Creation of a world parliament suggested at World Social Forum

Secretariat, 10. February 2011

The establishment of a world parliament elected by the world’s population was proposed at an event at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. “A democratic and representative world parliament would be an institution with unprecedented political legitimacy. It is needed to bring globalization under democratic control”, explained Jo Leinen, one of the speakers at the event and a Member of the European Parliament from Germany who co-chairs the advisory board of the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. “It is neither possible nor desirable to reverse globalization. But those institutions that control the process to a large degree such as the World Trade Organization or the international financial institutions exclude the citizens of the world from their decision-making. This is no longer acceptable”, Mr. Leinen continued.

“The people of the world want to have a say in the affairs that affect them. As more and more important decisions are taken at the global level, this aspiration cannot stop at national borders. Global democratic representation is needed. The goal is to create a directly elected assembly”, said Manuel Manonelles, director of UBUNTU-World Forum of Civil Society Networks.

The Senegalese representative of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Mamadou Ibrahimia Fall, elaborated on the campaign’s proposal. “We suggest a gradual approach. Initially, the assembly could be composed of representatives from national and regional parliaments. Over time, a transition to direct elections could take place. Its powers in the international system could be extended gradually as well. At the beginning, the function could be largely consultative.”

Coura Ndiaye, an advisor at the Economic and Social Council of the Consultative Assembly of Senegal expressed how important the activities of civil society are to give initiatives but that a Parliament is necessary to take decisions.

Several participants from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Benin, Great Britain, Norway stressed the importance of building up democratic representation at a global level. It was felt that a more direct connection between the world's peoples and global institutions is needed. The proposal of a UNPA received much applause and support.

The World Social Forum is a major global meeting place of social activists and movements that promote solidarity, democracy and a fairer world. It is considered as a grassroots counter-event to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at which the global elite of the political, financial and economic world come together on an annual basis.

Top image: March in Dakar at the opening of the World Social Forum, Creative Commons license by Pambazuka News