What You Need to Know
About the Most Important Issue
In the World Today

Bruce A. Roth

Chapter 24

Efforts to Reform the UN

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
—Thomas Edison

Shortly after starting his first term as UN Secretary General in 1997, Kofi Annan appointed Maurice Strong as Executive Coordinator for Reform. Strong outlined his recommendations for a step-by-step implementation of he Commission’s recommendation in his report, Renewing the United Nations: A Program for Reform. The program addressed reforming the Security Council, the UN bureaucracy, enhancing the UN’s democratic nature, and financing of the UN. Specific reforms were suggested, e.g. admitting more members to the Security Council, abolishing the U.K.’s and France’s permanent seats, giving a seat to the European Union, and abolishing the veto power enjoyed by its permanent members. For the UN to be more democratic, representation would be based more on a population vote, rather than a one-state-one-vote principle. The UN would have to be given power of governance over its members.

Ironically, those nations that wish to imprint their style of democracy on other nations resist democratizing the UN. There are too many vested interests. UN delegates and their staff want to keep their jobs and powerful nations don’t want to lose control. They are obstacles to reform. The same can be said of member nations’ politicians and bureaucrats. It has become evident that none of the five veto bearing members of the Security Council would ever admit new veto bearing members, nor give up their own vetoes. It may be that the UN is too broken to fix, and we must start again from scratch. If so, we must find our way back to the drawing board—for the future of our country, our world, and its inhabitants.


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