UN reform is endlessly discussed, but there is sharp disagreement on what kind of reform is needed and for what purpose. Foundations, think tanks and blue ribbon commissions regularly call for institutional renovation. Secretary Generals trumpet their reform initiatives. NGOs make earnest proposals. And from Washington come somber warnings that the UN must "reform or die."
UN reform is not a politically neutral, technocratic exercise. Bids for power and privilege lurk in every proposal. Many experts would like to see a stronger and more effective multilateral organization, but the mightiest governments are usually opposed to a robust institution, and they often use their power to block change.
|Picture Credit: United Nations
Another popular reform topic today is the improved coordination and "Coherence"
of the UN's many agencies, funds, programs, departments, research institute and other bodies. Though efficiency may result, there is the danger that "one voice" may stifle creativity and enforce conservative policies.
The site looks at the Millennium+5 reforms
, proposed by the Secretary General Kofi Annan in March 2005, a process that was weakened by complex negotiations and last-minute demands from Washington. The site also posts General Analysis
of UN reform topics more broadly.
Financing of the UN
Reform initiatives have also targeted NGOs
and their role at the UN, not always positively. The controversial Cardoso Report promoted roundtables and "hearings," with carefully-selected NGO actors, to replace a more open process. In contrast to shrinking NGO space, the UN has rapidly expanded its relations with Business
, through numerous "partnerships" and a high-profile "compact."
is central to UN reform. The UN cannot perform effectively as long as its budget remains tightly constrained. For all the talk about auditors and oversight bodies, the UN mainly needs cash. Financial reforms must consider new ways to raise funds, including "alternative financing" such as Global Taxes.
Finally, the site provides links and resources
for further research on every aspect of UN reform.