Global system for national citizens to write to their elected representatives
FROM: Duane Raymond
What NEED does this meet?
Those of us in the US, UK or Canada may not realise it - but in countries around the world there is a scarcity of systems which enable people to email/fax their elected representatives (i.e. Member of Parliament, congress person, senator, MEP). Enabling people to raise global issues locally would help a wide range of concerns influence national and local politicians. For global issues like climate change and unfair trade, this local influence globally is critical.
This meets the needs of people around the world to have the same online access to their elected representatives as we have in the US, UK or Canada.
What is the APPROACH?
In each country, these systems are currently developed nationally - meaning there is no one place to which anyone can turn to engage their elected representatives. This makes coordinating a global campaign more difficult.
This proposal is for a global web site / system where local campaigners anywhere can look up their elected representatives and fax/email them. It could be used by individual citizens, small dispersed groups or medium/large campaigning groups coordinating a global campaign.
For example an individual in Malaysia could look up their MP, a small campaigning group with contacts in Argentina, Mexico and Ghana could point their supporters to the site to email their MPs or a large NGO with supporters in 100 countries could direct their supporters to the same site so all have the ability to write to their representative locally.
What are the BENEFITS to people?
People anywhere in the world would have equal access to their elected representatives. This would deepen their engagement with democracy and make their representatives more accountable. It would make people's lives easier because they wouldn't have to hunt down and assemble the information for communicating with their elected representatives themselves - they would just be able to get on with communicating with them.
What is the COMPETITION?
Most parliaments around the world have a web site with representative names & contact details. However these are not always easy to find except by experienced web surfers/activists. In the few most developed countries, third party services exist - but these too are not always easy to find.
Having a global service means activists can tell each other where to act regardless of what country they are each in.
What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
A basic service could probably be established for £50,000. How much extra it takes depends on the chosen solution. If the system needs to get the data from authorities around the world - this will likely cost more. If the system extracts the information from parliamentary web sites - it will cost less but need updating whenever these parliamentary changes are made. Maintaining fax gateways around the world may also incur some ongoing costs.
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