UN Parliament discussed at event at Argentine Council on Foreign Relations

Secretariat, 30. October 2015

The establishment of a world parliament was discussed at the Argentine Council on International Relations, CARI, last week. The speakers of the meeting were Andreas Bummel, global coordinator of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

During the event
Image: CARI Young Group

who participated from Germany via teleconference, and - present at CARI - professor Fernando Iglesias, formerly a member of parliament and co-chair of the campaign, as well as former Argentina ambassador Raúl Ricardes. The panel was moderated by Luis Masi from CARI's Young Group and a member of the NGO Democracia Global. With over 40 participants the auditorium in the city of Buenos Aires was filled.

Mr. Bummel introduced the debate by outlining the history of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly and the most important arguments for the creation of a parliamentary body at the UN as a response to the global democratic deficit. He noted that the world is entering the third democratic transformation in history. The first transformation occured when democracy first emerged in Greek city-states around 400 B.C. The second introduced the principle of democratic representation in large territorial states in the course of the American and French revolutions. Now, in the process of globalization, the next step would be to expand democracy to the global scale. Mr. Bummel argued that the creation of a global legislative body representing the world's citizens was an indispensable step for this.

Mr. Iglesias gave an overview of the apparent contradictions between globalization and the democratic process, noting that democracy was lagging behind and needed to advance to the global scale. Offering a perspective of global political integration, he highlighted the federalist concept introduced by the United States Constitution and the concept of subsidiarity as used today in all national political systems, but not globally. He ended his presentation by stressing that "global problems need global institutional solutions."

Ambassador Raul Ricardes began his presentation with a brief review of the political history of integration processes, noting that regional integration was made possible by decolonization processes. He then focused on the United Nations and its decision-making processes, stressing the importance of the veto right of the permanent members of the Security Council since this was the precondition for collective action supported by the great powers. As an example for a failed attempt Mr. Ricardes referred to the League of Nations and its Council. He concluded with an analysis of the proposal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, noting that the body would have to be a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly since it was "very hard, if not impossible" to achieve Charter reform. Mr. Ricardes closed his presentation by wondering how decisions of a parliamentary assembly could be enforced, paving the way for a heated discussion between the speakers and questions from the audience.

The event was organized by CARI's Young Group on the occasion of the third Global Week of Action for a World Parliament that was celebrated from 15-25 October. CARI in Argentina is considered one of the most prestigous think tanks on international affairs in Latin-America.