continuous spurring on of local activities, and for achieving a high degree of efficiency and professionalism in the developing of public opinion. It is in charge of the organization and realization of a follow-up meeting of the Peoples' Convention. 
At the latest after one year, by 30th December 2001, a first provisional world constitution is to be drafted and published as a basis for further discussions. 

31. Cooperation with Related Undertakings

Activities of similarly orientated organizations, that might be invited to participate in the project, are to be constantly monitored (such as the Congrès des Peuples, Paris; MPAN; Global Coalition for World Democracy; African Campaign for Global Democracy, the Global Conference On Peace, Ottawa; the Alliance's Assembly 2001; etc.). 
Through regular contacts to such organizations, unnecessary duplications of activities are to be avoided. 
Possibilities are to be studied for common structures, for a common presence in the media, and for the common use of local, regional and global networks. 

32. Experience from the Past

Apart from the experience of the first peoples' convent in 1950, documentation and insights from other, similar activities of the past are to be systematically collected and used in the planning and realization of the Geneva Peoples' Convention and all future follow-up activities. 
In particular it would seem useful to study the history of the origin and drafting of the present South African Constitution - as a model case for the democratic development of public opinion within a highly complex society - and in the same context of searching for a just, peace-orientated state constitution. The then active exponents of the constitutional commission in charge are to be contacted and lessons learned for the realization of the present project. 


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Original text written by Peter Kasser
23rd January 2000

Last update: 24th June 2001