UN Parliamentary Assembly discussed at meeting in the Swedish Riksdagen » Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

UN Parliamentary Assembly discussed at meeting in the Swedish Riksdagen

Petter Ölmunger, 12. April 2013
Left to right: Folke Tersman, Tommy Waidelich, Åsa Lindestam, Petter Ölmunger, Andreas Bummel, Rebwar Hassan, Hans Dahlgren, Bodil Ceballos, Jens Holm, and Torbjörn Tännsjö

Left to right: Folke Tersman, Tommy Waidelich, Åsa Lindestam, Petter Ölmunger, Andreas Bummel, Rebwar Hassan, Hans Dahlgren, Bodil Ceballos, Jens Holm, and Torbjörn Tännsjö (photo: M. Gerenstein)

On March 20, the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) was discussed at a meeting in the Swedish national parliament, the Riksdagen. The meeting was attended by parliamentarians from five parties and other personalities from civil society and academia. Åsa Lindestam from the Social Democratic party, a supporter of the campaign for a UNPA since its launch in 2007, opened the meeting by introducing Andreas Bummel, the campaign's international coordinator who came to Stockholm from Germany. Mr Bummel then gave a short presentation of the proposal to establish and gradually develop a democratic UN parliament, followed by a round of questions and answers.

Jens Holm, a representative from the Left party, suggested that the central task of a new parliamentary UN body should be to deal with global environmental challenges. Folke Tersman, a professor of practical philosophy at the university of Uppsala, further pointed out the importance of mobilizing civil society to create the necessary political pressure for democratization of global decision-making processes. The discussion showed a broad agreement that the UN is the centerpiece of multilateral cooperation and that a parliamentary assembly should be embedded into its structure.

On a question from Petter Ölmunger, the campaign's Swedish coordinator, on what the next step would be to move the project further towards its goal, Mr Bummel suggested that the "next important milestone could be that a few like-minded member states of the UN create a group that takes the initiative  for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly according to article 22 of the UN's charter. Sweden," he added, "could very well be one of these member states." Article 22 allows the UN General Assembly to create subsidiary bodies.

Bodil Ceballos said that for her "as a member of the Swedish Green party, it's easy to express support for the establishment of a UNPA. The Global Greens Congress has already twice adopted resolutions supporting this proposal. Therefore, I am determined to work towards this aim and I also want to encourage others to work within their international and global organizations to promote this cause."

Christer Winbäck, representing Folkpartiet (the Liberal Party of Sweden), and who was one of the hosts, could not attend the meeting as he had to travel to New York to help lobbying for a the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. Mr Winbäck was substituted by Gunnar Andrén.

On the occasion of the meeting, Mrs Lindestam, Mr Winbäck, Mrs Ceballos and Mr Ölmunger published a joint OpEd in the Swedish newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning. In the article they argued that supporting the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would fit very well to Sweden's long tradition of promoting democracy and a strong United Nations.

Further reading:

16.11.2012: United Nations parliament promoted at the Swedish Forum for Human Rights

20.06.2012: Call for a UN Parliamentary Assembly gains traction among Swedish lawmakers

02.04.2012: World Congress of Green parties calls for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly