International Network for a UN Second Assembly
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
to consider the proposal for a
UN SECOND ASSEMBLY
The International Network, consisting of the organizations and institutions listed
in Annex 1 of this document, appeals to the General Assembly to mandate a study
on the proposal for a UN Second Assembly, to be carried out by a UN Expert
Group or an Independent International Commission.
AUSTRALIA: Keith Suter
BELGIUM: Paul Ghils
CANADA: Fergus Watt
GERMANY, F.R: Klaus Schlichtmann
GHANA: Kofi Atakora
IRELAND: Sean English
SCANDINAVIA: Gunnar Ekegard
UGANDA: Buuka Bijumiro-jjumiro
UK: John Carey, Jeffrey Segall
USA: Alanna Hartzok, Harry Lerner
Addresses for correspondence:
UK: 308 Cricklewood Lane, London NW2 2PX
USA: 301 East 45th Street, Suite 20B, New York, NY 10017.
PROPOSAL FOR A UNITED NATIONS SECOND ASSEMBLY
The International Network for a UN Second Assembly, consisting of the non-governmental organizations and institutions listed in Annex 1 of this Appeal,
Recognizes that human beings exist not only as citizens of sovereign nation-states
and as members of other separate groupings, but also as individuals who are
globally united by common human values and by membership of the species that
dominates, and hence has a responsibility for, Planet Earth;
Accepts that the governmental missions composing the General Assembly represent the peoples of the world primarily as citizens of the member-states, and that
consequently they uphold the diverse and sometimes conflicting heritage, material
needs and wants, and security interests of the people of their respective states;
Considers that the General Assembly therefore addresses international problems
principally from national perspectives, and so is unable adequately to represent all
aspects of human unity;
Concludes that there is a need for a supplementary, popular, world assembly to
represent the unity of humankind, to enhance the status of universally recognized
human values, to address global problems primarily from a global perspective, and
to focus on the common interests of everyone in the survival and destiny of our
species, in the protection of our planet, and in the creation of a peaceful and just
Proposes that such an assembly should be structurally linked to the UN General
Assembly and should be composed of non-governmental representatives from the
Names such an assembly provisionally as the `United Nations Second Assembly',
to signify that it would be analogous to a second house of a bicameral parliament;
Believes that the Second Assembly would strengthen the efforts of the United
Nations to fulfill its fundamental objectives;
Therefore appeals to the General Assembly to mandate a detailed study of this
Proposal, to be carried out either by a UN Group of Experts or by an Independent
(II) SUGGESTED PRINCIPLES
1. DEFINITION AND STATUS. The Second Assembly would be an assembly of
non-governmental representatives. It would have the status of a subsidiary organ
of the General Assembly under Article 22 of the UN Charter. It would be open to
participation by all UN member-states, and would exercise its functions pursuant
to a Constitution approved by the General Assembly.
(A) The Second Assembly would be a deliberative organ concerned from a global
standpoint with problems and aspirations common to all che peoples of the world:
disarmament measures, development, the environment, human rights (including
social and economic rights), the prevention of war and other armed conflicts, and
the prevention of the threat of nuclear war. It would support, supplement and
stimulate (not replace) the activities of the world's non-governmental movements
in these fields.
(B) The Second Assembly would assist the General Assembly by expressing to it a
wide range of non-governmental views on these subjects.
(C) The Second Assembly would also seek to foster international understanding at
non-governmental levels, and hence would not take sides in international disputes
or in ideological differences between UN member-states.
3. REPRESENTATION 1N THE SECOND ASSEMBLY
(A) The Second Assembly would be composed of non-governmental representatives from participating UN member-states. They should preferably come from
many different walks of life.
(B) All candidates for membership of a Second Assembly should be required to
undertake in n prescribed form that in their UN responsibilities they would be
guided only by their humankind identity, and therefore by global and regional, not
(C) Within UN guidelines which govern the formation of subsidiary organs, and
which would require to be specifically approved by the General Assembly, each
member-state would have the right to decide on its own method of choosing the
representative from its country. Some possible methods are listed in Annex 3.
(D) The tenure of the representativesí membership of the Second Assembly could
be limited to; say, four years. This could increase the opportunities for broad
social, age/sex, and geographical representation from the participating member-states.
(E) Each member-state's quota of seats could be the square root of the number of
millions of its population. (For example, in country with n population of 100
million would have 10 seats, and one with a population of 1 million would have 1
seat; countries with less than 1 million would also have 1 seat.) This method of
representation would give a range of 1 to 31 seats, and a total Assembly of about
550 seats if all member-states were to participate. Other methods of representation
in relation to size of population to give a smaller Assembly could be considered.
Irrespective of the method of allocation of national numbers of seats, the Second
Assembly's members should be grouped regionally, not nationally, and the
regional groupings should be geographical, not geopolitical, eg: Africa, Americas,
Central Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Western Pacific.
4. ORGANIZATION. The World Federation of United Nations Associations and
the national UNAs could be asked to consider undertaking liaison functions
between governments, non-governmental movements, and the representatives in
the Second Assembly. Liaison should also be established between the Second
Assembly and the non-governmental organizations and institutions in consultative
status with ECOSOC and UN Agencies.
(A) Each participating member-state would decide on its own method of funding
the work and expenses of the representatives from its country.
(B) Consideration should be given to establishing an international fund to help
meet the expenses of representatives from low-income countries.
(C) All possible methods of raising contributions from non-governmental sources
for funding the sessions should be considered.
(D) Contributions from member-states towards the funding of the sessions of the
Second Assembly should be voluntary.
6. MEETINGS. There could be two regular sessions annually, one in the General
Assembly Hall in New York and one in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, unless
otherwise decided by the General Assembly. There could also be peripatetic
sessions (perhaps one every two years) in capital cities. In addition to plenary
meetings the sessions could include meetings of regional commissions, working
groups, and occupational and other special interest groups.
7. INPUT. The agenda of the Second Assembly would be determined pursuant to
guidelines in its Constitution. These should allow agenda items to be proposed by
the representatives on behalf of non-governmental organizations and institutions,
other interested groups, and concerned individuals. The guidelines should also
provide for the right of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and UN Agencies to
propose agenda items.
8. DELIBERATIONS. The Second Assembly would be obliged to give due consideration
to al1 agenda items. It could establish expert groups to study specific
problems from a global or regional perspective. Substantive conclusions of plenary
sessions and the texts of final documents would be decided by consensus whenever
possible, or failing this by other democratic means.
(A) The output of the Second Assembly would aim at furthering the purposes and
principles of the United Nations. It would be addressed in the first instance to the
General Assembly. Recommendations agreed only by a majority should have
minority views appended. Responses received from the General Assembly should
be fully discussed by the Second Assembly.
(B) The representatives would be expected to report to their sources of input on the
basis of the deliberations, substantive conclusions and final documents of the
Second Assembly, and of responses received from the General Assembly.
(C) The Second Assembly should have the right to publicize its output after
considering any responses it might receive from the General Assembly.
(D) The Second Assembly should also seek to signal to the public, via the media and
the worlds of religion, culture, sport and entertainment, that it is legitimate, and
indeed a responsibility, for everyone to take on a global loyalty, in addition to (not
instead of) their existing national, political and ideological loyalties.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS PARTICIPATING IN THE NETWORK FOR A UN SECOND ASSEMBLY
Action Health 2000 (International Voluntary Health Association)
Anuvrat Global Organization (Anuvibha)
Association for World Education
Campaign for UN Reform
Christians Against Racism and Fascism
Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations
Environmental Liaison Centre
European Liaison and Coordination Office of UN University for Peace
Global Education Associates
International Association of University∑ Days for Peace
International Council of Psychologists
International Evangelical Church
International Federation of Social Workers
International Institute of Concern for Public Health
International Peace School on Crete
International Public Policy Institute
Internationale Weltfrieden [World Peace] Partei (IWP)
Pensioners for Peace International
The International People's College
The Networking Institute
The One World Movement of the Ecumenical Community
The Open International University for Complementary Medicines
The Organization Development Institute and The International Registry of Organization Development Professionals
Unitarian Universalist UN Office
United European-African Society
United Nations and Related Agencies Staff Movement for Disarmament and Peace (Geneva and New York Branches)
Unity-and-Diversity World Organization
Universidad para la Paz (University for Peace)
World Alliance of NGOs for Disarmament, Development and Security (VANGUARDS)
World Citizen Diplomats
World Citizens Assembly
`World Democracy News'
World Referendum Association
Alpha-peace-building from grassroots (UK)
American Referendum Association, Inc (USA)
Americans Against Nuclear War (USA)
Americans for Democratic Action (USA)
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship (UK)
Association of World Federalists (Australia)
Association of World Federalists (UK)
Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (UK)
Bob Geldof's BAND AID (UK)
British Christian Peace Conference (UK)
California Peace Academy (USA)
Center for Advancement of Human Cooperation (USA)
Centre for Multicultural Education, University of London Institute of Education (UK)
Clergy Against Nuclear Arms (UK)
Co-operative Women's Guild (UK)
Datum International (UK)
Department of Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics (Ireland)
Dutch Association for a Ministry for Peace in the Netherlands (NWMN)
Dutch Medical Association for Peace Research (Netherlands)
Fellowship of Reconciliation - UK
Fellowship Party (UK)
Foundation for Alternatives (UK)
Friends of the Earth - UK
Fundacio per la Pau (Spain)
Gandhi Peace Foundation (India)
Green Deserts Ltd (UK)
Humanitas - UK
Institute of Labour Management and Research (India)
International Registry of World Citizens- USA
Labour Federalist Group (UK)
Light on the Bay (USA)
London Centre for International Peacebuilding (UK)
Medical Association for Prevention of War (UK)
Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (UK)
Minority Rights Group (UK)
Movimento Brasileiro Pelo Desarmamento e a Paz (Brazil)
National and Local Government Officers Association [NALGO] (UK)
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (USA)
Nuclear Weapons Freeze (UK)
Paz y Cooperacion (Spain)
Peace Chariot (UK)
`Peace News' (UK)
Peace Research Institute, Dundas (Canada)
People's Assembly for the UN (USA)
People's Assembly Network of San Francisco (USA)
Philosophers and Historians for Peace (UK)
Project for Peace (UK)
Promoting Enduring Peace (USA)
Safe Earth Network (Australia)
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK)
Southern Region Trade Union Information Unit (UK)
Sserulanda Nsulo Y'Obulamu Spiritual Foundation (Uganda)
Swedish World Federalists (Sweden)
Teachers for Peace (UK)
Teilhard Centre (UK)
The InterFace Association (UK)
Ties International Peace Relations and Educational Trust (UK)
United Nations Association of Australia
United Nations Reform [part of WFAM] (USA)
US Federation of Scientists and Scholars
Voluntary Health Association of India
World Association of World Federalists of West Germany
World Conference of Religions for Peace (UK and Ireland Group)
World Disarmament Campaign-UK
World Federalists of Canada
World Federalists of USA
Croydon Peace Council (UK)
Frome & Distria Peace Forum (UK)
United Nations Association - UK branches: Bangor; Cheltenham; Falmouth; Glasgow; Hampstead Garden Suburb & Golders Green; Sutton Coldfield
SOME SUGGESTIONS ON THE PRACTICAL WORK OF A UN SECOND ASSEMBLY
In May 1985 the Network sought a range of opinions on a draft of the Proposal,
Among the responses were requests from several experts for the Network to
indicate the type of practical work it would expect the Second Assembly to
undertake. Some suggestions are therefore offered in this Annex, but they should
be read in the context that the Second Assembly would function within the
framework of a Constitution approved by the General Assembly, and that its
agenda could be expected to depend mainly on input from its constituencies,
(1) International peace. Regional commissions of the Second Assembly could
identify international antagonisms that might become armed conflicts. The Second
Assembly, subject to the approval of the governments concerned and the General
Assembly, could then seek at non-governmental levels to foster (a) mutual understanding (e.g., in cultural and educational fields) and (b) public support for negotiations and/or mediation. (The Second Assembly would only address the subject of any existing armed conflict if required to do so by the General
(2) Communal peace. Similarly, working groups of the Second Assembly, with
the approval of the governments concerned, could seek to promote at non-governmental levels understanding and co-operation between antagonistic communities, and to encourage justified social and political changes by non-violent and legal means.
(3) National sovereignry. Conflicting claims between self-determination and geopolitical factors as causes of disputes about national sovereignty could be studied
from historical, cultural and economic perspectives, with a view to establishing
general guidelines for compromise solutions of such disputes.
(4) Compliance with international law could be monitored in terms of the
numbers of signatories to and infringements of international conventions (without
the naming of individual countries).
(5) Reductions in armed power ('De-armament'). The Second Assembly, in cooperation with specialist peace institutes, could use objective criteria (eg, population size, gross national product, geographical factors) to propose a range of acceptable levels of different forms of armed power for defensive purposes. The subject would be studied objectively and statistically, and would not refer
(6) Global enterprises. The Second Assembly could seek, together with appropriate
international institutions, to sponsor investments and initiatives in global
enterprises by non-governmental corporations, institutions and organizations, and
by individuals, with the objectives of fostering world economic and cultural cooperation, aiding world development, and protecting the environment.
(7) The Second Assembly might initiate a campaign to help to popularize UN objectives, such as:
- To save humankind `from the scourge of war', and especially from `the threat of nuclear catastrophe'
- To reduce military budgets
- To ensure food for all
- To provide health care for all
- To support international co-operation for economic growth, appropriate development, and protection of the environment.
REPRESENTATION IN A UN SECOND ASSEMBLY
A UN Second Assembly should be representative of everyone's humankind identity, but the selection of the representatives would necessarily have to be made on a
national basis. To meet both these requirements, each UN member-state should be
allocated a quota of scan which would be related to the size of its population.
Selection of representatives
Within guidelines to be established by the UN, each participating member-state
should be free to decide on an appropriate method for choosing the representatives
from in country, as stated in Suggested Principle 3 (C). Here is a range of some
(1) Direct election by the voting population.
(2) Direct election by voters who register specifically for this purpose.
(3) Voting by an electoral college convened to represent non-governmental
organizations and institutions concerned with peace, disarmament, development
human and social rights (including the rights of women and of children), the
environment, world health, and international culture; broad sections of the population through, for example, national organizations of trade unions, employer;
and academic institutions; and interested individuals*, possibly via membership o
the national United Nations Association.
(4) Selection by a similarly representative non-governmental commission.
(* An expert suggested that former parliamentarians, diplomats and civil servants
and also individuals with experience in international organizations, corporation
and charities, should be encouraged to become involved in the work of the Second
Assembly, including as representatives.)
Method of allocation of quotas of seats
The square-root method of representation in a world assembly, which is outlined
in Suggested Principle 3 (E), was originally devised in 1946 by the late Professor
Lionel Penrose (who was for many years the Chairman of the Medical Association
for Prevention of War). On population figures for 1980 this method would
produce an assembly of 553 seats, which would divide regionally as:
Eastern Mediterranean 60
Central Asia 105
Western Pacific 61
The square-root method is more than a pragmatic compromise
between the extreme methods of world representation unrelated to population size
and allocation of national quotas in direct proportion to population size; Penrose
showed that in terms of statistical theory the square-root method gives to each
voter in the world an equal influence on decision-making in a world assembly. The
application of this method to the Second Assembly could therefore be seen, at least
symbolically, as the provision by the UN of a world democratic forum
However, other possible methods of allocation of seats, including methods to
give a smaller Assembly, should be considered.
Penrose Method o f Representation In a World Assembly
The Penrose method of voting power or number of seats in a world assembly is
based on the four following propositions. As an example of the method, their
application to the representation of national populations of 100 and 49 millions in
an assembly of 560 seats is shown in the accompanying table (Table 1).
(1) A polarization of views in the mass population of any country can be considered
statistically random, so that all that needs to be represented numerically is the
majority, or edge, of one view over the other - since the rest neutralize each other.
Penrose showed that the most probable size of the edge was approximately the
square root of the population, and that each individual's influence statistically on
the national decision-making was the reciprocal of this square root.
(2) Equitable representation in a world assembly can be obtained by representing
numerically this statistical edge from each country, that is by allocating to each
country a number of votes or seats proportional to the square root of its national
population. In practice the easiest proportion to use is 10-6.
(3) Voting in the assembly would be deliberate, not statistically random, so that the
influence of each country's representatives in the assembly would be its fraction of
the assembly's total of voting power or seats.
(4) The product of the individual's national decision-making influence (proposition 1)
and the influence statistically of his/her country's representatives on the
assembly's decision-making (proposition 3) is the influence the individual has
statistically on the assembly's decision-making. This is the reciprocal of the
assembly's total voting power or number of seats x 106, and so is the same for all
sizes of population
Penrose L5. The elementary statistics of majority voting. J Royal Statistical Soc 1946:109:53-7.
Penrose L5. On the Objective Study of Crowd Behaviour. London: H.K Lewis, 1952: Chapter 7 and Appendix.
(Professor Lionel Sharples Penrose MD FRCP FRS [1898-1972] was a highly distinguished
medical genticist, and for ten years was the Chairman of the Medical Association for
Prevention of War.)