Part 5: REFORMING THE UNITED NATIONS
We do not believe the UN should be dismantled to make way for a new architecture of global governance. Much of the necessary reform of the United Nations system can effected without amending the Charter, provided governments are willing. But some Charter amendments are necessary for better global governance.
UN reform must reflect the realities of change, including the new capacity of civil society to contribute to global governance.
Reform of the Security Council is central to reforming the UN system. Permanent membership limited to five countries that derive their primacy for events fifty years ago is unacceptable; so is the veto. To add more permanent members and give them to veto would be regressive. We propose a process to reform in two stages.
First, a new class of five 'standing' members should be established to serve until the second stage of the reform process. We envisage two from industrial countries and one from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The number of non-permanent members should be raised from ten to thirteen, and the votes required for a decision of the Council from nine to fourteen. To facilitate the phasing out of the veto, the permanent members should enter into a concordat agreeing to forgo its use to save in exceptional and overriding circumstances.
The second stage should be a full review of the membership of the Council, including these arrangements, around 2005, when the veto can be phased out, the position of the permanent members reviewed, an account taken of the new circumstances - including the growing strength of regional bodies.
The Trusteeship Council should be given a new mandate over the global commons in the context of concern for the security of the planet.
The General Assembly should be revitalized as a universal forum. Regular theme sessions, effective exercise of budgetary authority, and the streamlining of its agenda and procedures should be part of the process of revitalization. We also propose an annual Forum of Civil Society consisting of representatives of organizations to be accredited to the General Assembly as 'Civil Society Organizations'. It should be convened in the General Assembly Hall sometime before the Annual Session of the Assembly. International civil society should itself be involved in determining its character and function.
The Right of Petition proposed for promoting the security of people requires the formation of a Council of Petition-a high-level panel of five to seven persons, independent of governments, to entertain petitions. Its recommendations will go as appropriate to the Security - General, the security Council, or the General Assembly, and allow for action under the Charter.
In the light of experience, the proposed Economic Security Council and our other recommendations, we propose that the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should be wound up. The UN system must from time to time shut down institutions that can no longer be justified in objective terms. We believe this to be true also of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNDO), and propose an in-depth review to this end. Our proposals on these UN bodies are part of the integrated set of proposals we make for improving global economic governance including, notably, the setting up of an Economic Security Council. Balanced governance arrangements will not result if policy leadership is preserved in the hands of small directorate of countries, while such institutions as UNCTAD set up to correct imbalances is dismantled.
To help put women at the central of global governance, a post of Senior Adviser on Women's Issues should be created in the Office of the UN Secretary-General, and similar positions established in the specialized agencies.
The UN must assist regionalism and gear itself for the time when regionalism is more ascendant world-wide. Regional bodies should be seen as an important part of a balanced system of global governance. However, the continuing utility of the UN Regional Economic Commissions now needs to be closely examined their future determined in consultation with respective regions.
The procedure for appointing the UN Security-General should be radically improved, and the term of office should be a single one of seven years. The procedure for selecting the heads of UN specialized agencies, funds, and programmes should also be improved.
QUOTED FROM: A Call To Action, Summary of Our Global Neighbourhood, the report of the Comiision on Global Governance