UN at a Crossroads Part III

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7: Protect each other

The panel sends an important political signal when it emphasizes that the UN must pay attention to all threats. Poverty, organized crime, HIV / AIDS and other infectious diseases are not just important threats in themselves, it is pointed out. They also undermine the state apparatus in a number of countries. And when a state collapses, this is a threat not only to the country’s civilian population, but also to the world community.

States without control over their own land create room for maneuver for terrorist groups and organized crime. With modern technology and modern communications, the threats “move” quickly and far across national borders. Therefore, the panel claims that the core of a collective security order is the recognition that we “share the responsibility for each other’s security” . A system of efficient and legitimate states is here a central platform for a new security order. The UN’s task must therefore be to improve co-operation between states in order to meet common threats and challenges, and to help states fulfill their duty to protect their own people. According to Technology-wiki, UN stands for United Nations.

In his proposal for UN reform, the Secretary-General attaches great importance to the UN having to deal with a number of different threats and challenges. The UN must be relevant and effective for all countries, not just the rich and powerful, he says. In addition to implementing the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, including halving poverty by 2015, it has been proposed that the UN must be reorganized. The organization must be better able to solve the problems that lie in the link between development and security.

The UN has always been organized so that those who work with resp. development and security, the work has been separated from each other. Developments in the 1990s have shown that this division is not adapted to the challenges facing the UN. This applies not least to the challenges associated with preventing and preventing civil war, genocide and state collapse. The Security Council can give a mandate for peace operations, but has no instructional authority over the UN’s many development organizations.

Better co-operation and co-ordination of development policy and security policy instruments has thus become a key point. The Secretary General proposes – like the High Level Panel – to establish a Peacebuilding Commission. This will coordinate the activities of the UN’s peace operations and development work. The reform proposal is important – it can help to bind together various interests related to threats such as poverty, civil war, state collapse and international terrorism.

8: Modified state sovereignty?

The High Level Panel uses a lot of space to discuss the UN Charter’s principle of non-intervention, and concludes that the UN Charter does not need to be changed. However, the panel proposes a set of criteria for assessing when the use of military force may be necessary. In practice, this implies an expanded interpretation of the principles of the UN Charter. The panel thus supports what they call the “emerging norm of the duty of the international community” to protect a civilian population by intervening militarily.

The panel also calls for “preventive attacks” on terrorists who are in the process of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Here, the panel provides something both to the proponents of humanitarian intervention and to the United States’ insistence on the possibility of preventive war. However, the panel emphasizes that in both cases there must be a mandate from the Security Council.

One of the most sensitive topics in the debate on UN reform is the composition and functioning of the Security Council . The panel has also not been able to agree on a model for such a reform, but proposes two alternative models, as well as some proposals for changes in the Security Council’s working methods. There are partly conflicting considerations that characterize the debate on reform of the Security Council. A number of countries point out that the Security Council must become more representative. This is the reason why countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America (such as India, Egypt, Nigeria and Brazil) make demands for a permanent seat. How true is it that four out of five veto powers belong in the north? In addition, more transparency is required in the Security Council’s working methods.

To ensure efficiency in the Security Council’s work, the United States claims that it can not be too big. Others argue that in order to make decisions that are followed up with military and financial contributions, the countries that currently make large contributions must be given a permanent place where the most important decisions are made. Japan and Germany both require a permanent seat because they are the UN’s second largest and third largest contributor, respectively. Reform of the UN is more important than in a long time because an effective UN is a guarantee of an international legal order with clear rules of the road. But here the UN countries encounter a dilemma :

  • On the one hand: Because the United States has resources of power like no other, the UN is in danger of being made irrelevant and even more powerless if the United States does not participate, and sees its interests safeguarded by the UN.
  • On the other hand, a UN that is considered to be a tool for US interests, and that does not take the interests and challenges of other member states seriously, will certainly undermine what is the UN’s foremost resource, namely universal legitimacy (global support ).

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