UN Day Oct. 24: Creating an Empowered UN Parliamentary Assembly
What if a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) could be created that would begin the transformation of the UN from a deliberative forum into a global community?
Since 2007, an international appeal for such an assembly has been endorsed by over 680 current national parliamentarians from 92 countries encompassing all the world's major regions. The Campaign is also supported by many prominent Canadians including John Turner, Lloyd Axworthy, Flora MacDonald, Ed Broadbent and Elizabeth May.
UN Parliamentary Assembly Powers
A UNPA could start as an advisory body -- a watchdog with moral clout -- that reviews the activities of the UN system, spurs needed reforms and nurtures a sense of global solidarity.
Unlike current ambassadors to the United Nations, UNPA parliamentarians could not be fired by governments, would be accountable to citizens, and would be mandated to act according to conscience and the common good.
A UNPA could be created as a subsidiary body by the General Assembly under Article 22 without the approval of the Security Council and without reforming the UN Charter. Until direct elections can be held worldwide, national parliaments could elect MPs to the UNPA according to party ratio.
Mirroring the European Parliament
This would mirror the evolution of the European Parliament where national parliaments served as ‘”electoral colleges” in the Parliament’s early years. Over time, the UNPA could gradually accrue co-decision powers over the the UN Budget, the election of the Secretary General, and the adoption of UN resolutions.
As currently constituted, the UN churns out much talk and files many reports. The addition of a democratic parliamentary body would give the UN more legitimacy to act at a time when millions of lives are at stake and earth's future is at risk.