Ibrahim Gambari highlights need for a UN Parliamentary Network at Stanley Foundation conference

, January 1970

Ibrahim Gambari, co-chair of the Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance. Photo: Stanley Foundation

Ibrahim Gambari, co-chair of the Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance. Photo: Stanley Foundation

Each year the Stanley Foundation in Washington D.C. convenes its Strategy for Peace Conference on policy challenges in key global issue areas with experts from the public and private sectors.

In the keynote address to this year's 57th conference from October 26-28, the co-chair of the Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance, Ibrahim Gambari, highlighted the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Network as an important recommendation that the Commission made in response to global policy challenges. He explained:

Established as an advisory body to the General Assembly under Article 22 of the Charter, the UN Parliamentary Network would bring together national parliament­arians to create a new platform for input and exchange, consistent with other networks in place for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and regional organizations.

Describing the Commission's strategic approach to achieve global governance reform through "parallel tracks", the former Nigerian foreign minister said that specific UN task forces in New York—composed, for example, of a select group of Permanent Representatives from all major regions and co-chaired by PRs from the Global North and South—could deliberate on creating new bodies such as a UN Parliamentary Network or on reforming existing ones.

A second major reform vehicle that the Commission promotes is to organize in the run-up to the United Nations’ 75th anniversary a series of formal intergovernmental, yet at the same time multistakeholder, negotiations leading to the convening, in September 2020, of a heads of state and government-level World Summit on Global Security, Justice & Governance.

In line with the Commission's goal of forming UN task forces, the international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is currently exploring the prospects of an intergovernmental "Group of Friends of a UNPA" at the United Nations. Representatives of several UN member states have already indicated to be interested in such a group.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gambari said in a statement that "a UN Parliamentary Assembly should be established in order to create a democratic connection between the world organization and the world's citizens. The international efforts towards this aim deserve broad support."

Mr. Gambari served as Nigeria's ambassador at the United Nations from 1990 to 1999 and then was appointed the first Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Africa. From 2005 to 2007 he was Under-Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.