Call for a UN Parliamentary Assembly at joint sitting of Pan-African and Arab parliament

12. October 2016

Pan-African Parliament and Arab Parliament consider UN reform at joint sitting in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt

The proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly was presented today at a joint sitting of the Pan-African Parliament and the Arab Parliament in Sharm El Sheik that was held in Egypt on the occassion of the 150th anniversary of the Egyptian parliament.

Members of the Pan-African and the Arab parliament in Sharm El Sheik

Members of the Pan-African and the Arab parliament in Sharm El Sheik

"To meet the challenges of this new century, the UN must become more effective, more representative and more democratic," said Ivone Soares, a member of parliament from Mozambique, in a plenary speech.

Addressing the reform of the UN Security Council, Ms. Soares said that Africa should be given two permanent seats. She added, however, that in her opinion, "the privilege of the veto enjoyed by the permanent members must be called into question." If a single member was able to block any decision, "the Security Council will continue to be unable to protect people from mass atrocities and unable to maintain international peace and security," Mrs. Soares stated.

Call on Arab Parliament to endorse a UNPA

The chief whip of the parliamentary group of the opposition party Renamo in Mozambique stated that it was important to "look beyond the Security Council" when it comes to United Nations reform.

Mrs. Soares recalled that the Pan-African Parliament was at the forefront of the international campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. In a resolution adopted unanimously five months ago, the parliamentary body of the African Union reaffirmed its position that "a UN Parliamentary Assembly is needed to strengthen the democratic and representative participation of citizens from around the world at the United Nations," Mrs. Soares said.

Mrs. Soares called on the Arab Parliament to back the efforts for a UN Parliamentary Assembly.

African Parliamentary Alliance for UN reforms

The speech by Mrs. Soares was preceded by a presentation of Onyango Kakoba, a member of parliament from Uganda who belongs to the ruling party National Resistance Movement.

Mr. Kakoba annonced the establishment of the African Parliamentary Alliance for UN reforms, a "international organisation working with parliaments and parliamentarians to spearhead advocacy for UN reforms," as he pointed out.

According to Mr. Kakoba, the alliance, among other things, strives to "bring together the best minds across the African continent" and to give "parliamentary impetus" to the work of the African Union Committee of Ten that is mandated to develop and advance common African positions relative to UN reforms.

While the "primary focus" of the alliance "is the reform of the UN Security Council in favor of Africa," Mr. Kakoba said in the plenary debate that they could collaborate with the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly to advance this subject as well.

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