Global Policy Forum

NGOs Urge U.N. to Abolish Veto,

Kyodo News Service
May 27, 2000

Representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from across the globe called on the United Nations on Friday to take steps toward the abolition of Security Council members' veto power and absorb world lending and trade groups.

Some 1,350 participants from more than 100 countries took part in the Millennium Forum, an event commemorating the turn of the century and discussing how the U.N. should operate in the next century. The forum began Monday and ended Friday at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. officials said.

The forum adopted a declaration Friday calling on the U.N. to first limit veto use by the council's five permanent member states -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- to issues related to peace and security. The U.N. should eventually abolish the veto, the declaration said.

The NGOs also called for the establishment of an open-ended Conflict Prevention Committee at the General Assembly to assist the Security Council in conflict prevention.

During the five-day meeting, many NGO members expressed concern that ongoing globalization, driven by new electronic technologies, is fueling economic, political and cultural domination by the economically and militarily strong over the weak, the officials said.

The forum participants agreed that indigenous peoples are most vulnerable, as globalization and trade liberalization often lead to the erosion of native rights and cultures, they said.

To transform globalization into a democratic process, the participants proposed in the declaration to integrate the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization into the U.N. to reform and democratize all levels of decision-making within those institutions.

The proposals will be discussed by heads of state who will gather at the Millennium Summit, scheduled for September at U.N. headquarters.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has proposed to designate the 55th General Assembly session, to be opened Sept. 5, the 'Millennium Assembly.' The following day, he will convene the Millennium Summit, likely to be the largest single gathering of heads of state and government ever held.

Annan had proposed the Millennium Forum as a companion event to the Millennium Summit and the Millennium Assembly.

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