Last week (Oct. 17 – 26) was the Global Week of Action for a World Parliament.
Friday, Oct. 24, was United Nations Day.
Global warming, epidemic diseases such as Ebola, resource depletion, nuclear proliferation, increasing economic inequality, human obsolescence – these are all global problems that demand global solutions.
The dangers of our present situation are readily apparent, but so too should be the opportunities.
The next few decades will decide whether life on Earth can expand beyond the boundaries of this planet and into Outer Space.
Since its creation in 1945, the United Nations has had many achievements – and some setbacks.
The number and intensity of wars worldwide has decreased. Peacekeeping has worked. The probability of the average human being getting killed in a war has never been lower in human history.
UN agencies such as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have helped reduce famines in the world. World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the fight to control Ebola and other epidemic diseases. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has worked to preserve and enhance the world’s natural and cultural resources through such programs as the World Heritage Sites – which some are advocating should include our own Wells Gray Park.
The UN has achieved much but it needs some important reforms if it is to progress further.
The most basic of these is it must become more democratic.
The UN General Assembly is made up of representatives of governments, not peoples. Each nation gets one vote, regardless of its population.
The real power rests with the Security Council, and in particular with the five permanent members of the council: United States, China, Russia, United Kingdom and France.
The creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would be a first step in correcting this imbalance.
The members of the parliamentary assembly would be appointed by their respective national parliaments on a roughly representation-by-population basis.
It would start as an advisory body to the General Assembly but the expectation is that it would gradually become more democratic and gain more power – with its members directly elected by the people they represent.
This is how the European Parliament began and has developed (and continues to evolve).
The Global Week of Action for a World Parliament is an initiative promoted by the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, which in turn is backed by organizations such as World Federalist Movement – Canada.
More information about the initiative and suggested actions are available at its website: www.worldparliamentnow.org.
A petition calling for a world parliamentary assembly is at: http://en.unpacampaign.org.