Declaration of Brussels: Toward a democratic and equitable international order

Recalling and affirming

  • the “Appeal for the Establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations” of April 2007,
  • the “Conclusions regarding policies of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly” of November 2007,
  • the “Statement on the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and the Inter-Parliamentary Union” of November 2008,
  • the “Call for global democratic oversight of international financial and economic institutions” of April 2009, and
  • the “Declaration of Buenos Aires” of October 2010,

1. We, the participants in the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), reiterate our joint appeal to the United Nations and its member states to advance the necessary processes for the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.

2. We express our concern that in the intergovernmental realm no adequate measures have been taken to address the democratic deficit of global governance in general and of the United Nations in particular.

3. We reiterate our view that a UNPA is a vital component to strengthen democratic participation in and the democratic legitimacy of the United Nations as well as other intergovernmental organizations such as the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization.

4. A UNPA would enable citizen representatives, i.e. elected parliamentarians, to be directly involved in global political deliberations, agenda-setting, and decision-making, in a formalized and institutionalized manner.

5. Global problems require global solutions. The daily lives of the world’s citizens are increasingly shaped by economic, social and political forces that transcend national boundaries and demonstrate a growing need for more inclusive, effective and transparent global governance.

6. The universality of human rights and the necessity of a democratic basis for legitimate governance are widely acknowledged. Yet, far too many people are denied their human rights and democratic participation. We are convinced that a UNPA as a global democratic body of elected representatives would strengthen the practice of democratic governance and fulfillment of human rights regionally, nationally and locally. Conversely, we believe that excluding democratic principles and participation from global governance undermines democracy at the regional, national, and local levels.

7. We emphasize our conviction that a UNPA needs to be inclusive and open for participation of parliamentarians of all UN member states and observer states. We acknowledge that ensuring the democratic character of a UNPA presents challenges. We are convinced that these challenges can be overcome, and that with political will a parliamentary assembly for the United Nations can be constructed in a manner that is both representative and legitimate.

8. We welcome the decision of the UN’s Human Rights Council to mandate an Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, and encourage the Independent Expert to keep considering the question of a UNPA and in particular to examine possible processes towards its creation.

9. We welcome the recent and ongoing broad-based consultations among a wide range of governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, to develop a global consensus on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We feel encouraged that these consultations have emphasized (1) the importance of a “rights-based” approach to sustainable development; and (2) the necessity of a comprehensive, global approach, to address poverty and inequality in all countries.

10. The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda recently noted that achieving the post-2015 vision will require “reshaped and revitalized global governance partnerships” to ensure that “the United Nations, multilateral systems, and all development actors effectively support the post-2015 development agenda.” Indeed, we observe that sustaining a multi-stakeholder consensus for shared global goals is one of the key functions that a UNPA would be expected to provide.

11. To maintain political support, to reinforce accountability and to bring global governance in the pursuit of post-2015 development goals closer to those directly affected, we encourage the creation of a UNPA when the international community adopts its Post-2015 Development Agenda.

12. A UNPA is a global parliamentary body that includes distinctive innovative features that go beyond the characteristics of existing national and regional assemblies and parliaments. Acting as an institutionalized “network of networks”, a UNPA could allow representatives of existing parliamentary networks and institutions to formally participate in its work, thus providing them with more leverage and influence. Consideration should be given to the possibility of involving local authorities and representatives of indigenous peoples and nations in the activities of a UNPA.

13. We affirm that a UNPA can and should evolve gradually. Eventually members of a UNPA should be directly elected. From the UNPA’s inception its statutes should allow participating states to opt for direct elections of their delegates if they wish to do so.

14. With a view to exploring innovative forms of civic participation in a UNPA, implementing models of electronic direct or "liquid" democracy that allow citizens to participate in deliberations or to influence decision-making processes could be considered.

15. We congratulate the European Parliament on its pioneering role in promoting the establishment of a UNPA, dating back to resolution A3-0331/93 adopted in 1994, and most recently expressed in resolution P7_TA 0255 of 2011, which called on the EU Council to introduce the establishment of a UNPA into the proceedings of the UN General Assembly.

16. We call on the European Parliament and its members as well as on all other parliaments and their members to reinforce their commitment to more democratic global governance through continued support for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.