Future Functioning and Structure of the Global Greens

March 29th – April 1st 2012

1. The Global Greens is the partnership of the world’s Green parties and Green political movements, working cooperatively to implement the Global Greens Charter. This unique and inspiring document sets out our core values of ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.

2. With members in nearly 90 countries, the Greens are the world’s fastest growing political family. We work for change inside and outside the world’s parliaments and have elected representatives in all corners of the world at local, state and national level, and in the European Parliament. The Global Greens are organised into Federations in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

3. We aim to make the 21st century a green century! This means fundamentally reforming the dominant economic model, tackling climate change, ending the hunger crisis, promoting vibrant democracy, working for peace, protecting biodiversity and more.

4. The Global Greens was founded at the first Global Greens Congress in Canberra, Australia, in April 2001. This was the culmination of a 30-year journey from the beginning of the world’s first Green parties in 1972. These were in the Australian state of Tasmania (the United Tasmania Group) and in New Zealand (the Values Party). Others followed quickly: in 1973 PEOPLE (later the Ecology Party) was set up in the UK, and in other European countries Green and radical parties sprang up in the following years.

5. By 1992 there were enough Green parties to hold an informal meeting at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil. In 1999, the Milenio Verde conference in Oaxaca, Mexico, was attended by 150 Greens from 24 countries. The 2001 Congress adopted the Charter and set up mechanisms for ongoing collaboration: the Global Greens Co­ordination and the Global Greens Network. In 2008 the 2nd Congress in Sao Paolo Brazil adopted 21 Commitments for the 21st Century, and set the groundwork for employing the first Global Greens Secretary who was appointed in 2010 to support a basic level of coordination and to help create a better information structure, including the Global Greens website.

6. In 2012 the Global Greens Coordination commissioned the first ever census of Green Parties, which found that:

  • 100% of the members think that the Global Greens should continue to exist;
  • The Greens are the only major political family that does not yet have a formal international office and secretariat established to ensure global collaboration and cooperation;
  • When asked what should be the primary function of the Global Greens, the most popular response was capacity building for emerging parties. 

Functions and Development

7. The Global Greens function as a platform of exchange for party development in our Federations and as a stimulus for political development and action on a global level. We seek to express a common view on our political goals and to act as a promoter of the values formulated in the Charter. 

8. Although our Global Green family is growing rapidly and is finding increasing success at local, national and regional levels in terms of green-inspired campaigns and in electoral gains, our resources at international level have not matched this progress and the level of services which the Global Greens organisation can currently offer to its members is restricted.

9. The level of political and party development of the four Federations, and within these Federations, is varied.

10. The Global Greens are not widely known and not yet recognised as the worldwide Green family.

11. Although we have grown considerably, we are still a relatively young political movement and in most countries we face a difficult fight for parliamentary representation, let alone participation in government. It is therefore crucial that all the Federations remain committed to the Global Greens cooperation and development.

12. On a practical level it is difficult to organise coordination meetings and exchange information due to language barriers and time-zones. We will endeavour to make the Global Greens website more accessible to non-English speakers.

13. This illustrates that our cooperation needs to be developed to its full potential. Therefore the 3rdCongress in Dakar, Senegal aims to adopt a proposal for further collaboration intended to structure the Global Greens organisation for the next 5 to 10 years. This resolution defines the aims and objectives of that cooperation as well as the organisational support, structure and strategy necessary to achieve this.

Resolution: A better structure and functioning for the Global Greens organisation

1. Global Greens: aims and objectives

The Global Greens will promote and defend the Global Greens Charter through common actions, through providing direct support to the Greens Federations officially recognised by the Global Greens and through developing a global perspective on what is needed to bring about the changes required to solve the world’s problems. We will continue to pursue contacts with new and emerging Green parties in the Middle East and seek to bring them into our Global Green family.

The Global Greens will seek to share resources, particularly from the stronger Greens parties, with emerging parties so that there is growth of Green representatives around the world particularly in emerging democracies.

The Global Greens will encourage the range of networks that are becoming established in our political family.  This includes Young Greens, networks of elected parliamentarians and local government representatives, indigenous peoples and other collaborations that are affiliated with the Greens.  These networks help to build the scale of Global Greens cooperation.

The Global Greens will achieve these aims through:

  • building a shared knowledge base,
  • capacity building for political and electoral engagement,
  • assisting policy development, research and campaigning in collaboration with  Greens Institutes,
  • supporting organisational and membership development,
  • building cooperation between Greens around the world,
  • developing a common Global Green voice,
  • ensuring the commitment from large parties with elected representatives to build partnerships with emerging Green parties for electoral success,
  • global communication and networking of all levels of political actions,
  • sharing resources,
  • exchanging skills and support.

To implement these aims and objectives we, the Global Greens, must develop our common operating capacity and the Federations. Each Federation should invest resources for the further development of the Global Greens. The Global Greens should develop an effective communication system so that all its members can cooperate effectively and efficiently.

2. Organisational structure

2.1 Global Greens Membership

Global Greens members are Green parties and green political movements that are current and full members of one the Global Greens Federations.

Each of these Federations is entitled to participate in decision-making at Global Greens Congresses through their delegates, and will have speaking and voting rights according to the rules and procedures adopted for the Congress. The Federation members have to pay their membership fee as defined below in due time to be able to exercise the right of participation and decision making.

Each Federation should have clear rules for membership application as well as an effective and thorough membership evaluation process. Membership rules for each Federation are to be made available on the Global Greens website.

2.2 Finances

For the first time in 2011 a system of membership fees was introduced for each constituent Green party officially affiliated to one of the Federations. The level of these fees is currently as follows:

  • €500 large parties 
  • €200 medium size parties
  • €20 small parties

Each Federation is responsible for contacting its member parties, designating the level of fees payable as above and collecting those fees for transmission to the Global Greens account. The Global Greens Coordination will develop guidelines for the Federations for the appropriate method of categorizing membership fees.

The structure and level of fees to be applied in 2013 will be reviewed at the end of 2012 and annually thereafter.

The Global Greens express their appreciation to the Federations and parties for their contributions over the past three years in support of the new Global Greens Secretariat. Particular appreciation is conveyed to the Australian, New Zealand and European Greens.

The Global Greens agree on the need to strengthen the Secretariat in the near future in order to ensure that they can rely on a professional and effective support service.

Therefore we need to promote financial strengthening for the Secretariat, on the basis of what the Federations and parties can financially commit to, in recognition of their current capacity to pay. This should commence in 2013 with one full-time person continuing the process of building the Global Greens.

In addition to income from membership fees, the Global Greens agree to secure funding from a variety of sources and schemes including one or more of the following, as appropriate to each Federation and/or party:

  • Implement a tithe of 1% of annual income from parties and salaried elected representatives;
  • Direct allocations from Federations and/or parties
  • Direct contributions from individuals and Green party members
  • Fundraising from other approved sources to run a Global Greens secretariat and fund the Federations.

The new Global Greens website and civiCRM data base give the potential for far more systematic and effective continuous fund-raising and will be exploited more purposefully. The Global Greens Coordination has also developed a policy on sponsorship and donations and will actively pursue fund-raising through this means.

We call on the Global Greens Coordination to convene immediately a planning group to explore ways in which the funding and operations of the Secretariat can be strengthened for 2013 onwards. The most immediate focus will be to fill the potential budget gap for 2013.

2.3 Global Greens Congress

The Global Greens Congresses are the primary decision-making fora for the Global Greens. They involve a huge organisational and financial effort but play an important role in promoting a sense of who the Greens are and allowing Greens around the world to get to know each other. Alternative and/or additional ways of achieving these objectives should be investigated, especially taking advantage of new communication technologies, provided parties in low income countries or difficult time zones are not thereby disadvantaged.

Each full member party and/or organisation is entitled to appoint/elect 3 delegates for participation in the Global Greens Congress, two delegates according to Gender balance, one youth delegate. We invite the Global Greens Coordination to examine the voting structure and to report back to the federations.

The Global Greens Congress is convened every three to five  years, on a rotational basis around the Federations. We agree in principle to hold the 4th Congress in Europe between late 2016 /early 2017.

We call for the installation of a working group that will draft a proposal on a conflict resolution mechanism for the Global Green movement and report back to the Global Greens Co-ordination before the end of 2012.

2.4 Global Greens Coordination (GGC)

The GGC is responsible for the Global Greens political work between Congresses and for ensuring that the Global Greens’ objectives are achieved.  The full members of the GGC comprise three representatives from each Federation with a high level of political awareness and experience. In addition, up to three GGC substitutes may be nominated from each Federation. They will have access to documents, including meeting agendas and minutes, but not take part in meetings unless they substitute for full members who are absent.

The GGC will appoint a Convenor from amongst its members. The Convenor is an honorary role responsible for coordinating the work of the Executive, the Secretariat and the GGC.

The GGC meets regularly, at least 4 times a year by telephone or other electronic means and aims to meet at least once a year face-to-face.

2.5 Global Greens Executive

The GGC shall appoint a smaller executive team to lead the day-to-day operational management. The Executive is responsible for the administrative work between congresses, and comprises four to seven people, including at least one person from each Federation. A majority of the Executive members must also be full members of the GGC, and up to three people with a specific expertise relevant to the Executive’s work may be invited to join.

The Executive will appoint a Treasurer who will lead the fund-raising activities in addition to managing the Global Greens’ finances and reporting to the GGC and Congress. To facilitate fund-raising, the Executive shall as soon as possible create a legal identity for the Global Greens in an appropriate jurisdiction in co-ordination with the Federations.

2.6 Decision making

Both the Global Greens Coordination and the Executive function according to consensus.

2.7 Global Greens Secretariat

A permanent Secretariat is essential for the Global Greens to carry out its roles effectively.

A fully functional Secretariat could, in time, include a ‘distributed model’ where, in addition to a main Global Greens office, each Federation would have an office with at least one person dedicated to Global Greens work.

The tasks of the Secretariat are:

  • administrative and organizational assistance to the GGC and the Executive, in order to allow them to function and meet (virtually) on a regular basis;
  • assist the GG Convenor to coordinate the work of the Global Greens;
  • manage the office, staff and budget, and coordinate the work done in the federation offices;
  • liaise with Global Greens Federations and member parties;
  • regularly inform the member parties on the activities of the Global Greens;
  • under the responsibility of the executive, run  the Global Greens website and databases;
  • work with the Treasurer and the Executive on the fundraising programme.

In order to be effective we aim to move from the existing status of one part-time employee to at least one full time employee as from 1st January 2013 and to a second support post as soon as possible thereafter. The Treasurer and the Executive will be responsible for sourcing the necessary budget in collaboration with all the Federations. The physical location of the Secretariat shall be agreed between the Federations taking into account ease of global communications and the capacity to provide effective administration of Global Greens events.

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