The following is an excerpt from a coming book “Common man” which is a novel about a journalist who sets out to come up with an alternative form of world governance. The novel is a product of imagestreaming, a technique of invention and creativity developed in the 80s by Dr. Win Wenger. For more information about imagestreaming, and about other imagestreamed novels and stories, visit this link. If you’d like to be kept up to date as new chapters get published, sign up using the form in the right-hand column. If you haven’t read the first chapter you might want to here. The video below explains why a story is needed and gives some of the motivation behind the book project.
Whilst I was preparing the first chapters, an article in Nature appeared warning of tipping points. Evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than earlier thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes. This poses a duty of care on every person. Trying to find a new story is one of the ways I am pursuing.
Chapter two: a structured, facilitated process.
To handle global governance of global and common assets, a remarkable meeting place was established in a remote, mountain area somewhere on the edge of the European and Asian continents. This place is an attempt to create goverenance of a world where its inhabitants live within the boundaries of what nature can provide – now and for future generations. It is the result of a search for a story that can guide us into the future.
My first visit gave me a lot to take in; fortunately I was invited to come back.
On my way to the terminus for the second visit I reflected that I had expected the place to be focussed on law or economics. Not so. The well-being of people, the functioning of the global commons and the safety and security of people were put first. Peace was the anchor.
I arrived, wearing my suit, at the terminus to be greeted by the facilitator. I understood – he pointed it out again, in no uncertain terms – that this was an extreme privilege. To underline the gravity of the task everyone dresses in formal business wear and are expected to conduct themselves with a high level of moral integrity.
He took me quickly to the waiting plane. We sat facing each other with a small table between us and I had just put my seat belt on when he pulled out a large file.
Before I could see it had to sign a non-disclosure paper.
He showed me a set of squares that represented the steps that each decision goes through. Each square produces one or more deliverables and relies on the input of one or more deliverables. The squares represent tensions or challenges that are appropriate to be raised and handled internationally at federal level. The first squares are about screening out issues that are not global or global commons in nature.
A facilitator team guides the issues through the process. Each step or “square” comes with checklists. As the facilitator pointed out:
“The facilitator team’s role is to ensure that the process runs effectively, and things are not missed out.”
The squares represent a federative framework for the stewardship of the global commons. The original framework is human rights but there is tension between human rights and sensible stewardship of the commons that needs to be managed.
We land and Mustapha arrives up with his limousine to pick us up.
“I’m looking forward to understanding this in more depth,” I say to Mustapha.
“You have the expert with you there,” Mustapha says, pointing at the facilitator.
Going through the check points and security it does not feell like the place I visited last time. I realised that the centre is more like a stage where a play is going on and different things happen at different times of the year.
“Come to the garden, we can have tea,” says Mustapha.
We are four for tea – I am introduced to a Swede called Persson.
“I wanted you to meet Mr. Persson to hear about the Swedish experience”.
I shake hands with Mr Persson and we sit down.
“What we brought up,” said Persson, “was the issue of the legal rights and responsibilities associated with land.”
“Was it possible to reach an agreed definition of health of land? We asked if ecological maturity – the status of the land compared to a naturally mature eco-system – would be helpful.”
I started to understand how the steps contained tests of logic and duty of care. In this case, was there a possibility that bringing ecological maturity into a legal framework could reasonably be expected to be useful and if dealing with the question would get us closer to where we need to go connecting the framework to the other responsibility of land ownership towards the commons .
To put it another way, would it help the purpose of the Commons Government if there were a legal basis for taxing and fining land owners depending on the status of their land. Would global principles help member nations?
The facilitators have the responsibility to make sure the process runs as smoothy as possible and using the hands, heart and head approach. In this case the first step results in a report going back to Sweden on the results of the initial processing of the case with proposals for dealing with the next steps. This is important as the ramifications of changing frameworks can be huge, including changes to trade law and international law. So an analysis of ramifications needs to be carried out at an early stage.
And what the process costs is immaterial. Loss of productive assets is not valued in money.
I stand up and thank Mr. Persson, and that Mustapha for bringing us together so I can see a little bit of how the process works.
As I find my own way out, I try to summarise what I have seen. A nation raises a case, it goes through steps that comprise an initial screening to decide if it is suitable for handling by the international global commons process. The processing is facilitated by the facilitators who have no say over the result, only to ensure the process is carried out as well as possible. One deliverable is a report back to the nation.
A foreboding comes over me. Something is very wrong. I cannot put my finger on it, but I have one of those feelings that I am not quite on track. Even if the answers I am getting are OK I am not quite “hitting it”. I will have to come back, but I will need to pluck up courage to do it as I don’t know what will await me.