Federalism is a means of achieving a balance between unity and diversity by vertically separating powers. The sovereignty of the world federation originates from the sovereignty of humanity.
Decisions and responsibilities should be distributed to the lowest level of government at which they can be effectively addressed. This principle of subsidiarity ensures that power stays as close to the people as possible.
A global federation would not replace sovereign nations: these would continue to deal with national issues. A world federation would complement national sovereignty over national issues with an additional, global layer of governance for a clearly defined set of global issues.
A world federation derives its legitimacy both from the constituent nations and the inherent, global citizenship of all people in the world.
United Nations Reform
The UN could be transformed into a world federation through revision of the UN Charter, either by moving directly to Charter review, or with an incremental approach starting with an advisory UN Parliamentary Assembly.
Union of Democracies
Free democracies could form a union. More autocratic countries might then have economic and political incentives to join the union and democratize. One day, this could grow into a world federation.
Regional institutions such as the European Union and the East African Union could unite on a global level. Strengthening regional alliances is likely to help promote world federation as people become aware of the benefits of working together across nations.
Grassroots World Democracy
A world parliament, outside of the UN, and with voluntary elections could be created. As participation in elections grew, its political legitimacy would grow, too – eventually evolving into a world federation.
Campaign for World Government
Prominent feminists and peace activists Rosika Schwimmer and Lola Maverick Lloyd founded the Campaign for World Government, the first world federalist organization in the 20th century.
A Constitution for the World
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Committee to Frame a World Constitution convened at the University of Chicago and drafted a “Constitution for the World”. In 1947, “The Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution” was completed. A comprehensive final draft was published in 1991.
Birth of a Movement
Over 50 world federalist organizations met in Montreux, Switzerland to declare "We world federalists are convinced that the establishment of a world federal government is the crucial problem of our time. Until it is solved, all other issues, whether national or international, will remain unsettled. It is not between free enterprise and planned economy, nor between capitalism and communism that the choice lies, but between federalism and power politics. Federalism alone can assure the survival of man." The World Federalist Movement was born.
World Citizen Number One
Garry Davis interrupted a session of the United Nations General Assembly on 19 November 1948, "We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give," he proclaimed. "The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war."
During the Cold War, the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation made progress on world federation difficult. Some world federalists pushed for reform of the UN, others took up the cause of spreading the idea of global citizenship, and some carried forward the work of drafting a constitution for the world.
International Criminal Court
The World Federalist Movement led a coalition of organizations that drove the creation of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The ICC tries individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly
Democracy Without Borders launches its Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an advisory body that could become a world parliament through increased democratic legitimacy.
Young World Federalists
In order to revitalize and rebuild the mass movement for world federation, a group of young people from around the world founded the Young World Federalists. With the pandemic having killed millions and the climate crisis worsening, a world federation is needed now more than ever before.
The World Government Research Network is devoted to advancing academic dialogues on forms of regional and global integration. It does so through promoting and posting exchanges on aspects of economic, political, security, and other forms of integration between states, and on more general aspects of globalization.
The Federalist Debate aims to encourage debate in a borderless environment. It is a four-monthly review born to stimulate and feed the circulation of ideas and information among the various federalist organizations, and among these and the movements in the global civil society that are growing impetuously in all the regions of the world.