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World peace model #2: UN reform World peace model #2: UN reform
by Joseph Gatt
2008-02-22 10:05:40
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The UN was created in 1945 to promote world peace through mutual cooperation. If Pax UN is to be achieved, the UN should change its form of governance, and be transformed into a more democratic body.

In a July 2007 estimate, the world has a population of 6.6 billion inhabitants. The UN has 192 member states. Its two main bodies are the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. The General Assembly votes resolutions with one vote per state. The Security Council has 15 members, five of them being permanent members. All 15 members vote resolutions, and the five permanent members have veto power.

Approximately 4.3 billion inhabitants live in the 15 most populated countries in the world, or 65 % of the world population. In the General Assembly, these countries which represent 65% of the world population only account for 7.8% of the vote. On the other hand, the 15 least populated UN member states account for one million inhabitants, or 0.01% of the world population. This means that 0.01% of the world population has the same voting power as 65% of the world population.

At the UN General Assembly, in order to get a majority of votes, 96 votes are needed. The least populated 96 countries account for 229 million inhabitants or 3.4% of the world population. This means that a resolution can be passed with 3.4% of the world population’s votes. But it does not stop there.

The UN Security Council, the most powerful organ of the UN, has 15 member states. Its current member states account for 2.3 billion inhabitants, or 38% of the world population. Its permanent members have 1.9 billion inhabitants or 28% of the world population. The least populated UN Security Council permanent member state which has veto power, the United Kingdom, has a population of 60 million, or less than 1% of the world population. This means that 1% of the world population could block a resolution made for the entire planet.

The current UN form has no democratic legitimacy, given the fact that 1% of the world population can impose its views to the rest of the world. Veto power in the UN Security Council confirms the position that there are a few strong states dictating there views to weaker states. In order to improve the UN’s legitimacy, which has been, and still is, in crisis, Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the UN, has called for reforms of the Security Council and of the General Assembly. While more countries would have veto power in the Security Council, the General Assembly would become the world’s popular assembly where people would directly elect its members.

However, thus far, no concrete steps were taken to reform the UN. World democratic governance is a must for fair world positive peace to be established. If not, how legitimate would the arbitrators of conflict be, if they don’t represent world population as a whole?

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Emanuel Paparella2008-02-22 14:34:25
True enough. Democracy, if it means anything, means representation. On the other hand you have this view by
Ron Paul, one of the presidential contenders stil in the race:

"The UN is perhaps the least democratic institution imaginable, but both Democrats and Republicans insist on using it to “promote democracy.” We should stop worrying about the UN and simply walk away from it by withdrawing our membership and our money. We should demand a return to real national sovereignty, and respect other nations by rejecting our failed interventionist foreign policy. By doing so we would make the world a more peaceful place."

Walking away as a way to promote peace. Intriguing concept. I suppose it works sometime. In a cemetery there isn't even any need to walk away anywhere. At other times I am afraid it merely embolds a bully to have its way, no matter the cost. As Churchill put: democracy is the worst of all possible forms of governments, except for all the others.

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