World Federalist Movement

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World Federalist Movement

The World Federalist Movement (WFM) is a global citizens movement with member and associate organizations around the world. The WFM International Secretariat is based in New York City across from the United Nations headquarters. The organization was created in 1947 by those concerned that the structure of the new United Nations was too similar to the League of Nations which had failed to prevent World War II, both being loosely structured associations of sovereign nation-states, with few autonomous powers. Supporters continue to advocate the establishment of a global federalist system of strengthened and accountable global institutions with plenary constitutional power and a division of international authority among separate global agencies.

The Movement has had Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC since 1970 and is affiliated with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and a current board member of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO). It currently counts 30,000 to 50,000 supporters.


In the aftermath of World Wars I & II, activists around the world were forming organizations bent on creating a new world order that could prevent another global war.

The Campaign for World Government, the first world federalist organization, was launched in 1937. In 1938, Federal Union1 was organized in the United Kingdom. In the U.S., Federal Union (now Association to Unite the Democracies2) was established in 1939 calling for a federation of the Atlantic democracies. The Mouvement populaire suisse en faveur d'une federation des peuples3 was created in Geneva in 1940. During WWII, anti-fascist resistance movements shared clandestinely circulated copies of Altiero Spinelli's plan for European federation. In 1945, the Committee to Frame a World Constitution convened at the University of Chicago and drafted a Constitution for the World.4 In 1947, five small world federalist organizations came together in Asheville, North Carolina and agreed to merge as the United World Federalists.

These five groups had in the previous year met with representatives of fifteen others in Montreux to discuss creating a worldwide federalist organization. It was one year later, in August 1947, also in Montreux, that more than 51 organizations from 24 countries came together at the Conference of the World Movement for World Federal Government. The Conference concluded with the Montreux Declaration.

By its second congress in 1948 in Luxembourg, the Movement consisted of 150,000 members of 19 nationalities and 50 member and affiliated organizations. The 350 participants in the Congress laid the groundwork for an association of parliamentarians for world government, which came into being in 1951.

Federalists had hoped that the anticipated UN review conference (under Article 109 of the UN Charter) in 1955 would move the UN further in the direction of a world federal system. Unfortunately, the lack of political will dissipated any interest in such a conference. Around 1965 however, the Movement had established offices near the United Nations, with American federalist Marion McVitty as the Movement's UN observer and advocate.

Federalists in this period focused on amendments to the United Nations Charter as a way forward. Most involved reforms to institutions such as a more representative Security Council, a World Court with compulsory jurisdiction and judicial review authority and a democratically elected General Assembly (or a world parliament). Federalists proposed a number of new institutions such as a commission on sustainable development, an international development authority, a standing peacekeeping corps and an international criminal court.

The Institute for Global Policy (IGP), founded in 1983 by the World Federalist Movement, is a research and policy institute dedicated to the promotion of human security, international justice, the prevention of armed conflict and the protection of civilians. The Institute emphasizes the democratization of international and regional organizations and the development and global application of international law.5 Most recently, WFM-IGP has been at the forefront of advocating for NGO access to international conferences and meetings.

Member organizations

WFM-IGP is composed of autonomous national and regional organizations organized by individual supporters in their respective countries. In applying to the governing Council for membership, organizations are asked to endorse the WFM Statement of Purpose and to demonstrate a "capacity to contribute to the enhancement of public and political support" for the Movement's goals.

Organizations are categorized as either Member or Associate Member. Both Members and Associate Members are entitled to appoint delegates to the Movement's quadrennial Congresses; Members are further entitled to appoint one or more members to the Movement governing Council, which meets annually. (All such appointments are based on the membership size of the organization.) Currently, the annual dues are set at a flat rate for Associate Members and on a sliding scale for Members based on the size of their membership.

The larger Members and Associate Members currently include Citizens for Global Solutions, Union of European Federalists, World Federalist Movement — Canada,6 The Universal Party, and the World Federalist Movement of Japan. Others include Democratic World Federalists, One World Trust, Committee for a Democratic UN, Ugandan World Federalists7dead link and several others.8dead link


External links

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