|Global Peoples' Convention
Geneva / Switzerland
1. OccasionBetween 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
3. VisionAs 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
The Organizing Committee is in charge of the conventions day-by-day
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 CenterThe 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 RepresentationIf 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 DetailsThe 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:
(am = morning, pm = afternoon)
8. Opening SessionAt the opening of the convention, the general aims, the procedure and future steps are to be spelled out again in detail.
9. Closing SessionOn 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 SubjectsA 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 SubjectsTo 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. BreaksOn 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 ProgramOn 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 ConventionTo 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.
17. BadgesBadges for every participant are to prepared, with name and first name, possibly also including some visual identification of regional origin.
18. Travelling to GenevaAs 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. AccommodationAll 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, DrinksBreakfast: 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 GenevaSix 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. ClothingIt is to be examined whether winter clothing would have to be put at the disposal of delegates coming from tropical countries.
23. LogoA 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. BudgetThe budget depends on expected sponsoring.
The following specific items are to be covered:
25. SponsoringA list is to be drawn up, of institutions and personalities that could be approached for contributions.
Procedure, timing, responsibilities to be clarified.
26. Press ReleasesA 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. InternetThe 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, ProtocolDetails 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 ActivitiesThe 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' ConventionParticipants 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 UndertakingsActivities 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 PastApart 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