Associate Professor Chris Hamer, President of the World Citizens Association of Australia
On behalf of the World Citizens Association Australia, World Citizens Association of Australia, President, Associate Professor Chris Hamer provides the following summary of the proceedings of the WFM-IGP online conference held on 24-25 October 2020.
Our WCAA/CWSC members were well represented at this meeting, with Ton Macel, John Hegarty, Nicholas Rowe, Domenico Moro, Daniel Blewitt, Nigel Davenport, Dr Zeny Edwards, Luiz Bispo, Austin Mackell and myself among a total of about 45 participants from around the world! Proceedings were moderated by Peter Luff, Congress Chair of the WFM.
The current trend against multi-lateralism has reduced the WFM/IGP to a dire state, as revealed by Keith Best in answer to a question on day 2. The bulk of its funding, around $3M per annum from the Ford Foundation and the Macarthur Foundation, has now disappeared, not to mention $100K from the Australian government (among others). They have had to lay off most of their employed staff, and give up their offices in both New York and Brussels, hoping to be able to reoccupy them later.
Day 1, morning.
Session 1 on the Future of the World Federalist Movement involved presentations by Fernando Iglesias (President WFM), Keith Best and Bente Neilson (Executive Chairs WFM), and Anji Manivannan (Director of Programs, WFM-IGP). They rehearsed previous successes of the movement: the Coalition for an International Criminal Court (ICC), which takes up 90% of their resources, and the adoption of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) by the UN. They noted important current campaigns: the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA); the COPLA campaign in Latin America for an international Court to combat organized crime in the region; and the campaign for reform of the method of electing the UN Secretary-General. They also noted the huge efforts put into the recent UN2020 campaign for reform of the UN on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.
On the other hand, they noted the serious financial position of the organization which has reduced it to crisis mode, the loss of support for multi-lateralism generally, and the added problems of the Covid pandemic. There is an urgent need to extend and broaden our membership.
Daniel Blewitt, Executive Director of Young World Federalists
Session 2 on Working Together to Grow Our Movement involved presentations by Daniel Blewitt, Executive Director of the new Young World Federalists, John Vlasto, Associate of Democracy Without Borders, and Martin Chibanda, also of the Young World Federalists. Daniel and his YWF organization on social media were the stars of the day, being able to boast of over 5000 followers on reddit, and 100 active members, less than a year after their foundation! Daniel, with his experience in online marketing, stressed that in order to attract more young people to the movement, we need to improve our “branding”, using more direct language and universal symbols, which will be more easily found by people searching on the web. He argued that there was plenty of sympathy for our ideas out there, but most people these days have know nothing about world federalism and have never heard of it. Andreas Bummel mentioned the change of name of his group to the international ‘Democracy Without Borders’. There was also considerable discussion of the ‘crisis in democracy’ due to the rising challenge from authoritarian states. Peter and Keith promised to discuss the branding issue in future board meetings.
Session 3 on The Need for a Post-Covid World Order I didn’t attend (very late, Sydney time).
Day 2, morning.
Session 4. The first presentation on Transnational Working Groups for World Federalist Solutions was a short summary by Fernando Iglesias (President of the WFM), on the need for TWGs involving collaborations with other civil society organizations to carry on the work of the WFM. He acts as coordinator for the TWGs. Then there was a presentation moderated by Camile Badra (Executive
Director, Democracia Global)on Opportunities and Challenges in AI and Global Governance by Robert Whitfield, (Chair of Trustees, One World Trust), Marcelo Lemos (member TWG), and Didier Courneille (Co-Chair, Healthy Life Extension Society). They painted a picture straight out of science fiction of a future driven by artificial intelligence! It could bring great benefits, such as everybody living in luxury while all the work is done by robots (as in Wall-E), and possibly eternal life for humans (!); and also great dangers, such as automated nuclear war, automated cyber crime, mass unemployment, and even cyborgs with super-intelligence taking over the world, maybe in as little as thirty years! They argued the need for global regulation of the industry.
Session 5 on Key Campaigns of the World Federalist Movement involved presentations by AnjiManivannan (Director of Programs WFM-IGP), on the work of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP), plus CamileBadra (Executive Director, Democracia Global), on the Latin American and Caribbean Criminal Court against Organized Crime (COPLA).
The first two campaigns are the greatest successes of the movement so far, largely due to the previous Executive Director Bill Pace, and have taken up most of the finances of the group. The CICC now has 2500 civil society organizations as members! But they are facing challenging times, e.g. the US has imposed sanctions against the ICC, and the R2P doctrine has not been invoked again ever since the Libyan intervention ended in chaos for that country. The receptiveness for these ideas has declined, and we need to do something to highlight again the need for prevention of mass atrocities.
The third campaign in Latin America is mainly to the credit of Fernando Iglesias and his organization Democracia Global, and is very active at the moment. Camile showed some slides on it. The idea has been endorsed by the Argentinian Parliament, and the Parliament of MERCOSUR; they are working on persuading other nations in Latin America to approve it.
Session 6 on UN Reform Campaigns involved presentations by Fergus Watt, Executive Director WFM – Canada on the UN2020 Campaign; Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders on the UNPA campaign; and Prof Fritz Pointer together with Vernita Pearl Fort from the Democratic World Federalists on UN Charter Review. Our members should be familiar with the first two campaigns from emails we have been distributing, and the visit of Andreas to Australia which we sponsored last year. The DWF discussion placed heavy emphasis on Article 109 of the 1945 Charter, which promised a Review within the first ten years, but was never implemented. I’m afraid relying on a legal argument is never going to be enough .
democracy without borders
Andreas claimed his campaign was the single most important project for the WFM, with which I would have to agree. He reported that it had been discussed in the UN General Assembly, but had attracted little interest, even from Germany! The UN Parliamentary Network proposal could be a step towards a UNPA, however.
Finally, Session 7 consisting of a Q & A on Key Campaigns and Policy Contributions from Membersallowed a 3-minute presentation by myself outlining briefly the aims of our Coalition for a World Security Community of democratic nations, which I hope will be formally adopted by the WFM-IGP as an official TWG in the area of peace and security; and also a discussion by a group including Domenico Moroadvocating Mikhail Gorbachev’s idea of a “Common European Home”, embracing both the EU and Russia.
Conclusions (including contributions from Fernando Iglesias, Keith Best, and Bob Flax). The WFM-IGP is only a small International Non-government organization (INGO) compared to biggies such as the Red Cross, Greenpeace or Amnesty International. But its mission is an extremely important one: we must work to extend its influence, particularly through partner organizations, and recruit more young people by refreshing its branding, as advocated by Daniel.John Vlasto, Communications/ Outreach Director for the WFM-IGP, urged everyone to subscribe to the Discord social media network set up by Daniel and his crew.
Bob Flax, President of Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), USA, pointed to two policy recommendations that he submitted to the WFM:
We set an achievable target date for world federation by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the UN.
We offer a ‘Big Tent’ for both short-term and long-term campaigns directed towards this goal.
I noted the Biden policy document promising a Summit for Democracy in the first year of his Presidency. Hopefully we will all have cause for celebration in a couple of weeks time, when the result of the US Presidential election is known!
The Unfold Zero Report on the United Nations High Level Meeting on the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which also called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045. Refer to the links below:
You can sign the Petition (link below)
Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (link below)
Historic milestone: UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reaches 50 ratifications needed for entry into force
On October 24, 2020, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reached the required 50 states parties for its entry into force, after Honduras ratified just one day after Jamaica and Nauru submitted their ratifications. In 90 days, the treaty will enter into force, cementing a categorical ban on nuclear weapons, 75 years after their first use.
This is a historic milestone for this landmark treaty. Prior to the TPNW’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international law, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Now, with the treaty’s entry into force, we can call nuclear weapons what they are: prohibited weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons.
The impact of COVID-19 has re-shaped urban life around the world. Local communities have played a key role in contributing to keeping people safe and adopting a resilient attitude during this health crisis.
All communities are making significant contributions towards alleviating poverty, discrimination and racism within neighbourhoods, while individual households in urban areas are providing an enabling environment for work and study in the home.
UN-Habitat’s latest World Cities Report reinforces the benefits of cities that engage all stakeholders, including local communities to foster sustainable cities. The Secretary-General has identified cities and communities as being on the frontline of the COVID-19 response. Collectively, we can truly foster sustainable cities for all.
The recognition of communities’ value must be maintained beyond the virus outbreak. Sustainable Development Goal 11, which formulates the ambition to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable - underpins the UN-Habitat’s mission. Inequalities in cities have grown since 1980. The world largest cities are also often the most unequal, and this year’s theme is embraced by the action and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which places the topic of inclusive cities as one of the main pillars of sustainability and growth.
World citizens are truly members of one human family sharing a common humanity.
World Federalist Movement Online Conference
Please save the date and join us for WFM’s Online Conference on October 24 and 25!
Please email Matteo at the WFM Secretariat at email@example.com to register and with advance questions you have for the panelists. You may also put forward a policy recommendation by emailing it to Matteo (no more than 250 words). We need your registration, advance questions, and any policy recommendation(s) before October 19.
An advertisement for the position of Executive Director of the WFM-IGP, the umbrella organization of the World Federalist Movement, appeared recently.. This is a crucial leadership positionfor the whole movement, and was previously occupied by Bill Pace (and, briefly, by TawandaHondora).
How Democracy Survives:
Crises of the Nation State
We have just received notice of this online symposium, which I think should be of great interest to all of us world federalists. See the website at
The Frederick S. PardeeCenter for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies will host an online symposium, “How Democracy Survives: The Crises of the Nation State.”
In this three-day online symposium, leading scholars and activists from around the world will explore how democratic values and institutions can evolve and adapt to the growing challenges that are now destabilizing democratic nation states, such as climate change, resurgent nationalism, ethnic and religious conflict, human rights abuses, and deepening levels of economic inequality.
The symposium will take place from October 28th-30th, 2020, and is free and open to the public. The full agenda is at http://www.bu.edu/pardee/
Tiziana Stella, Executive Director of the Streit Council for a Union of Democracies, will be speaking at 10:30 am – 12:00 pm EST Thursday 29th in a session on“The Evolution of Democratic Federalism”. A session of particular interest to us will be on the final day, with the morning session under the title "Cosmopolitan Democracy and the Nation State", which includes contributions from our friends:
Joseph Baratta, on the history of the world federalist movement;
Andreas Bummel, on the campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly;
Shahryar Sharei, on UN Charter Review; moderated by Augusto Lopez-Claros of the Global Governance Forum;
And an afternoon session entitled "The Future of Democratic Federalism" including:
Susanna Cafaro, on Europe as a Lab for supranational democracy; and John Davenport, a member of our own Coalition for a WSC , on Themes from a League of Democracies, Consolidation Arguments, and Global Public Goods!
This encompasses most of the current ideas for the next steps towards a world federation!
You can register at the website above.
New Executive Director for the WFM-IGP
An advertisement for the position of Executive Director of the WFM-IGP, the umbrella organization of the World Federalist Movement, has appeared recently.. This is a crucial leadership positionfor the whole movement, and was previously
occupied by Bill Pace (and, briefly, by TawandaHondora).
The Future We Want, The UN We Need
On September 16th and 17th (with community-driven sessions to follow on Sept. 18th), we will gather virtually to honor the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. A cornerstone of international order since 1945, the United Nations must continue to adapt and innovate to respond to new threats, challenges, and opportunities in our current age of complexity.
The UN75 Global Governance Forum seeks to promote a more inclusive and effective United Nations through dialogue and recommendations that better harness the ideas, capabilities, and networks of both state and
non-state actors for achieving the UN?s commitment to peace, sustainable development, human rights, and
a stable climate
In this spirit, participants will seek collectively to raise the ambition of the UN75 Declaration - to be adopted on September 21st by world leaders - by initiating new multistakeholder pilot projects and presenting global governance innovations toward the realization of ‘The future we want, the UN we need.’ Information regarding the forum, including the agenda, honorary co-chairs, partnership and innovation tracks, and speakers can be found on the forum website.
[from the UN2020 website]
Meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chairman of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last July in Denmark to discuss how to strengthen the spine of democracies against the forces of autocracy. Since then, US Secretary of State Pompeo has called for "a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies."
Alliance of Democracies also hosted the Secretary of State at the recent Copenhagen Democracy Summit where he spoke more in depth about the role the United States needs to take when dealing with challenges to our democracies.
Watch the full session here
[from The Democracy Defender, newsletter of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation]
Young World Federalist
An introduction to the world federalism movement - video below:
Global Citizens concert
April 2020. A major online concert,‘One World: Together at Home’, was organized by Global Citizen, which is a largely online community education group led by activist Hugh Evans, originally from Melbourne.The concert apparently raised $79 million for the WHO! We can only dream of such a global reach.
Commission for the Human Future report
March 2020. The new Commission for the Human Future has issued a report entitled ‘Surviving andThriving in the 21st Century’. It is a report from an expert round table convened by the Commission on March 28th this year. The members of the round table are a very impressive group, including some linked to us, such as scientists (Will Steffen and Geoff Davies), and some leaders of kindred organizations such as ICAN and MAPW (Tilman Ruff and Sue Wareham). The Commission has very similar objectives to ours – see further comments below. The report begins with a “Call to All Nations People” from John Hewson, the Chairman of the Commission.
(Crawford School of Public Policy – ANU)
Looking at thereport in a little more detail, from our own perspective as world federalists, it begins with a detailed discussion of ten global catastrophic risks, including overpopulation, climate change, nuclear weapons, and pandemics, which largely overlap with our own motivations. After considerable discussion, their conclusions include “a need for sweeping political reform”, and “the world needs more effective democracy, not less.” They conclude with a Recommendation
“The Commission for the Human Future calls on the nations and peoples of the Earth to come together, as a matter of urgency, to prepare a plan for humanity to survive and thrive, far into the future.”
However, we would say that they have not pushed their argument to its logical and inescapable conclusion, as follows:
1. Global problems need global solutions; 2. Solving the common problems of a society is the function of government. Therefore, to deal effectively with these global catastrophic risks, we need a global government. To Western minds at least, this global government would have to take the form of a democratic world federationorglobal parliament.
But it is true that such a government can only be established with the consent of the governed, i.e. at the will of the ‘peoples of the Earth’, as pointed out by John Locke three centuries ago.
International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
.March 2020. The ICAN campaign in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is making excellent progress. Over two-thirds of the UN members support the Treaty in one way or another. Some 36 states have already ratified the Treaty, heading rapidly towards the target of 55 ratifications which would see the Treaty enter into force. This is forecast to occur sometime next year. Australia, as an ally of the United States, does not support the Treaty. For some further details, see Daryl’s report here.
Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
Bob Brown, Andreas Bummel and Chris Hamer at Parliament House, Canberra
The World Citizens Association of Australia invited Andreas Bummel, the global coordinator of the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, to visit Australia in the period 2-12 September 2019. Our aim is to raise public awareness of the Campaign, generate public support,
and ultimately to secure the Australian government’s agreement to become a supporter of the Campaign.
During his visit, we organized a Symposium at the Australian National University on the theme "Towards a More Democratic United Nations" and a Seminar at the University of Sydney on the broader theme “Strengthening Democratic Global Governance: Towards a World Parliament” Read more
Since then, we have made a submission to the Inquiry of the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding
Nationhood, national identity and democracy, advocating Australian government support for the campaign. Read the submission here
What the critics say:
A great gift to humanity at a time of
global emergency —Richard Falk
The new standard work on the idea of a world parliament —Frank Biermann
An important and excellent book—Jean Ziegler
I encourage you to read this fascinating book —Kumi Naidoo
Paris Peace Forum, November 2018
Chris Hamer's presentation at the Forum
Chris Hamer, President of the Coalition for a World Security Community, gave the first public presentation of the idea at the Paris Peace Forum. Thanks to the support of the Global Challenges Foundation, five members of our Coalition were manning a booth at the Forum and interacted with hundreds of local and national government officials, international organizations, NGOs, foundations, companies, experts, journalists, trade unions, religious groups and citizens. Marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I, the Forum started with a gathering of heads of state hosted by President Macron. The next couple of days were a grand fest for NGOs to present innovative ideas in the areas of peace and security, new technologies, inclusive economy, development, and environment. Ostensibly dedicated to peace, we were actually one of the very few voices articulating an actual vision for world peace.
New Shape Forum, Stockholm June 2018
The Global Challenges Foundation, set up by Swedish billionaire Laszlo Szombatfalvy, has announced a $5 million prize competition, ‘A New Shape’, for the best new ideas on global governance to deal with the enormous global challenges and risks facing our global community. This should be a great shot in the arm for the world federalist movement generally. Apparently some 2700 entries were submitted by the time the competition closed on September 30, 2017, and the prizewinners were announced in May 2018.
We submitted two entries. One was entitled ‘Towards a Global Parliament: Principles and Pathways’, and gives a general discussion on the idea of a World Community of Democratic Nations, as a first step on the way towards an eventual global parliament capable of dealing with these daunting global challenges, such as nuclear weapons, and climate change. The other was entitled ‘A World Security Community of Democratic Nations’, and gives a more detailed discussion of a specific starting point. It is proposed that NATO and the OECD should be reconstituted as two arms of the new community.
Our entries were knocked out in the first round. But afterwards, the Foundation offered to support five working groups, including ours, to prepare submissions for the Paris Peace Forum in November 2018. Hence was born the Coalition for a World Security Community.
Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN
The Prize was awarded in recognition of the leading role of ICAN in championing the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first major nuclear disarmament Treaty in twenty years. This is a statement from the non-nuclear-weapon states reinforcing their commitment to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Now we need to challenge the Nuclear-weapon-states to respond, and fulfill their promise under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, namely to “negotiate in good faith” on nuclear disarmament. They should set up a Commission to lay out a credible path to getting rid of their nuclear arsenals and then to implement it, even if it may take a long time. The Nobel Prize Committee refers to this challenge in their announcement.
As part of this project for a World Security Community of democratic nations which was mentioned above, we are in the process of setting up aCoalition for a World Security Community, to try and generate civil support for the project. Branches have been established in NSW and New York, with officers myself as President, Didier Jacobs as Vice-President, Rada as Treasurer and Brian Hyouk Son as Secretary. Our working group in support of the Coalition includes Australian members myself, Rada, Pera, Michelle, John, Austin, Brett and Brian. Daryl, Wali, Zeny Edwards and Camilla Schippa have been enlisted later. Many thanks to Austin and Brett for helping to set up a website for this group.What is the actual project? See a summary at the end of this Bulletin, and a full description here.
The ICAN team