WFM-IGP believes that fundamental issues relating to the development of international democracy and global governance are inextricably tied to issues of global governance for sustainable development and the environment.
Protecting the world environment is a critical foundation of sustainable development. Two-thirds of the earth is beyond the territorial sovereignty of UN member states; it is truly the ‘global commons’. The ocean of the world’s atmosphere is equally borderless; and its pollution, warming and disintegration are transnational threats. The international community must govern the global commons. To avoid devastating exploitation of our common, indispensable global environment, the protection and preservation of the global commons must be placed under the governance of the UN. Accordingly, WFM-IGP advocates for the establishment of a World Environment Organization (WEO).
In order for environmental and social issues to be adequately addressed in the international legal order, they will have to be given equitable legal and institutional authority. WFM-IGP therefore believes that the solution is the creation of a WEO or a ‘Sustainable Development Organization’ that could counterbalance the powerful finance and trade institutions. A WEO would be a designated and empowered advocate for adequate response to environmental management and sustainable development and thus provide a more balance, effective and accountable system of global governance.
WFM-IGP works with other NGOs to promote issues of global governance through these emerging relationships, while preserving, and eventually universalizing, a more democratic and participatory processes within the United Nations.
WFM-IGP calls for a Reform of the World Trade Organization and International Financial Institutions with a parallel process of strengthening UN organizations dealing with socio-economic issues as a counterbalance to the position of the WTO and the Bretton Woods institutions. At the same time, WFM-IGP finds the establishment of a WTO parliamentary assembly to be an essential step in democratizing the World Trade Organization. In recent years, an increased debate about innovative sources of finance has emerged in intergovernmental processes. Whereas this debate is mainly directed toward providing financing for development, WFM-IGP calls for a broader interpretation of innovative finance mechanisms such as Global Levies or Taxes to serve as sources of independent funding for multilateral organizations.
Such independent funding would address the current political unbalance of international institutions and ensure more democratic global governance. Appalled by the imbalance of global spending on militarization compared to resources allocated for socio-economic development, education and human rights, WFM-IGP addresses the discrepancy between Expenditures on Militarization and development aid.
WFM-IGP’s response to economic globalization, and in particular to the impact of the growing powers of the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and other international financial institutions, is rooted in its principles for promoting international democracy. WFM-IGP does not support the movement towards making the WTO the locus of global governance and asserts that the trade and finance ministers must not be given the power to determine global policy on human rights, environmental protection, advancement of the status of women, labor rights and other social and economic standards.
However, while many NGOs argue for the elimination of the WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, WFM-IGP’s perspective is that the solution is not the elimination of such organizations, but rather to strengthen other international institutions that deal with such issues as the environment, sustainable development and human rights as a matter of counterbalancing the current positions of WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions. In this context, WFM-IGP emphasizes that the UN General Assembly’s supreme policy role should be affirmed and extended to the coordination of overall policy within the UN system including the BWIs and the WTO. At the same time, WFM-IGP joins many other NGOs in their call for more democratic representation and processes within the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including greater transparency and accountability.
In viewing the parliamentary dimension as an important component of a democratic global order, world federalists have called for the creation of a WTO parliamentary body since the establishment of the Organization. The agenda setting and rule-making characteristics of the WTO directly impacts national legislative responsibilities and national trade-related governance is thus intersected. The establishment of a representative parliamentary assembly at the WTO would serve as a formal mechanism for accountability to the world’s people and be a necessary step towards democratizing one of the world’s most vital institutions in global governance. Accordingly, the proposals for a parliamentary assembly for the World Trade Organization as well as mechanisms for civil society participation deserve further study and consideration.
Global Levies or Taxes
For multilateral institutions to be effective and independent they must have stable and adequate funding. There is a fundamental need for new financial mechanisms to provide for a strengthened and democratized multilateral system.
Whereas the current intergovernmental debate about innovative sources of finance is placed within the framework of financing development and more specifically the MDGs, WFM-IGP believes that the debate should be seen in a broader perspective to also include the element of independent funding of multilateral organizations.
At present the most powerful countries provide the vast majority of funding for international organizations and possess an immense and unbalanced control over the political decisions of these organizations. To reverse this trend, WFM-IGP calls for a mixture of state and independent funding of international organizations to ensure fair and democratic decision-making processes exempt from power politics. WFM-IGP thus believes that independent funding for multilateral organizations would address the challenges and obstacles for achieving democratic global governance. WFM-IGP specifically considers the global taxation of transnational currency transactions to be the most important source of independent funding and advocates a global implementation of the Tobin Tax. Eventually, in cooperation with other NGOs and legal experts, WFM-IGP hopes to draft a treaty or convention for collection of revenues for funding the multilateral system that can be proposed and carried forth in intergovernmental processes. Meanwhile, WFM-IGP monitors the intergovernmental processes on innovative sources of finance and stresses the need for civil society involvement in the debate.