Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World

Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World

by Joseph E. Schwartzberg

NOOK Book(eBook)

$26.49 $29.99 Save 12% Current price is $26.49, Original price is $29.99. You Save 12%.

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Global problems require global solutions. The United Nations as presently constituted, however, is incapable of addressing many global problems effectively. One nation– one vote decisionmaking in most UN agencies fails to reflect the distribution of power in the world at large, while the allocation of power in the Security Council is both unfair and anachronistic. Hence, nations are reluctant to endow the United Nations with the authority and the resources it needs. Extensive reform is essential.

This analysis is rooted in the proposition that the design of decisionmaking systems greatly affects their legitimacy and effectiveness. Joseph Schwartzberg proposes numerous systemic improvements to the UN system, largely through weighted voting formulas that balance the needs of shareholders and stakeholders in diverse agencies. It indicates ways in which the interests of regions can supplement those of nations while voices of nongovernmental organizations and ordinary citizens can also be heard. In numerous contexts, it promotes meritocracy and gender equity.

The book's aim is not to create an unrealistic utopia, but rather to establish a workable world in which the force of law supplants the law of force; a world committed to justice and continuous yet sustainable development. The author argues that, given the many existential threats now confronting our planet, the time frame for decisive action is short. The task is daunting and success is not guaranteed, but in view of the urgency of our situation, we can find ways of mustering the will, imagination, and resources to do the job.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789280871999
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 09/02/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 404
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Joseph E. Schwartzberg is distinguished international professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota and president of the Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions.

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables xvii

About the author xx

Foreword Ramesh Thakur xxii

Preface xxviii

Acknowledgements xxxv

List of abbreviations xxxvii

1 Introduction 1

Objectives 1

Questions of perspective 5

Organization of the book 8

2 Reform of the General Assembly 13

The growing need for voting reform 15

A realistic basis for weighted voting 21

A weighted voting system 22

A legislative concomitant of the proposed system of weighted voting 26

Benefits of a change to weighted voting 27

Adapting to future changes 31

3 A World Parliamentary Assembly 36

Stage one: An advisory body with MWPs chosen by national governments 38

Transitional arrangements 45

Stage two: A popularly elected WPA with increasing legislative competence 49

Stage three: Institutionalizing worldwide electoral fields and the one-person-one-vote principle 58

Conclusions 59

4 Reform of the Security Council 64

Declining representativeness of the present system 65

Additional shortcomings of the present system and of leading reform proposals 71

Universal weighted regional representation 73

Eliminating the veto 89

Summary and conclusions 90

5 from ECOSOC to ESEC 94

How ECOSOC functions 95

Representativeness of ECOSOC 98

A proposed new structure 101

The role of regional caucuses 105

Summary and conclusions 106

6 A credible human rights system 110

The UN record to date 112

A strengthened Human Rights Council 117

Conclusion 124

7 A strengthened judicial system 129

The record to date 130

Recommendations 143

Conclusion 146

8 Coordination of UN specialized agencies and special UN commissions and funds 149

The expansion of global agencies and funds 150

Rationalization and coordination agencies 153

Devising appropriate weighting formulae 158

Conclusion 161

9 Enhancing human resources 164

A review of past practices and reforms 166

Suggested reforms 170

Conclusions 176

10 Engaging civil society: NGOs and other non-state actors 179

Non-governmental organizations 180

Voices for all 187

The private commercial sector 193

Conclusions 197

11 The problem of funding 201

Budgetary practices 202

Alternative sources of funding 214

A proposed new system 216

Summary and conclusions 221

12 Peacekeeping, peacebuilding and disarmament 225

The pacific settlement of disputes 226

Peacekeeping and peacebuilding: The record to date 228

Attempts at reform of the existing system 235

A standing UN Peace Corps 243

A UN Administrative Reserve Corps 252

A UN Administrative Academy 254

Arms control and disarmament 256

Terrorism 260

Conclusions 263

13 Towards a sustainable planet and an expanded common heritage 272

Economic and environmental sustainability: The record to date 274

The global commons 278

Recommendations 287

Conclusions 292

14 A new global governance architecture 296

A new architecture for global governance 298

A plural executive 310

Linkages from global to regional and lower levels 313

Conclusion 316

15 Getting there 319

Improving the domestic climate for change 320

Global education and the promotion of a cosmopolitan ethos 323

Establishing effective civil society networks 327

Effecting catalytic changes in the UN system 329

Forging strategic alliances 330

Conclusion 334

Appendix 1 Selected data for UN members 338

Appendix 2 Composition of proposed Security Council regions 346

Index 350

Customer Reviews