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<p>An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo</p> <p>Henceforth, our country should be the universe. Flora Tristan</p> <p>. . . for with freedom  come responsibilities. Nelson Mandela</p> <p>The world is for the public good, such is the Great Way. Confucius</p> *

April 2014

Front Page
Call to Multiply the Village of Alternatives

COP 21, the international summit on climate change, will be held at the end of 2015 in Paris, where all countries, including of course the major greenhouse-gas emitters, are supposed to commit to a last-chance, binding universal agreement on climate. COP 21 will not be able to ignore the IPCC report, Part II of which was released on March 31, its extremely alarming projections and its finding that no person and no corner of the globe will escape the devastation caused by global warming. This is the context in which Alternatiba was born, and the project intends to mobilize citizens throughout Europe to weigh on this decisive summit. It consists in setting up “Alternatiba Villages,” a festival of fairs, forums and (organic) feasts designed to show all the—concrete and possible—solutions to tackle the causes of climate change at both the local level and the global level. Alternatiba was launched in Bayonne (southwestern France, Basque country, hence its name, which means “alternative” in the Basque language) in October 2013. Its successful launch (see videos) mobilized more than 12,000 people and has so far spawned nearly 25 Alternatiba projects for 2014 and 2015 in France, Switzerland and Belgium. The movement relies on citizens to grow and spread, and everyone is asked to spread the word and participate in it, maybe even by organizing an Alternatiba Village in their town or region. For a world governance of climate: act locally - act globally.


After the recently released Part II of the IPCC report and its alarming, no longer deniable findings, and in the run-up to COP 21, we have put the Alternatiba project in the spotlight (see article on the left) and salute it for its creative action to federate and mobilize European grassroots movements, building bottom-up pressure to weigh on the outcome of this critical “last-chance” summit expected to come up with a binding agreement on global environmental governance. One of the lessons we have learned in recent years is in fact that massive grassroots actions do not go unnoticed and can sway the outcome of a local or regional political/social situation, and given the truly critical stakes involved in COP 21, we encourage all our readers to join forces with Alternatiba or similar movements in other continents. Given that the thinking and proposals for environmental governance are far from new, we have also pulled our file on environmental governance from our records to feed your momentum to act with the wealth of this thinking. The article on citizen assemblies in Turkey highlights the force of this type of action, a world citizens movement is also in the making, and this is also a good time to underscore the importance of freedom of the press and access to quality education worldwide, perhaps simply as a reminder that all such crucial world-governance issues are intertwined. And if it were necessary to point out that bad governance leads to conflict and human suffering, we think you might be interested in taking the measure of governance in Ukraine and in Russia. Enjoy the read and feel free to send us your observations and comments!

FnWG Team

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Global Conference Declaration
Towards a World Citizens Movement

In July 2013, 200 active citizens from around the world met in Johannesburg to start “Building a Global Citizens Movement.” The conference was organized by DEEEP/CONCORD in collaboration with CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizens Participation) and the GCAP (Global Call to Action against Poverty). The conference released the statement “Towards a world citizens movement” and launched a platform to build the movement over time.
“What is global citizenship? We believe global citizenship means that all people have access to participate and influence in a world democracy. The essence of global citizenship is built upon the involvement of different groups within decision making. . . . We believe that global change will come about when citizens start acting themselves and that is what we will do in this journey and beyond.”

Political and Institutional Governance
Assemblies Emerging in Turkey: A Lesson in Democracy

Something quite amazing happened in Turkey during the months of May to September 2013. In addition to the silent “standing man” actions around the country, people’s assemblies emerged in different neighborhoods across the city. As in Spain, Greece and the Occupy encampments before, the protesters in Turkey counter-posed their own form of direct democracy to the shame of a democracy proposed by Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal state. If there was ever any doubt, this shows how deeply intertwined the global struggles truly are.

Media and Internet Governance
Beyond 2015: Media as Democracy and Development

How democratic governance contributes to development is dependent on the right to freedom of expression, a right recognized as a basic human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. As such, it lends itself to universal recognition and application. The right further subsumes freedom of information and of the press. The importance of the former to transparency and the concept of Knowledge Society is self-evident. The importance of the latter lies in the kind of democratic media landscape it prescribes: a free, pluralistic, and independent one. This paper by Fackson Banda, a political scientist specializing in communications at Rhodes University (South Africa), seeks to conceptualize the interconnection between free, independent, and pluralistic media, and governance and development.

Universal, Plural and Quality Education, and Citizen Education
Education Policy Paper: Building the Future through Quality Education

Currently, countries receiving international aid to reach the UN 2015 Millennium Development Goals, are being strongly encouraged to orient education to match the needs of the private sector. Education International (EI), the world’s largest federation of unions (representing 30 million education employees in about 400 organizations in 170 countries and territories across the globe) begs to differ with this narrow view of education. The future can only be built through quality education, and quality education “promotes peace, democracy, creativity, solidarity, inclusion, a commitment to a sustainable environment, and international and intercultural understanding. It provides people with the critical knowledge,
abilities and skills that are needed to conceptualize, question and solve problems that occur both locally and globally.” The future we want will depend on providing this education to all, and not that other, market-oriented version.
This policy paper is an outcome of EI’s 6th World Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July 2011.

Reference File
Environmental Governance and Managing the Earth

Put together in 2008 by Germà Pelayo, this file contains in the form of information sheets a series of discussions and proposals developed around the environmental dimension of world governance. These have been categorized according to the following themes: rebuilding the environmental balance; managing energy, mineral, and ocean resources; farming, and food security and sovereignty; sustainable development; and the relationship between humankind and the biosphere.
The file pools a variety of analyses, ideas, and proposals in terms of content, perspectives, themes, and cultural influences in the realm of environmental governance of the planet. Its originality and relevance come from the pioneering nature of the search to respond to the need of a plural and responsible development of this very critical dimension of global governance, paving the way to concrete action.

World Governance Index
Ukraine, Russia

The Forum for a new World Governance launched the World Governance Index (WGI) project in 2008. The idea was to develop a “tool” that would allow the players in charge of governance to visualize emerging issues and problems and help them to reflect on the necessary solutions.
In this issue of the FnWG newsletter, we are offering the 2011 WGIs for two countries in the news, Ukraine and Russia, as compared to their respective 2008 WGIs, the first having just had a change of regime caused by a massive citizen movement, and the second, in strong disapproval of this movement, having supported the secession of one of Ukraine’s provinces.
What were the WGIs for these two countries in 2011 and how had they evolved from 2008? The answer is below (hint: the devil is in the details).

See or publish the WGI map.

The IGM map and indicators are also available in Chinese.

World Governance Index
Proposal Papers
Dossiers and Documents
Document Database
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