Latin-American Parliament debates creation of a world parliament

Secretariat, 2. October 2010

The establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) was one of the topics debated at a interparliamentary conference of the Latin-American Parliament on regional integration and the reform of international institutions convened in the Senate of Argentina in Buenos Aires.

Giving an introduction to the subject, the Argentinian Member of Parliament Fernando Iglesias pointed out that globalization has changed the global political and economic reality in fundamental ways. “From today’s perspective, even the setting of the year 2000 looks antiquated.

Fernando Iglesias MP, Senator Sonia Escudero, Shahriar Sharei and Andreas Bummel (from left to right)
Image: Senate of Argentina

But the global institutions have largely remained untouched.“ Although the farewell to the nation-state which was popular in the 1990s was overly exaggerated, Mr. Iglesias argued that it was just as inappropriate to pretend that nothing has changed. “In many areas, global governance now is an absolute necessity. But the world population is not included in decision-making“, said Mr. Iglesias. “The issue is how to change this and the solution is to establish a world parliament.“

The second panelist, Andreas Bummel, Secretary of the Campaign for the Establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, stressed that international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organization “create global policy with enormous impact on international trade, finances and national economies.“ However, by contrast to the regional level where parliamentary bodies are mushrooming, “no formal parliamentary body exists in any of these international institutions“, Mr. Bummel added. He argued that this gap should be filled by establishing a UN Parliamentary Assembly as an addition to the existing UN bodies: “The new global social contract needs to have two pillars: the individual citizens and the nation-states,“ said Mr. Bummel. These two dimensions could be reflected by today’s UN General Assembly and by an additional parliamentary chamber that eventually is directly elected.

Other topics discussed during the panel included details such as the distribution of seats in a UNPA, the role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the legal options to create the body and possible powers and functions. In principle, the Latin-American Parliament supports the proposal of a UNPA. In 2008, a resolution was passed to this effect.

The panel was moderated by the Secretary-General of Parlatino, Senator Sonia Escudero. It was followed by presentations on UN Charter reform, Security Council reform and the role of the G-20, among others. Speakers included Shahriar Sharei, World Alliance to Transform the UN, Argentinia’s Ambassador to the UN, Jorge Arguello and the Director of the Department on International Organisations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Pablo Tettamanti. The conference was attended by lawmakers and experts from 14 countries.

The meeting of the Latin-American Parliament was the first part of a ten-day programme on global democracy coordinated by the Argentinian non-governmental organization Democracia Global. It continues on Monday with an international meeting of participants in the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly in the National Congress building. Finally, from Thursday to Friday, the annual Council Meeting of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy is on the agenda.

Top image: Panel on UN Security Council reform, Senate of Argentina