New book on a world parliament and world governance presented at the UN in New York

16. April 2018

On April 11th, the United Nations Correspondents Association with support of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies hosted an event at the UN headquarters in New York marking the launch of the book "A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century", authored by Andreas Bummel, the Director of Democracy without Borders and Jo Leinen, a Member of the European Parliament.

The book describes the history, today’s relevance and future implementation of the idea of a democratically elected world parliament and explores how world governance may be improved. In the introduction the authors write that “we know that a world parliament and a world legal order cannot be realized from one day to the next. But we argue that it is high time to set this process in train by establishing a UN Parliamentary Assembly.”

At the event, Andreas Bummel said that the confrontation between the United States and Russia in the UN Security Council over the carnage in Syria represents “the darkest hour in international relations in recent history.” In his opinion, forward-looking visions such as that of a world parliament are now all the more important. He outlined the proposal of a UN Parliamentary Assembly as a means to better represent the world’s citizens in UN affairs. The assembly could be established as a consultative body composed of national or regional parliamentarians by a decision of the UN General Assembly as part of the latter’s “revitalization”.

Luke Vargas, UN Bureau Chief of Talk Media News, moderated a discussion with Bummel with a number of journalists and diplomats from member states’ missions to the UN, with William Pace, the Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy and Convener of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, introducing.

Vargas pointed out the “rare, precious optimism” of the book in the context of the current political climate, which Pace also acknowledged, calling it a “period of severe retreat of the principles of multilateralism and of how policy elites are implementing globalism.” Both highlighted the exceptional way that a world parliament could address today’s issues. One of the most prominent supporters of the idea was Albert Einstein.

Bummel, who is also Director of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, fielded a number of questions from the audience regarding the premise of the book as well as the concept of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. An essential distinction was made between international law and global law, which is explored in the last chapters of the work. Bummel argued that international law does not represent a legal system in the strict sense of the term as it does not provide for mechanisms for the adoption of universally binding rules, for mandatory settlement of disputes before courts or means of enforcement.

In a review posted on his blog, American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University Richard Falk strongly recommended the book and called it “a great gift to humanity at a time of global emergency.”

Experts who had an opportunity to read an advance copy included Frank Biermann, chair of the Earth System Governance project and professor at Utrecht University. According to Biermann, the book represents “the new standard work on the idea of a world parliament” and “a milestone in the debate on the democratization of global governance.”

The book can be ordered in print and ebook edition on Amazon or any other retail and online bookstores around the world. 

More information

Webpage on the book