World Congress of Green parties calls for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

2. April 2012

The third international gathering of Green parties worldwide, the Global Greens Congress, closed yesterday in Dakar, Senegal, with the adoption of various resolutions, one of which dealt with the question of global democracy. "Greens recognize that the need to strengthen democracy and participation in the system of global governance has become urgent," the resolution states. Taking note "of the fact that no parliamentary body exists within the

Senator Bob Brown during the Global Greens Congress in Dakar
Picture: European Greens

framework of the United Nations, the World Bank group, the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organization", the Congress declared "its support for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) as a parliamentary body within the UN system."

Representatives of over 70 Green parties from across the world met for three days in Senegal's capital and deliberated on issues such as solidarity, democracy, biodiversity, climate change, and the future of the Global Greens movement. In a statement made during a plenary session on Friday, Australian Senator Bob Brown said that the influence of global corporations at the international level was too strong. This should be counterbalanced by a "global parliament" that is dealing with genuinely global issues and that "makes sure that the basic needs of every citizen of the world" can be met. "Every citizen should have an equal say on global matters," Senator Brown suggested. "One person, one vote, one value." A week before, Senator Brown had delivered a major speech on the subject in Hobart, Tasmania.

At a workshop on Saturday the issue of a global parliament was discussed in detail at the Green's World Congress. Introductions to the proposal of a UN Parliamentary Assembly were provided by Kennedy Graham, a Green parliamentarian from New Zealand, and Didier Coeurnelle, a delegate with Ecolo from Belgium. The workshop concluded that a UN Parliamentary Assembly in a first step should be composed of representatives of national parliaments "but ultimately it should become a body that is directly elected by the world’s citizens," as the final resolution states. Coeurnelle who introduced the resolution on behalf of Ecolo, the Australian Greens, the French Greens, and the Young European Greens, commented that "Parliamentary democracy is not a perfect system, but it has proven to be the best available at the municipal, regional, national and even multinational levels. It is time to promote parliamentary democracy at the world level as well."

The second Global Greens Congress in May 2008 in Sao Paulo already adopted a resolution in support of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. The proposal is supported across party lines. Other international party networks that did endorse it include the Socialist International and the Liberal International. In December 2011, the parliament of the South American community Mercosur passed a statement and in June 2011, the European Parliament called on the EU's member states to promote the idea.

Download resolution (in English)

Further reading:

23 March 2012: Bob Brown delivers the 3rd annual Green Oration

08 May 2011: Green youth organizations in Europe endorse call for elected UN assembly

Image: Delegates vote during a plenary session, by Philippe Bossin