What is it ?
A history which allows to look into the horizon
The citizens’ assemblies extend a history which started in 1994 with the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World, and later on, went on with the World Citizens’ Assembly, in 2001.
What does the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World mean?
From 1994 to 2001, the Alliance represented an international movement which mobilized individuals and organizations of the five continents, aiming at making progress in analyses and constructing answers for those contemporary challenges. Its origin was the preparatory Convention of the States-General of the Planet, held in Paris in September, 1993. The Alliance was developed progressively by holding meetings organized according to its own Project and international event schedules.
Some stages of its history
- In the early 1995, the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen moved to broaden the Alliance thematic field and its collaborators’ network. Four preparatory meetings were held before a summit of 1995: in Beijing; in Río de Janeiro; in Cape Town; and in Paris.
- In December, 1997, six continental meetings were held in Sao Pablo, Brazil; in Bangalore, India; in Barcelona, Spain; in Kigali, Rwanda; in Roubaix, France; and in Alger, Algeria. That meeting in Brazil gathered about 120 participants from all over the world. The other meetings had a continental or regional dimension.
- In 2000 and 2001, a number of international, thematic, and collegiate meetings were organized aiming at the World Citizen’s Assembly held in Lille, France, in December, 2001. Simultaneously, four continental meetings were carried out in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Middle East, in June, 2001.
- In December, 2001, the World Citizens’ Assembly called 400 participants in Lille, France, for 6 days, to draw up an agenda of the 21st Century, to make progress on the proposal of the Charter of human’s responsibilities, and strengthen ties among the network.
The Alliance’s Conceptual and Methodological Progress
The Alliance’s work represented a hitherto unknown effort to cope with the contemporary world complexity and to overcome both individual and collective feeling of powerlessness many citizens underwent when facing up to these globalization challenges. It invented new ways to express such diversity of societies, to construct intercultural thoughts, to mobilize energy and experiences along the time. Between 1995 and 2000, about a hundred of thematic projects, socio-professional networks, geo-cultural groups, encouraged this intercultural and international dynamics. Those sets of work are presently issued in several languages, in notebook of proposals for the 21st Century, and in the Charter of Human Responsibilities.
Towards a Project of Regional Citizens’ Assemblies
The World Citizen’s Assembly in Lille, 2001 drew up three main conclusions:
- The adoption of the Charter of Human Responsibilities, which sets out a new relational framework to consolidate sustainable ties among men and women, communities and the biosphere;
- The outline of an Agenda for the 21st Century, which announces common collective priorities to construct a potentially sustainable and livable planet.
- The project of organizing regional citizens’ assemblies in different parts of the world. This is the way in which the idea of regional assemblies developed. A set of symbolic, conceptual, methodological and human knowledge is presently shared and available to the regional citizens’ assemblies.
Emerging a Political Phenomenon
The citizens’ assemblies are not some sort of exclusiveness linked to the history of the Alliance and the World Citizens Assembly. The same idea is being developed in several regions of the world, in reference with some other initiatives which also want to renew governance conditions and its constitutional framework
From Social Request for Constituent Processes to the Constituent Assemblies
This is the case of Latin America countries, but also of many countries en Africa, in the Maghrib region, and in Europe. The constituents’ assemblies in Ecuador and Bolivia show such a search of refunding the constitutional framework. Campaigns for constituents’ Assemblies are also being organized in Argentina and Chile, in Europe, and in West-Africa, in Mali. These translate a very same need of instituted communities to regenerate their social contract and overcome political regimens that do not correspond to the challenges of regional integration, cooperation among countries and regions, and new insertion of societies into globalization.