Students simulate UN negotiations on the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly
"Model UN Parliament" held in Halle, Germany
Around fifty students from Germany, Europe, and around the world came together in Halle (Germany) over the previous weekend in order to simulate international negotiations on the establishment of United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, in short UNPA. Assuming the role of diplomats of UN member states, the students discussed the details of a draft statute which was adopted by a majority vote in a final session on Sunday. “It was very exciting to follow the debates on issues like what powers the future world parliament should have or how the world’s citizens should be represented in the body,” said Michael Puntschuh, the lead project manager.
At this time, the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly is not yet on the official reform agenda of the United Nations. Support for the proposal is constantly growing, however, since the international campaign for a UNPA was launched. The campaign, which supported the simulation in Halle, is endorsed by numerous politicians, former UN officials, distinguished scholars, cultural innovators, and representatives of civil society organizations.
The chairman of Germany’s Green party and patron of the event in Halle, Cem Özdemir, wrote in a message to the participants that he supported the idea of a UN Parliamentary Assembly from the beginning. He added that “the UN faces limitations when member state governments do not represent the interests of their citizens. This is why the creation of the UNPA is so relevant for us – to give a voice to every citizen, woman and man, all over the world; to create legitimacy by true representation, and to enhance political responsibility of the states’ leaders.”
In another message to the participants, the Vice-Chancellor of Germany and chairman of the Social Democratic party, Sigmar Gabriel, noted that he was “delighted” to confirm his support of the UNPA campaign “which shows important perspectives on the path towards a world parliament.”
The model conference in Halle was followed by a public panel discussion. The coordinator of the UNPA campaign, Andreas Bummel, said that he was impressed with the professionalism and the realistic results of the simulated negotiations. “We will examine this carefully,” he stated.
The event was held in the premises of Martin-Luther-University Halle Wittenberg. Sponsors included the Left party of Halle, the Association of Friends and Supporters as well as the Student Council of the university, and lastly the United Nations Association of Germany as the main partner. It was organized in collaboration with the Young Initiative on Foreign Affairs and International Relations and the UN University Group Halle.