1 February 2013

East Africa: EAC Supports Formation of UN Parliamentary Assembly

Arusha — A KEY resolution on the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly has sailed through at the East African Legislative Assembly.

The resolution, whose mover is Mike Sebalu, supports the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. It further urges the Arushabased, East African Community to take the initiative to promote the development of a common African position in support of the envisaged Parliamentary Assembly.

According to the EALA Resolution, the formation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would improve transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the United Nations.

The Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community provides that Partner States shall accord special importance to co-operation with the African Union, the United Nations and its agencies and other international organizations.

Members who supported the motion with amendments, during debate include: Mr Makongoro Nyerere, Mr Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, Mr Adam Kimbisa, Mr Dan Kidega, Nusura Tiperu and Mr Abubakar Zein Abubakar. The members, however, called for caution and emphasize the need for equity and justice once established, if its mandate as an Assembly is to be fully realized.

The resolution outlines the growing role and involvement of international organizations such as the United Nations and its specialized agencies in key sectors such as the promotion of peace and security, economic development, health, education, the environment and sustainable development.

Currently, there is no formal parliamentary body that exists at the United Nations that allows parliamentarians to take part in its deliberations. According to Sebalu, the insufficient formal involvement of elected representatives limits the democratic legitimacy of the world organization.

The legislator thus re-affirms formation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly as a critical tool towards enhancing the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the UN. With the approval of the resolution, EALA now joins a number of regional and continental parliaments that have pronounced themselves on the matter.

The resolution follows a similar one passed by the Pan African Parliament on October 24, 2007. Instructively, the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be established simply by a vote of the United Nations General Assembly in accordance with Article 22 of the Charter of the United Nations without an amendment of the United Nations Charter.

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