December 2, 2004

December 2, 2004 | WebMemo on United Nations

U.N. Reform

The United Nations High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change officially released its report on U.N. reform on December 2, 2004. The report is a comprehensive assessment of the threats faced by all nations and offers recommendations on how the United Nations system should be reformed to better meet those threats.

The High-level Panel provides a useful assessment of international threats and the failings of the U.N. system in addressing those threats: The Security Council has in many ways failed to act quickly or decisively to address threats to international peace and security; the General Assembly has lost focus and does not make credible contributions toward resolving international problems; the Secretariat is unwieldy, unaccountable, and lacks transparency; and the U.N. Human Rights Commission has lost its credibility. Unfortunately, solutions suggested by the panel to solve these problems are mostly ineffective, or even counterproductive. One example is the recommendation to expand the membership of the Security Council to 24 nations. Such a move would only increase gridlock on the Security Council and decrease the likelihood of tough, timely, and enforceable resolutions. Another key concern is the failure of the panel to call for robust measures to increase transparency and accountability in the United Nations -- reforms that are clearly needed given the current Oil for Food scandal that reaches to the highest levels in the U.N. Secretariat.

Read more on this subject:

U.N. Requires Fundamental Reforms

The United States Should Oppose Expansion of the U.N. Security Council

The Volcker Oil-for-Food Commission: Is It Credible?

More Is Not Better At U.N. Security Council

Kofi Annan's Shrinking Credibility

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