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UN resolution strengthens the role of parliaments in global governance

IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas, addressing the General Assembly. © Carolina Guardiola

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted its latest resolution on the interaction between the United Nations, parliaments and the IPU. The resolution, co-sponsored by over 90 UN Member States, reaffirms the commitment of all parties to continue efforts to bridge the democracy gap between the international agenda and its implementation at the national level. The resolution recognizes particularly the work of the IPU in mobilizing parliamentary action to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

This is the 14th resolution in a series that started 20 years ago. The resolutions give the UN system and the IPU, the global organization of parliaments, a framework to facilitate a parliamentary component to major UN processes. This ensures that parliamentarians, and the people they represent, are heard at the United Nations and helps to strengthen the role of parliaments in international relations. 

For example, the last resolution, adopted in 2016, emphasized the need for a coordinated approach between the UN and parliaments regarding increasing numbers of migrants and refugees. This led to a multitude of activities and practical tools for parliamentarians to help them to strengthen their national laws to protect the human rights of migrants and refugees, and to ease the pressures on countries who host them.

This latest resolution calls for cooperation on a wide range of issues, including sustaining peace, international law, human rights, gender equality and empowering women and girls. It urges the IPU and the United Nations to work more closely together in strengthening parliamentary capacities and reinforcing the rule of law, particularly in countries emerging from conflict or transitioning to democracy. It also emphasizes the IPU’s role in engaging parliaments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The resolution requests that the United Nations, reflect more systematically the role and contribution of parliaments in its main reports and strategic plans.

The General Assembly also examined the Report of the UN Secretary-General which stresses the need to reinvigorate trust in international organizations in a time of eroding confidence in multilateralism. In the report, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “National parliaments, through which people may hold their Governments to account, can be pivotal partners in our collective efforts to leave no one behind…This is because parliaments are uniquely placed to ensure coherence between national and international agendas.

IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas, in her address to the General Assembly, said that “our task, as the world organization of national parliaments, is to help create common ground among parliamentarians so that their voices across parties and genders can be articulated into a strong parliamentary perspective on global affairs. Our aim is to rally the people’s representatives around solutions that work for all of the people of this world, as well as for the sustainability of the planet.”

IPU Secretary General, Martin Chungong, in turn, said “I hold much hope for even stronger relations between the IPU and the United Nations. This new resolution gives us a solid mandate to work closely together to sustain peace, including in terms of combatting the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism.”

Find out more about cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations here.