A United Nations Renaissance: What the UN is, and what it could be

A United Nations Renaissance: What the UN is, and what it could be

by John E. Trent, Laura Schnurr


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This short introduction to the United Nations analyzes the organization as itis today, and how it can be transformed to respond to its critics. Combiningessential information about its history and workings with practical proposalsof how it can be strengthened, Trent and Schnurr examine what needs to bedone, and also how we can actually move toward the required reforms. Thisbook is written for a new generation of change-makers — a generation seekingbetter institutions that reflect the realities of the 21st century and that can actcollectively in the interest of all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783847407119
Publisher: Barbara Budrich Publishers
Publication date: 12/04/2017
Pages: 166
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Prof. John Trent is a Fellow of the Centre on Governanceat the University of Ottawa, Canada, formerly professorand chair of the University’s Department of PoliticalScience and Secretary General of the International Political Science Association for more than a decade. Laura Schnurr works on social innovation with the J.W. McConnell Foundation, completed an MA in GlobalStudies at the University of Freiburg, and runs a socialenterprise operating in Canada and Uganda.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 9

List of Abbreviations 11

Introduction 13

Achieving the unthinkable 13

The global governance deficit 15

The United Nations' balance sheet 16

Empowering youth 19

Objectives of the primer 21

Chapter 1 Evolving International Organizations: the UN Past and Present 22

Early international cooperation efforts 22

The Concert of Europe 23

A note on the creation of the League of Nations 26

The League of Nations as an institution 27

From the League of Nations to the United Nations 32

Introducing the United Nations 34

The principal organs of the United Nations 35

The Security Council 35

The General Assembly 38

The Economic and Social Council 41

Trusteeship Council 43

The International Court of Justice 43

The Secretariat 45

Beyond the organs 46

The Secretary-General 46

UN budgets 49

The UN System 49

International financial institutions and other international actors 51

Chapter 2 Peace and Security: Fixing the Security Council 56

The Security Council's functions and activities 58

Security Council strengths 58

Security Council weaknesses 61

The UN's peace operations 64

The Security Council and the future 67

Chapter 3 Social and Economic Development 71

Understanding 'development' 71

The first 50 years 71

Development in the early years 71

Expanding development efforts 73

The North-South divide 75

Millennium Development Goals 75

Tallying up the results 76

Sustainable Development Goals 77

A changed world 77

More voices at the table 79

Financing the goals 81

Looking ahead 82

Partnering in a new era of development cooperation 82

Role for private sector 84

Role for civil society 85

Innovation and technology 88

What role for the UN? 90

Is the UN prepared? 91

Streamlining the UN development system and 'Delivering as One' 92

Improving business practices 94

Focusing on strengths and priorities 94

ECOSOC reform 95

Is reform possible? 97

Chapter 4 Promoting and Protecting Human Rights 98

Human rights: one of the UN's great ideas that too many countries fail to respect 98

The fundamental paradox 98

International human rights law 99

Contradictory interpretations 101

The tremendous cost of violations 102

The United Nations' Record in Upholding Human Rights 105

From the Commission on Human Rights to the Human Rights Council 106

The Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights 109

Dealing with the worst violations: the International Criminal Court and ad hoc tribunals 110

Responsibility to Protect and human security 114

Migration, refugees and the humanitarian response 116

What next? 120

Reforms: big and small 120

Can change happen? 122

Chapter 5 Workable Global Institutions: How to Get from Here to There? 124

What we have learnt about understanding world institutions 124

Reviewing the literature on revamping the UN 126

Nine popular proposals to transform the UN 130

1 A more legitimate Security Council 131

2 A more balanced and focused General Assembly 133

3 An Economic, Social and Environmental Council 134

4 A reconfigured Human Rights Council 135

5 Improved staffing and management practices 136

6 Autonomous emergency services for the UN 137

7 Financing the UN 138

8 Principles and criteria for the Responsibility to Protect 139

9 The dispersion and control of global power 140

Sequencing reform proposals: where to start 143

Four steps for how can we help bring about workable global institutions 144

Bibliography 153

Index 161

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