Declaration calls for intergovernmental conference on UN Parliament
An international meeting of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the Senate of Argentina in Buenos Aires has called on the United Nations and its member states to initiate a “preparatory process towards an intergovernmental conference for the purpose of establishing a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.“ A declaration adopted by around 50 participants from 20 countries, among them ten Members of Parliament and representatives of 20 civil society organizations, states that “the need to democratize global governance is one of the greatest political challenges of our times. It calls on individual world citizens, and
|Group picture of the participants|
|Image: Democracia Global|
especially parliamentarians, governments, the international donor community, and civil society to make a commitment to democratic global change.”
At the opening session the Argentinian deputy Fernando Iglesias reiterated the need for global democratization through a UN Parliamentary Assembly. As a guest speaker Olivier Giscard d’Estaing, former Member of Parliament from France, voiced his disappointment over the enduring failure to bring about any substantial reform of the United Nations. Mr. Giscard d’Estaing called for the creation of “new world institutions dealing with world problems, including a world parliament.” The Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, William Pace, severely criticized the G8 and G20. “These informal governance mechanism have failed dramatically,” Mr. Pace stated. “Our goal is to replace the brutality of imperialism with constitutional and parliamentary principles at the global level,” he said.
In a written welcome note to the meeting, the parliamentarian and former Prime Minister of Malta, Alfred Sant, stated that “the goal of establishing a UN Parliamentary Assembly may appear to be far away down the road, but global realities are changing so fast that the relevance of an Assembly may become salient much sooner than is now supposed.” The European parliamentarian Jo Leinen noted in a message that “the proposal now has to be taken up by a group of like-minded governments”.
In the plenary session, participants deliberated on the outcome document and on their activities in the previous year. In the afternoon, parallel workshops were held. The former clerk of the Pan-African Parliament, Werunga Murumba, now at the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training of the Kenya National Assembly, spoke about lessons learned from the creation of existing international parliamentary assemblies. Other workshops were held on the next steps in the Latin-American region and on the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly and UN Charter reform.
The event that was held in the premises of the Senate of Argentina on Monday was the fourth meeting of an international campaign that was launched in April 2007. The head of the Campaign’s Secretariat, Andreas Bummel, noted that in this time span around 900 Members of Parliament from over 90 countries expressed their support, representing over 100 million people from their constituencies. Around 750 are currently in office.
The meeting was preceded by a seminar of the Latin-American Parliament on regional integration and the reform of international institutions that was held in the previous week. One of the sessions was devoted to the proposal of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. The UNPA-Campaign meeting was part of a ten-day programme in Buenos Aires coordinated by the Argentinian non-governmental organization Democracia Global.
Top image: Opening session, by Democracia Global