|UN REFORM HEADED IN THE RIGHT
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev)
The UN General Assembly has voted to appoint South Korean Foreign Minister
Ban Ki-moon as the next UN Secretary-General. The Korean, who was chosen
over another worthy candidate, Shashi Tharoor, Indiaís
undersecretary-general for communications and public information, will be
sworn in on December 30.
The international community is divided over the imminent reform of the UN.
Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the
United Nations, has discussed this issue in a newspaper interview.
He said the multi-faceted UN reform mostly called for overhauling the
Security Council. In his opinion, all other aspects are pointed in the
right direction. For instance, the UN Peacebuilding Commission has been
established and the UN Human Rights Council has started working, Churkin
According to Churkin, the UN has taken an active part in the struggle
against terrorism. Moreover, a number of decisions were made on the
operation of UN anti-terrorism mechanisms.
Churkin said Russiaís main position was that the UN should remain an
inter-governmental organisation. The UN cannot turn into a bureaucratic
superstructure because the most influential countries would simply promote
their officials and try to use it as a proxy to rule the world. Russia,
however, will not allow this to happen, said Churkin.
The line-up of permanent UNSC members, i.e. the club of privileged powers,
is so far the only aspect of reform currently being debated. However, most
countriesí top diplomats are quietly implementing long-awaited changes
in the UN, Churkin said.
Excerpts from Vitaly Churkinís speeches on this issue [which were
contributed to our magazine by Russiaís UN mission] provide an insight
into the UNís ďdiplomatic kitchen.Ē
The colleagues of Vitaly Churkin, Ban Ki-moon and Shashi Tharoor are the
only ones who completely understand diplomatic lingo. Anyway, it would be
useful to know Moscowís priorities and its expectations concerning UN
Russia-backed initiatives, including one on the role of regional
organisations and their cooperation with the UN, deserve special mention.
Here is how the Kremlin perceives the structure of the UN, which is one of
the current reformís priorities.
* Russiaís priority is to strengthen the UNís potential to provide a
collective response to modern threats and challenges and to prevent such
threats from materializing in the first place. A record-breaking 88,000
officers and men have been sent to numerous conflict zones.
* Much has been done in order to adapt UN mechanisms and methods to new
conditions in accordance with the decisions made at the Summit-2005. But
this process will continue. The UN reform is primarily intended to enhance
the organisationís overall effectiveness and to strengthen its pivotal
role in world affairs without impairing this unique forumís
international nature. It will only be possible to successfully implement
this task through broad consensus among member-states on all aspects of
* The increased demand for the UNís unique peacekeeping potential
requires genuinely collective efforts. The Secretary-General has correctly
stated that this potential is not used as fully as it should be. Involving
the Military Staff Committee and regional organisations in accordance with
the UN Charterís provisions would encourage this.
* The establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Commission is meant to
facilitate more co-ordinated and effective international efforts to aid
post-crisis countries. We attach great importance to facilitating this
inter-governmental bodyís effective performance and plan to take an
active part in its work.
* The stagnant international disarmament process is not contributing to
the solution of non-proliferation problems. We are focusing on the
enactment of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the attainment of a
comprehensive agreement to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer
space, the conclusion of a treaty on banning production of weapons-grade
fissile materials and ensuring international information security.
Multilateral efforts in the sphere of disarmament and arms control within
the framework of the Disarmament Conference and the UN agencies involved
should be stepped up.
* We attach a priority to the supremacy of the law. A full observation of
this principle in international relations would guarantee a stable peace.
The struggle against impunity is a key element of this principle. National
authorities, which must, if necessary, be able to request UN assistance,
take priority. We agree with the Secretary-General that the struggle
against impunity must go hand in hand with peace processes.
* In our opinion, recent experience in trying to administer justice
internationally cannot be called entirely successful. The work of the
International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia highlights serious
miscalculations, i.e. politicised decisions and expensive trials. We are
placing high hopes in the International Criminal Court and hope the work
of this judicial body will contribute greatly to the struggle against
* Russia considers the struggle against international terrorism as a key
aspect of establishing an effective security system and believes the UN
should play a central coordinating role in accomplishing this objective.
The recent adoption of the Global Strategy for Fighting Terrorism makes it
possible to considerably expand the international communityís
comprehensive counter-terrorist activities.
* The establishment of two inter-session, inter-governmental and
open-ended working groups on the mechanism of universal periodic reviews
and on streamlining the special proceedings system, inherited from the UN
Human Rights Commission, is a positive aspect. We hope that these working
groups established by the UN Human Rights Council, will, at last, be able
to start working in the required format.
* It is imperative that the international community devote considerable
attention to the development and assertion of democracy and the UNís
interaction with civil society on a wide range of international issues.
Given the importance of these issues and their scope, they could be
discussed separately. We would like to single out the most important
aspect: the need for a transparent, unbiased and objective discussion of
all these issues in line with the UN Charter and on the basis of universal
* On the whole, we share the Secretary-Generalís positive assessments of
the work to implement the Summitís directives to enhance the
effectiveness of the entire UN systemís socio-economic activities and
efforts to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, the
UNís potential, including that of its agencies, should be used more
effectively for aiding needy nations. We consider it unacceptable to
politicise the work of UN funds and programmes.
* We share the Secretary-Generalís conclusion that the increasing
frequency of calamities highlights the need to strengthen risk-reduction
and emergency-preparedness measures. For our part, we intend to make a
practical contribution to solving such pressing global problems as climate
change, the eradication of infectious diseases and sustainable energy
* We consider it very important to streamline the UNís administrative,
financial and human-resources divisions and to make them more effective
and transparent. The same goes for the implementation of the General
Assemblyís decisions pertaining to the UN reform. The Secretariat should
become more results-oriented; the professionalism and efficiency of its
personnel should be improved; and the Secretariat should report to
member-countries on the results of its work and assume responsibility for
* The UN should consistently expand cooperation with regional and
sub-regional organisations in order to formulate collective approaches to
modern threats and challenges. The final declaration of the 2005 United
Nations World Summit states that such cooperation rests on the solid
foundation of the UN Charter, namely, Chapter VIII. Regional organisations,
which know more about the situation inside action zones, often have better
equipment and their own sources of funding. It will become possible to
expand the international communityís ability to deal with crises through
clearly dividing responsibilities and preserving UN and UNSC prerogatives.
* The UN should expand on its positive experience of cooperating with
regional and sub-regional partners in Africa, including the African Union,
the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African
Development Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
The League of Arab States, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of
the Gulf, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Organisation of
American States and Latin American organisations are all called upon to
play an important role in choosing peaceful methods for the solution of
numerous regional problems. We would like the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and NATO, which formulate
crisis regulation mechanisms, to further expand their interaction with the
UN. Naturally, the UN Security Council should be given the primary
responsibility for upholding international peace and security, including
the approval of mandates for peace-enforcement opera
tions. Russia continues to facilitate closer cooperation between the UN,
the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Community, which are making a
substantial contribution to overcoming modern regional and global problems
and challenges. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is playing an
increasingly greater role in ensuring stability and security in Eurasia.
Its members advocate expanded interaction with the UN in various important
spheres, including the fight against international terrorism and drug
trafficking, as well as efforts to secure a post-conflict settlement in