Facts about this site, some of your comments, some responses to your comments, and information that you might find interesting will be posted on this page from time to time.(GD.org quiz answers at bottom of page).
17 July 2016 – This site continues to have a small population of regular visitors daily, and new readership daily, as well, from basically every country in the world. Thank you for your interest. It is hoped the collation of information on this site will in a small way accelerate understandings of people who chance upon it. In particular, it is hoped that students of global politics will use it as one of many sources when considering ways of improving global governance. Should any person of similar interest have a proposal for development of this site, feel free to contact us.
8 December 2014 – Is the prospect of international violence a disincentive to nation states cooperating on minimising harmful overuse of common resources? This is the proposition put forward by Petros Sekeres in a recent article. If right, it underlines the urgency of the need for a global governance structure in which countries are held to account for their actions, something not possible at the moment. To be clear, the United Nations does not have a structure designed for global governance. Further, the five veto nations have no interest in diluting their power in the area of international security by democratising and restructuring the UN. Yet, it is becoming apparent to even the politically blindest of us that those powers must sacrifice a small amount of their power for the greater good of humanity, being the development of new global governance institutions.
19 October 2014 – Vote of the day 13 October 2014 was support for Pacific Warriors actions planned for 17 October 2014 to bring attention to their plight (losing their countries to sea level rise). They did succeed in stopping 12 coal ships leaving port in Australia for China, and they thank you for your support. Pics here.
23 May 2014 – Last night, Deutsche Bank, one of the world's biggest investment banks, ruled out funding the huge Abbot Point expansion on the Great Barrier Reef coastline. Congratulations to those who signed, there is no question this was a factor in their decision. It is now much more likely that the coal port expansion and associated dredging in and around the Great Barrier Reef will not obtain funding. Congratulations to campact.de.
10 May 2014 – A few upgrades to the site in the last couple of days, including linking Facebook and Twitter accounts. If we seem a bit slow to get it all right, please report to our IT team:
8 March 2014 – If you are interested in new proposals for a process for international review of an individual countrys' contribution to preventing climate change (as discussed in blog article on home page Conversation – A World Standards Authority?) you might be interested in this paper: http://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/sites/blavatnik/files/documents/2014-IntergovernmentalReviews-PolicyMemo.pdf
8 March 2014 – Majuro experienced some of its worst ever flooding at high tide this week. There is now talk of residents moving away, not back to flooded homes. This site will not attribute any single event to human caused climate change – yet. But the science says it is likely these kinds of events will increase as the global climate warms. And, as it does, it is hard to escape the conclusion that more and more people that reside adjacent to oceans will feel a bit like the Majuro people do now, in years to come. On that cheery note…get petitioning!
21 January 2014 – Majuro Declaration news – (courtesy of Australian Broadcasting Commission)
Is it too late to save low-lying Pacific nations from being lost forever because of rising sea levels?
The President of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, doesn't think so and he's been on a relentless campaign to get the world to listen to his message.
He does concede time is running out, but has been encouraged by news that a number of nations recently announced they'd signed up to the Majuro Declaration to cut emissions.
"We were really happy that the United States agreed to join and also European Union and in the United States, Hawaii also has agreed to join," he told Radio Australia, today
Mexico is the latest country to sign on.
"And we are hoping that others will follow suit," Mr Loaek said.
20 October 2013 – Where We are Now – The Fork in the Road to Global Democracy
The road to global democracy is a road toward improved process for governance on global issues. As we travel down the road to finding our preferred process, we find ourselves at, well, its messy, but there is a kind of fork:
To the left is a road to a world parliament, where elected people will make decisions for us. Or, there could be a more representative and/or a more powerful United Nations.
To the right, there is a pathway to the development of institutions that will allow us, in our capacity as individuals, to self select issues that affect us, and vote on them, until they are resolved as best they can be. This has become a possibility because of the internet. Institutions like Avaaz, that collate peoples views to pressure existing decision makers, are pioneering the way forward. But it is still very early days. It is a bit of a mystery path.
Which road should we prefer? Some would say none. But progress means the weight of people will continue to move forward. As interconnectedness and social media politics grow, the majority of people interested in solving world problems seem to be shifting toward the path on the right.
Which ever way you go, or think, as a global citizen (if at all), one suspects that the two roads might merge somewhere down the track.
8 October 2013 – Doubt signing a petition can make a difference? See this newsletter sent by organizers of the Majuro Declaration, to individuals who chose to be signatories, today. This petition had only 1,000 signatures. Congratulations to those who participated. If you haven't yet, you can still sign now and help keep their up momentum (see link on home page of globaldemocracy.org).
Thank you for standing with the Republic of the Marshall Islands in our effort to spark a new wave of climate leadership. You join more than 1,000 others in supporting the Pacific's call for a safe climate future for all, and the number grows by the day.
I am very proud to inform you that the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum unanimously adopted the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership on September 5 at their Leaders' retreat on Eneko in the Marshall Islands. This was a landmark moment for galvanizing the Pacific region's commitment to transition to low-carbon development and to inspire others, at all levels, to intensify their efforts to "urgently reduce and phase down greenhouse gas pollution in order to avert a climate crisis for present and future generations."
The response to the new Declaration has been overwhelmingly positive, both publicly and in our diplomatic exchanges. But as RMI President Loeak said at the start of the month when the Declaration was adopted, “the real work has just begun.”
Crucially, just over a week ago the United States formally expressed its support for the Declaration and submitted President Obama’s new Climate Action Plan in furtherance of their current emission reduction targets. The United Kingdom has also submitted a commitment and the State of Hawai’i has become the first non-national government to do so.
Meanwhile others, including the European Union, Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand, and Korea have all indicated their support, and some are preparing to submit their commitments. We are also reaching out beyond the Pacific Rim to a number of other countries and stakeholders, including cities, the private sector and civil society organizations, to encourage them all to become Climate Leaders.
In recognition of this work, late last month President Loeak presented the Declaration to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York as a “Pacific gift” to his own efforts to raise ambition and build political momentum towards the inking of a “universal, ambitious and legally-binding climate change agreement by 2015.”
In the year ahead as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, on behalf of H.E. President Loeak, we will keep you updated and look forward to working with you to spark the new wave of climate leadership the world so desperately needs.
Thank you again for your invaluable support.
Phillip H. Muller
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Republic of the Marshall Islands"
21 September 2013 – The growth tracker graph on the home page has causes.com as the most populous petition site. This should be qualified by mentioning that it represents historical numbers – the number of people that have visited that site since it began. Causes.com has been around since 2006, much longer than many others. Avaaz appears to in fact have bigger petitions, and a bigger influence on global issues, at this point in time. Change.org is more recently founded than Avaaz, and has more registered users, but focusses more on local issues. Clear as mud?
29 August 2013 – Avaaz report today : "Ingrid, an Avaaz member, has used our site to help save a Norwegian woman from being sent to jail for being raped! Marte Dalelv was sexually assaulted while visiting Dubai, but when she reported it to the police, she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for "extra-marital sex"! When Ingrid read about Marte's case, she started a petition on Avaaz calling on the Dubai and Norwegian governments to ensure Marte's release. The petition and the Facebook page she created exploded on social media and people from all over the world signed the petition and flooded the two governments with messages at addresses that Ingrid posted on her Avaaz petition page. Within days, Marte was released, and the Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide posted a Twitter message saying: "Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help." Ingrid's campaign was covered by major media outlets and clearly ramped up the diplomatic pressure to free Marte and bring her home to her family. And it all started with a simple step of starting a petition on the Avaaz community website."
18 August 2013 – You might recall that earlier this year, Avaaz had a massive campaign to stop President Rafael Correa of Ecuador granting permits for oil exploitation in his country's pristine jungles, which are regarded as one of the earths biodiversity hotspots. Touted by Avaaz as a David and Goliath battle against big oil, over a million global citizens signed up. Two days ago, President Correa announced he would indeed grant oil permits, meaning the petition did not succeed. Quick to report victories, the Avaaz site is silent on this outcome. Globaldemocracy.org calls on Avaaz and all campaign sites to be more accountable to their public for losses as well as victories. Losses take nothing away from their value. Awareness is still raised; one can envisage more stringent regulation will be developed in connection with a petitioned project than otherwise might be the case; and, who knows, a person might be inspired to start a new petition to mitigate the effects of the decision. But most importantly, there must be transparency. Losses must be seen to be part of politics on internet campaign sites, just like in the real world. Sweeping them under the carpet does not make internet campaign politics more like real politics. It makes them less like real politics, where losses are a visible part of everyday life. Transparency is key.
18 August 2013 – Care2.org's petitionsite.com, rockets up the GD.org list today, as they have opened up their petitions to global citizens. Formerly an exclusively USA site, they have separated the petition part of their site from the main, and it is now ' thepetitionsite.com'. Anyone in the world can submit or sign a petition on any issue. The site looks well organized. Let's hope they work on developing transparent outcome reporting and feedback protocols. We have put them down as 10 million users, as that is our best estimate for the last 2 years, based on their disclosed signatory numbers.
15 July 2013 – A number of site upgrades today – New: Links to external articles; facilities to comment on gd.org articles; new article 'A World Standards Authority?' posted today; and new graphic Road to Global Democracy.
5 July 2013 – In the article linked on the home page about group dynamics, there is a reference to work by sociologist Professor Cass Sunstein, in the area of group decision making. It is interesting to note he has, since those works referred to in the article, been employed by both Barak Obama and David Cameron for his understanding behavior trends in large populations and and how to help steer them in the least big brotherly way (if interested refer New Scientist edition 28 June 2013, article titled 'Nudge').
13 May 2013 – John Gerard Ruggie, Affiliated Professor at Harvard and highly lettered academic, has released a book outlining his consultative efforts on behalf of the UN to better enable corporate accountability in human rights and environmental issues connected with their business. In Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights, he proposes a plan to overcome the failings of border constrained legal systems to bring multinational corporations to account. Central to his plan is a due diligence system of inquiry by multinationals into the practices of associated providers up and down the supply chain. Many of these associated businesses and regimes may be operating overseas, seemingly outside the company's, and any relevant regulator's, control. He notes, however, that the complexity of these supply chains offer civil action groups leverage to tackle big brands for even remote involvement in human rights and environmental abuse, by pressuring them to do something about it or risk their good reputation. We respectfully agree.
This site has nothing against multinational corporations. It just thinks we as global citizens should be better at organizing ourselves to poke them in the ribs when required.
1 May 2013 – A question has been asked, “What is the point of this site?” A good question. The answer is:
Governance in the world is divided into subgroups (countries), whose delegated decision makers benefit most from short term gains for their subgroup. As global citizens we need better governance than that. In our now globalized world, we also need decision makers, everywhere, to adopt long term policies in the interest of everybody. So how do we organize ourselves better to enable this? The answer is to work toward a system of global regulation, minimalist though it might be. But a world government is not likely to be with us soon (see ‘About’). So, while we wait , one way of addressing this shortfall in global governance is the social media. World petition sites are showing they can influence decision makers everywhere to take into account that which is in the interests of all, not just the few to whom they are beholden (see ‘About’) . This is why world petition sites are flourishing. They represent a way forward for global citizens, while we wait for improved institutions for global governance. This is why this site promotes them.
30 April 2013 – This article in today's Independent. People power clearly tipped the balance on this issue, in the end. People power could tip legislators toward precautionary politics on other global environmental issues:
"Environmentalists hailed a "victory for bees" today after the European Union voted for a ban on the nerve-agent pesticides blamed for the dramatic decline global bee populations.
…But Dr Lynn Dicks, a research associate at the University of Cambridge, said that despite the contradictory studies, the EU was right to err on the side of caution. "This is a victory for the precautionary principle, which is supposed to underlie environmental regulation," she said."
16 April 2013 – Is social media campaigning fairly described as 'slactivism'? Sounds fair. But, we ask, isn't not using the internet for this purpose, well, lazier still?
4 March 2013 – Coke, the subject of our recent vote of the day, won its court battle today, to stop a popular container recycling initiative in the Northern Territory of Australia. Noting community dissatisfaction, it has already publicly committed to financial support for broader recycling programs.
20 December 2012 – this site launched today. The GD.org list will be updated on 31 January 2013. Your corrections, updates and information regarding unlisted sites will be used to update the list at that time. Any person prepared to do some research to help update the list will be welcome to assist. If you can help grow and maintain the list, go to the 'GD.org list' tab, and contact us where indicated, with your information. Thank you.
GD.org Quiz Answers
GD.org sometimes has a quiz in the 'Vote of the Day' box. These are answers to recent ones:
25 December 2013
The quiz answer for the financing of dams vote of the day was 'Leave it to Beaver' (1950s US sitcom….).
29 November 2013
OK. The answer to the question posed in 'Vote of the Day' on 28 November 2013 – 'What will be tomorrow's petition, based on this hint?':
Answer – It would have been one about the snow leopard, that Avaaz was promoting (hint being Katy Perry, Roar). But. Avaaz pulled it down. So, if you did not respond to this competition, you were correct.
25 November 2013
OK. She is thinking about not buying Agip-Eni fuel, as their biodiesel is made from crude palm oil that comes from corrupt Asian rainforest and orangutan decimating suppliers. You were asked 'What was the driver thinking?', in the below picture.:
1 ."Shit." (anonymous).
2. "'Come to Europe' they said, 'Be a male model', they said…"
3. "Oh ho ho, je suis dans….le Mediterannean."