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The Twelve Concepts for World Service

   "The Twelve Traditions make clear the principle that A.A., as such, should never be organized, that there are no bosses and no government. Yet at the same time, the Traditions recognize the need for some kind of organization to carry the message in ways that are impossible for the local groups - such as publication of a uniform literature and public information resources, helping new groups get started, publishing an international magazine, and carrying the message in other languages into other countries."
   The U.S./Canada Conference structure is the framework in which these "general services" are carried out.
[from The A.A. Service Manual , page S15.]

  1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.
  2. The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole Society in its world affairs.
  3. To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of A.A. - the Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives - with a traditional "Right of Decision."
  4. At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional "Right of Participation," allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge.
  5. Throughout our structure, a traditional "Right of Appeal" ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances receive careful consideration.
  6. The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.
  7. The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service affairs. The Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the A.A. purse for final effectiveness.
  8. The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of overall policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all the directors of these entities.
  9. Good service leadership at all levels is indispensible for our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders, must necessarily be assumed by the trustees.
  10. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.
  11. The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.
  12. The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government; and that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.
[from Alcoholics Anonymous (Fourth Edition), Appendix VII, pages 574-575]