Elected representatives issue call to action for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

8. November 2018

Lawmakers establish new international group / "UN has serious limits"

A group of elected representatives was established this Wednesday at an international online meeting with the goal to promote the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, in short UNPA. The new Parliamentary Group for a UNPA adopted a call to action warning that “the United Nations, the multilateral order and democracy are under attack.”

Possible logo of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

The declaration urges the UN and its member governments to take steps towards the creation of a UNPA in order to address the UN’s democratic deficit. It refers to a statement by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali who said that “we need to promote the democratization of globalization, before globalization destroys the foundations of national and international democracy.”

The meeting elected five co-presidents: Fernando Iglesias, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina; Daniel Jositsch, Senator from Switzerland; Jo Leinen, Member of the European Parliament from Germany; Naveed Qamar, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan; and Ivone Soares, Member of the National Assembly of Mozambique and the Pan-African Parliament.

"Democracy currently stops at national borders"

“Democracy currently stops at national borders. At the global level, the United Nations brings together diplomats appointed by member state governments. There is no UN body composed of democratically elected representatives. As a consequence, the UN reaches serious limits when it comes to finding solutions for global problems. Take climate change as an example. There has been little progress for decades,” said Senator Daniel Jositsch who chaired the meeting.

Other initial members of the group include, among others, Ireland's Thomas Broughan, Jens Holm from Sweden, Smári McCarthy from Iceland, Florence Mutua from Kenya, Achyuta Samanta from India, Lilia Puig de Stubrin from Argentina, Nomsa Tarabella-Marchesi from South Africa and Malta's George Vella. 

Group members already in action

Responding to a question of Thomas Broughan in the Irish parliament this week, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney responded again that Ireland was “open minded” on the UNPA proposal. Together with four other parliamentarians, Smári McCarthy these days re-introduced a resolution in the Icelandic parliament calling for support of a UNPA. 

Previously, with the involvement of group members Fernando Iglesias, Jo Leinen and Ivone Soares respectively, the Latin-American Parliament, the Parliament of Mercosur, both chambers of the Argentine parliament, the European Parliament, and the Pan-African Parliament endorsed the proposal. 

In addition, the international campaign for a UNPA so far was endorsed by over 1,500 current and former individual members of parliament. The new parliamentary group aims at building “the political momentum and pressure that is needed to achieve our goal”.

The creation of a Parliamentary Group for a UNPA is another step forward in the way towards a world parliament, global democracy, a stronger UN and a fairer and more peaceful world”, commented Fernando Iglesias. 

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Read the call to action here