Sunday, July 20, 2008

All Together Now, People

Even in secondary school I was a fan of the United Nations. It somehow got me all excited with the idealism and with its bold mission to make the world a better place. As I proceeded to my university studies, I was encountered with the critical takes on the global structure and its inefficiency in several areas.

I remember a while back a friend of mine whose father is a UN Special Envoy telling about the difficulties in the field operations on living up to the ideals. It did not come as a surprise to me that a recent study showed serious misconduct from many peace keepers. In several target countries peace keepers are active clients of illegal prostitutes, often underaged. Anyone who has worked for multinational structures - whether corporate or non-profit - knows how difficult it is to carry the values all through the organisation.

I always admired Kofi Annan as the voice of humanity as the Secretary-General and have been rather disappointed by the invisibility of Ban Ki Moon in the same job. Annan was not able to push through reforms in the governance of the EU despite a lot of good will but he gave a face to the UN values.

In the course of the last weeks the global justice system has taken again taken again serious blows when China and Russia vetoed sanctions on Zimbabwe and therefore consciously continued suffering of the Zimbabwean people in steep inflation, undemocratic rule and poverty.

It is difficult to make one´s mind around the UN. Personally I feel that EU should be downsized in the Security Council to one seat and that Africa and South America need their seats as permanent members. UN needs to correspond better to the population division on our planet. But at the same time I am confident that Europeans are not willing to give in their power for the global good. In a way I would like to believe in reforming the UN. But its inefficiency to act on Sudan and just basic power politics create cracks in this belief.

I don´t see the UN as a advocacy organisation for Western values per se. I however believe that there are universal rights that we as the global society need to protect. These are right to life, food, education and freedom - the freedom to join and leave groups without a risk to your family and to yourself.

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