BUY NOW ONLINE SPIRITUS MUNDI BOOK I BY ROBERT SHEPPARD!

Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book I: The Novel — A book by Robert Sheppard

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Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

 

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard is now available on Smashwords!—–Check it Out Now!

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BUY NOW ONLINE SPIRITUS MUNDI BOOK II: THE ROMANCE!

Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance — A book by Robert Sheppard

See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

 

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi–Book II: The Romance is now Available on Smashwords!—-Check It Out Now!

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Read Now!—-Transcript of the U.S. House Subcommittee on International Organizations on the Creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly———————From the Novel, Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard

 

Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel and Movie: https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/

For Author’s Blog: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience: https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi: https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

 

Note:  Herein follows the Chapter “Cyclops” from the Novel, Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard.  Robert Sartorius and Andreas Sarkozy are representatives of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly who have been called to testify before a Subcommittee of the House of Representatives on International Organizations on the question of whether the United States should take the lead in creating a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, extending the working model of the European Parliament to a global scale as part of the United Nations.  They there encounter and must do battle against the Chairman, Ron Pall and his Tea Party sentiment, who, Cyclops-like and blindly insular,  in addition to opposing almost everything in general, opposes any United States participation in such a Parliamentary Assembly or other international organizations, as an attack on American sovereignty.

 

 

 

XX.                      Washington, D.C.                   Cyclops

     Sartorius and Andreas were still smarting from their failed mission at the United Nations to get the Secretary-General to push the proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly to a vote in the General Assembly, stymied by the intransigence of the old conservative administration in its final term and the determined blocking of Sartorius’ old law school classmate and sometimes nemesis, Buck Bolger, US Ambassador to the UN.  From long experience in public life in the US Sartorius knew that the pathways to ultimate success in a democracy as complex as the American were bound to be indirect and tortuous, and he resolved to continue on undaunted in the struggle. As powerful as the administration appeared, considerable opposition to its unilateral intransigence was also building against it in the Congress, and public opinion was seen by many as in the process of flux and realignment. They resolved to continue the fight, both in the “People Power” and NGO civil society campaigns of the Global Appeal and in their continued lobbying efforts in the executive, diplomatic and in the legislative arenas, putting on a full court press not only in America but in forums across the world including the more sympathetic European Union.  A seeming break in the tough-slogging American effort occurred when US Representative Bill Dalamoign, an old friend of Sartorius, offered to introduce a Congressional Resolution in favor of the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Delamoign sat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was progressively minded yet well respected in bi-partisan and moderate circles, and was thus well placed to help the effort. Unfortunately, in the populist reaction to the overwhelming and emotionally cataclysmic events of the World Financial Crisis another member of the same Committee, Ron Pall, the Committee Chairman, also known as “Dr. No” for intransigently opposing almost every imaginable proposal, and who had unexpectedly ridden a wave of populist indignation and outrage to become a radical-neo-populist-right wing Presidential candidate again blocked the path. Delamoign nevertheless introduced the Resolution, co-sponsored by Representative Keith Ellish, recently famous as the first Muslim American Congressman and leader of the Progressive Caucus and a Hearing on the matter was set. Delamoign invited Sartorius and Andreas to testify at the Subcommittee Hearing, and Ellish invited another of Sartorius’ old friends from the days when they worked together as junior officers at the United Nations in New York, Padraig Moynihan, a multi-talented Irishman who had risen to Assistant Secretary-General of the UN before resigning in protest over Mid-East Policy, then becoming the Director of the Global Spiritual Progressive Alliance, an influential Think-Tank and progressive global NGO. The old friends met in Washington D.C. and shared a dinner of reminiscences while strategizing on their presentations to be given the next day before the Subcommittee at the old hearing room at the Rayburn House Office Building, across the road from Capitol Hill, not looking forward to the reception they grimly expected from the hostile Chairman.  Their encounter follows as recorded in the official Hearing transcript:

                  __________________________________________________________________

(I)                     TRANSCRIPT:        INQUIRY INTO PROPOSED HOUSE RESOLUTION 247 ENDORSING THE CREATION OF A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

_____________________________________________

 

 

 

HEARING

 

                                                BEFORE THE

 

 

 

 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND OVERSIGHT

 

                                                    OF THE

 

 

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

U.S.HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

                     ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS

 

                                      Serial No. 110–53

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/

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(II)

 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS,

HUMAN RIGHTS AND OVERSIGHT

RON PALL, Texas, Chairman

BILL DELAMOIGN, Massachusetts

RUSS CARNAUGHT, Missouri

KEITH ELLISHA, Minnesota

DONALD M. PAIN, New Jersey

ROBERT WAXLER, Florida

DANA ROSENBACHER, California

TED EDGAR ALLEN, Texas

CLIFF STONERMAN, Subcommittee Staff Director

PAUL BERSHEVITZ,  Professional Staff Member

BRIAN FORTESCU, Staff AssociateN: SHIRL

 

 

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(III)

 

C O N T E N T S

 

Page

 

WITNESSES:

 

The Honorable Bill Delamoign, Author of the Proposed House Resolution 247, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth

of Massachusetts, and Member, Subcommittee on International

Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight…………………………………….12

Professor Dr. Robert Sartorius, Professor of International Law, Peking University & Member, Board of Directors, Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly…………………………………………………………………………22

Dr. Andreas Sarkozy, Administrative Director, Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, London………………………………………………………………. 62

Mr. Padraig Moynihan,  former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and presently Director of the Global Spiritual Progressive Alliance…………………………95

 

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING

The Honorable Bill Delamoign, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth

of Massachusetts, and Member and Ranking Minority Leader, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight: Prepared Statement……….……………………………………………………………….125

Article by Professor Robert Sheppard, ‘‘Towards a United Nations World Parliament’’ Asia-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, University of Hawaii, Jan. 2000[1]…………..144

Former President Bill Clinton:          Prepared Statement ……………………………………….. 204

Former President Jimmy Carter: Prepared Statement …………………………………… 224

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros Ghali: Prepared Statement …………………………………………………………………………………………………246

Mr. Günter Gross, Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature: Prepared Statement …………………………………………………………………………………………………….266

Submitted Document: “A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: Frequently Asked Questions” by Andreas Sarkozy and Robert Sartorius, Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, London[2]………………………………………………………………………………283

 

APPENDIX

Hearing notice ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 310

Hearing minutes ………………………………………………………………………………………… .311

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(1)

 

INQUIRY INTO THE PROPOSED JOINT RESOLUTION ENDORSING THE CREATION OF A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS,

HUMAN RIGHTS AND OVERSIGHT,

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Washington, DC.

 

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:13 a.m. in room

2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ron Pall

(Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.

Chairman PALL. This hearing will come to order. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would first like to welcome and extend a warm greeting to all of our witnesses and visitors for today’s Hearing upon the matter of the proposed House Resolution, HR 247 of the One Hundred and Tenth United States Congress endorsing a proposal calling for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. This proposed Resolution has been introduced by my colleague and member of this Subcommittee on International Organizations to my left, Mr. Bill Delamoign, and he will also be the first to speak on it to give those who are unfamiliar with this proposal some educative introduction to its essentials for the public’s understanding. Now one of the great strengths of our democracy lies in the fair and open airing of the views of widely disparate philosophies regarding the greater good of this commonwealth, the United States of America. Mr. Delamoign will have a fine opportunity to convince you all of the wisdom of his proposal, backed up by the testimony of numerous supporting witnesses. On the other hand I make no bones about the fact of my own disagreement with this proposal. Everyone in this room is aware that every year since I have been so honored by the voters of my district to be entrusted with the care of their interest in this body, I have repeatedly introduced my own bill, “The American Sovereignty Restoration Act,” HR 1451 with the goal and intention of effectuating the immediate and irrevocable withdrawal of the United States of America from the United Nations, which is an affront to our national sovereignty as envisioned by our Founding Fathers in the United States Constitution, and a bleeding drain on our native American freedoms and national resources. However, never let it be said that in my Subcommittee, any view was not afforded a full and fair hearing before it was disposed of. So we shall hear today from the sponsor of the Resolution, Mr. Delamoign, and two distinguished witnesses, Professor Robert Sartorius, Professor of International Law of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and his associate Dr. Andreas Sarkozy. We shall also hear the Prepared Statements submitted in written form by other illustrious contributors, including former Presidents Carter and Clinton, as well as former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Nobel Prize winning author Mr. Günter Gross. So I will start us off by turning the floor over to my distinguished colleague from Massachusetts, Mr. Bill Dalamoign…….Bill………….

Mr. DELAMOIGN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for affording us the opportunity to speak out on behalf of the growing worldwide movement urging the formation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. As you know I am the co-author of the House Resolution, HR 247, which calls on this body to express its support for the creation of such a body as an integral part of the United Nations system, convinced as I am of the necessity for greater democracy effectiveness and efficiency in our international institutions, led by the United Nations. As we are all aware, one of the greatest transformations of the last century has been the ever increasing globalization of all aspects of human life, from the globalization of the world economy embodied in the World Trade Organization or WTO, to the growth of the Internet, satellite television on CNN and BBC, containerized shipping and transportation and global tourism. Along with the blessings of globalization come the hard and difficult problems of globalization—the World Financial Crisis, the problem of Global Terrorism, Global Warming and Climate Change and the threat of international war. What is more and more obvious is that our main problems can no longer be solved within the borders of any one country by the government and people of one country acting alone. Instead all of our problems have become internationalized and all of the solutions must be internationalized as well. To solve these global problems and to preserve the international peace on which such solutions depend we must strengthen our international institutions, led first and foremost by the United Nations. But such strengthening is unworkable unless our international organizations become more accountable and closer to the will of the peoples of the world for whose benefit they act. Every meeting of the WTO or of the G8 or the Conferences on Climate Change are dogged by mass protests complaining that the leaders of those organizations are cut off from the voice of the people they should be representing. On the other positive side, we have the stunning examples of the European Parliament of the European Union, which draws together by democratic election the representatives of twenty-seven nations representing over five-hundred million people, and the recent evolution of similar organizations such as the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliament of the Arab League and the Latin-American Parliament. Given these success stories and the urgent and pressing need of greater and greater international action to solve more and more globalized problems, a mass movement has begun, associated with notable voices such as former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Prize winner Günter Gross, as well as such media and celebrity figures known to us all such as Isis and Osiris. Our purpose here today is to firstly educate the American people on the urgent need for such United Nations Reforms, amoung others, and to mobilize support for their inevitable adoption. As our time is limited much of our material will be submitted in written form attached to the record of this hearing, including the prepared written statements submitted by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and many others. In addition we will hear live from Professor Robert Sartorius and Dr. Andreas Sarkozy of the worldwide NGO the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, who will also submit substantial written materials to supplement their testimony. I thank you for your kind consideration Mr. Chairman.

Chairman PALL.  Thank you Mr. Delamoign for your eloquent arguments, but you haven’t convinced me yet. As I have said many times before this Subcommittee in my years as Chairman, no treaty or international agreement can transfer this legislative power from Congress to UN bureaucrats…. Yet the trend toward unconstitutional international laws already is firmly established. The UN wants to generate the same acceptance for global gun laws that it has established for global environmental and labor laws. As the global government trend intensifies, the conflicts between internationalism and sovereign constitutional government will only increase…. The simple truth is that the UN is not concerned with our Constitution or our system of government. It is concerned only with expanding its power at the expense of our Constitution on behalf of globalists, bureaucratic power mongers, and world socialists inimical of our American way of life and our American freedoms.

The problem is not that the UN is corrupt, or ineffective, or run by scoundrels, which it has proven to be from time to time.  The real problem is that the UN is inherently illegitimate, because supra-national government is an inherently illegitimate concept. Legitimate governments operate only by the consent of those they govern. Yet it is ludicrous to suggest that billions of people across the globe have in any way consented to UN governance, or have even the slightest influence over their own governments. The UN is perhaps the least democratic institution imaginable, but both Democrats and Republicans insist on using it to ‘promote democracy.’ We should stop worrying about the UN and simply walk away from it by withdrawing our membership and our money. We should demand a return to real national sovereignty, and respect other nations by rejecting our failed interventionist foreign policy. By doing so we would make the world a more peaceful place and get corrupt government at all levels out of the way of the people in their own good sense solving their own problems by free individual action.

I went out on my Presidential campaign with a basic message:            Freedom and limited government, States’ Rights and People’s Rights as spelled out in the Constitution; Strict Constitutionalism; Repeal the welfare-warfare state; Get out of Iraq and foreign wars and international organizations now; America First. Get out of the United Nations and get out of the corrupt sphere of international politics, war mongering, and international socialism. Abolish the income tax. Put the dollar back on a more solid footing with the return to the Gold Standard. Abolish the Federal Reserve. ……..return to common sense. The war whoops and thunderous approval of this message at my campaign stops have not stopped ringing in the ears of the media, the politicians and those who have good reason to be afraid of a riled American people who aren’t going to take it anymore.  But I have no delusions about my own self-importance. My influence, such as it is, comes only by educating others about the rightness of the free market made up of free individuals, and getting big government out of their way——a conviction that people are born free and should govern themselves—–and that free markets make better decisions than governments do.

Now Mr. Delamoign, would you like to call your witnesses?

Mr. DELAMOIGN.          Yes, Mr. Chairman. I would like to call my two witnesses from the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, Professor Robert Sartorius and Dr. Andreas Sarkozy.

Chairman PALL. Let the witnesses come forward and be sworn in. Welcome gentlemen, step forward.

Professor SARTORIUS.  Thank you Mr. Chairman. I first want to thank you for the honor of having the opportunity to speak before the Subcommittee today. This forum is critically important in focusing the attention of the American people on the larger and longer-term challenges facing them in response to the accelerating and irreversible processes of globalization. The simple fact of our existence as a people is that all of the dimensions of our lives—-our economy, our financial system, our telecommunications, the Internet, our national defense, education, migration and immigration, the movement of goods in international trade and of ideas in international culture are all irrevocably integrated into global networks beyond our borders. By the same token all of our problems are no longer national problems but have become international problems to which the only solutions are international solutions. The major problems and crises gripping the daily headlines—terrorism, global warming and climate change, the World Financial Crisis, the impact of the Internet, drugs, unemployment and major medical crises such as AIDS, H1N1—-these are all crises and challenges that are global in scope and beyond the capacity of any one nation—-Yes, even beyond the capacity of the United States as the world’s sole so-called Superpower to address or solve alone. The history of the last fifty to one-hundred years has consistently underscored this new reality. Yet these globalized international problems remain unsolved. Why? In large part because the strength and effectiveness of our international institutions of governance have not grown to keep up with the scoope of these now internationalized problems. Nor is that all. Additionally where international treaties or bodies have superseded national legislation in dealing with areas of governance it has become painfully apparent that the process of international treaty making and enforcement is much less democratic, transparent and open to the participation of the people than is the process of domestic legislation, governance and oversight. Thus even where national systems have risen to the challenge of globalization it has often been to the detriment of their democratic legitimacy and control.  

I am here today at the invitation of this Subcommittee and Representative Delamoign the sponsor of HR 247 to urge an affirmative vote for this House Resolution and to urge immediate action to transform our United Nations into an institution capable of functioning on behalf of the American people and all the peoples of the world in wrestling with these internationalized challenges in a democratic, transparent, responsive and accountable manner.  

How will a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly make the United Nations more effective? In two principal ways, amoung many others. The first is in correcting the serious “Democratic Deficit” in our international institutions. The United Nations and many supra-national institutions are most often organizations of Nation-States to which the peoples of those states have but little input and influence. We must ask ourselves—what is the future of “Democracy” if most of the problems of the nation are international in scope and beyond the control of national governments? Democracies are losing the ability of their peoples to influence and control the forces determining the conditions of their lives—in short democratic governance is being seriously eroded by the processes of an incomplete and unbalanced globalization. Decisions are made over people’s lives in institutions such as the WTO, the IMF, World Bank by unelected and unaccountable bodies, often elites with divergent economic interests than the peoples they supposedly represent. To correct this democratic deficit at the globalized international level we have, fortunately, some good models to learn from. Perhaps the greatest accelerator of interest in the concept of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly has been the operational success of the European Parliament, an elected assembly of twenty-seven nations representing over five hundred millions of people, which has shown that international democracy is not only possible but unavoidable and inevitable if nations are to successfully cooperate in international governance in the globalized environment. It is easy to forget that the United Nations itself was created out of the ashes of World War II that itself was but the end of a millennium of incessant European wars. It is easy to forget that the European Union has eliminated war amoung major powers within a single generation when that goal was an unthinkable empty dream for over a millennium. The role of the European Parliament in reducing the democratic deficit in the EU institions has been a powerful pillar in assuring their strength, popular acceptance and success in governance. The trailblazing model of the European Parliament has not gone unnoticed in other parts of the world. The African Union in emulation has newly established the Pan-African Parliament now based in Midrand-Johannasburg, South Africa. The Arab League has established the Arab Parliament, and similar bodies exist in a Latin American Parliament and such bodies as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.  Now the time is ripe to globalize this regional best practice to include the universal institution of the United Nations with the addition of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

A second major contribution of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly will be in contributing to the efficiency of international problem solving. We have had the Kyoto gathering and the Bali Conference and we look forward to the Copenhagen Conference to address the accelerating problem of Climate Change and Global Warming. But calling a single special two-week meeting on a hyper-complex problem like Climate Change every three, five or ten years is ludicrous. I am willing to predict the failure of such efforts if they proceed on such a sporadic basis. If this United States Congress only met every two or three years when a special single-purpose session was announced,  governance would break down completely. No, what is needed immediately is a continuous forum in which the representatives of the peoples of the world come together on a daily basis through most of the year, just as you do in Washington, and in committees like this one continuously address each and every dimension of the problems facing the peoples of the world, gathering the ideas and concerns of all the peoples affected. The treaty conference system is no longer viable and is incredibly slow and inefficient where the crises are increasingly accelerated and demand prompt and comprehensive action.  We need a permanent body for the continuous negotiation of the concepts and terms of international treaties, and we need its representatives to be accountabe to their peoples, not just to their heads of state or ruling elites as in the case of the General Assembly. We also need treaties that take an integrated approach, as does national legislation taking into account the impact of action in one area of human concern on all other areas and interests of social concern, as perhaps where a regime for the WTO and trade matters also weighs the impact of such measures on the interconnected realms of the environment, jobs, health, energy, and peacekeeping.

I cannot address all of the dimensions of the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the very short time for oral testimony at this hearing. Therefore Dr. Sarkozy and have brought with us a more comprehensive document: “A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: Frequently Asked Questions” which we have authored on behalf of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, headquartered in London which we submit for inclusion in the permanent record of these proceedings.  It addresses many complex questions such as formulas for how the seats in such an Assembly would be allotted and distributed amoung the nations, the question of direct election versus indirect selection from sitting national legislatures, procedures for establishment of the Parliamentary Assembly and logistics, etc. Additionally, I will defer to Dr. Sarkozy on many of the technical and logistical aspects of our proposal. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns of the members regarding the proposal.

Chairman PAUL. Professor Sartorius, one of the main reasons I have advocated the United States’ withdrawal from the United Nations is the intrinsic undemocratic and illegitimate nature of such international organizations. Our American national sovereignty is based on the consent of the people obtained through free elections and accountability of the elected representatives regarding the acts and laws they pass. Nobody elects members of the Security Council or the General Assembly, even from so-called democracies like our own, and most of representatives at the United Nations are from dictatorships or unelected governments that are not even indirectly democratic to a single iota. Why should the people of the United States give up their sovereignty to become the slaves and subjects of unelected bureaucrats and tin-horn dictators and their flunkeys?

Professor SARTORIUS. Mr. Chairman, I think our two points of view have more in common than meets the eye. I am absolutely as concerned as you are that our democracy not be eroded and that our international institutions such as the United Nations become democratic where they are not at present. That is the whole raison d’etre of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. So I think we are brothers in our common concerns. Where I differ and take issue you you sir, however, is in your notion that we could or should simply choose to walk away from these flawed institutions. That is a philosophy and course of action for ostriches and not for men living in the real world. Suppose you had your way and we withdrew from the United Nations. Would the world outside our national borders go away? Would our international trade, terrorism, climate change, drug problems, world financial crises and threats to international peace disappear because we stick our head into a hole in our hallowed and beloved American soil? Is it inconceivable that the world will in the future face a threat of aggressive war on the scale of another Hitler, Stalin or Tojo that may require total global coordination to fend off? Would such an act alter the fact that we as the American people are but 5% of the global human population and that we must import the majority of our oil and energy, and that more than half of the earnings and jobs of our corporations are dependent on their foreign earnings? No, Sir. I must respectfully tell you that such an action of withdrawal would be shear nonsense and an act of insanity bordering on national psychosis and withdrawal from reality. You will forgive me if I mince no words with you on this matter of fundamental importance.

Chairman PALL: Strong words, Professor Sartorius, strong words. But are you ready to surrender our American democracy and sovereignty so hard fought for and defended to an unelected and unaccountable passel of bureaucrats and flunkeys ready to sell our freedom to global socialists or global monopoly capitalists, whichever proves the most corrupt and highest bidder? Now you tell me how in God’s name can you consider your precious United Nations Parliamentary Assembly legitimate when half its representatives would have to come from dictatorships like Communist China and the tin-pot banana republics of the world? Are you seriously suggesting to me that we are going to see the free election of delegates to your Assembly through multi-party elections in Communist China? And how can you look your fellow Americans in the eye and tell them that you are going to trade their democratic national sovereignty to a body over half made up of such illegitimate flunkeys?

Professor SARTORIUS. Well, Mr. Chairman, you’ve raised a legitimate objection to which there is a convincing answer, although only a limited and imperfect one. You ask how shall the representatives in this Parliamentary Assembly be selected from across the globe. If it were within my power to choose, I would follow the model of the European Parliament of the European Union in which the Members of European Parliament, or MEP’s, are individually elected from districts across the international populace of 500 million. They have free competition of parties and individuals and each MEP is elected with a mandate answerable to his voters. He or she is thus not appointed by the ruling government and may often be a member of that government’s opposition party. When they are seated in the European Parliament they sit not in national delegations but in party or philosophically affiliated groupings cutting across the twenty-seven nations. So that interntional body is unequivocally democratically legitimate. However the objection you raise is indeed a legitimate one. If a nation like China with a one-party system dominated by the Communist Party and without free elections or free opposition parties free to remove that party in power from office then sends unelected and unfree representatives to the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly how shall it sustain its democratic legitimacy? The answer is only partially adequate. In our draft proposal we give nation-states freedom for the first twenty years to choose either separate direct free elections as for the European Parliament, or in the alternative to elect the representatives from amoung the elected representatives in their existing national parliaments.  Initial studies have shown using Freedom House data on democratically legitimate governments, that over sixty percent of the representatives chosen under our Parliamentary Assembly proposal would in fact be initially selected by legitimately democratic processes. True, from one-party states without free elections such as China the delegates would initially lack full democratic legitimacy, but it is hoped that an evolution over the next twenty years would encourage the growth of free elections in China such as to allow them to change over after the initial abeyance period for direct elections.

Chairman PALL. Not good enough, Professor Sartorius! You won’t find me trading American sovereignty to a system where nearly half the seats are fixed with flunkeys of dictators. Plus, China is not small. It has over twenty percent of the world’s population. America has only 5%. How are we going to leave ourselves at the mercy of a few overpopulated countries inimical to our interests?

Professor SARTORIUS. Well, Mr. Chairman, that is also a very apt question. Of course in this country we have the principle of “one man, one vote” as the cornerstone of democracy, and the concept of democracy does imply that majorities are entitled to greater weight than minorities. We need to qualify that however, as it is unlikely that representation in the Parliamentary Assembly would be apportioned purely and solely by population statistics alone. Other bodies such as the European Union give greater voting power to larger nations such as Germany in accordance with population, yet guarantee a minimum of influence to each of the smaller nations to avoid their being drown out. Quite likely some formula would reflect not only population numbers but perhaps factors such as GDP to give a larger voice to powerful developed countries with smaller populations. In the formation of our own constitution the fears of the smaller States were alleviated by the creation of the Senate, in which the smaller states would have equal representation, in addition to the House in which population would weigh as the decisive factor. The European Union achieves a similar net effect by having minimum representation for small members coupled with Supermajorities required for important matters, giving the smaller nations a measure of leverage beyond their size. Some proposals for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, such as that of Professor Sheppard, contemplate multiple houses that take GDP into account, although our own proposal contains no such recommendation. In this matter as well as all matters of governance I would observe that workable governmental systems must achieve a balance between what we might term “might and right,” or a balance between democratic and moral legitimacy and “Realpolitik.” A system that is completely ideal and democratically perfect but which proves impossible to implement or enforce is not sustainable, nor is a system based on force without legitimacy. Just like the British House of Lords began as a palpably un-democratic institution reflecting raw power, and even our own Senate is undemocratic, yet they proved a workable compromise within a system of democratic legitimacy that then had scope for later evolution towards a more perfect democracy and legitimacy when the “Realpolitik” factors and constraints had themselves undergone longer-term changes by historical processes. On balance I would say we need this balanced bi-focal vision, a reasoned balance of might and right, to negotiate the real world in the light of our ideals.  I would say that is how we have to make our start in this matter—-we need an imperfect but workable beginning to start the evolutionary process towards more ideal ends.

Chairman PALL. Not on my watch Professor!—not on my watch! I am not ready to give up American sovereignty to buy your Bill of Goods, a Pig in a Poke for an unknown future! Professor Sartorius, you are a born and raised full-blooded American, just like me. Are you going to give up and lose for us our sacred American heritage and sovereignty? Don’t you love and revere your country above all?

Professor SARTORIUS. I am more than willing to serve my country; but my worship and reverence I reserve for something higher—Right and Justice and Universal Truth—which is far greater than my country and quite unfortunately by no means always the same with it. To worship my country as a god is to bring a curse upon it. 

 Chairman PALL. And who is to pay for all this expansion of international bureaucracy? Don’t we already have enough waste and abuse here in Washington without supranational waste and abuse at the global level—not to mention the danger of a whole new level of taxes—we’ve heard of the Tobin Tax and the Global Tax—-isn’t this going to create just another thieving hand in the pockets of the hard-working citizens of this country paying for millions of new unelected fat-assed bureaucrats making plans to order them around?

Professor SARTORIUS. Well, Mr. Chairman, the American people pay government officials to solve their problems for them—problems which are generally beyond their powers and capacities to solve individually, at least except for a small wealthy financial elite.  And if their common problems in the new globalized world are internationalized then the problem-solvers and solutions are going to need to be internationalized and the American people are going to have to pay internationally for this international problem solving. Their problems are not going to be solved by keeping their own hands in their own pockets or even their own money in their pockets so it is shear nonsense to pretend so and borders on demagoguery to suggest otherwise. Now, everybody knows that nobody likes taxes and nobody likes to pay them. But nobody likes a government or system of governance that cannot solve their problems, and paying taxes to achieve solutions is the lesser of the two evils if you want to put it that way.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I have done lobby work on this Hill and I know that the common wisdom in a hearing like this is to hem and haw and talk in circles to avoid connecting a project like this with the prospect of any new taxes. But luckily, as a Professor, I have the liberty as well as the responsibility to speak the wider and deeper truth. You mention the Tobin Tax on international business transactions and currency exchanges. We have sales tax regarding purchases of consumer articles within particular states and Europe has a value-added tax. Now my opinion is that, not now or soon certainly, but ultimately, the evolving burdens of global governance will ultimately necessitate the development and evolution of an international and global tax base to put the United Nations and the organs of government on a sound fiscal basis independent of the necessity of passing the begging bowl every time a peacekeeping or other project requires funding. You reverence the U.S. Constitution, and in 1787 one of the reasons for calling the Constitutional Convention in Philidelphia was that the Articles of Confederation provided no adequate funding for the central government of the new United States. Every project required the Confederation to pass the begging bowl to the States for funding. I for one am not aghast at the prospect of an international tax base any more than I am aghast at the simple reality of paying income tax to both the Federal and my State government. Each requires independent funding and a viable tax base at its respective level to solve the problems entrusted by the people to it. To my mind a Tobin Tax would be entirely reasonable and would provide the foundation for our global institutions of global governance to begin to have the muscle and resources commensurate to their heavy and growing responsibilities in a world of Globalization. As conservatives in this body are wont to point out—there is no free lunch!  There is no free global governance—-if we need and want it we have to pay for it—PERIOD!  So I have no hesitation in seeking out rational and reasonable means of paying for the problem solving we need at the international level, including, not now certainly but eventually, an international independent tax such as the Tobin Tax as part of a responsible and commensurate international tax base.

 Chairman PALL. No Sir! No! No! No!—a thousand times No! I say to you sir—–Not on my watch Professor! The day that the United Nations sends me a tax bill is the day of our surrender to communism and the day of the death of our American Liberty and our American Sovereignty and our American way of life! I tell you Professor Sartorius, the day that the United Nations sends a tax bill to any American or American company is the day I will personally don warpaint and lead a new Tea Party to dump every article subject to such communist inspired international taxation into New York harbor in front of the United Nations headquarters and personally demand that organization leave our shores just as the Patriots of the Revolutionary War demanded the departure of the British by dumping their tea into Boston Harbor!

 Professor SARTORIUS.  Mr. Chairman, I desire to show no disrespect for you or this institution, but I must be frank in calling your response point-blank infantile, irresponsible and bordering upon insane. Your ranting borders on demagoguery, or if not intended as such it certainly reveals an evasion of fundamental reality. You delude common frustrated working Americans that it is possible to turn back the clock on Globalization and return to the world of 1776 and the frontier ethic of self-reliance, isolationism and cowboy justice when a globalized economy and economic and political interdependence is a daily fact of life. You and your Tea Party are nothing more than a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and the average working American should suspect that you have been smoking too much of your tea as well!

 Chairman PALL. Professor I would be justified in holding you in contempt for those remarks, but I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, and I can say instead that I hold your ideas in the contempt they so well deserve. The American Dream is the dream of the hundreds of millions who came to these shores seeking the liberty, economic and political, of the free creative individual. I will tell you Professor Sartorius, that the sole source of wealth is the creative power of the individual mind and his productive power and his effort. Communism robs the creative individual, the inventor, the entrepreneur of the fruits of his creativity and of his enterprise. Our American revolution sought to remove a class of parasites sucking the blood of the free creative individual—the European parasitic aristocracy-and has defended him from time to time from coercive collective unions as well as predatory blood-sucking corporate financial capital. You seek to replace that parasitic class with the equally reprehensible parasitic classes of national and international bureaucrats—Big Government getting bigger and bigger—as big as the world! I take my stand against the Tobin Tax and all parasitical impositions on the free creative and productive individual—-“Don’t Tread on Me!” that was our flag then and our flag now! American patriots will join in my Tea Party because they are clear headed and sane and refuse to surrender their individuality or their creativity or their sovereign liberty, not because they, as you so maliciously suggest, are unable to face the real world out of supposed delusions. Real Americans reject your delusive socialism and flight from economic and personal freedom and will throw your Tobin Tax into the sea!

 Professor SARTORIUS.  Mr. Chairman, if I may recommend to you another great American tradition, I would advise you to follow in the tradition of American Pragmatism, the tradition of John Dewey and of William James and the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he sought to draw this paralyzed nation out of the depths of the Great Depression by facing the world as it exists, not the false world imagined by the mythology of absolute individualism which has never existed and never will. The tradition of Amrican Pragmatism is proud to manfully face the world as it exists and do what is necessary to deal with it in order to sustain our American values in a changing reality. To willfully avoid reality to pursue a posturing celluloid cowboy myth of frontier self-reliance is neither manful nor heroic, but rather neurotic, unhealthy and unworthy of free men and women. A cheap nativist populism ranting and raving against things foreign and international is neither new nor honorable nor capable of dealing with the globalized world and economy as they exist. The American Pragmatist rallies both the powers of the creative free individual as well as the collective power of the people and the state and the international system of global governance to deal with problems that have grown inexorably to dwarf and overpower the isolated individual and even the isolated nation-state. To avoid world economic crisis we need a reality-based system of global governance rooted in the realities and the dangers of the existing global economy, economic interdependence and the globalized society in which we have no alternative in which to live. Now, Mr. Chairman, no one reverences the powers of the free creative and productive individual as much as I do. I also appreciate the vulnerabilities of that free and creative individual and his need for protection from immense forces beyond his control in the globalized internatiolnal marketplace in which the superstitiously invoked magically benign invisible hand so often remains invisible for the simple reason that it does not exist. That free creative and productive individual needs the protection of law and a social safety net when the world economic order breaks down, as it inevitably does every generation or so, and on appropriate occasion needs the regulation of national governance and global governance to reverse the perversion of that marketplace by powerful and unreliable interests.  He needs protection from predatory financial capital and its demands just as much as he needs protection from abusive governments overtaxing him or denying his human rights. The American people are rightfully suspicious of big government, but they also have learned through the Great Depression and modern global financial crises that they need strong government to battle the abuses, exploitation, and predatory irresponsibility of big business and global finance and capital. Sir, I suggest that your Tea Party is pure escapism—an irresponsible escape from the realities of the modern globalized economy and a willful blindness to its manifest dangers and perils and the need for an effective and sustainable system of global governance in a globalized world of globalized problems.

 Chairman PALL. Professor, it is sad that you are so far lost in your errors that you cannot recognize how wrong you are, but the American people recognize it and will not be persuaded to abandon their liberty and their sovereignty for the system of slavery you propose. Great thinkers from Ludwig von Mises to Ayn Rand have defended the powers of the free productive and inventive individual and it is he who has always, and will always make this nation great.

 Professor SARTORIUS. I love the liberty of the free and productive individual as much as you or Ludwig von Mises or Ayn Rand, but I also see that unless that free individual has the means to deal with with the very complex reality of a globalized world and world economy, irresponsible and predatory capital, inherently unstable markets evading effective governance and control, and the absence of a viable social safety net in that globalized world then we are talking mythology rather than reality. You dream of the self-reliant Robinson Crusoe or the cowboy—John Wayne as Ringo free of the complications and limitations of society or the realities of the globalized industrial and post-industrial economy and marketplace. If you were to throw all the Chinese goods into the sea as the Tea Party threw the Chinese tea of 1776 into Boston harbor it is unlikely that even Wal-Mart would survive. You can’t go back to your lost Eden, if it ever existed, just by posturing like the Marlboro Man riding off into the sunset in blissful supposed self-sufficiency while he is dying of cancers of hidden causes. Such populist pandering after celluloid heroics and jingoistic isolationism is just a demagogic evasion of dealing with the real issues and realities.  If your suggestion is simply to cut taxes without regard to maintaining a viable social safety net in case of world economic crisis and without regard to managing the adaptation of the displaced and disadvantaged from the process of globalization and the globalized evolution of the national economy, then I would suggest that your ethics, despite your romanticizing this Marlboro Man of a self-reliant individualist, are that of the Titanic, where you do nothing to save the ship or avoid the tragedy, but rely on the passengers with First Class tickets having guaranteed access to the lifeboats while everyone else is left to the ethic of “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ and the certainty of drowning with the sinking hulk.

Chairman PALL. Professor Sartorius, much as it is my pleasure to cross swords with you on this matter my staff reminds me that out time is limited and fleeting. I will give you one last comment and then we will need to move on to Dr. Sarkozy if we are to finish our schedule today.

Professor SARTORIUS.  Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would only repeat and emphasize recourse to the simplistic thinking of your Tea Party is to my mind a childish and immature fantasy—an attempt to lay down and hold your breath until your face turns blue and the world ceases to be the world that it is and consents to become the world you merely want it to be. It is a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and not fit for the dignity of free men and free Americans pragmatic enough to live in, adapt to and deal with the world as it is. To ignore the reality of the globalized world and its globalized interdependent economy is merely to adopt the tactics of the ostrich, and if we only sow the wind by appealing to of our cowboy myths of self-reliance and individual self-sufficiency in a globalized economy which necessarily overwhelms, overpowers and dwarfs the mere individual, or even the individual nation-state, then we will reap in our future the whirlwind instead of any promised New Eden, New Jerusalem, Shining City on the Hill or other incarnation of the mythologized American Dream. And by ignoring reality we may face the danger of global economic crisis and a resulting threat of a potential world war that might arise from it, just as in the days of the New Deal that reqired a similar quantum leap in governance. ………….Now,  as to the specific concrete costs of such a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, I will defer to my colleague Dr. Sarkozy, who has made a detailed study of how much money would be required to implement a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly based on the similar level of expense for the European Parl ament.

Dr. SARKOZY.    Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving me this opportunity to contribute to your hearings. The first calculations of the Committee for United Nations Parliamentary Assembly concerning how much the setting up of a UNPA would cost resulted in a first rough total estimate of 100 to 120 million Euro per year. This would include the establishment and maintaining of a permanent secretariat, the administration, logistics and the carrying out of parliamentary work in a first, still limited step, during two to six weeks per year. As the Parliamentary Assembly becomes more professional and developed the sessions may be gradually lengthened with a commensurate increase in expense. The figure was calculated based on the budget of the InterParliamentary Union (IPU) for the administration of its Secretariat and on the budget of the European Parliament for travelling, accommodation during sessions as well as for extra costs, costs for special travels in execution of the mandate and general reimbursements. It is based on the assumption that all UN member states which participate possess a constitutionally elected parliament. The actual financial need for the first step can only be quantified if it is clear how the UNPA is to be designed, for example composition, voting procedure, participating states and legal basis. The money would most likely come from UN Member States through incorporating it into the regular UN budget, insofar as the UNPA is established according to Article 22 UN Charter which says “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”, otherwise through a budget which has to be set up and financed separately. Otherwise, voluntary contributions for a direct financing of the UNPA from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities could be made possible, analogous to Article 116 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. This could relieve the regular contributors. Precondition would be that these contributions are in accordance with relevant criteria defined for this purpose which especially have to guarantee the independence of the UNPA from donors. Furthermore, the UNPA could be recipient of means raised by innovative financial sources such as global taxation of airline travel or currency exchange and international financial transactions, should they once be established.

Chairman PALL. Taxes! Did I hear you correctly Dr. Sarkozy! A tax on global airline travel—and we have heard of this Tobin Tax and global taxes on financial transactions and currency exchanges. Not on my watch, Doctor! No Siree! No new taxes and no global taxes! Over my dead body!

Dr. SARKOZY. Mr. Chairman, that is an attitude that may serve the interests of a narrow financial elite with enough money to pretend to a false self-sufficiency, but does not serve the interests of the common working man or woman in the globalized world. When complaints are made about the expenditures of the United Nations system it overlooks the gross disproportion between the miniscule budget of the UN and its global responsibilities. It’s true that the UN system embraces a multitude of programmes, funds, specialized agencies, institutes and other entities. While there certainly are opportunities for more efficiency and streamlining, and it is quite necessary to be vigilant against corruption and bureaucratic waste, one has to keep in mind that the UN system is designed to take care of the wellbeing of 6 billion people on the international level. Given the growing tasks transferred to the UN by its member states, the UN Secretariat as the core of the system, for example, is very modest in size and budget. In fact, it cannot fulfill its functions properly because it is not financed and staffed well enough. In fact it is grotesquely deprived of any adequate funding or financial base commensurate to its global duties. It has a total staff of about 7,500 and a budget of about 1,4 billion US Dollars. The New York City Fire Department’s staff alone, for example, is more than two times larger. The combined expenditures of the complete UN system, including, for example, peacekeeping operations, was at 12,3 billion US Dollars in 2001 – less than 2 US Dollars per world inhabitant and year. The City of New York, in comparison, currently has an annual budget of 52.9 billion US Dollars and thus spends about 6,500 US Dollar per inhabitant and year.

Chairman PALL. Well, you’re not impressing me, Dr. Sarkozy. I would cut down the New York City budget to match the UN budget and then cut down the UN budget another peg, if we couldn’t get out of her altogether. No, no, no, no and again no! No new taxes and no new spending! Period! But now we have Mr. Ellisha who has joined us and he also wishes to call a witness this afternoon so I will give him his opportunity. Mr. Ellisha………………

Mr. ELLISHA. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Today I want to express my solidarity with Mr. Delamoign and Drs. Sartorius and Sarkozy in support of the proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, although I acknowledge we are in but a small minority here. But though we may face defeat in the vote in the present session I am confident as the American public learns more and more about this program it will adopt it in the not too distant future. The American people are hard-headed and practical, as well as being idealistic, and they are mindful of the existence of a world outside their own borders of which the American population constitutes but five percent. They know they must live and work with that outside world in a globalized economy and in an ever smaller Global Village. Yes, America will insist on protecting its vital interests. But America will also learn to work with the outside world in a spirit of constructiveness and fairness as  embodied in this proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. As an Afro-American and as one of a few Muslims in American public life I am ever mindful of the fates and destinies of the citizens of “The South” sometimes referred to as the “Third World” or the developing world, which make up a majority of humanity.  A parliamentary assembly will give them a greater voice in the global forums. But I have no aspiration to be simply a representative of a minority group in this nation. I reach out to men and women of all races, creeds and religions and affirm our common humanity and spirituality. This proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly takes me back to the Chicago of my youth where I grew up, which in 1893 broke global ground by convening the Parliament of the World’s Religions. This was an event of world importance in which such figures as Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science movement, Swami Vivekananda of the Vedanta and Hindu religion, Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky, Virchand Ghandi and representatives of the Bahai Faith, and Dharmapala of the Theraveda Buddhist faith were introduced upon the global stage in a constructive dialogue of mutual understanding.  In my lifetime this Parliament was reconvened on its Centenary in 1993 and has met periodically ever since, most recently in Melbourne, Australia. I want to emphasize that the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly has as an important goal the reestablishment of the moral and spiritual authority of the United Nations system, paralleling the work of the Chicago Parliament of World Religions and its successors. Its goal is to bring us together in our common humanity, overcoming the superficial divisions of the faiths, ethnicities and political rivalries to reaffirm our much deeper and more comprehensive common humanity and common spirituality.

Chairman PALL. Thank you Keith. Do you wish to call any witnesses?

Mr. ELLISHA.  Yes. I call on Mr. Padraig Moynihan, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and presently the Director of the Global Spiritual Progressive Alliance, on whose Advisory Board I am also a member. Mr. Moynihan is the recipient of the Ghandi International Peace Prize and has been nominated on three occasions for the Nobel Peace Prize. He served with the United Nations for thirty-four years in the areas of Development, Human Rights and Refugee assistance before resigning on principle regarding its activities in Iraq and the Middle-East.

Chairman PALL. Very well Mr. Ellisha, let the witness come forward and be sworn in.

Mr. MOYNIHAN. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. It is my honor to be here to speak to you and to the American people in this historic setting. I thank you for affording me this opportunity to share my views and experiences, and to learn from my fellow witnesses and the members of this body. Although I am a citizen of Ireland and the European Union, as a former employee of the United Nations I spent many years residing in New York and other cities in this country and have come to love the land and its people. I have also a deep love of the United Nations, along with a hate for its failures and inadequacies—perhaps it is not surprising when one lives and works with another for thirty-four years one arrives at such a love-hate relationship. My fellow witness Professor Sartorius from whom we have just heard and with whom I also worked together  many years ago in the United Nations Secretariat has very ably presented the positive face of a strengthened United Nations of the future improved by the innovations of outlined by his Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.  Understandably he has been optimistic and positive in his assessment and outlook, presenting a vision for a brighter future as a foundation for a positive working consensus throughout the world capable of bringing humanity together in its common consciousness, aspirations and good will for the future. I, on the other hand, have the duty to present to the people a a more critical and less rosy assessment. I am not here to invoke a rosy vision of the future regarding the United Nations but rather to be rather blunt and frank with you and the American people, along with the peoples of the world about the deep and disenchanting flaws of this institution.  Being here in Washington, D.C. I recalled to my mind the words of your illustrious President Eisenhower “ I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, it futility, its stupidity.” President Eisenhower then added,  “:every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”  This reflects the similar ambivilance I have continuously felt in serving the United Nations as a soldier of its struggle over these past four decades.

            Yes, I do lend my wholehearted support to Professor Sartorius’ proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and to Mr. Delamoign’s proposed House Resolution 247 in its support as a much needed and necessary reform and strengthening of the United Nations system, but I intend to go far beyond them in the depth of my criticism and disagree with them in part about the scope of reform that is needed, expressing views that I know they would find too extreme and disagree with, but nonetheless need to be expressed frankly and candidly if there is to be any way forward. Thus, after thirty-four years in the trenches of that organization I must inform you that even this momentous first step of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is but a small and inadequate beginning compared to the much deeper reforms of the system that are required if the system is to be viable and effective in the longer term.

As you may have guessed – this is not intended to be a ‘feel good’ review of the UN.  We are here to think, and consider something different, something better. Something representative, something respectful of international law: committed to equality of nations and people. An organization that really believes in a single standard of behaviour and treatment for all… and not double standards as of now.

My first point is that the system of International Law, international organizations and their constituent national governments ultimately rest more upon their moral authority than their ability to command and coerce. This a fundamental truth of all government which the generals of the world are apt to forget, but a fortiori is true of the much weaker international organizations such as the UN, which do not have armies and police forces to back them up.  Thus the first great need is to restore the moral authority of the United Nations that has been so tragically eroded in disappointment of the high idealistic hopes accompanying the founding of that institution. That restoration concept should absolutely apply to the United Nations! And in particular to the Security Council responsible for global Peace and Security. It is to that Council that we should look for secular moral authority, global leadership, respect for international law and for management of global peaceful co-existence.  But we don’t – do we? 

Before diving into the business of moral restoration however – let’s first look at how the UN is viewed today—how the man and woman on the street of various psychological characters commonly view the United Nations:

First – there is the UN of people’s unrealistic expectations – how we want the UN to be and to act: to represent us caring people! – a UN to bring good will, and wellbeing to human-kind everywhere. This is the UN in the mists of the fuzzy idealism of the masses.

We want it to be the UN of the Preamble – “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war… to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small… to establish… justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law… to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom… and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security…”

I believe most of us want a UN set apart and distinct from the ugly politics of the G-8, the EU, NATO, US/UK and the wars illegally pursued by UN Member States such as in the Congo, Chechnya, Gaza, Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan…

Ugly politics have undermined the Preamble –  in fact, they have neglected the entire word and spirit of the UN Charter!

Sadly this perfect UN does not exist. Nor does its moral authority.            

A second perception of the United Nations exists in parallel with this disillusioned idealistic view, however. This is the UN of the ‘Masters of the Universe’! The five veto powers and permanent members of the Security Council – the so called victors of the Second World War. The Old Boys Club of 1945. These five States, I am sorry to say, that have corrupted the UN Charter——–and corrupted the work of the UN. Applying double-standards, and disregard for law – they have made the organisation primarily serve their best interests rather than serve its mandate. This is the United Nations of Realpolitik and the United Nations become a tool of Big Power dominance an to the detriment of the idealistic aspirations of the peoples of the world.

Need I name them? We sit in the capital of the greatest of them. I refer to the five most dangerous Member States that together manufacture and sell some 85% of military arms, including nuclear weapons, and so called weapons of mass destruction. This is the UN of the arms dealers – the most disreputable and yet profitable business on earth.

And tragically and quite bizarrely – these arms dealers are the same Member States that the UN Charter entrusts with maintaining Peace and Security around the world!  I trust you see the disconnect?  The incompatibility?  – the mind boggling reality of nuclear powers and weapons salesmen being responsible for peaceful co-existence?! It’s madness!

And yet another third perception offers itself: Is the UN of the Secretariat, the Secretary-General – the servant of the member states. The Secretary-General is the administrative leader of the UN family of Agencies, Programmes and organizations—-the alphabet soup of the WTO, ILO, WHO, FAO, etc.  This is the so-called UN System that takes instructions from the member states – its shareholders – some from the permanent five and some from the 191 member states of the General Assembly who subsist under the shadow of the Permanent Five. Politically driven orders come directly – such as in my personal experience in Iraq when I assisted in heading up the UN Humanitarian Programme – or via Member State boards, councils, assemblies, committees etc. Is this any surprise when it is the ‘Big Five’ that have a veto and stranglehold over the selection of the Secretary-General himself along with the so-called “Power of the Purse” that keeps him coming back begging for every miniscule inadequate budget so completely disproportionate to the responsibilities of addressing the plights of six billion persons across the globe?

We may even argue this is proper – the shareholders have rights and the UN should serve its member governments! But those six billion stakeholders outside the power elites of those governments are seemingly left out of these rights and left out of the calculus of interests to be served.  This does however remind us that despite the words of the Preamble to the Charter… “We the peoples” – the UN as it is presently composed IS AN ORGANIZATION OF STATES, NOT PEOPLES.  Real people actually have limited input—sometimes via NGOs affiliated in a variety of ways. The bottom line however – is the State – your State and my State. And mostly States think not with heart or mind, or guided by any moral standard but rather by the Realpolitik calculus of so-called “National Interest” which all too often proves to be the much narrower interest of the ruling elite or the ruling class out of which it emerges (except for America of course!)… but with the sensitivity only of self-interest, power, and ambition. This so-called “self interest” reaches a high art form when it comes to the five Veto Powers of the Security Council. And self-interest is not endorsed in the UN Charter!

As Bill Clinton and Madame Albright liked to say in selling the UN programs in this chamber – the United Nations is there to further the best interests – of US foreign policy. However, to be fair, other States undoubtedly see it much the same way, but are more discrete!——And lack ambitions and military capacity for global empire!

I would be a false friend to America and the American people if out of politeness and courtesy for the honor of speaking to you today I were to ignore its faults. During the present administration we have seen unabashed neglect and even hostility towards the United Nations, including the flaunting of its authority in the invasion of Iraq without the authorization of the Security Council. We now hear the voices of the present outgoing administration’s opposition who want to work with the United Nations and be a players rather than to dominate and control. Sounds good – we await the reality as the future successors of this administration in all probability expand the war in Afghanistan, keep Guantanamo and untold prisons full of the tortured, finishes off the destruction of Iraq, refuses to end the occupation of Okinawa, has the thick skin to criticize China for human rights abuses when America itself has a deplorable record, and promises to militarily threaten or attack Iran! Not exactly the sort of new player we hope for perhaps! But let’s keep our fingers crossed…

Let me add in the context of UN perception number three – that the Programmes, Agencies, bodies of the UN do good work everyday all over the world – WHEN not instructed by the Masters of the Universe to do otherwise. This includes appalling intereference in their work by the political arm-twisting of the Big Five such as the unwillingness of the World Health Organisation to deal honestly with the appalling dangers of military usage of Depleted Uranium. I am sure you have seen the latest data from Fallujah?—Where child mortality has sky rocketed and birth deformities – two heads, no limbs – are increasingly common. Women are now afraid to get pregnant. Believe me, the horrors of Fallujah today will be faced by the rest of us tomorrow – if we do not ban the use of Depleted Uranium. There is world movement afoot; the website is www.bandepleteduranium.org…..  

Or the weak mandate and capacity provided for the UN Environmental Programme to anticipate and manage environmental/climate calamities world wide. We know about the disappointments of Kyoto, and now Bali and Copenhagen look very tough going. Although we now see movement from China and the US, the UN – needs independent oversight authority re climate change policies and implementation if the future results from Bali and Copenhagen are to be different from the disappointments of Kyoto.

Or the IAEA – the Atomic Energy Agency – whose objective expert advice is too often set aside by the Security Council when military aggression is more politically attractive, or simply ideal for empire building. Or in respect of some nuclear states – such as Pakistan, Israel and India – IAEA is astoundingly allowed no role at all!

Or when the IMF/World Bank bullies the poor and indebted countries to further diminish their expenditures for education, social services, housing, health care – the very basic human rights of us all. The critical expenditures if poor countries are ever to strive to catch up, for human equality and wellbeing.  Who do the WB and IMF serve? – their limited shareholders—-in effect the financial elites of the dominant member governments,  not those in most need. 

However, as I have said and despite this political interference and negligence – good work happens everyday! These UN technical organizations are staffed with good minds, and with good intentions although limited budgets. They work with NGOs and civil society all over the globe, particularly in the developing countries.

Regarding UN humanitarian assistance – UNRWA in Gaza feeds some 80% of the entire population as Palestinians struggle, and often fail to survive under the genocidal blockade of Israel. A blockade the US supports, and the EU and the Arab states enable – as they stand by and watch life and expectations come to an end. 

Despite UN Agencies – UNICEF, UNWRA  and others on the ground – the human catastrophe grows as Egypt blocks the exit at Raffah as they did earlier this year when thousands of refugees tried to escape civilian bombing with white phosphorus, DU. And today they block Palestinian students going out and food and other basic supplies coming in.

The Security Council?  It has fiddled as Gaza and its people literally burned. And still is unwilling to demand that Gaza be opened to world-wide assistance, freedom, democracy, hope, opportunities. A glaring failure to act. A glaring failure of corruption of its mandate – a Council held hostage by a few. Let us hope that the Free Gaza Movement ships can soon break the Israeli stranglehold, and allow Palestinians to breathe, work, live and grow. 

And soon let’s hope the UN Security Council reads the Goldstone Report, and has the courage to act upon it, and accepts its responsibilities for protecting the Palestinians of Gaza – the victims of what has been described as a “perfect” genocide. Whether it is Gaza, or the work of the World Food Programme which now feeds countless millions every day – the self-serving UN of the Security Council is always a political danger.—The danger of resorting to Sanctions, or military aggression, before peaceful resolution, proper dialogue, is sincerely attempted. Politically driven R2P is mockery of humanitarian needs. The politics of the Council makes a mockery of the Charter.

How very good it was recently to see China refuse the requests for war on Iran and suggest instead non-violent resolution – via dialogue and negotiation. Sadly, on Friday last, the news indicated that Russia and China were coming around to the idea of  imposing UN sanctions. I trust they would not support the “crippling sanctions” that America wishes to have imposed – having have learned nothing from the deadly UN sanctions on Iraq, it appears.
Crippling or otherwise – UN Sanctions on Iran and the people of Iran would constitute “collective punishment”. And collective punishment is in violation of international law. Sanctions are a form of warfare – that can kill communities  – that kill children – slowly as those of you familiar with Iraq are aware. There is no justification – there never can be justification for killing the people of Iran.

Maybe your perceptions are not the same as mine.  But that is my experience and perception of the UN at work today. Good, very good, and very bad; very dangerous and absolutely unacceptable. A Charter corrupted; self-interest dominant. The very few in control. UN failure in peace and security only too common. International Law in the service of some, not all. History will judge which of us is more correct.

We all remember the day the UN Security Council under US/UK leadership refused to allow the Arms Inspector Hans Blix finish his work in Iraq, because the opportunities for war, the very smell of profits, was too much for Bush and Blair to resist. Such is leadership in democracies which are manipulated by capitalism. Often led it seems by the Christian born-again who have forgotten their man—Christ—-was a socialist who spoke of love, not warfare

To enable the Iraq invasion – the Charter was abused and misinterpreted. No one bought the Bush/Blair nonsense about defense. Forty-five minutes from London! Weapons of mass destruction indeed! Article 51 which allows for rightful defense to imminent threats – clearly did not apply.

And now the UN Security Council is faced with expansion by Britain and the US, and maybe the reluctant NATO – of the war on the people of Afghanistan. I expect no action by the Council, but expanded war raises a question: when the majority of citizens in a democracy are opposed to war or expanded warfare, is it legitimate?

And who is responsible? How can the citizens of a democracy be held responsible – as they must be – when democracies determine to undertake a war of aggression? Many would say there are no non-combatants in a democracy pursuing aggressive warfare. Otherwise what is the shared responsibility of democracy all about? And the golden word ‘Democracy” is proffered as a crusade with the promise that the extension of our systems of bourgiouse democracy to the four corners of the world will eliminate forever the threat of war—a hope not entirely empty I am sure. But what are we to conclude when it is the democracies themselves that foment the aggressive wars?—even as in the days of Pericleian democracy in Ancient Greece? Are the invasions by the armed forces of these  democracies—the United States, Britain, Israel cancelled out by technicalities, excuses or far-fetched claims of self-defense or appeals to ideals in the sky? Must we not at least ask ourselves candidly whether or not our assumptions and hopes on this score not indeed exaggerated?

As war expands again, how did we reach this state of weakness, failure in the Security Council. When did the rot start? We could begin in 1945, but allow me to take you back to the 1920s, when Churchill and his man Harris set about frustrating Kurdish dreams of independence. Using bi-planes they decided to employ “terrorism” (you know – as in “Shock and Awe” on Baghdad in early 2003 and the anonymous impact of the missiles from pilotless drones across the Muslim world). They decided to bomb civilians in the Kurdish towns and villages of northern Iraq.  As you well know, Churchill and Bomber Harris continued these infamous tactics when they killed hundreds of thousands of civilians by firebombing Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden etc later.

Since then, the UN Security Coucil has watched passively as matters have further deteriorated. Now we see military regimes kill civilians with sophisticated aircraft, or Predator drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza – using massive bunker busters, cluster munitions, white phosphorous or depleted uranium on children, women and men. They bomb the media – such as Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad and Kabul.  I met with an Al Jazeera cameraman recently in Malaysia as he described 7 years of abuse and torture in the Guantanamo cages – to a “peoples” war crimes Commission.  

In Gaza, civilians and UN staff members have been attacked and killed. Along with UN food warehouses, schools and health clinics.  I learned last week from a UN colleague in Jerusalem that – having completely destroyed the American International School from the air – the Israeli army found it necessary to bulldoze the playground – swings and slides – of the Primary School. Is that not incomprehensible violence and punishment of children? Extraordinary! And equally extraordinarily, the UN Permanent Members of the Security Council made sure nothing was done… nothing… to stop the killings. Genocide can be astonishing in its thoroughness!

Why did I mention Churchill? Because he – together with Stalin and Roosevelt – were the authors of the UN Charter. It was they who demanded the strangle-hold, the control that the Five Permanent Seats-with-veto-power – provide. While we all remember some admirable deeds and qualities of those members of the “Big Three” we should not be unmindful of their faults, the perversions of their ideals and the evils resulting from the systems which they were parts of.

Do I need to tell you about Stalin? No – let’s not go into his human rights record – you are all familiar with his brutal and deadly ethnic cleansing practices. After some twenty million lost in the war itself, many millions more killed in the Soviet Union. A human catastrophe that is difficult to envisage. 

In short, we had these three very hard men in 1944-45 to which we can add Chiang Kai Chek and Charles de Gaulle – to make 5. They led the same 5 countries  that created and hold to this day – some 65 years later – veto power, and permanent seats, that control the UN Security Council. Let’s look at the consequences of having such midwives of this questionable caliber:  The damage to the credibility of the UN; how it functions, or fails to function has been huge. How it is perceived around the globe, particularly by those not represented in any way by the Magic Five is often negative. And often confused – UN or US? – unclear—which is which!

I refer primarily to the South, the poor and the poorest. The majority. And I refer to some sovereign states unlucky to sit on oil, mineral wealth and perhaps water and other resources that are required by the rich, and the militarily powerful. Some of us are ruthless in the manner we gobble up the natural finite resources of other sovereign states. The “somewhat” or theoretical democracies seem able to justify to themselves wars of aggression, plus exploitation, rape, and pillage – of course they may prefer to use words like development, investment and trade and protecting and preserving world order and world peace! The UN Security Council delays, compromises, and ultimately acquiesces to Big Five wishes.—As happened during the lead in to the totally illegal invasion of Iraq by American and British forces in early 2003. And the UN? – compromised and further diminished. Those States which could have vetoed that invasion did not make the gesture of rejection as required by the Charter. The Charter was ravaged, but the US and UK got away with it. No censure. No suspension from the Security Council. No compensation to be paid, or reparations? … Nyet!….Nada!

What about the application of double standards? Iraq illegally invades Kuwait and all hell breaks lose, although Baghdad was ready to negotiate a peaceful retreat when cornered by force. Capitalist greed for Iraqi oil, and opportunity for war, the desire for strategic presence in the Region – set that peaceful possibility aside real quickly. Meanwhile, Iraqi reparations to Kuwait so far has reached some 60 billion dollars and continues. Meanwhile Viet Nam waits for its first penny! Reparation payments to Iraq? Don’t think so! – again that is double standards at work.

I lived and worked for the UN in Baghdad under UN Sanctions in 1997-98 – and it was a safe city, at least if you did not run afoul of the government. Today following massive bombing, occupation and a puppet Government – assassination and ethnic cleansing is a daily event! And some 100,000 American mercenaries run wild – killing outside of both domestic or international law. Has the Council spoken? … no.

So if the Security Council is “fixed”, where is the UN International Criminal Court? – it is hog-tied like prisoners en route to Guantanimo Bay. The Prosecutor has little power. Otherwise he would be knocking on 10 Downing Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!  The US failed to ratify ICC and Blair still awaits domestic prosecution. The Old Boys of the Big Five are protected. So ICC works on Taylor and Vladovic, and other small war criminals.  Again that is a double standard at play – the familiar Achilles heel of the United Nations. The list of Security Council failures is long, and I do not intend to drag you through it. I have already – from the start today – touched in passing on the consequences of self-interest, inequality amongst member states, and the profits of war, and consumption of natural resources. I take it that we all remember, how in Srebrenicia, UN peacekeepers stood by as the massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys took place. The Council failed to prevent ethnic cleansing.

In Rwanda, none of us can forget the massacres that took place as a few thousand UN troops were in the country forbidden by the Council to lift a finger. Although some did assist under a courageous Canadian General who has described it  in detail. Who set off the genocide? Still an open question. In Afghanistan, we have witnessed an invasion and occupation, with endless civilian loss of life – grow out of hysteria in the days after 9/11. The UN Security Council endorsed revenge on the people of Afghanistan. But were they involved?  I don’t think so. I do not recall that the money, the pilots, the brains behind this terrible act of defense – came from Afghanistan. Were Afghans flown out of the US by Bush within hours of 9/11? Not that I recall. Perhaps their banks accounts were insufficient or in the wrong banks and they were not intimate with the appropriate first families? Unfortunate Afghanistan – just another opportunity for war?

The country of Iraq has been destroyed, as in Fallujah that I mentioned already – in terms of cultural, social, economic and infrastructural integrity and wellbeing. What more can I say?  The Council kept quiet. In Gaza this very year we have witnessed similar total destruction. Again the UN Security Council has failed to halt violence. We cannot pass without expressing concern over the rise of NATO as a new and dangerous aggressive force outside its region. And we have to regret the UN role in expanding NATO capacity and reach.

And we cannot neglect the threats to Iran of attack. Without solid evidence of military intentions for nuclear power, Iran is under threat of military attack from Israel and the USA—incredibly even after America’s CIA reports that Iran had abandoned its tentative plans for nuclear weapon development and al-Baradei opines that they would still be many years away from a single bomb even if they had that direct intention. The Security Council is being bulldozed yet again into acquiescence. And this in the context that Iran is reacting primarily to the threatening possession of nuclear weapons by Israel to which the Security Council egregiously turns a totally and unjustifiably blind eye. The similarity to the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq is frighteningly familiar. The pre-emptive concept is again in play and there is no provision for that ‘game’ under international law. Iran regardless of its internal struggles is a sovereign state with the right to defend itself. It is currently surrounded by American and Israeli nuclear war heads. Were Iran to seek nuclear defensive weapons, a case could well be made, it would do so as a legitimate deterrent against the threatened nuclear attacks of Israel and the United States. But not by me. To expect a sovereign state of such vulnerability and dignity to accept the UN/EU demands that its nuclear fuel be processed overseas by the very countries now threatening its security and sovereignty – is of course unreal.

The Security Council must recognize Iran’s perfect right to nuclear power and to ensure via the IAEA that such power is only for peaceful purposes. While Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty of course other nations and the Council has every right and interest in assuring its compliance. Nonetheless, of course you could ask why should Iran be inspected when the US refuses to be inspected? And Israel denies any knowledge of its nuclear arsenal and refuses to be inspected? … could that be double standards again!  The Council needs to demand and make conditional for Iran’s inspection compliance that the Americans and Israelis stand down, and that Israel ultimately acknowledges, takes responsibility for and ideally gives up its nuclear weapons in exchange for the de-nuclearization of the surrounding Middle-East including Iran.  And demand in the long-run that all nuclear powers disarm – including the Five Permanent Members – another crime of omission by the Big Boys – well, of course – they are the one and the same! A little conflict of interest – you might say!

OK what can we do about changing the UN, and the Security Council in particualar? For a number of years I have been proposing at University and public meetings reform of the SC in addition to my support for Professor Sartorius’ Committee’s proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.  Discussion to this end in the GA has been ongoing for some 15 years. Changes made have been miniscule and growth of real power has been limited to proposing Germany, Italy and Japan be promoted to Big Boy status. That is ridiculous. Why? Because the Council is already dominated by the North, and I include China in the North. What the Council needs is balance – that is, balance between the North and South. We need the majority of the world’s people to be represented. Is that rocket science? Don’t think so but quelle horreur! I can hear that old colonialist Churchill spinning in his grave … at the very thought!

And is it appropriate for the Permanent Five to select the States they fancy? Don’t think so. My view is that Council representation should be Regional, not country and that each Region should  select its representative State to sit – five  years before turnover to another, and independent of Big Five control.  And the selected country would speak for, on behalf of  the whole – the Region itself. This would seem to require within-region consultation before major decisions – and why not? Consultation might prevent the errors of haste – as in the Council’s approval three days after 9/11 to endorse invading Afghanistan.

Thus you can visualise for Central and Latin America, Costa Rica might be selected – small with no military power – but when small Costa Rica speaks on the Security Council – the world would know that Latin America and the Caribbean is speaking.–Now would have clout. That would mean something. That would be the voice of the South.

Or closer to home, lets consider North America – Canada, United States and Mexico. One permanent seat – rotating membership. Do you think that Canada could represent the US and Mexico – why not? We would be ahead, unless of course Canada now has plans to take over the world! Might not be a comfortable seat for Canada, but it would force DC to talk to Ottawa before any hyperventilation.

The same model would work for Sub-Sahara Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; South East Asia and Australia/NZ; South Asia and so on. Europe – the EU -now with two Old Boys would drop to one rotating permanent seat. With this globally representative system, with the loss or at least reduction of Nuclear Powers and the inclusion of the majority – the countries of the South – I believe we would see different decisions. Do you think South Asia and North Africa and Middle East permanent seats would have endorsed the invasion of Afghanistan? or the destruction of Iraq. I do not think so! With this Reform, do you agree that pressure to disarm and destroy Nuclear Weapons might be greater? Do you agree that pressure to address climate change, rising waters, would also be greater? With poverty represented around the table would you not hope that the rights of the poor and poorest would be properly addressed for the first time. Do you think that Food, Food Security, Human security would be better considered and solutions found? Do you  think that influence over the World Bank, IMF would not be more people-friendly? More developmental and less punitive?

The possibilities for enhanced decision making  are endless. There would be new ownership of the United Nations, and hope and perhaps a new beginning.  Less self-serving control, less presence of the military powerful and less corruption of international law and the UN Charter?

I know, you think I am some crazy aging optimist!  Am I sincerely hopeful? Yes, because we have seen a change recently accepting the ascent of the G-20 format in place of the neo-Colonialist G-8. That means the South has been acknowledged properly for the first time. To see Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa, India and Indonesia and others represented – all formerly colonial subjects – that is something revolutionary.

Now some of you on the progressive side are unhappy because the G-20 is the rich and powerful Big Boys Club—the G-8 all over again… just a bigger and wider elite. Yes… it does have the rich countries of the South on board instead of a cross-section. But I reckon the additions to the G-8 bring in more than 4 billion human beings. Now that is positive change!

My interest is to use the G-20 breakthrough for the purposes of UN Security Council reform. And why would the Five Old Boys accept this kind of dilution of power in the UN Security Council? Because it is their interest to do so. They are beginning to recognize power in the South, and they know the UN is becoming irrelevant, and to sustain the Security Council – the same South must be seated—with or without a veto. Maybe the veto system will have to be given up or abandoned as the EU has done with its supermajorities replacing unanimity, or maybe a co-veto requiring two or more vetos to be effective. But in the long run it will be unsustainable to keep the changing balance of power out of the calculus.  With new seating in the Council, I believe double standards as of now will be much less likely. I see the provisions of the Charter and international law being respected. Because second class countries, and second class peoples would be no more. There would be full representation on matters of Peace and Security – for the first time ever!

The little countries that the Big Boys like to bully, even invade and to sell the rubbish of weapons… will now be around the table. That may constrain the arms dealers, the empire builders and those who feel able to steal the sovereign rights and natural resources of those not militarized. That is good stuff.

But again, let me ask why would the five Veto Powers agree to reform? Because they understand that Geo-political power has already moved away from the Council to the G-8. Now they have seen the G-20 enhance that geo-political power and further diminish the role of the Council. They fear that critical global initiatives in the coming years will not come from the UN but from the G-20 where the world is better represented – both geographically and in terms of North/South balance. Meantime, the Council is becoming largely reactive – dealing with individual country issues rather than global concerns which are intimately linked to Peace and Security. Their very mandate is in danger! Fearing redundancy and irrelevance, old Europe has become the new EU which has grown into the largest economic block on earth. More important, despite the dangers of NATO, Europe with a history of war has become a Europe at peace—a momentous change and a model for hope despite its egregious flaws.  Meantime, the SC has been stagnant and is in danger of being set aside unless it becomes representative, and dare I suggest it: democratic – no more veto power – but a new sense of responsibility, supported by the goals but within the constraints of the Charter and international law. No more double standards of approach.

To complete this revolution we would need to have real people represented more in the UN dialogue and halls of consideration, and participation. That is where Professor Sartorius’ Committee’s great proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly comes into play. Full NGO and civil society representation must be integrated with a permanent Parliamentary Assembly in the United Nations.  We would need to see greater respect for international law, human rights, rights of the child amongst other legal provisions.

For war crimes of the kind we have seen in recent years – I refer to the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza. And the internal crimes being committed in Sudan and the Congo – the UN needs to make the ICC work. Prosecution of domestic leadership war crimes, crimes against humanity should be pursued by domestic laws and courts. However, failing that the machinery of the International Criminal Court must be used. If the ICC had teeth, dictators or democrats, leaders must understand and accept that they must govern within the provisions of domestic and international law.  Until the ICC functions properly, leadership will feel above the law and that is unacceptable.    

I know I am pushing my luck and testing your patience, and I know that to many in this room my views are shocking and seemingly outrageous and radical beyond reason. In good conscience, however, I must utilize this opportunity to bring them to your attention, with the faith that some good will come of them. Thank you gentlemen.

     Chairman PALL. Thank you Mr. Moynihan. Though I disagree with you I thank you for your candor. Now I will call for a vote on the motion to approve HR 247 and report it out of this Subcommittee for further consideration by the full Committee on Foreign Affairs and the full House. The clerk will collect the ballots and certify the count…………………………Mr. Fortescu?

Mr. FORTESCU: The vote is three votes in favor and five votes against.

Chairman PALL. The proposed Resolution is defeated. The clerk will enter a notice into the record that this Subcommittee has disapproved the Resolution and has acted to prevent any further action in this body for the remainder of the term. Hearing adjourned.

                                                                                                                        2

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                                                  Panel in Washington D.C. debates Global Parliament

During its annual meeting March 19-21 in Washington D.C., Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) presented a plenary session to discuss the topic, “Is the World Ready for a Parliamentary Assembly?” organized by CGS’s think tank, the World Federalist Institute. The panel consisted of four speakers: Faye Leone, Program Officer for International Democratic Governance at the World Federalist Movement; Jeffrey Laurenti, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign Policy Programs at the Century Foundation; Andrew Strauss, Professor of International Law at Widener University’s School of Law; and Fernando Iglesias, Member of Parliament, Argentinian Law Chamber. The moderator for the session was Joseph Schwartzberg, Professor Emeritus in Geography at the University of Minnesota.

Ms. Leone gave a brief history of the movement to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) and pointed out the key tension between the size of a parliamentary assembly and the size of the constituencies represented. Then, Mr. Laurenti expressed his skepticism about a global UNPA being successful. His key objection was that if more than half of the world operates under non-democratic regimes, what authority would a UNPA possess and why should serious policy makers even participate?

Dr. Strauss stated that the international status quo does not represent people and therefore lacks the authority to deal effectively with global threats like nuclear annihilation. Acknowledging Laurenti’s point that initially a UNPA would lack decision-making power, Strauss argued that by representing citizens it would acquire more authority which would ultimately lead to political power. Pursuing the same logic, Mr. Iglesias used the Spanish word “parlamento” which is derived from the Latin root “to speak,” to emphasize that parliament is a place where discussion occurs, even if action cannot immediately follow. He then recited several cases in history when social change seemed impossible, such as the eradication of slavery, but eventually was achieved through public debate and political pressure.

 

“Global Action to Prevent War” joins Campaign for UN Parliamentary Assembly

The International Steering Committee of “Global Action to Prevent War” (GAPW) has voted to endorse the proposal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) and to join the international Campaign. GAPW is a global coalition of more than 20 non-governmental organizations and research institutes which have united their efforts to develop a program for the sustained, integrated, worldwide application of government resources and knowledge to stop war, genocide and internal armed conflict. “As the UN is playing an important role in war prevention, it will be essential to take steps to assure the impartiality of decision-making in this organization on matters of war and peace. One important step to make the UN more democratic and responsive is the creation of a Parliamentary Assembly. This is why we support the Campaign for a UNPA”, says GAPW Coordinator Waverly de Bruijn.

 


[1] For a copy of this insightful article see: http://www.hawaii.edu/aplpj/articles/APLPJ_01.1_sheppard

[2] See also: Appendix II, of this book, Spiritus Mundi, for a the full text of this document and a complete discussion of the concept of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

C  Copyright Robert Sheppard 2011 All Rights Reserved

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About the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the Novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard

 

Introducing Spiritus Mundi, a Novel by Robert Sheppard

Author’s E-mail:   rsheppard99_2000@yahoo.com

 

Related Links and Websites:  Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel:  http://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/

For Author’s Blog:  https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience:  https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:   http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi:   http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi:  https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus  Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

SPIRITUS MUNDI, APPENDIX 1:

COMMITTEE FOR A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

Frequently Asked Questions

By Andreas Sarkozy & Robert Sartorius

Foreword

In September 2004 the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPA) published a strategy paper on the question of the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), titled “Developing International Democracy – For a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations”. The paper has been widely distributed in print and was downloaded from CUNPA’s website several thousand times since.

Following the publication and distribution of the strategy paper, we’ve received a substantial quantity of feedback. Additionally, its content and conclusions have been presented to many different audiences and to individual decision makers all over the world.

In this compilation we have collected some of the most common questions which we have been

asked at our presentations, workshops and at other occasions. Some of the questions are very basic, others more sophisticated. We have tried not to repeat ourselves too much. Thus, this collection of questions and answers certainly does not replace the comprehensive overview and information given in the above mentioned strategy paper. It serves as an addition which makes it possible to get certain answers quicker and more directly. Anyone not familiar with the CUNPA proposal, however, probably should read the strategy paper first to get the big picture.

Not least, this compilation also intends to assist all those fellow activists who may be faced with similar questions themselves. We welcome any comments and feedback.

Contents

General questions………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ….1

1.1. What is a parliamentary assembly?…………………………………………………………………. 1

1.2. What is so important about a UNPA?………………………………………………………………..1

1.3. Since publication of the strategy paper, what new aspects did come up?……………….1

1.4. What is the Global Marshall Plan and what has it to do with the UNPA project?……..1

1.5. Don’t we have enough bodies and bureaucracy already at the international level?….2

1.6. What are the preconditions of a world parliament? Isn’t the idea simply an utopia?…2

1.7. Following the principle of subsidiarity, government should be brought as near to the people as possible and people should enjoy maximum freedom within the law to run their

own lives. Would a global assembly really help to advance such freedom in any significant

way?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …3

1.8. Before we can elect an assembly for the world, the world should be willing to become

a governable entity. Instead of moving in that direction, it is becoming more fragmented

and polarized. Isn’t this obstructing the idea to set up a UNPA?…………………………………. 3

1.9. Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a UNPA?…………3

1.10. . What makes you think this would really work?—–Are there any successful real world experiences to draw upon?………………………………………………………. …………….…4

1.11. What’s the history of the idea of a world parliament going back to WWI and earlier, and why hasn’t it been realized since that time? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4

1.12. Wouldn’t international cooperation become even more complicated and ineffective if

a UNPA would have a say?………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.13. Not all UN politics are to the good of the people why then concentrate on the UN

at all?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

Creation of a UNPA………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

2.1. . Wouldn’t a UNPA be too hard to establish?  Is a reform of the UN Charter needed to establish a UNPA? Wouldn’t some big country just veto it?………………………………………. 9

2.2. Where will the UNPA be located?……………………………………………………………………. 9

2.3. Which are the steps to be taken for the creation of this new body?……………………….. 10

2.4. How much does a UNPA cost and where would the money come from?……………….. 10

2.5. Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon national parliaments?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

Design of a UNPA………………………………………………………………………………………………………….12

3.1. How many members will each country have?……………………………………………………. 7

3.2. If such a planetary assembly would be popularly elected, a third of the seats would go

to China and India. What voice would people from smaller countries have?…………………. 7

3.3. How can one have free elections for the UNPA in countries that do not allow free

elections for their citizens at all?……………………………………………………………………………. 7

3.4. Are there other models than that recommended by CUNPPA? ………………………………..8

3.5. How can the ordinary citizen participate in the work of a UNPA?………………………….. 8

3.6. Why should the maximum number of delegates range between 700 and 900?……….. 8

Rights and functions………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

4.1. What would a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly do?—–What would the main functions of a UNPA be?………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

4.2. Would delegations of the UNPA have the right to participate in international governmental conferences? …………………………………………………………………………………. 9

4.3. Can you give some examples where parliamentary control of international action

would have been crucial?…………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

4.4. What is the ultimate aim of establishing a UNPA?……………………………………………. 10

Campaign for a UNPA…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10

5.1.What can I do to support the campaign?…………………………………………………………. 10

5.2. Which governments support the UNPA proposal?……………………………………………. 10

5.3. Which parliaments support the UNPA proposal?……………………………………………… 11

5.4. Who else is supporting the idea?…………………………………………………………………… 11

5.5 What Testimonials and Statements of Support has the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly received from Parliaments, NGO’s and notable individuals?

5.6. What are the views inside the IPU about the CUNPPA campaign? ……………………….11

5.7. What if the United States or another veto power does not support the proposal?….. 12

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly FAQ

General questions

1.1    What is a parliamentary assembly?

An international parliamentary assembly is a consultative body attached to an international

organization. It is usually composed of parliamentarians appointed by the parliaments of the organization’s member states. Examples of existing parliamentary assemblies include: The

Pan African Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie. A Parliamentary Assembly may also be constituted by direct international elections, as in the case of the European Parliament of the European Union, to date the most highly evolved example and model of a Parliamentary Assembly, and may and existing models may evolve into the future to assume the greater powers of a true constitutional Parliament.  However, as yet no parliamentary assembly exists onthe global level. For a fuller discussion of the concept of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

1.2   What is so important about a UNPA?

Currently, the governance of the international system is a process exclusively between

governments. An international representation of citizens or parliamentary control of

international governmental action and international organizations as such, does not exist. A

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would address this democracy deficit by introducing

the voice of the citizens into the United Nations and international politics. The membership of

the assembly would reflect the composition of national parliaments and thus would also

include members of opposition parties who are not participating in government. Furthermore,

in contrast to government diplomats, members of the UNPA would be free from instructions,

free to take a global perspective and to represent the world community as such. In addition, a

UNPA would be an important link between the citizens and the United Nations;

.step by step could be vested with information, participation and control rights and therefore

would act as body for international parliamentary oversight; could serve as parliamentary umbrella for international cooperation; By addressing issues concerning global governance and United Nations reform, could become a political catalyst for further development of the international system; eventually could be transformed into a principal organ of a reformed United Nations.

Furthermore a Parliamentary Assembly is increasingly necessary as a matter of efficiency to provide a permanent and continuous forum in international treaty negotiations such as the Climate Change conferences in Bali and Copenhagen and to make them more democratic. The experience of the Climate Change, WTO and other specialized international conferences is that it is simply not workable to merely convene a treaty Conference every two, five or eight years for two weeks to deal with these subjects. There needs to be a permanent assembly with specialized committees working continuously on debate, consensus building and treaty drafting on these matters with continuous dialogue and feedback between governments and civil society to avoid the too sporadic, short and demonstration disrupted plenary conferences which are now far too slow and obsolete.

1.3   Since publication of the strategy paper, what new aspects have come up?

The strategy paper of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPPA) on the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) was released

in September 2004 and published as paperback book in May 2005. The discussion on the recommendations included in the paper is an open ended process. At some point, the Committee will publish a follow up paper reviewing its strategy and considering enhancements and changes.

Important aspects which came up with regard to the basic concept are the inclusion of a

delegation of the European Parliament into a UNPA (being a directly elected parliament), the

possible inclusion of representatives of indigenous peoples, means to guarantee gender equality

in the UNPA and the question whether and how local decision makers may be included as well.

1.4. What is the Global Marshall Plan and what has it to do with the UNPA

project?

The Global Marshall Plan (GMP) has developed out of a nongovernmental initiative. It aims

at a better design of globalization and global economic processes a so called worldwide

ecosocial market economy“. The focus lies on an improved global structural framework,

sustainable development, the eradication of poverty, environmental protection and equity,

altogether thought to be resulting in a new global economic miracle“. The Global Marshall

Plan includes the following five core goals:

1)     implementation of the globally agreed upon UN Millennium Goals by 2015

2)  raising of an additional 100 billion US$ a year required to achieve the Millennium Goals, to

enhance worldwide development

3)     fair and competitively, neutral raising of these necessary resources, also by burdening global transactions

4)     gradual establishment of a worldwide ecosocial market economy “with an improved global policy framework through the interlinking of established rules and agreed upon

standards for economic, environmental and social issues (WTO, ILO and UNEP standards)

5)      new forms of appropriation of funds directed to the grassroots level, while at the same time

fighting corruption.

In the view of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly the connection of the Global Marshall Plan and the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly proposal is twofold.

Firstly, the aims to enhance economic and political opportunities for the people are deeply

interwoven. Democracy embraces both, fair economic and political participation in a given

society. They are two sides of the same coin which cannot do without each other in the long

run. On a global scale, the efforts to establish a UNPA therefore cover the political side while

the GMP covers the economic one.

On an operational level a UNPA as independent and democratically legitimate body could

have a function to guarantee accountability of the GMP’s use of money. Administering sums

as large as 100 billion US$ a year makes effective control and oversight necessary. This could

be provided by an international parliamentary body such as the UNPA.

Links:

http://globalmarshallplan.org/

1.5. Don’t we have enough bodies and bureaucracy already at the international

level?

It’s true that the UN system embraces a multitude of programmes, funds, specialized

agencies, institutes and other entities (see chart: http://www.un.org/aboutun/chart.html).

While there certainly are opportunities for more efficiency and streamlining, one has to keep

in mind that the UN system is designed to take care of the wellbeing of 6 billion people on

the international level. Given the growing tasks transferred to the UN by its member states,

the UN Secretariat as the core of the system, for example, is very modest in size and budget.

In fact, it cannot fulfill its functions properly because it is not financed and staffed well

enough. It has a total staff of about 7,500 and a budget of about 1,4 billion USDollars.

The New York City Fire Department’s staff alone, for example, is more than two times larger. The combined expenditures of the complete UN system, including, for example, peacekeeping

operations, was at 12,3 billion US Dollars in 2001 – less than 2 US Dollars

per world inhabitant and year (figures: http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance/tables/tabsyst.htm). The City of New York, in comparison, currently has an annual budget of 52,9 billion US Dollars

and thus spends about 6,500 US Dollar per inhabitant and year.

1.6. What are the preconditions of a world parliament? Isn’t the idea simply an

utopia?

The idea of a world parliament directly elected by the world’s population with legislative

powers embedded into an effective system of global governance—–a true and comprehensive World Parliament in a legally constituted and fully functioning constitutional World Government certainly still is an utopia today and the Committee does not advocate or go so far at the present time, which would most likely be unworkable. Instead it advocates a first, but limited step in that direction, creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly of an advisory nature based on already proven models such as the European Parliament of the European Union. In practice the idea of a unified government of the world, or a “United States of Earth” would face insurmountable difficulties because of the extreme social and economic disparities and political differences in development and interests in the world which exist today.

Starting from a broad notion of democracy, encompassing both political and social

participation, the concept of international democracy cannot be reduced to merely establishing a new body. This approach could even corrupt the actual intention. The concept rather includes comprehensive questions of human development as well, such as how to create fair economic opportunities for everyone, thus taking on the challenge to reduce extreme poverty and to bridge the wealth divide within as well as between countries. The basic precondition for a world parliament therefore is a minimum of common economic and social welfare in the world which does not yet exist.

On the side of political participation, there are similar problems. The direct, democratic

election of delegates to a world parliament in undemocratic states, for example, is simply not

possible. Thus, the creation of a fully democratic world parliament, in addition, depends on

the development of stable democratic systems at the level of nation states as well.

These issues in mind, however, the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly believes that first steps are possible and urgently needed. This is why it advocates the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

1.7. Following the principle of subsidiarity, government should be brought as near to the people as possible and people should enjoy maximum freedom within the law to run their own lives. Would a global assembly really help to advance such freedom in any significant way?

Yes. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) would help to solve global problems

which by their nature cannot be dealt with effectively on a local level but affect people’s daily lives. By bringing the voice of the people into the UN system and international relations, a UNPA would contribute to a better understanding and awareness of such global problems. Creating fair economic and social opportunities for the people, for example, is not only a matter of national, regional or local concern. It is also a matter of economic and financial relations in the world. A UNPA therefore is very much in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity since its aim is to enhance the possibility for the citizens to influence the international environment which has an

impact on their day to day lives. Subsidiarity means that problems should be dealt with on the level as near to the citizens as possible. In case of global problems no such lower level is available. Thus, citizens need an international body to represent them more directly.

1.8. Before we can elect an assembly for the world, the world should be willing to become a governable entity. Instead of moving in that direction, it is becoming more fragmented and polarized. Isn’t this obstructing the idea of setting up a UNPA?

No. On the contrary, we believe that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would

contribute to bridging national differences. Since a UNPA would be composed of a

membership which roughly reflects the political composition of the respective national

parliaments and of delegates who in principle are not answerable to or controlled by their home governments but rather more directly to their peoples, these would tend to group according to political orientation rather than divide according to national origin. In this way, delegates would recognize political agreement with fellow parliamentarians from other countries and the need for international solutions would become more apparent. A similar development on the regional level has taken place, for example, in the European Parliament.

1.9. Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a UNPA?

No. The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a fraternity of members of existing parliaments meeting only on a sporadic and intermittent basis. It does not directly represent the people at the United Nations. It is an umbrella organization and fraternity of a few members of existing parliaments with no connection or input into the United Nations principal organs. The IPU’s goal is to share insights and experiences as members of existing national parliaments and perhaps indirectly channel the views of national parliaments into the UN decision making process, but not to be a continuous deliberative body addressing global problems and needed solutions as its principal activity. Its members are fully absorbed in their work at the national parliament level and have only a small amount of time and effort left over for international efforts. Moreover, its interest is not to control the UN and its decision making by serving as a direct channel for communicating the desires and interests of the underlying peoples, which is the natural role of a genuine parliament. Nor is the IPU at the moment prepared to take on the role of an international legislative organ, which participates in making international laws and regulations through the treaty-making process and otherwise. In a recent paper of 2006, for example, the IPU largely reiterates the Declaration of the First Conference of Presiding Officers of Parliaments of 2000 that the “parliamentary dimension [to international cooperation] must be provided by parliaments first of all at the national level”.

1.10. What makes you think this would really work?—–Are there any successful real world experiences to draw upon?

When imagining the possible development of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly one

can draw first upon the very strong leading example of the European Parliament (EP) as the principal international parliamentary organ of the European Union. Developing out of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, founded in 1952, the consultative function of the early European Parliament, set up in 1962, was widened to include the right to be heard in legislative processes. Since 1975, the EP has been allowed to codecide with regard to the budget. At the beginning, the EP consisted of representatives of national parliaments. In 1979, direct election of EP parliamentarians in the EC Member States was introduced. Politically strengthened in that way, the EP rejected the draft budget of the Commission for the first time. Today, the European Parliament has the same rights as the European Council with regard to three quarters of all legislative projects in the European Union. Additionally, successful international parliamentary assemblies have been implemented  including the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union, the Arab Parliament of the Arab League,  and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino). Parliamentary Assemblies also exist in other international organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the WEU Parliamentary Assembly, and the MERCOSUR Parliament.

1.11. What’s the history of the idea of a world parliament going back to WWI and earlier, and why hasn’t it been realized since that time?

The idea of a world parliament was introduced initially before the First World War. However,

at that time, no international or regional organization existed. The paramount thrust of many

proponents of an international organization was to introduce some institution which would

control national state behaviour at the international level. Thus, they saw an international

organization first the League of Nations, after the Second World War the UN by itself

as a kind of parliament which would control states behaviour. That this would not work as long as

there was no democratic control within the organization was for a long time not recognized,

especially during the time of the Cold War where the UN also took on the role of a mediator.

Therefore, the legitimacy deficit of the UN was only widely criticized after the end of the Iron

Curtain, i. e. the 1990s.

Moreover, there was another, even more important reason why a UN Parliament was never

realized. For governments, it was already a huge concession to set up an international organization after the First World War. They were not prepared to give up their sovereignty to

an organization which the idea of a parliament would entail when it is implemented, i. e. when it

is entrusted with genuine democratic rights of control and lawmaking.

Nevertheless, one government, namely, Germany, tried to introduce a World Parliament as part of the new League of Nations after the First World War. However, Germany could not impose itself since it had lost the war and bargained from a position of weakness. Major decision makers at that time, especially the US President Wilson, the instigator of the League of Nations, were against the idea. This was also the case after the Second World War and continues until today. However, meanwhile, the UN comes under more and more pressure because it demands national democratisation, but is not democratically organized itself.

1.12. Wouldn’t international cooperation become even more complicated and

ineffective if a UNPA would have a say?

Yes and no. Onthe one hand, it is true that a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations

would be another player in the diplomatic scenery which governments and their executives in

international organizations would have to take into account to a certain degree. On the other

hand, being composed of elected parliamentarians, the assembly would be closer to the citizens and as such it would lend more credibility and legitimacy to international decisions in which it is

involved. In this way, the parliamentary assembly actually would contribute to an increased efficiency and efficacy of international action.

1.13. Not all UN politics are to the good of the people—-why then concentrate on he UN at all?

The United Nations was set up after the Second World War in order to avoid wars in the

future and to reduce narrow nationalist thinking through cooperation of states. This is also reflected in the UN Charter which describes as the task of the UN “to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social cultural or humanitarian character, and in

promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all

without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion” (Art. 1of the UN Charter). In

pursuing these goals, the UN has achieved a lot throughout the years, be it with regard to the

whole system of human rights, the decolonization process, development, etc.

Of course, not all UN politics may be to the good of all affected by them. The reason

for this is that particular political decisions beyond the framework just described are left to the states which have to decide about them in the UN organs. Thus states within the United Nations may be fixated upon the narrow advantage of the governing elites of those states rather than the underlying interests of even their own peoples, let alone the underlying international and global interests of the people of the world as a whole. States are represented by governments not

by direct representatives of the people and in addition often have pure national interests and not the common good of the world, for example in the prioritizing of immediate national political concerns over the long-term avoidance of climate change. Moreover, the UN is made up of thousands of bureaucrats and people in complex organizations and structures always need some control in order to be reminded of public goals and not only to cling to their personal interests.

Thus, what the UN needs is a control mechanism and not its abolition. It needs most an

independent organ which controls governments’ UN decision making, weighing it against the

common good of all humankind, and similarly evaluates the actions of those implementing the

decisions—mainly, the UN Secretariat and governments. The UN has achieved many good

things for humanity. More to the point, however, is the simple fact that there is no viable alternative to the United Nations—-it is the only organization capabable of acting effectively on a global scale in respect to the global problems which urgently need solving. Without it, the world would be poorer, colonized, crueler, and less supervised. Thus, it is better to maintain and improve the UN and to rectify its deficiencies and wrongdoings.

Creation of a UNPA

2.1.  Wouldn’t a UNPA be too hard to establish?  Wouldn’t a complicated reform of the UN charter be needed to establish a UNPA? Wouldn’t some big country just veto it?

No!  Perhaps surprisingly, United Nations Parliamentary Assembly with consultative functions vis à vis the UN General Assembly can be established relatively simply by a simple majority vote of the UN General Assembly according to Art. 22 UN Charter which says: “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.“ No veto right applies, because the Security Council need not be involved in the decision making.

Besides, a UNPA could also be established by a standalone international treaty and a cooperation agreement with the UN. A reform of the UN Charter, however, would be necessary should the UNPA once be transformed into a more fully functioning principle organ of the world organization at a later step.

2.2. Where will the UNPA be located?

It is too early to determine the eventual seat of a UNPA administration. The Committee for a

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly does not make recommendations in this respect at this

time. To save costs and take advantage of existing infrastructure, however, plenary sessions could be held free of charge in the hall of the UN General Assembly in New York, for example, or at other venues all over the world. A rotation system whereby the assembly would shift its location in successive meetings to the various continents or regions, perhaps in coordination with regional parliamentary assemblies such as the Pan-African Parliament or Parlatino, would involve the opportunity to impart the work of the UNPA to a larger public in the respective regions. Perhaps a system of alternating meetings between New York and on a revolving circuit of each successive continent might be desirable. If a government or regional international organization is ready to place appropriate premises at the UNPA’s disposal, at zero cost and for an indefinite duration, this could be an argument to settle the administrative headquarters there.

2.3. Which are the steps to be taken for the creation of this new body?

Politically, the most important step is to secure considerable support by national parliaments

and governments, by the concerted efforts of their underlying peoples. Eventually, the proposal needs to be scrutinized and debated in detail by like-minded governments, ideally in cooperation with parliaments and civil society. Depending on the results, these deliberations then would lead to the introduction of an a Proposal into the respective committee of the United Nations General Assembly or, in the alternative, to a special-purpose treaty negotiation process.

2.4. How much does a UNPA cost and where would the money come from?

First calculations of the Committee for a Democratic UN as to how much the setting up of a UNPA  would cost resulted in a first rough total estimate of 100 to 120 million Euro per year. This would include the establishment and maintaining of a permanent UNPA Secretariat, the

administration, logistics and the carrying out of parliamentary work in a first, still limited

step, during an initial contemplated annual session of two to six weeks per year. The figure was calculated based on the budget of the InterParliamentary Union (IPU) for the administration of its Secretariat and on the budget of the European Parliament for travelling, accommodation during sessions as well as for extra costs, costs for special travels in execution of the mandate and general reimbursements. It is based on the assumption that all UN member states which participate possess a constitutionally elected parliament. The actual financial need for the first step can only be quantified if it is clear how the UNPA is to be designed, for example composition, voting procedure, participating states and legal basis. The money could most likely come from UN Member States through incorporating it into the regular UN budget and financing process, as far as a UNPA established according to Article 22 UN Charter is concerned, which Article states: “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions,” otherwise arrangements might be made through a budget which has to be set up and financed separately. Alternatively in such a context it is sometimes suggested that voluntary contributions for a direct financing of the UNPA from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities could be made possible, analogous to Article 116 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. This could relieve the regular contributors. A necessary precondition in this respect would be that these contributions are in accordance with relevant criteria defined for this purpose which especially would have to guarantee the independence of the UNPA from donors influence. Furthermore, the UNPA could be recipient of means raised by innovative financial sources

such as global taxation of airline travel, and taxation of international financial instruments and flows as reflected in the Tobin Tax proposal, should they once emerge from the process of longer-term historical evolution to be established.

2.5. Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon

national parliaments?

Certainly, civil society could organize its own global conferences to discuss issues of global concern. In fact, it is doing so. The World Social Forum, for example, is a successful implementation of this approach. Another example was the civil society components of the Millennium Forum which took place in 2000 or the efforts to create a regular NGO Global Conference synchronized to meet yearly just ahead of the annual United Nations General

Assembly sessions.

A parliament, however, is something different. The term describes a type of

representative deliberative assembly vested with a varying degree of political powers under

a respective express or implied constitution which holds the executive branch of government accountable and participates in action, lawmaking or policymaking. A self organized conference which has no legal links to the established political order and which is not officially elected by the populace obviously is not a “parliament“ or parliamentary assembly and certainly cannot undertake public action, develop authoritative policy or adopt any sort of treaty or legislation. Since civil society organizations and their representatives are not popularly elected, they lack a central precondition which characterizes parliaments and their membership, namely to speak with accepted authority for their peoples. The same applies to any self appointed “people’s assemblies“ or other “Do-it-Yourself” quick fixes. By its definition, therefore, a “world parliament“ or authoritative world parliamentary assembly in the any genuine meaning of the term as such cannot be organized on a do-it-yourself basis by NGO’s or civil society without integration into the governmental process of legal governance, and without which it would lack democratic legitimacy and authority, not to mention governmental resources. However, it is possible to draw upon national parliaments because these are regularly elected by the populace.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_social_forum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

Design of a UNPA

3.1. How many members will each country have?

The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPA) recommends that the determination of the number of delegates per country in the UNPA should be left to the political negotiations of the governments during the preparatory process. The basis of the negotiations should be a commitment to a graduated division oriented primarily according to population size but including other modulating factors, corresponding, in principle, to existing parliamentary assemblies. Besides purely population size, other criteria could play a role, such as the equality principle (one member one vote) or the financial contributions to the UN system. However, the calculation should and can be made in such a way that huge countries, such as China or India, are not overrepresented or overdominant and small countries have guarantees of some minimal weight and influence. A graduation constitutes a perfect means for achieving this and, practically speaking, reflects the modern usage in existing parliaments and international institutions which are not 100% proportional as to population alone but balance other factors. Furthermore, CUNPPA recommends an upper limit for the total number of delegates between 700 and 900.

3.2. If such a planetary assembly would be popularly elected, a third of the

seats would go to China and India. What voice would people from smaller countries have?

No. A third of the seats would only go to China and India if such an assembly would only

take the population size into account and if it would be directly mirrored in the distribution of

seats. However, the composition of none of the existing regional parliamentary assemblies

directly mirror the population size of their member states. The Committee for United Nations Parliamentary Assembly also does not recommend such an approach. As in the case of the voting power of Germany, the largest nation in population withing the European Union, most likely a commonly negotiated framework necessary to gain acceptance by all the parties would lead to significant dilution of the “one-man-one-vote” principal, however legitimate that may or may not be, and would be modified to include a larger proportionate representation of smaller nations to provide at least some minimum national voice and influence, plus reflecting the necessary compromise of abstract principles with the practical and power-based considerations of “Realpolitik.” Existing regional assemblies all work with a graduation of seats and/or votes which workably allows to avoid an over or under representation of member states. Moreover, beside the population size, other criteria, such as the equality principle (one member, one vote) or an equity in representation derived from the greater financial contributions to the UN system and others, are being discussed as additional criteria to calculate the distribution of seats and/or votes. See also question 3.1. and para. 3943 of the strategy paper.

3.3. How can one have free elections for the UNPA in countries that do not

allow free elections for their citizens at all?

In undemocratic countries which do not allow for free, equal and secret elections at all, realistically speaking, it will not be possible to have democratically legitimate delegates for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the short term. Pseudo-parliamentarians coming from such undemocratic states actually would probably be subject to the clandestine control and instructions of their home government. CUNPPA has dealt with this problem in its strategy paper, para. 32: .There are objections that the participation of such “pseudo-parliamentarians” could undermine the democratic legitimacy and moral authority of the assembly altogether. This opinion contradicts the fact that the affected states are already represented in the United Nations with equal rights according to international law. In view of this, excluding these states from a participation in a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations could hardly be explained.

Furthermore, to draw the line between the criteria for an inclusion and those against would hardly be possible in a convincing way. An exclusive membership would undermine the global perspective and would make it implausible. Having said this, it certainly is important that the clear majority of the membership is democratically legitimate. Since the majority of the UN Member States as a result of favourable historical evolution in recent decades are to a greater  extent democratic, this would be the case.

3.4. Are there other models than that recommended by the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly?

In a question as complex as the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, it

would be pretty extraordinary if there were not many different opinions on various aspects and possible models. These are the most important differences between the recommendations of CUNPPA and other proposals:

CUNPPA recommendation                                                      Other proposals

Mode of establishment

In a first step subsidiary body to                                              Standalone

international treaty by

likeminded

states

General Assembly according to

Art. 22 UN Charter or

transformation of InterParliamentary

Union and subsequent cooperation agreement

between UN and IPU

Participation

Open to all

UN Member

States

Open

Only to democracies

Attached to

United Nations, later

including

financial institutions

No attachment

Election

At first step indirect election

through national parliaments, later

direct election optional or phased in.

Direct election or Indirect

Furthermore, there are initiatives promoting a self-organized People’s Assembly.  For this

see question 2.5. .Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon

national parliaments?“

3.5. How can the ordinary citizen participate in the work of a UNPA?

One of the reasons to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) is to

provide for a closer link between the United Nations and its affairs and the citizens in the UN

member states. Citizens would be able to contact their own delegate to the UNPA responsible for

their constituency and in this way would have a direct contact person to raise issues which

may affect them and are of international concern or directly linked to the UN or its affiliated

organizations. Delegates would be able to provide information and to take up issues for

further consideration in the UNPA.

3.6. Why should the maximum number of delegates range between 700 and

900?

The Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations should not exceed a certain number of

delegates in order that its efficiency and functionality is maintained. This means that if the Assembly is too big the members will most probably be unable to effectively communicate, interact, bargain, reach effective understandings and compromises, develop interpersonal relationships, understandings and bonds of trust, and develop the purposive collective consensus and will necessary to make their work effective. The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly thus estimates that the upper limit for this is at about 900 delegates. These seats then would be distributed to the participating states. An example for this procedure is the European Parliament. Representing about 450 million citizens of the European Union, it has a maximum number of MEPs fixed at 750, with a minimum threshold of five per member state and no member state being allocated more than 99 seats.

Rights and functions

4.1. What would a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly do?—–What would the main functions of a UNPA be?

The populations of the UN member states have to be better and more directly included into

the activities and decision making processes of the United Nations and its international organizations. This can be achieved by setting up a parliamentary assembly. Possible functions a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be vested with have been named in CUNPPA’ strategy paper (para. 5). The functions of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would minimally include:

  1. Submission of its own opinions/resolutions to the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Secretary General, the Security Council, and to the organs and other institutions of the UN system;
  2. consultation with the General Assembly, ECOSOC and by organs of other institutions of the UN system with regard to important questions;
  3. the right to address questions to the Secretary General, the Presidents of the General Assembly, of ECOSOC and of the Security Council as well as to the heads of other institutions of the UN system;
  4. rights of information and participation in relation to the activities of the institutions of the UN system including the still independent Economic and Financial Institutions;
  5. readings of draft resolutions of the General Assembly and of ECOSOC with the right to submit suggestions for amendments;
  6. the right to submit to the GeneralAssembly and to ECOSOC draft resolutions for further negotiation and adoption;
  7. codecision with regard to the adoption of the UN budget;
  8. codecision with regard to the election of the UN Secretary General;
  9.  the right to be integrated into all treaty negotiations which are conducted under the auspices of the United Nations to establish or modify international institutions;
  10.  the right also to be integrated into multilateral treaty negotiations at the international level not under the auspices of the UN;
  11.  the right to submit, in accordance with Article 65 of its Statute, legal questions to the International Court of Justice.

Furthermore, a UNPA must have the right to establish inquiry committees which may

summon functionaries of the UN institutions to fulfill their task. In line with a comprehensive

reform of the United Nations in the future, the UNPA could be transformed into a UN main

body and become part of a global legislature.

4.2. Would delegations of the UNPA have the right to participate in international governmental conferences?

Wide parts of the populations of the various nations and of the population of humanity on earth globally do not feel sufficiently represented by their government in International institutions and negotiation processes. An indication of this are the continuing protests of civil society alongside international government conferences, which they feel are not only democratically illegitimate but in increasing ascendency in controlling the conditions of their daily lives. The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly therefore strongly recommends that the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly should have the right to fully participate in multilateral treaty negotiations processes and to this end should have the right to send official representatives or delegations. For instance a delegation from a UNPA would be seated at such conferences as the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference or at plenary meetings of the WTO.

4.3. Can you give some examples where parliamentary control of international

action would have been crucial?

A government independent Parliamentary body a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

could have assumed a role to scrutinize international action, or inaction, in the case of the

genocide in Rwanda 1994, to name an important example. While there in fact has been a

subsequent inquiry commissioned by the UN Secretary General on the failings of the

international community in face of the genocide, a UNPA would have been able to address

the inadequate response by the United Nations during the events themselves. Since a UNPA

would include delegates of oppositional parties from the parliaments of the UN member

states, it would offer them an international platform to voice concerns which governments

would not address. Alerting the world community of large scale human rights abuses therefore is an area where a UNPA could play an important political role.

Another area where a UNPA could assert oversight functions and conduct important analysis

is with regard to the UN’s sanction regime. The United Nations Oil for Food programme, for example, was only thoroughly scrutinized by an international inquiry committee set up for this purpose by the UN Secretary General after the US General Accounting Office discovered severe irregularities in its operations. This underlines the need that there is a permanent independent

body which is able to provide continuous oversight and public feedback in respect of the UN’s programmes. A UNPA would be well suited for this purpose. In contrast to inquiries by national authorities or by adhoc bodies set up by the UN Secretary-General, a UNPA inquiry committee would be representing an international viewpoint and would be democratically legitimate and speak with authority through its parliamentary membership.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_for_food

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide

4.4. What is the ultimate aim of establishing a UNPA?

The creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly will be an ongoing long term

process which will continue even after it is once established as consultative body in the first

step. Connected with globalization, this process will be closely interlinked with the continuing

evolvement of an ever closer world community and a growing need for effective global

governance. A UNPA is the embryonic starting point for the creation of a world parliament in

the longterm future in order to guarantee the involvement of the citizens in international

affairs as closely as possible and to support a sense of the global common good and democratic legitimacy and oversight as globalization requires more and more powers to be transferred to international bodies to deal with the ever more internationalized problems of a globalized world. See also:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

Campaign for a UNPA

5.1. What can I do to support the campaign?

As an individual citizen you can do one or more of the following:

  1.  Sign the international appeal for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly which will be published in April 2007;
  2.  Write an email to your friends and colleagues and invite them to sign the appeal as well;
  3.  Subscribe to our newsletter in order to be up to date on current developments;
  4.  Write politely to the member of parliament of your constituency and ask him/her to support the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentar y Assembly. Should you get an answer, share it with us!
  5.  Help us with a donation to the Committee for a UNPA. Any amount counts!
  6.  Become supporting member of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly;
  7.  Volunteer your professional skills. The campaign is largely based on volunteer collaboration. We need translators, web programmers, graphic designers, lobby assistants, research assistants and volunteers with other skills which are necessary to build an international campaign of this kind;
  8.  If you are member of a civil society organization or a political party, campaign for its support of the establishment of a UNPA;
  9.  Write a carefully drafted letter to the editor of your newspaper if an article invites a comment touching upon the UNPA proposal. Maybe it will be published!

5.2. Which governments support the UNPA proposal?

On 7 July 2009 Pope Benedict XVI published his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, charity in truth. In this writing, the Pope contemplated on the nature and consequences of globalization, the global economic crisis and the world order. Benedict XVI stressed the importance of a reform of the United Nations Organization and of international economic and financial institutions. “There is urgent need of a true world political authority,” the Pope proclaimed. According to a study published today by the Committee for a Democratic U.N. (KDUN) in Germany, “it is possible to derive from catholic social doctrine the creation of a democratic world legislative which, in particular, has the task to exercise oversight over the executive world authority.”

“The establishment of an effective political world authority has been continously advocated by the Holy See since Pope Pius XII in the 1950s and was now again reiterated by Benedict XVI.

The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is trying to establish a dialogue with open-minded governments on the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Despite widespread support at many levels, as yet, no government officially sponsors the approach officially in diplomatic negotiations. Historically, a similar proposal was put forward by one of the first democratic governments of Germany in 1919, after the First World War. Its draft for the statutes of the League of Nations included a “world parliament“ elected by the parliaments of the member states. Naturally, as defeated country at that time, Germany’s position had no effectiveness at that time.

5.3. Which parliaments support the UNPA proposal?

In 1993 the European Parliament has been the first directly elected parliament to endorse the

establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in an official resolution adopted

by its plenary. It has reiterated its position in resolutions from 2003 and 2005. In January

2006 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has also adopted a resolution

containing such support. As at October 2006, no similar resolutions have been adopted on national level. However, a majority of the members of the National Council of Switzerland has endorsed the UNPA proposal in an open letter addressed to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in February 2005. In 1993 the Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament did support the UNPA proposal. Because of subsequent elections, the plenary never dealt with the issue, however. It is the goal of the Committee for a Democratic UN’s campaign to build more parliamentary support for the proposal. These and other relevant resolutions and documents are available on the websites of various wholly independent, unrelated  and distinct organizations sharing parallel goals to this Committee such as:

http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php http://www.unokomitee    http://www.kdun.org     http://www.unpacampaign.org

de/en/documents/projects/unpa.php

5.4. Who else from NGO’s, Civil Society, Academia and individually is supporting the idea?

The Campaign’s Appeal for the Establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations is supported by thousands individuals from 137 countries and 217 non-governmental organizations from 57 countries, among them 17 international networks.

Notable supporters include former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Prize winners Günter
Grass. The Pope’s endorsement of the general concept in his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, Charity in Truth has been noted above.

The two Campaign’s statements together are as of 2010 supported by 699 members of parliament from 94 countries and 155 former parliamentarians from 40 countries. The sitting MPs represent estimated 111.8 million people from their constituencies.

The individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 226 professors from 50 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 8 former foreign ministers, 3 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

Besides parliamentary support, several oganizations and conferences have supported the

proposal of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. To name the most important: The

Socialist International, the Liberal International, the World Federalist Movement Institute

for Global Policy and the United Nations Millennium Forum 2000. Furthermore, the idea of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is being supported by hundreds of distinguished individuals from more than 70 countries, among them parliamentarians, leading scholars, former government members, civil society leaders, human rights activists, authors, nobel laureates and others. See the list of initial supporters of the international appeal for a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN and the continuous updates to be published on the sister websites http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php and . http://www.kdun.org/en/index.php .

5.5 What Testimonials and Statements of Support has the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly received from Parliaments, NGO’s and notable individuals?

Testimonials and statements of support include the following, amoung thousands of others:

“The European Parliament calls for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) within the UN system, which would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process of the organisation and allow world civil society to be directly associated in the decision-making process”

European Parliament, June 2005

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Butros-Ghali Calls for Establishment of a United Nations    Parliamentary Assembly (16 May 2007)

“States and societies everywhere in the worldincreasingly confront forces far beyond thecontrol of any one state or even group of states. Some of these forces are irresistible, such as the globalization of economic activity and communications. In the process,problems which can only be solved effectively at the globallevel, are multiplying and requirements of political governance are extending beyond state borders accordingly. Increasing decisionmaking at the global level is inevitable. In this process, however, democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization does not move forward at the international level. Therefore, we need to promote the democratization of globalization, before globalization destroys the foundations of national and international democracy.The establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has become an indispensable step to achieve democratic control of globalization. Complementary to international democracy among states, which no less has to be developed, it would foster global democracy beyond states,giving the citizens a genuine voice in world affairs.As the Campaign’s appeal rightly implies, a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could also become a catalyst for a comprehensive reform of the international system. In particular, I would like to point out, it should become a force to provide democratic oversight over the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. We cannot just dream, or wait for someone else to bring our dream about. We must act now. In this sense, I strongly encourage you in your struggle for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Once established, this new body willbe a decisive contribution to strengthen democracy at all levels.”

“…the Latin-American Parliament declares … its support to efforts towards the creation and establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UNO) with the purpose of strengthening the effectiveness, transparency, representativeness, plurality and legitimacy of the international system”

24th Ordinary Assembly of the Latin-American Parliament, Panamá, December 2008

On 7 July 2009 Pope Benedict XVI published his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, charity in truth. In this writing, the Pope contemplated on the nature and consequences of globalization, the global economic crisis and the world order. Benedict XVI stressed the importance of a reform of the United Nations Organization and of international economic and financial institutions. “There is urgent need of a true world political authority,” the Pope proclaimed. According to a study published today by the Committee for a Democratic U.N. (KDUN) in Germany, “it is possible to derive from this Catholic social doctrine the creation of a democratic world legislative which, in particular, has the task to exercise oversight over the executive world authority.” The establishment of an effective political world authority has been continously advocated by the Holy See since Pope Pius XII in the 1950s and was now again reiterated by Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, Charity in Truth

 
 

“The method of representation at the UN should be considerably modified. The present method of selection by government appointment does not leave any real freedom to the appointee. Furthermore, selection by governments cannot give the peoples of the world the feeling of being fairly and proportionately represented. The moral authority of the UN would be considerable enhanced if the delegates were elected directly by the people. Were they responsible to an electorate, they would have much more freedom to follow their consciences”

Open letter of Albert Einstein to the UN General Assembly, October 1947

Former WTO Director-General Mike Moore Endorses Creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

 
 
 

In a comment published today, the former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mike Moore, has spoken out for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). “The global architecture is in need of refurbishing. It is necessary to build democratic principles into global governance,” said Moore who was also Member of Parliament for the New Zealand Labour Party for over 20 years.

“A parliament at the U.N. would symbolize the notion of humanity as a community of world citizens.”

Günter Grass, Nobel Prize lLaureate in Literature (1999)

 
 

“The United Nations would probably have to rest on two pillars: one constituted by an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the other consisting of a group elected directly by the globe’s population in which the number of delegates representing individual nations would, thus, roughly correspond to the size of the nations.”

Václav Havel President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003) at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, New York, September 2000

 “The call for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has my support”

Emma Thompson, Actress, Academy Award recipient

“I support the call for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and believe that a more democratic United Nations as envisaged by this campaign will strengthen the accountability and legitimacy of the UN”

Ken Livingstone, 2000-2008 Mayor of London

“A UN Parliament would be an epiphany. By contrast to the UN General Assembly which is driven by the narrow interest of government representatives only, a UN Parliament would truly reflect the world’s public opinion.”

Akbar Alami, Member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly

PACE: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Calls for UN Parliamentary Assembly

 
 
 

In a resolution on the reform of the United Nations which was adopted today(1 Oct 2009), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called for “the incorporation of a democratic element in the United Nations system.” While the assembly reiterates its “unabated support” to the UN and multilateralism, it also stresses that “the United Nations is in urgent need of a far-reaching reform in order to make it more transparent, accountable and capable of facing the global challenges of today’s world.” The resolution states that the assembly regrets that although numerous reform proposals have been advanced over the last years in the UN none of them aimed at “improving the democratic character of the United Nations.” This could be done, according to PACE, through “the introduction of a parliamentary element in the structure of the UN General Asssembly.”

“A long-term Green goal is overcoming the international democracy deficit. This includes greater democratisation of the UN and other international institutions. Among these reforms, Greens support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) as a parliamentary body within the UN system.”

Global Greens Second Congress, São Paulo, May 2008

 
 

“The Pan-African Parliament … notes that in a first preliminary step the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be composed of national parliamentarians, but that eventually it should be directly elected by universal adult suffrage in the UN member states. … Stresses that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly eventually should haveparticipation and oversight rights, in particular, to send fully participating parliamentary delegations or representatives to international governmental fora and negotiations and to establish inquiry committees to assess matters related to the actions of the United Nations, its personell and its special programmes”

Pan-African Parliament, October 2007

“The World Federation of United Nations Associations supports the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as a consultative body within the United Nations system as a voice of the citizens and calls upon the governments of the United Nations member states, parliamentarians and civil society representatives to jointly examine possible steps and options to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly”

38th Plenary Assembly of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, Buenos Aires, November 2006

“Whilst international organisations and negotiations will remain essentially the domain of intergovernmental co-operation, the democratic accountability of existing organisations should also be improved through the increased participation of national parliaments in global economic management. This calls for increasing the role of national parliaments in monitoring and mandating the work of their governments in international forums as well as for strengthening existing and creating new forums for inter-parliamentary co-operation in different international organisations.”

Report from the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy, co-chaired by Foreign Ministers Jakaya M. Kikwete from Tanzania and Erkki Tuomioja from Finland, August 2005

 
 

“In the belief that the principles of separation of powers and democracy should be made beneficial on the international level … the Liberal International calls on the member states of the United Nations to enter into deliberations on the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.”

53rd Congress of the Liberal International, Sofia, May 2005

 
 

“A Parliamentary Assembly at the UN would encompass a number of advantages. Representation of the population and participation of civil society within the organization would promote the faith of citizens in the UN and increase its acceptance and legitimation. … peoples and minorities could introduce their concerns more efficiently within a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN, ultimately promoting the preservation of global diversity.”

Open letter of a majority of 101 members of the Swiss National Council to then UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan, February 2005

“Parliamentary oversight of the multilateral system at the global level should be progressively expanded. We propose the creation of a Parliamentary Group concerned with the coherence and consistency between global economic, social and environmental policies, which should develop an integrated oversight of major international organizations.”

World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization established by the International Labour Organization, April 2004

“Better-structured democratic control and accountability is needed if the world’s democratic deficit is to be addressed seriously. At some point, contemplation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly will be needed. … Such an Assembly should be more than just another UN institution. It would have to become a building block of a new, democratically legitimate, world order”

22nd Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo, October 2003

 

“The Forum urges the United Nations to consider the creation of a UN parliamentary body related to the UN General Assembly. One proposal that should be considered is the creation of a consultative Parliamentary Assembly”

Millennium Forum of Civil Society, United Nations,  May 2000

It has also been suggested that [an assembly of parliamentarians, consisting of representatives elected by existing national legislatures] could function as a constituent assembly for the development of a directly elected assembly of people. We encourage further debate about these proposals. When the time comes, we believe that starting with an assembly of parliamentarians as a constituent assembly for a more popular body is the right approach. But care would need to be taken to ensure that the assembly of parliamentarians is the starting point of a journey and does not become the terminal station.”

Report of the Commission on Global Governance, co-chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and former Foreign Minister of Guyana, Shridath Ramphal, 1995

“The feasibility of a parliamentary chamber or assembly complementing the present intergovernmental structure should be seriously explored, as it might enhance the political legitimacy of the organisations and strengthen accountability of organisations and governments”

High-Level Expert Group of the InterAction Council, chaired by Andries van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, May 1994

“[The European Parliament] wishes consideration to be given to the possibility of setting up within the UN a parliamentary consultative assembly to enable the elected representatives of peoples to participate more fully in the work of UN bodies”

European Parliament, February 1994

“A World Parliamentary Assembly would enable national parliaments to become better acquainted with the work of the United Nations … The establishment of a second body in which the major nations would have an added weight would bring the United Nations closer to the one man, one vote ideal”

Twentieth Report of the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, New York, November 1969

 
 

“There should be a study of a house directly elected by the people of the world to whom the nations are accountable”

Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1945-1951), Speech in the House of Commons, November 1945

An international Parliament elected by the Peoples should replace the assembly of delegates proposed in the Paris text [of the Statutes of the League of Nations]. This Parliament should have full prerogatives and legislative powers”

International Conference of League of Nations Societies, Berne, March 1919

  “I support the efforts of the Committee to establish a parliament at the UN because with this the world community would clearly commit itself to common democratic action.”                                                                                                                                                        Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany

 

5.6. What are the views inside the Inter Parliamentary Union about the CUNPPA

campaign?

The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the moment consists of 148 member parliaments. The

views held within the IPU therefore are not uniform. Consciousness of a legitimacy deficit of

the UN and of a role of the IPU in overcoming this deficit is there. However, views diverge

with regard to which way to follow. The official road map of the IPU is becoming and

maintaining the “parliamentary dimension of the UN”. This amounts to a representation of

national parliaments at the international level, rather than representing the people at the UN

and democratically controlling the UN, i. e. being a watchdog of UN affairs and speaking for

those represented within “we, the peoples”. However, there are also those members and

individual parliamentarians who perceive the IPU as being capable and being predestined for

being more a real UN Parliament, which includes democratic decision making and control,

building on the large institutional knowledge which the IPU has acquired within more than

115 years. Yet, up to now, these voices are still in the minority within the IPU.

See also question 1.9. “Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a

UNPA?”

5.7. What if the United States or another veto power does not support the

proposal?

First of all, in order to set up a UNPA, support of the veto powers on the UN Security Council

legally is not necessary. If a UNPA is established as a subsidiary organ of the General

Assembly, its majority vote is sufficient (every state has one vote). If a UNPA would come

into existence through a rapprochement of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) to the UN,

this could be done through a more detailed cooperation agreement which would contain

genuine parliamentary rights and duties for the IPU. In this case, the UN organ to which the

UNPA should be linked, in this case the General Assembly, decides about the treaty either by

Majority vote or, if it is judged to be an “important question” in accordance with Art. 18 (2) of

the UN Charter, by a two thirds majority of the members present and voting. In the IPU itself,

which naturally also would have to decide about such an agreement, the US is not a member

anymore. And even if it were, the decision making organ of the IPU, the Governing Council,

also decides by majority vote. Thus, US support legally is not necessary to set up a UNPA and it is important to realize that the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is not subject to any veto.

Nevertheless, political support of the veto powers would of course be highly desirable. The

United States, in particular, throughout the last years under conservative administrations repeatedly criticized the UN for not being efficient, effective, and of being corrupt. The US even conducted its own investigations at Congressional and federal level into the corruption accusations towards the UN Oil for Food Programme, for example. This gap in the UN legal system is exactly what the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly wants to fill: Since the UN members and the UN administration cannot control themselves effectively, we need an institution which is independent and is equipped with sufficient investigation and control powers and rights. This would be the main task of a UNPA. A UN Parliament should be able to set up inquiry committees, which can question UN officials and have access to documents. It would be able to rectify possible wrongdoings within a huge institution such as the UN. Furthermore, the US has stated its desire to increase democracy in the world, which necessarily also includes democracy within international organizations and institutions. For a fuller discussion see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly.

REAL WORLD HIGHLIGHTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY—FROM SPIRITUS MUNDI:

(Note: The following are historically accurate news accounts of events around the world taken in furtherance of the campaign to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. They are taken from the novel  Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard where they constitue a “Newsfeed” or Internet and New Media motif echoing and paralleling to the newsreels and “Camera Eye” in Dos Passos’ epic novel USA, brought up to date in the Internet Age.)

 

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United Nations: EU Lawmakers call for Democratization through a Parliamentary Assembly

 

In a resolution on UN reform the European Parliament (EP) called for the democratization of the world organization through a Parliamentary Assembly. The new assembly “would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process” of the United Nations. The EU countries could resume a leading role to establish a UN parliament, similar to their leadership in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, said the Commitee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. The EP resolution is an important step in this direction.

Survey: Majority for Strengthened and More Democratic United Nations

According to a representative survey conducted on behalf of BBC World Service by the opinion research institutes GlobeScan and PIPA in 23 countries, the population worldwide is in favor of a strengthened and more democratic U.N. A majority for example believes, that the reversal of a veto of a single country in the UN Security Council should be made possible. In all countries it is agreed that the U.N. should be “significantly strengthened in international affairs”. “The readiness for dramatic change is very palpable”, said Doug Miller, President of GlobeScan.

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South Centre supports stronger Participation in the UN-System

In a paper published on the occassion of the Second South Summit in Doha from June 12 to 16, the South Centre, an intergovernmental think tank of 48 countries, supports a stronger inclusion of the people into the United Nations: “A more inclusive participation in UN deliberations and decision-making is an indispensable part of the process of democratization of the UN organizations” (p. 38). The paper picks up the proposal to establish a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN.

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Global Appeal Campaign Launch: Political Leaders, Celebrities and Civil Society Activists call for UNPA

Several hundred political leaders, among them 378 MPs from 70 countries, have joined to call for the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations (UNPA). The joint appeal states that, in an age of globalization, citizens need to be vested with a stronger voice in global affairs. Participants in the Steering Committee for the Campaign included Julian Jung of Jung Communications, Isis from the Angels of Thoth, and Russian billionaire Alexander Abramovich Medvedev. The call is the core of an international campaign which is being launched through a series of events in more than ten countries.

Mayor of London Supports Appeal for UN Parliament

 

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, supports the Appeal for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). The appeal is the core document of an international campaign launched in April/May this year. The Secretariat of the Campaign was notified of Mr. Livingstone’s support today. The Mayor of London is the third top executive of a world metropolis endorsing the UNPA proposal: Among the supporters are also Cesar Maia, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, and Helen Zille, Mayor of Capetown. “An estimated 49 percent of the world population live in urban zones today, often under extremly bad conditions at least partly determined by international influences. Thus it is particularly important to include city authorities into our efforts”, said Andreas Sarkozy who leads the Secretariat of the UNPA-Campaign. With a population of 12 million people, the metropolitan area of Rio, for example, has more inhabitants than Portugal.

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UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomes initiative for UN Parliament

At a meeting with the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Swiss National Council on Monday in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed the idea of a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN (UNPA). According to media reports, however, Annan also referred to difficulties such a body would entail. He also expressed doubts whether the governments in the United Nations would be interested in establishing a parliamentary body. Before the meeting, Swiss deputy Andi Gross had called for more say of parliaments at the UN in a message delivered to the General Assembly. The proposal to establish a UNPA was put forward more than a year ago in an open letter of over 100 Swiss deputies addressed to Annan.

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UN-Reform is more than Security Council Expansion: de Cuellar

 

At a high-level “Cafe Crossfire” organized by Friends of Europe in Brussels, former UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar stressed that the reform of the United Nations can not be reduced to the question of Security Council reform. Economic and social questions are just as important said de Cuellar, who held the top job at the UN from 1982 to 1991. Co-panelists Andreas Sarkozy, chairman of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and Reed Brody, Counsel at Human Rights Watch, focused on citizen participation and human rights respectively. While Sarkozy stressed the need for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, Brody expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the new Human Rights Council at the UN. During the debate de Cuellar demonstrated support for the cause of a UN Parliamentary Assembly.

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Boutros-Ghali: Parliamentary Assembly Inevitable to Democratize Global Governance

I                                                    In a comment published at OpenDemocracy, former Egyptian UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali makes the case for the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations. In order to fight global crises more effectively, a “direct democratic connection between the world’s citizens and the world’s governance needs to be created,” says Boutros-Ghali. In the article he refers to the expansion of democracy at the national level throughout the world and that now emerging states from the South are increasingly included in global intergovernmental deliberations. By contrast to that, Boutros-Ghali says, “a third dimension of democratization is almost completely neglected: Developing global democracy beyond states.”

                                    Clare Short Hosts U.K. Launch of Campaign

 

The UK Launch of the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly took place in the House of Commons, London, on Wednesday 2 May. The event was hosted and chaired by Rt Hon Clare Short MP, former Cabinet Minister for International Development, who spoke of the importance of the proposal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Gordon Glass, Director of 2020*Vision Ltd and involved in the campaign, and Carrie Haslett, Associate, spoke of their own personal motivation and involvement in the Campaign. The presentations were followed by a lively question and answer session which raised, and addressed, a number of public concerns about the proposal and future strategies.

Forum of Libyan civil society backs campaign for UN Parliament

The Forum of Civil Society Institutions of Libya backs the proposal for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). This was resolved at the forum’s annual meeting which convened last Tuesday in Tripoli. The decision was preceded by an extensive debate chaired by Dr. Nuri Ben Othman, the National Coordinator of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly and Secretary-General of Al-Amal Charitable Association for Orphans Care. In his speech Dr. Othman stressed the need for a reform and democratization of the United Nations and that a parliamentary body could be a tool to speed up the process. The participants concurred that a UN Parliamentary Assembly needs to be viewed as “a first step to establish a real world parliament.” It was emphasized that the assembly should be open for participation of civil society organizations. The forum suggested in its resolution that non-governmental organizations should be vested with observer status in a UNPA.

Besides supporting the proposal for a global parliament, the forum, among other things, also urged the abolishment of the veto right in the UN Security Council and called for a strengthening of the United Nations.

The meeting was attended by around 400 participants who represented some 250 Libyan civil society organizations. Parts of the meeting were broadcasted by Albadeel TV.

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Panel in Washington D.C. debates Global Parliament

During its annual meeting March 19-21 in Washington D.C., Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) presented a plenary session to discuss the topic, “Is the World Ready for a Parliamentary Assembly?” organized by CGS’s think tank, the World Federalist Institute. The panel consisted of four speakers: Faye Leone, Program Officer for International Democratic Governance at the World Federalist Movement; Jeffrey Laurenti, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign Policy Programs at the Century Foundation; Andrew Strauss, Professor of International Law at Widener University’s School of Law; and Fernando Iglesias, Member of Parliament, Argentinian Law Chamber. The moderator for the session was Joseph Schwartzberg, Professor Emeritus in Geography at the University of Minnesota.

Ms. Leone gave a brief history of the movement to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) and pointed out the key tension between the size of a parliamentary assembly and the size of the constituencies represented. Then, Mr. Laurenti expressed his skepticism about a global UNPA being successful. His key objection was that if more than half of the world operates under non-democratic regimes, what authority would a UNPA possess and why should serious policy makers even participate?

Dr. Strauss stated that the international status quo does not represent people and therefore lacks the authority to deal effectively with global threats like nuclear annihilation. Acknowledging Laurenti’s point that initially a UNPA would lack decision-making power, Strauss argued that by representing citizens it would acquire more authority which would ultimately lead to political power. Pursuing the same logic, Mr. Iglesias used the Spanish word “parlamento” which is derived from the Latin root “to speak,” to emphasize that parliament is a place where discussion occurs, even if action cannot immediately follow. He then recited several cases in history when social change seemed impossible, such as the eradication of slavery, but eventually was achieved through public debate and political pressure.

“Global Action to Prevent War” joins Campaign for UN Parliamentary Assembly

The International Steering Committee of “Global Action to Prevent War” (GAPW) has voted to endorse the proposal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) and to join the international Campaign. GAPW is a global coalition of more than 20 non-governmental organizations and research institutes which have united their efforts to develop a program for the sustained, integrated, worldwide application of government resources and knowledge to stop war, genocide and internal armed conflict. “As the UN is playing an important role in war prevention, it will be essential to take steps to assure the impartiality of decision-making in this organization on matters of war and peace. One important step to make the UN more democratic and responsive is the creation of a Parliamentary Assembly. This is why we support the Campaign for a UNPA”, says GAPW Coordinator Waverly de Bruijn.

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Green World Congress joins call for UNPA

The global green movement joins the call for the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). This statement is included in point 65 of the final declaration adopted by second Global Greens Congress on 4th May in Sao Paulo. A UNPA is regarded as one step to overcome the “international democratic deficit.” “In the face of global challenges such as climate change it is pretty clear that we need much more effective international decision-making. This requires that the world’s citizens are better included in international institutions,” said Senator Isabelle Durant, Secretary-General of the Belgian party Ecolo, in Brasil. “The resolution adopted by the congress underlines that the green movement is convinced that a dialogue is needed on the notion of a bi-cameral system at the UN,” the leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, noted. The congress in Sao Paulo assembled representatives of green parties and movements from over 80 countries. The Global Greens are the third major international party network to endorse the proposal of a UNPA, following the Liberal International and the Socialist International.

Event in Delhi: “India could play a significant role in a UN Parliamentary Assembly”

A public meeting in New Delhi on the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) was held in the heart of the power centre of Indian democracy, at the Constitution Club in New Delhi, hardly a kilometer from the Indian Parliament building on 28 March.

After the participants were welcomed by UNPA-Campaign India Coordinators Pari Kasiwar, Ms Sonal Kellogg and Dr James Williams Arputharaj, President of the South Asian Federalists explained that the globe is facing a financial crisis mainly due to the fact that there isn’t an effective global governance system in place. “In order to remedy the situation, stimulus packages alone will not help, we need to redefine a new mechanism of global governance,” said Arputharaj. The veto power in the Security Council is seen as undemocratic by many, he observed. “India, though unsuccessful in getting a permanent seat in the Security Council, could view the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly with optimism, considering its rich tradition in parliamentary democracy. In addition, as the world’s largest democracy, it could play a significant role in a UNPA.” He further elaborated on the UNPA concept and how the campaign is moving ahead.

Ms Kellogg reported on recent meetings with Indian parliamentarians. She explained that four MPs from diverse political parties and from different regions in India recently expressed their support, including Najma Heptullah who was the President of the Inter-Parliamentarian Union from 1999-2002.

Later at the discussion, participants asked questions on the viability of the campaign and the rationale behind establishing yet another body at the UN, among other things. Dr Arputharaj explained that a UNPA would not simply be a new body. “A UNPA would be the first body in human history to directly represent the world population at the world level,” he said.

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Commission of Latin American Parliament joins call for UN Parliamentary Assembly

At its meeting on 12 June 2008 in Colombia’s capital Bogotá, the Commission for Political Affairs of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) has unanimously adopted a declaration endorsing “the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.” The document states that “gradual implementation of citizens’ participation and representative democracy at the global level” is essential to reduce the “democratic deficit” in the international arena. A UNPA is regarded as an “indispensable step into this direction”. The Commission declares that it “invites all parliamentary organizations to participate actively in the process of its creation.” The Argentine deputy Fernando Iglesias, who introduced the motion, said “Elected representatives throughout Latin America are aware of the advantages a UN Parliamentary Assembly will entail. The unanimous decision of the Commission for Political Affairs of Parlatino is an important first step to build political momentum for this cause in the region.” The Latin American Parliament was created 1964 and is based on an international treaty concluded 1987 which by now 22 member states from the region have joined. The parliamentary assembly is composed of elected representatives of their national parliaments. Its purpose includes to strengthen human rights and parliamentary democracy. The meeting on 12 June was chaired by the Argentine Senator Sonia Escudero.

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UNPA-Campaign Representatives visit Pan-African Parliament

 

From 5th to 9th a delegation of the Secretariat of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly visited the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, South Africa, at the occasion of its most recent session. At its prior session in October 2007 the parliamentary body of the African Union had adopted a resolution urging its administration to take “the initiative to achieve the establishment of a consultative United Nations Parliamentary Assembly within the UN system”. In its consultations with PAP officials and PAP members from over 10 countries the UNPA-Campaign delegation has raised the question of how it could assist in this process. The visit was concluded on 9th with a meeting with PAP President Dr. Gertrude Mongella,  with UNPA-Campaign Secretariat leader Professor Robert Sartorius and Hon. Mokshanand Dowarkasing MP.

Former commander of Rwandan UN Peacekeeping Force Supports Appeal for UN Parliamentary Assembly

 

The Canadian Senator Roméo Dallaire supports the call for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). “So many of my current causes, projects and interventions in the Parliament of Canada have a single common denominator – the urgent need to transform the United Nations System, to make it more accountable and more responsive to the collective needs, and rights, of the world’s citizens. A UN Parliamentary Assembly would be an important step in the right direction,” Dallaire noted. From 1993 to 1994 Dallaire served as force commander of UNAMIR, the United Nations peacekeeping mission for Rwanda. At the time of his command, the ill-equipped mission was faced with the massive genocide lasting for a total of 100 days and leading to the murder of between 800,000 and 1,171,000 Tutsi and Hutu moderates. Dallaire’s efforts to constrain and stop the atrocities have been widely recognized. Proponents of a UNPA argue that if the body had been in place at that time, it could have helped to alert the international community to the urgent need to intervene.

After Copenhagen: Delegation Leaders of European and Pan-African Parliaments call for Renovation of Decision-making Process

According to a joint statement issued by the leaders of the delegations of the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament to the Copenhagen Climate Conference, “the failure of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen was caused as well by the non-transparent and ineffective mechanisms of the United Nations working methods.” As a consequence, the statement expresses the need to renovate the UN’s decision-making structures through a Parliamentary Assembly. The document notes that “a Parliamentary Assembly at UN level with parliamentary working methods linked with open discussion and majority votes could be helpful for the global decision-making process.”

The statement which was issued on the occasion of a meeting between the delegations of the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament during the COP15 Climate Conference emphasizes “the common position of the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) should be established within the UN system.” According to the delegation leaders, Hon. Mary Mugenyi, Second Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament from Uganda, and Jo Leinen, Chair of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament from Germany, “the creation of a UNPA can and should be initiated and pursued independently from other issues of UN reform currently on the international agenda.”

Both, the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament, have adopted resolutions supporting the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. In October 2007 the Pan-African Parliament noted, among other things, that “a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly eventually should have participation and oversight rights, in particular, to send fully participating parliamentary delegations or representatives to international governmental fora and negotiations.”

Mr Leinen said that the agreement of Copenhagen is a “huge disappointment” as it “postpones climate protection to a later date.” The European Parliament’s delegation deplored the fact that the “Copenhagen Accord” is not a legally binding agreement, and only “recognises” the need to keep temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Mr Leinen stressed that a “world parliament” would be able to represent “the interest of humanity as a whole.” According to Mr Leinen, this view was “underrepresented in the negotiations in Copenhagen.”

The joint statement was welcomed by the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, a global network of parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and activists working for strengthened citizen’s participation in global institutions. The Campaign’s Secretary-General, Andreas Sarkozy, noted that “the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference illustrates the inability of traditional international diplomacy and the United Nations to cope with global challenges. A UN Parliamentary Assembly could be the decisive political catalyst for an overhaul of the international system and its permanent forum and constituent committees would greatly accelerate the now obsolescent and glacially slow intermittent treaty convention negotiating system.”

 

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United Nations: EU Lawmakers call for Democratization through a Parliamentary Assembly

 

In a resolution on UN reform the European Parliament (EP) called for the democratization of the world organization through a Parliamentary Assembly. The new assembly “would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process” of the United Nations. The EU countries could resume a leading role to establish a UN parliament, similar to their leadership in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, said the Commitee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. The EP resolution is an important step in this direction.

Survey: Majority for Strengthened and More Democratic United Nations

According to a representative survey conducted on behalf of BBC World Service by the opinion research institutes GlobeScan and PIPA in 23 countries, the population worldwide is in favor of a strengthened and more democratic U.N. A majority for example believes, that the reversal of a veto of a single country in the UN Security Council should be made possible. In all countries it is agreed that the U.N. should be “significantly strengthened in international affairs”. “The readiness for dramatic change is very palpable”, said Doug Miller, President of GlobeScan.

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South Centre supports stronger Participation in the UN-System

In a paper published on the occassion of the Second South Summit in Doha from June 12 to 16, the South Centre, an intergovernmental think tank of 48 countries, supports a stronger inclusion of the people into the United Nations: “A more inclusive participation in UN deliberations and decision-making is an indispensable part of the process of democratization of the UN organizations” (p. 38). The paper picks up the proposal to establish a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN.

 

 

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