Managing Conflicts

Reform the General Assembly

(This is section 40 of the World Beyond War white paper A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. Continue to preceding | following section.)

600px-General_Assembly_of_the_United_Nations

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero addressing the General Assembly in New York, 20 September 2005. (Image: Wiki Commons)

The General Assembly (GA) is the most democratic of the UN bodies since it includes all the member States. It is concerned primarily with crucial peacebuilding programs. Then-Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested that the GA simplify its programs, abandon reliance on consensus since it results in watered-down resolutions, and adopt a supermajority for decision making. The GA needs to pay more attention to implementation and compliance with its decisions. It also needs a more efficient committee system and to involve civil society, that is NGOs, more directly in its work. Another problem with the GA is that it is composed of state members; thus a tiny state with 200,000 people has as much weight in voting as China or India. A reform idea gaining popularity is to add to the GA a Parliamentary Assembly of members elected by the citizens of each country and in which the number of seats allocated to each country would more accurately reflect population and perhaps economic power and thus be more democratic. Then any decisions of the GA would have to pass both houses. Such “global MPs” would also be able to represent the common welfare of humanity in general rather than being required to follow the dictates of their governments back home as the current State ambassadors are.

(Continue to preceding | following section.)

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