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A World Parliament for the 21st Century (an Alliance e-forum)

Preparing a Parliament of the Peoples of the World constitutes an unprecedented challenge. Citizens have never been confronted with having to form a representative, democratic body on a world scale. A proportional representation of all populations and cultures, an active citizens' participation, responsible management by elected officials, an open use of the media, an effective control over the exercise of authority by those over whom such authority is exercised ... as it is, all of these are missing in the democratic systems on the national scale. On a world scale, they will introduce even greater problems.

Moreover, democratic practices are not completely generalized and even in countries holding a claim to a longstanding democratic tradition, governance is frequently plagued by corruption, impunity, and lack of transparency and accountability. The invention of new bodies for citizens' participation and action -- in addition to alliances, forums, parties, and social movements -- is a crucial challenge for this era. The impetus that a new deal such as this will generate on the international stage will make it easier to question the existing international and intergovernmental organizations, which are hampered by the bureaucratic burdens imposed by the state systems, agreed by everyone to have become obsolete.

The outline of a Citizens Agenda for the Twenty-first Century is coming into view as the century is dawning. The World Social Forums, the Continental Meetings of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World, the Dialogues for the Earth are, along with others, the new meeting places where the civil society convenes at a time when crises and wars portend a dark, ominous future, perhaps even darker than the one our grandparents experienced in the early twentieth century. A Parliament of the Peoples of the World may seem a Utopian ambition. It can also be a historical opportunity for this generation and the next.

excerpt from "For a Parliament of the Peoples of the World"
Gustavo Marín

with the support of the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation (FPH) © 2003