UN Reform: Citizens UN?

A new report from a UN committee came out this week urging the UN to reform. But what’s the difference? How can the UN change when it’s fundamentally always run by the same people.

It’s been all over the news, so I won’t post links to the various news sites. However, the UN has created an excellent website to go along with the report.

Make sure you check it out. It has a ton of information on what the panel concluded.

The thrust of their recommendations is that the UN needs to become more proactive and less reactive. It must intervene in situations where humanitarian disasters are imminent or ongoing and the local government is not doing anything. It also, for the first time, has defined terrorism.

On Terrorism it says:

Terrorism flourishes in environments of despair, humiliation, poverty,
political oppression, extremism and human rights abuse; it also flourishes in
contexts of regional conflict and foreign occupation; and it profits from weak
State capacity to maintain law and order.

Throughout the Panel’s regional consultations, it heard concerns from
Governments and civil society organizations that the current “war on terrorism”
has in some instances corroded the very values that terrorists
target: human rights and the rule of law.

A thread that runs through all such concerns is the imperative to develop a global
strategy of fighting terrorism that addresses root causes and strengthens responsible
States and the rule of law and fundamental human rights.91 What is required
is a comprehensive strategy that incorporates but is broader than coercive measures.

It then lists these key steps to fight terrorism:

  1. Dissuasion, working to reverse the causes or facilitators of terrorism,
    including through promoting social and political rights, the rule of
    law and democratic reform; working to end occupations and address
    major political grievances; combating organized crime; reducing
    poverty and unemployment; and stopping State collapse.
  2. Efforts to counter extremism and intolerance, including through
    education and fostering public debate. One recent innovation by
    UNDP, the Arab Human Development Report, has helped catalyse a wide
    ranging debate within the Middle East on the need for gender empowerment,
    political freedom, rule of law and civil liberties;
  3. Development of better instruments for global counter-terrorism
    cooperation, all within a legal framework that is respectful of civil liberties
    and human rights, including in the areas of law enforcement;
    intelligence-sharing, where possible; denial and interdiction, when
    required; and financial controls;
  4. Building State capacity to prevent terrorist recruitment and operations;
  5. Control of dangerous materials and public health defence.

Finally, the most controversial proposal, and the one that is getting the most press, is the reform of the Security Council.

There are many options and scenarios being bandied about… everything from simply enlarging it without much change its’ operation. To removing all of the Vetos completely. The likelyhood of the last happening is mighty slim, if only because every veto weilding country would have to approve the change.

And that brings me to the last point… all these documents and proclamations and assurances of action are well and good. But if nothing changes, as has been the case for the past 50 years, then it will all be for naught and nothing will improve.

I hope that the apparent “momentum” that seems to be gathering through the leadership of the world… and the UN itself, will lead to real changes.

What really annoys me, about many things really, is that the general population of the world. The Citizens of Canada, America, the UK, France, Russia, Africa, Asia, South America, etc. etc. etc…. the citizens of this World know full well, through common sense that change must happen.

The problem is we, as citizens of this world, do not believe that we have any bearing on the UN itself. It is not like our own elected government, where we can make our view known and felt through our vote. The UN is, by design, an abstract entity… removed from the control of the individual and instead controlled by the elite of the world.

In order for the UN to be effective, and respected, it must be held accountable by the citizens of the world that it claims to protect.

I’m sure that sort of reform… the sort that gives you and I direct say in the workings of the UN, would never happen… but why not? Why shouldn’t it?

I am sure the collective common sense of the world population would be able to inact far more effective and drastic reforms that would lead to real progress in the name of world peace, democracy, and human rights.

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