United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
Re: Andrew Coyne: I, for one, welcome our new world parliament overlords, Jan. 11, 2019
In the course of just 60 years, the population of Earth has exploded from 2.9 to 7.7 billion people. A UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) could help us face the reality that "humanity shares a common fate on a crowded planet." First, the existence of a global parliamentary assembly would symbolize the idea of the world as one community, and not just a collection of self-interested governments.
Second, a UNPA could immediately act as the world's conscience. Though a UN Parliamentary Assembly would not initially have legislative powers, it might force official answers, establish committees to hear citizen groups and expert testimony, scrutinize budgets, and forward resolutions that pressure UN bodies to do the right thing.
Third, a UNPA could act as a lever for institutional change.
Many national parliaments were originally only advisory bodies to all-powerful kings, but over time regents had to bend to the will of their subjects. Similarly, the UNPA would also catalyze longer-term structural improvements so that those directly affected by global decisions at the UN have a greater say in their making.
Creating a UNPA is a small step, but if it directs us away from wasteful conflict, encourages enlightened co-operation, and revitalizes democratic process, then it could be one of the great advances of the 21st century.
1. Quote by Jeffrey D. Sachs appears in his article "Common Wealth", in Time, Canadian Edition, Mar. 24, 2008, p.28, 29
Increased pressure on earth's finite resources has led Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs to declare "The defining challenge of the 21st century will be to face the reality that humanity shares a common fate on a crowded planet."
2. UNPA Frequently Asked Questions
What purpose would a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations serve?
The purpose of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations is to give the citizens of UN member states a voice in political negotiations and decisions at the global level. The assembly would provide independent oversight of the UN’s bureaucracy and budget. With its members directly elected or appointed by national or regional parliaments, a parliamentary assembly would improve global governance by adding a democratic and independent complement to the existing intergovernmental bodies.