Convention on the Global Commons
MARCH 28, 2008
On March 28, 2008, James B. Quilligan, managing director of the Centre for Global Negotiations, presented, "Convention on the Global Commons," which contained the following excerpts:
  • Since 1971, when the United States discontinued using the gold standard, the unofficial underpinning of its currency has been oil, given its foundational role in transportation, manufacturing and other economic activity.
  • Even if all businesses were to take steps to "green" themselves by investing in alternative energy sources, their actions still would not significantly change the status quo. As long as our currency is based in a monetary system that derives its value from oil, we've not really gone to a new platform of sustainable resources.
  • The dollar is still the currency of choice on the world market for paying debts. What that means is that we need to move not only to a non-fossil fuel energy base to provide the basis of value of the currency, but also that one country will not be able to dictate monetary policy as in the past.
  • Sovereignty traditionally is defined by hard borders and private property. While borders and private property are not going away anytime soon, globalization has made these concepts meaningless in some ways, which introduces a contradiction.
  • The Western liberal approach to economics suggests that citizens turn to either the marketplace or the government for funding. But globalization suggests a third possibility of international funding based on the establishment of a global commons involving transnational relationships.
  • Today, it's becoming increasingly clear that we should be talking about planetary sovereignty, recognizing that as world citizens, our rights and interests are prior to the rights and interests of the nation state.
  • In order to fund new international programs, we need to embark on a new set of funding programs, which involves perhaps the creation of a new set of multilateral institutions.
  • The Coalition for the Global Commons has launched a two-year international consultation project which will lead to a convention in 2010. The Global Commons involves all international problems that transcend national property borders, a much broader scheme than just looking at climate change or the environment, as popularly thought.
  • The 2010 event will be just the beginning for the Global Commons effort. As more conventions are planned, the next steps involve using information gathered to lobby businesses, governments and NGOs across the world in order to expand relationships.
  • The United States will continue to be a key player in the global commons, but many see its ability to influence the international process decreasing in five to seven years as the country's economic power diminishes.