Ultimately after 1 month of working at the UN, you start getting a glimpse and understanding of how things are functioning here, and what people are talking about (or not). I guess one of the major discussions reg. the UN – is the reformation or optimization of the organization itself. When people talk about that – they are usually referring to the reformation of the Security Council, which, is a discussion that pretty much has been going on within the UN for the last 20 years.
Basically the Security Council, which today is the body that has the most political authority in the world, was established in 1946, and the great winners of the WW2, were given the ultimate power within it: UK, France, US, Russia and China. The Great P5. However, the WW2 happened a long time ago, and the world certainly has changed since then. Everyone within the UN (well, perhaps except the great P5), more or less agrees upon the fact that a change is needed in order to become more transparent and actually more realistically represent the current world order. However – how to change? That is an entirely different and complex question.
So far many different scenarios have been proposed, discussed, torn apart, ignored etc. Some believe that if we believe in democracy, then, 5 new permanent members should be added (like Japan, India, Brazil, Africa, and perhaps Indonesia) in order to make it more democratic. A move was even made in 2005 to add 4 more member states (which failed), however – whatever the number of countries is that really wanted to get in, an even greater number does not wish to see them succeed. Pakistan wishes to prevent India from entering, China doesn’t wish to see Japan on the seat next to them, Brazil vs Mexico, and so on. Furthermore another problem emerges when it is being suggested to add members: suddenly Africa becomes a bit of a thorny problem, as the country itself is incapable of deciding WHO should be their representative. And then comes Europe – many are questioning why the EU does not have 1 member-spot. If Europe was willing to unite it would be representing 400 million inhabitants – a great and strong voice. However, imagining France or UK swallowing their pride and stepping back, well, thats a bit of an utopia. Especially taking the current financial situation of Europe into account, which makes it simply incapable of dealing with yet another issue.
Today I attended a conference on how children are becoming peace-builders. It was a great, and an inspiring day, that brought back a little of trust to my else dark vision of the future of the world. These children were asking for a voice within the Security Council (a resolution). Now certainly this gets funny – you have countries fighting for power and recognition, and with no real desire to actually see an improvement or change within the world – and then you have a bunch of children, who, being war- and traffic victims, have seen the value of true peace and true war. When they suggested having a place within the Security Council people laughed a bit, as, well “obviously”, it is completely out of the agenda. However, a shy boy stood up, and questioned:
” You do not believe that we are old enough to have a say on how the world is being governed? But do you believe we are old enough to be soldiers of your wars? Are we old enough to kill and lick the blood of our hands? Are we old enough to be trafficked in order to become your sex slaves? Are we old enough to live on the streets, alone, and hunt for the food that will keep us alive? No. We are not. But we are all that. “
A silence entered the room. And stayed there until it became impossible to ignore.
We all stood up and gave the little guy a great applause for his courage – but, most of all, I think the applause was for his believe. His believe in a system of which its own members have stopped believing in. Maybe what we really ought to do, is to give the permanent seat to those for whom it is not a zero-sum game. But simply a strive for, if not a perfect, then just a better world. Because ultimately, it is really not a matter of who is on the board or who is out – it is a matter of how we can enable the Security Council to fulfill its task of peace and security in the world, in the best and most efficient way.
A beautiful dream?