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After an interesting telephone conversation a few weeks ago, I asked
Joshua Weiss to send along details about the e-Parliament Pilot
Programme that I could forward to DO-WIRE.

Additional information is available from:

I have long <http://www.publicus.net/articles/transnational.html>
been interested in ways to create online structures that foster inter-
governmental/civic information exchange.  Scroll about 2/3 of the way
down and read from "Human Networks" down.  In some ways my
perspective was sharper, more fresh back in 1993 than it is today.
Anyway, the idea of creating systems
<http://www.landfield.com/govnews/> to promote global information
sharing in the past may have been too broad. With the e-Parliaments
focus on a few key issues it might give them the context to build the
democratic overhead required for effective information exchange that
can be extended to more issues over time.

Steven Clift
Democracies Online

From: Joshua Weiss <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

The e-Parliament Pilot Programme
A proposal for funding

March 2002

Section 1. Background

The e-Parliament Concept

The 'e-Parliament' is a new initiative to further global democracy
through an internet-based forum linking the world's democratically
elected legislators. The e-Parliament will enable parliamentarians
from industrialised and developing countries to collaborate with
civil society in a search for creative solutions to global problems
such as AIDS, children's rights and climate change.

The e-Parliament will contribute to global information exchange and
the spread of good practice between legislators and will be of
particular benefit to parliamentarians with few resources in
developing countries. Through the use of internet-based research and
discussion forums the e-Parliament will enable its members to get in
touch with colleagues in other countries who share common concerns,
and to find out what legislators in other countries are doing to
address common global problems.  It will provide the opportunity for
groups of legislators to create joint recommendations for global

The e-Parliament represents a positive response to the challenge of
globalization.  As more decisions move to the global level, on issues
ranging from climate change to trade, there is an urgent need for a
democratic global forum to bring greater accountability to world
decision-making.  And while global free markets are an efficient
mechanism for meeting some of society's needs, there is a
corresponding requirement to strengthen the role of democratic
parliaments to advance global public goods that are not
automaticallly provided by free markets.

The e-Parliament is a unique concept fulfilling a proven need of
legislators and civil society. No other forum of this nature is
currently in existence.

The e-Parliament project has been initiated by EarthAction (a global
network of citizen groups and legislators), together with the Global
Negotiation Project at Harvard University.  More information on
EarthAction can be found at http://www.earthaction.org   A new legal
entity called the "e-Parliament Initiative" is being created, with a
board made up of distinguished legislators and civil society

The e-Parliament's Purposes

The e-Parliament will:
* Provide a unique tool for the world's 25,000 democratically elected
legislators to link up into a democratic global forum to deal with
common problems.
* Contribute to the promotion of global good governance through a
'library' of examples of good legislation and policy deposited on the
e-Parliament site by parliamentarians and available for use and
adaptation by legislators world-wide.
* Establish a process for generating more creative and effective
solutions to global problems by  sharing ideas and research on issues
such as AIDS, children's rights, prevention of terrorism or climate
change. Recommendations  will be generated and fed into national
parliaments and global institutions for action. The active
involvement in this process of civil society groups and
parliamentarians from around the globe will be encouraged, in
particular those from developing countries with direct experience of
the particular issue.
* Focus on generating new funds to meet global needs. Legislators
vote national budgets and can influence both national and
international priorities on budget spending. Their concerted action
could make a  difference to the amount of funds expended
internationally for poverty reduction and environmental protection.

The e-Parliament in Practice

Unlike other global institutions, the e-Parliament will be made up
entirely of democratically-elected representatives.  The structure
will be quite simple:

* Legislators can self-organise into "InterGroups" around specific
issues.  The bulk of the activity in the e-Parliament will take place
in these InterGroups. The first such groups being created  focus on
the prevention of terrorism,  the need for an AIDS vaccine, and
children's rights.  Each InterGroup will have a separate meeting
space in which participants can: learn about an issue, discuss it
with colleagues, consult with citizens and key stakeholders, draft
proposals and conduct polls on non-binding recommendations.  Those
recommendations for action can then be taken to their national
parliaments and on to international institutions.

* An e-Parliament Council, elected by the full membership, will
ensure that each InterGroup has regular opportunities to bring
matters to the full e-Parliament in the form of:  an information
bulletin; an online hearing (e.g. questioning the head of an
international institution or multinational corporation); or a poll of
all members of the e-Parliament.

* Citizen groups and others will also be encouraged to form
InterGroups among themselves on a parallel site, to develop proposals
for the e-Parliament.  The engagement of civil society organizations
from the start is a key ingredient for the success of the initiative.
 Key NGOs and research institutes will be involved in the work of the
parliamentary InterGroups.

* The Website,  a virtual "Parliament Building" will be created in a
style resembling other parliament buildings. The web address will be

* Membership : every member of a national legislature (or the
European Parliament) who has been elected in fair, open and
democratic elections will be entitled to be a member of the e-
Parliament.  Ways can be explored to enable citizens of closed
societies, such as China, to participate online until the time comes
when their countries hold democratic elections. There are currently
around 25,000 legislators world-wide who will be entitled to become a
member of the e-Parliament.  They represent approximately 60% of
humanity, of whom 60% in turn live in absolute poverty on less than
$3 a day.

Section 2 -  InterGroups Pilot Programme

In order to establish and test the e-Parliament concept we will
initiate a two-year pilot programme, centred around the development
and launch of two e-Parliament InterGroups on an HIV/AIDS vaccine and
on Children's Rights and Education for All.  By starting on a smaller
scale with two specific issues, we can "learn by doing" and refine
our strategy before launching the full e-Parliament and other
InterGroups on issues such as climate, biotechnology, conflict
prevention or corporate social responsibility.

In parallel with work on the InterGroups, we will continue to
steadily prepare for the launch of the full e-Parliament.  This will
involve: building up a global network of legislators and civil
society organizations that are ready to help build support for the
initiative; engaging legislators from all regions of the world in the
design of the e-Parliament; creating a unique database of all 25,000
of the world's democratically elected parliamentarians; and building
the overall e-Parliament website.

The pilot programme will run from 1 May 2002 to 1 May 2004.

i)    e-Parliament  InterGroup for an AIDS Vaccine

More than 60 million men, women and children world-wide have been
infected with HIV. Ninety-five per cent of new HIV infections occur
in developing countries, where AIDS is undermining economic
stability, reversing decades of progress and devastating families and
communities. AIDS demands a comprehensive global response including
the urgent development of preventive vaccines that can be distributed
world-wide.  In the end, a safe vaccine offers the best chance of
halting the epidemic once and for all.

The past two years have witnessed remarkable advancements in AIDS
research with global funding for vaccine research quadrupling since
1996, and multiple promising vaccine candidates in development world-
wide. Several major pharmaceutical companies now have AIDS vaccine
research and development projects, including  Merck & Co.,
GlaxoSmithKline and VaxGen. In March 2001, a trial of the first AIDS
vaccine made for Africa began in Nairobi, Kenya. The product of a
partnership among the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI),
the UK's Medical Research Council and the University of Nairobi, this
vaccine candidate is based on subtype A, the most common strain of
HIV circulating in Eastern Africa. Within the next two years, IAVI
expects to begin human trials of more vaccines tailored to the
strains of HIV predominant in Africa and Asia.

Yet despite some progress the world's commitment to AIDS vaccines is
inadequate. We must ensure that the promising AIDS vaccine candidates
now in development are moved forward as quickly as possible. It takes
nearly a decade to move a vaccine from concept to final-stage human
testing. It is critical that multiple products be developed
simultaneously and tested in parallel. This way, if one vaccine
proves ineffective, work on alternatives is already underway.

Legislators have an essential role to play in ensuring that a vaccine
reaches those who need it as quickly as possible. They vote the
national budgets and can press for funding to accelerate vaccine
efforts.  They can ensure that national mechanisms are in place for
rapid assessment and approval of vaccines once developed.  They can
press for effective world-wide distribution programmes and
appropriate pricing policies.  And, not least, they have the
democratic mandate from the voters to monitor the performance of
their governments in combating the AIDS epidemic. The e-Parliament
AIDS Vaccine InterGroup will provide the first global forum for
legislators to collaborate on these matters.

The AIDS vaccine is a good example of an issue where global free
markets alone are not delivering a public good: namely a vaccine to
stop the AIDS epidemic.  The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is
being told by many pharmaceutical companies that they are withholding
major investment in AIDS vaccine research because of uncertainty
about whether parliaments will allow them to sell a vaccine at
sufficient profit to cover their reseach and development costs.
There is a clear need for international parliamentary intervention to
lay the groundwork for a differential pricing system which can ensure
access for even the poorest citizens to a vaccine, while ensuring
that the companies can make a commercial profit from their investment
in the richer Northern nations.  This in turn could help to create
the incentives needed to release large-scale research funds.

With the rate of infection increasing as it is, every month that can
be saved in making a vaccine available to the world public could save
500,000 lives.

ii)   e-Parliament InterGroup on Children's Rights and Education

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN
General Assembly in 1989 and has now been ratified by 191 countries.
It commits governments to ensure, among other things, that every
child receives a primary education, that no child serves as a
soldier, that no child is engaged in work which interferes with its
education, and that children without families are cared for.
Governments have a legal and moral obligation to advance the cause of
child rights through administrative, legislative, judicial and other
measures in order to implement the Convention.

The promises, sadly, have not always been followed by action.  A
recent UNICEF report shows that, in the developing world, 120 million
children who should be in school are not. UNICEF estimates that just
an additional $9 billion more each year for the next 15 years is
needed to achieve universal primary enrolment by the year 2010 - this
is less than Europeans spend on ice cream or people in the United
States spend on cosmetics. Today, more than 60 million children live
on the street, cared for by no one. Many documented cases exist of
abuses of the basic human rights of these so-called 'street children'
such as being forced into prostitution, being physically abused, and
often dying from cold, malnutrition or disease. Amnesty International
says that an estimated 300,000 children are currently fighting in
conflicts around the world. Significant recruitment starts at the age
of 10 and the use of even younger children has been recorded.

Legislators have an essential role to play in meeting the needs of
the world's children - by shaping policies, voting budgets and
monitoring Governments' commitments. The InterGroup on Children's
Rights and Education could, among other things, help to obtain
funding for universal primary education and the care of homeless
children.  It could help strengthen national legislation to protect
children by spreading good practice globally, and sharing information
about legislative initiatives that have (or have not) worked well in
different countries.

The goal of universal primary education is simple and essential:
children should be in school, not in the army, in the factory or on
the street.  Here again is an example of a global public good which
neither global free markets nor intergovernmental negotiations are
providing: to get every
child into school.  There is a clear need for an international
parliamentary initiative to
redirect resources and policies to achieve this public good.


The management team for launching the e-Parliament, before any new
staff are hired, includes:


Lois Barber is co-founder and an Executive Director of the
EarthAction Network, which consists of
over 1,800 citizen groups in more than 150 countries. EarthAction
mobilizes world-wide public
pressure on issues of environment, development, peace and human
rights.  She is also Founder and
President of 20/20 Vision, a US citizen network focused on peace and
environmental security.  She
has received the Woman of Distinction Award and the Environmental
Leadership Award. Email:


Nicholas Dunlop is also co-founder and an Executive Director of the
EarthAction Network. A citizen
of Ireland and New Zealand, he was for ten years the first Secretary-
General of Parliamentarians
for Global Action, an international network of legislators.  In 1984,
he coordinated the launching
of the Six Nation Peace Initiative, bringing together the presidents
and prime ministers of
Argentina, Greece, India, Mexico, Sweden and Tanzania work on nuclear
disarmament issues.  He was
a co-recipient of the first Indira Gandhi Peace Prize, and of the
first Better World Society Peace
Prize, awarded to Parliamentarians for Global Action. Email:


Tess Kingham was a Labour member of the last British Parliament
representing Gloucester.  She was
an active member of the Select Committee on International
Development, where she took a keen
interest in IT in development issues.  She chaired the All-Party
Group on Western Sahara, and was
a key member of the All-Party Group on the Great Lakes region of
Africa.  She previously worked as
a campaign manager at Oxfam UK and as fund-raising manager for War on
Want and other non-profit
organizations.  She chose not to run again for parliament in order to
return to work full-time on
development issues.  Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]


Sirpa Pietikäinen is a member of the Finnish Parliament for the
conservative Moderate Party.  She
served previously as Environment Minister of Finland.  She is Chair
of the Executive Committee of
the World Federation of United Nations Associations, which consists
of more than 80 national
organizations around the world.  She also chairs the Finnish NGO
network on conflict prevention.


William L. Ury co-founded Harvard's Program on Negotiation where he
currently directs the Global
Negotiations Project. He is co-author of Getting to Yes: Negotiating
Agreement Without Giving In,
a five-million-copy bestseller.  His latest book is The Third Side:
Transforming Conflict at Home,
at Work, and in the World. He has served as a consultant to the
Crisis Management Center at the
U.S. White House, initiating an upgrade of the nuclear hotline.  He
consults on negotiation and
problem-solving processes to the heads of various major corporations.
 Ury is the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the
American Arbitration Association and the Distinguished Service Medal
from the Russian Parliament. Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]


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Steven L. Clift    -    W: http://www.publicus.net
Minneapolis    -   -   -     E: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Minnesota  -   -   -   -   -    T: +1.612.822.8667
USA    -   -   -   -   -   -   -     ICQ: 13789183

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