UN Budget Committee O.K.’s Major Reform of the UN, as Peacekeeping Is Squeezed

The United Nations has been given the green light from its 193 member nations to embark on a major overhaul of its operations, based on a trio of reform proposals put forth by Secretary-General António Guterres in the last year and recently agreed on by delegates. The changes — primarily affecting the world body’s peace … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Can the UN Finally Get Serious About Inefficiencies in Its Development System?

BONN, Germany — Member states of the United Nations are now negotiating reform proposals for the world body’s development system. In the latest draft resolution, they welcome the secretary-general’s proposal for “advancing common business operations” and “request” for their “implementation,” in line with earlier decisions by the General Assembly (a previous draft requested “full implementation”). This … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Who Says the UN Is Boring? Intrigue Always Abounds in Its Inner Core

Bureaucracies do not have a great reputation, and the United Nations bureaucracy is no exception. They are seen as inefficient, cumbersome and rigid, adjectives that are also routinely associated with the UN Secretariat. At best considered a “necessary evil,” bureaucracies tend to attract scorn rather than analysis. The UN Secretariat, however, is different. Although it … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

How Stormy Was It? The First Year of Trump, Haley and Guterres at the UN

LONDON — President Donald Trump marked a year at the helm of the United States on Jan. 20. Secretary-General António Guterres marked a year at the helm of the United Nations on Jan. 1. How has their first year gone relative to the UN? The short answer is: not as badly as you might expect, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Secretary-General’s Disappointing Peace-Building Proposal

Since the end of the Cold War, a diverse group of countries at low levels of development emerged from intrastate conflicts and embarked on a complex transition to peace, stability and prosperity. All aspects of such transitions are closely interrelated and reinforce each other. Simultaneous security, political, social and economic activities compete for scarce resources … Read more

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GEOPOLITICS

Guterres’s Grand Plan to Remake the UN’s Peace and Security ‘Pillar’

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general

Considerable restructuring of the peacekeeping, political affairs and peace-building departments of the United Nations is being proposed by Secretary-General António Guterres as he continues to embark on reforming the world body, which contends with increasingly complex crises and conflicts each year. In a 16-page document obtained by PassBlue and to be submitted soon to the UN’s 193 … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Guterres’s UN Reform Agenda? It Couldn’t Be Vaguer

Secretary-General António Guterres, encouraged by the United States, has embarked on new reforms, so it is appropriate to scrutinize their policy content. Are they meaningful or are they hollow? With all due respect to the secretary-general of the United Nations, these are for the most part hollow reforms. They have the scent of snake oil. … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Trump to Force UN Reform Agenda at General Assembly Session in September

The United States is planning to hold a high-level meeting on United Nations reform during the opening days of the 72nd General Assembly debate. The Sept. 18 meeting is to be chaired by Donald Trump and held a day before he is scheduled to address the UN for the first time as America’s president in the … Read more

BOOKS

The Rules of War Need a Major Overhaul

Donetsk People's Republic fighters in Ukraine

Evidence is piling up: the global security framework that emerged from the ashes of World War II is no longer capable of pursuing international peace. The arrangement, conceived by the major powers that won the war, has expanded into a grab bag of rules and institutions that the crises of our own era have gradually … Read more

Samantha Power Urges US Congress to Approve UN Funding for 2015

Samantha Power

Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, testified on April 2 before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Appropriations for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs — on the financing of the UN. (The US remains the single-largest financial contributor to the UN.) Power, who became ambassador in 2013, spoke about … Read more

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For UN Member Nations, ‘Vulnerability Is a Global Phenomenon’

Hassan Rouhani

The annual United Nations debate of the 68th General Assembly got off to a contentious start on Sept. 24 with pointedly worded but divergent speeches by Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and Barack Obama, the president of the United States. The two countries traditionally kick off the annual debate, held every September in New York for … Read more

How Bad Is It? The UN Development System Needs an Overhaul

Voters in Libya

The clamor for United Nations reform has not stopped since its first days in 1945. Although ideas for changing the UN rise and fall each year, the newest calls for an overhaul involve development, one of the largest sectors of the world body’s system. With a Kafkaesque bureaucracy consisting of at least 30 agencies and … Read more

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