After Copenhagen: Delegation leaders of European and Pan-African Parliament call for renovation of decision-making process

22. december 2009

According to a joint statement issued by the leaders of the delegations of the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament to the Copenhagen Climate Conference last week, "the failure of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen was caused as well by the non-transparent and ineffective mechanisms of the United Nations working methods." As a consequence, the statement expresses the need to renovate the UN's decision-making structures through a Parliamentary Assembly. The document notes that "a Parliamentary Assembly at UN level with parliamentary working methods linked with open discussion and majority votes could be helpful for the global decision-making process."

The statement which was issued on the occasion of a meeting between the delegations of the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament during the COP15 Climate Conference emphasizes "the common position of the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) should be established within the UN system." According to the delegation leaders, Hon. Mary Mugenyi, Second Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament from Uganda, and Jo Leinen, Chair of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament from Germany, "the creation of a UNPA can and should be initiated and pursued independently from other issues of UN reform currently on the international agenda."

Both, the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament, have adopted resolutions supporting the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. In October 2007 the Pan-African Parliament noted, among other things, that "a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly eventually should have participation and oversight rights, in particular, to send fully participating parliamentary delegations or representatives to international governmental fora and negotiations."

Mr Leinen said that the agreement of Copenhagen is a "huge disappointment" as it "postpones climate protection to a later date." The European Parliament's delegation deplored the fact that the "Copenhagen Accord" is not a legally binding agreement, and only "recognises" the need to keep temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Mr Leinen stressed that a "world parliament" would be able to represent "the interest of humanity as a whole." According to Mr Leinen, this view was "underrepresented in the negotiations in Copenhagen."

The joint statement was welcomed by the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, a global network of parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and activists working for strengthened citizen's participation in global institutions. The Campaign's Secretary-General, Andreas Bummel, noted that "the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference illustrates the inability of traditional international diplomacy and the United Nations to cope with global challenges. A UN Parliamentary Assembly could be the decisive political catalyst for an overhaul of the international system."