"Global governance needs more democracy", says Chair of EP delegation to COP15

Secretariat, 17. December 2009

Copenhagen/Brussels. The Chairman of the European Parliament's delegation to the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Jo Leinen, calls for a stronger role of elected representatives and parliaments in global governance. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Leinen said that "the current system of establishing international rules through intergovernmental treaty negotiations needs to be reviewed." According to Leinen, "it is no longer acceptable that such negotiations are held exclusively among governments. We need a system which allows for more democratic participation."

Said Leinen: "If at all, elected representatives formally participate in such negotiations under the roof of a government delegation and mostly don't have full access. The United Nations still operates within the outdated paradigm of international affairs according to which only the government executives are recognized as proper representatives of their country." In today's interconnected world, however, it is no longer sufficient that a country's political complexity is represented by the government view alone. Elected representatives can be held accountable by their constituents and would introduce new dynamics into negotiations. For this purpose they need an independent and fixed position with full access.

According to Leinen, the best way to give elected representatives a voice in global institutions and intergovernmental treaty negotiations would be through the establishment of a world parliament. Leinen pointed out that the European Parliament has repeatedly called for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, urging in a resolution adopted in June 2005 that such a body "should be vested with genuine rights of information, participation and control."

It is the purpose of national governments to defend, first of all, what they consider to be in the national interest. By contrast, a world parliament would be free to introduce a complementary view, namely the interest of humanity as a whole. This view is underrepresented in the negotiations in Copenhagen but it is badly needed," said Leinen. "Climate change is a global problem and can only be solved on the global level. It is of utmost importance to create a fair and sound international governance and financial architecture".

Jo Leinen is Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Advisory Group of 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.