DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .
An article from the website of the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
Yesterday [May 12], the Pan-African Parliament called on the African Union and Africa’s governments to support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, in short UNPA. In a resolution adopted by the plenary by consensus, the parliamentary body of the African Union states that “a UNPA is necessary to strengthen democratic participation and representation of the world’s citizens in the UN” and that the new assembly would “contribute to strengthening democratic oversight over UN operations, particularly in Africa.”
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Noting its “concern that the creation of a UNPA is currently not part of the official UN reform agenda,” the document calls on “the African Union and its Member States to support the creation of a UNPA and to take necessary steps to advance this goal at the UN by triggering and initializing a preparatory intergovernmental process for the purpose of establishing a UNPA.”
The president of the Pan-African Parliament, Nkodo Dang from Cameroon, stated last week that “more than 70 years after the establishment of the United Nations, global interdependence has made us all world citizens. It is long overdue that ‘We, the Peoples,’ as the UN Charter begins, have more say in global affairs. For this purpose, a UNPA needs to be established.”
Yesterday’s resolution was introduced by Ivone Soares from Mozambique. “The resolution shows the aspiration of the Pan-African Parliament and the African citizens which it represents that the global order needs to become more democratic. It is time for governments to pay attention to this issue. They need to enter into serious deliberations on the establishment of a parliamentary body at the UN and African governments could take the lead,” she commented.
The global coordinator of the international campaign for a UNPA, Andreas Bummel, said that the resolution was an important step forward. “We hope that African governments will play a leading role and the Pan-African Parliament’s support is crucial to achieve this. The next step that we envisage in the international efforts is the creation of an informal group of open-minded governments at the UN in New York that looks into the proposal of a UNPA and how to proceed best,” he said.
In an opinion piece published by the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian last week, the South African parliamentarians Stevens Mokgalapa and Heinrich Volmink argued that “Africans, perhaps more than anyone, know how urgently we need more capable and more democratic tools of global governance” and that the creation of a UNPA “would represent a watershed moment in the democratic reform of the UN.”
According to a recent BBC World Service poll in 18 countries, “more than half of those asked (56%) in emerging economies saw themselves first and foremost as global citizens rather than national citizens.”
In 2007, the Pan-African Parliament adopted a first resolution in support of a UNPA.