UN Parliament

UN Parliament
Impact Group

UN Parliament

The Impact Group UN Parliament brings together young people from all over the world to discuss the idea of a directly elected second chamber next to the General Assembly in the United Nations. We organize simulations about the negotiation process of the UN Parliament’s statutes and host high-level discussions about global democracy.

Model UN Parliament

Model UN Parliament

Fifty students from Germany, Europe, and around the world took on the roles of ambassadors in the first-ever simulation of a UN Parliament delegates’ assembly in Halle (Germany) in April 2016.

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What is the issue we address?

Parliaments are the guarantors of legitimate representation in modern democracies. While the breadth and scope of today’s transnational issues call for more popular representation within the institutions of global governance, there is no such thing as a world parliament yet. The United Nations (UN), one of the most mature organisations of global governance, convenes the General Assembly following the principle of one-country-one-vote, but lacks direct popular representation based on the principle of one-person-one-vote.

We propose to debate and simulate the introduction of a “UN Parliament” (or “UN Parliamentary Assembly”) as a “second chamber” next to the General Assembly. Proposals for such a world parliament are not new. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Kant’s Perpetual Peace in the 1990s, political theorists of all stripes have engaged in vivid debates about the cosmopolitan heritage of liberalism and the notion of a world parliament. In recent years, as practitioners, activists and scholars decry the inadequacy of UN structures, the idea of instituting a democratic body of popular representation at the UN level has gained political momentum. The IFAIR Impact Group ‘UN Parliament’ is dedicated to taking up those debates, facilitating an exchange of views on the proposal, and assessing the chances and challenges of this bold vision.

How do we work?

The Impact Group UN Parliament aims to contribute to the discussion on the proposal of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Two major events are scheduled for the year 2016:

In spring, the Impact Group will organize a Model UN Parliament. Inspired by the Model United Nations concept, the Model UN Parliament will simulate the debates on the establishment of a UN Parliament among UN member states. The roles of the delegates will be played by international students who will lead fictitious negotiations on the structure and rules of a future UN Parliament, e.g. how many seats each nation gets, how representatives are elected, and what the powers of the new organ will be.

In autumn, the Impact Group will host the IFAIR Symposium on a UN Parliament. Academics and activists from around the world will be invited for discussions on the role of democracy in the current world order as well as the prospects of transferring the logic of parliamentary democracy to the global level. The Symposium’s guiding question will be: Democratizing World Politics or Perpetuating Hegemonic Orders? Exploring the Idea of a UN Parliament.

Impact Group members


Farsan Ghassim, Coordinator of the IFAIR Impact Group “UN Parliament” (farsan.ghassim@ifair.eu)

Steffen Murau, Coordinator of the IFAIR Impact Group “UN Parliament” and IFAIR Regional Director “EU and Europe” (steffen.murau@ifair.eu)

Executive Committee

Jonas Bedford-Strohm, UNPA Campaign (jonas.bedford.strohm@unpacampaign.org)
Johannes Klein, IFAIR Regional Director “Global Affairs” (johannes.klein@ifair.eu)
Hanna Pfeifer, IFAIR Regional Director “Middle East and North Africa” (hanna.pfeifer@ifair.eu)
Michael Puntschuh, UNPA Campaign (m.puntschuh@unpacampaign.org)
Dr. Dr. Alexander Pyka, IFAIR Strategy Development (alexander.pyka@ifair.eu)
Ravenna Sohst, IFAIR Regional Director “North America” (ravenna.sohst@ifair.eu)

Model UN Parliament

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Who supports us?

Unpa Kampagne The Impact Group is jointly organized by IFAIR and the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (“UNPA Campaign”). The UNPA Campaign was founded in 2007 in the historical Palais des Nations in Geneva under the auspices of former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Today, the UNPA Campaign is one of the world’s leading transnational civil society movements advocating the democratization of global politics. The UNPA Campaign is supported by individuals of various backgrounds from all over the globe. Among its supporters are prominent individuals and institutions such as the European Parliament, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and Harvard Professor Steven Pinker.

How can I contribute?

The IG UN Parliament is open for contributions of motivated and proactive individuals. Do you want support us in one of our existing projects? Do you have an idea for a future project that would fit to our agenda? Please get in touch!