The Case for a United Nations 2.0

The Case for a United Nations 2.0

By Luke Vargas   
Published
Construction work on an interim chamber for the U.N. Security Council 2010. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Andreas Bummel makes the case for a new world parliament in which citizens vote directly for their representatives, instead of letting states do it for them.

We’ve all heard the saying: “Global problems require global solutions.” But this week’s guest argues that existing global institutions fall far short.

On this week’s foreign policy radio broadcast, Andreas Bummel of Democracy Without Borders and author of the new book, A World Parliament, makes the case that the creation of a new global parliament – born out of the U.N. General Assembly and with proportional representation for all citizens – represents humanity’s best shot at addressing problems like climate change, disarmament and tax evasion.

Bummel argues those problems effect everyone, but that “government executives” who meet at intergovernmental negotiations are often more preoccupied with defending narrow “national self-interests” than sticking up for the majority of Earth’s citizens.

The vision for a world parliament that he describes in this interview isn’t a vague idea on the back of a napkin. Bummel says the world parliament should consist of 700 to 900 delegates “organized according to their philosophical, ideological and party political stance.” Eventually, those delegates could even be elected by cross-border constituencies – think Americans from Arizona and Mexicans from Sonora voting together on representatives who share their ideas on immigration, economic development or access to water.

“The idea behind this is to overcome geopolitical and nationalist alignments that today still exist at the U.N., and instead try to find solutions that are informed by overarching ideas and approaches.”

Once a global parliament is up and running alongside the U.N. General Assembly – effectively creating a bicameral U.N. legislative system – Bummel envisions it creating subsidiary councils of its own on matters like human rights, and one day expanding its reach through the creation of global food reserves, a global reserve currency, a permanent U.N. peacekeeping force and a World Constitutional Court.

And finally, he calls for a “paradigm shift” in which the concept of international law and national sovereignty is replaced by a world law system that emphasizes global interdependence.

“In international law the main starting point and unit is the state, whereas in world law it’s the individual citizen. If your starting point is the state, than it’s the government that’s in the position to define what is in the state’s interest. And that, in most cases, differs from what might be in the best interest of citizens generally.”

Use the audio player at the top of this post to listen to or download our full interview with Andreas Bummel.


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“Wake” is a weekly foreign policy broadcast produced by Talk Media News and hosted by Luke Vargas at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

Subscribe to weekly episodes of “Wake” on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Google Play, and follow the broadcast on Twitter @WakeOnAir.

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