The Rejuvenated United Nations
"People forget. We are here to act. We are here to deliver results. We are agents of change. Our job is to change the UN -and, through it, the world."
- Ban Ki-moon
I talked about the New Shape Prize 2017 of the Global Challenges Foundation in a previous post and after six months of research and writing, I have submitted my work last week with a word count of about 9000. The competition ended yesterday and I can now share the whole essay. It does not matter if I am going to win or lose but I am sure that there must be some useful ideas in my essay and in the other 2701 essays. Therefore, it is important for me to make my work public and to expect the genuine criticism so that we can hopefully make the world a better place.
Principal Organs of the Rejuvenated United Nations (UN)
(i) The Parliament
(ii) The Secretariat
(iii) The Executive Council (EC)
(iv) The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
(v) The International Court of Justice (ICJ)
(vi) The Audit Committee
The Parliament is the central body of the Rejuvenated UN and it is the only organ that answers directly to Member States (countries). The parliament is constituted of delegates each representing a country and its people. The number of delegates that a country has in the parliament is calculated by the following rules:
(i) Each country is allocated a coefficient which is calculated as follows:
Coefficient = 2.5*HDI + 0.8*percentage of world population + percentage of world GDP(nominal)
(ii) The five permanent members of the defunct Security Council are allocated 20 seats (Privilege can be discarded)
(iii) No other nation can have more than 15 seats
(v) The top five economies (by nominal GDP) are guaranteed 15 seats
(v) The sixth to the tenth economies are guaranteed 12 seats
(vi) The eleventh to the fifteenth economies are guaranteed 10 seats
(vii) The sixteenth to the Twentieth economies are guaranteed 8 seats
(viii) The top three countries by coefficient of each regional group are guaranteed 7 seats
(ix) The fourth and the fifth country by coefficient of each regional group are guaranteed 5 seats
(x) The coefficients for each country is approximated to the closest integer using the round half up rule and the country is allocated this integer value of seats
(xi) Each country should have at least one delegate
Latest data from the UN statistics division is taken into consideration for these elections. The elections of the delegates by the country is done at national level and the way it is done does not concern the UN. Once elected, a delegate is to serve for six years. A delegate cannot be replaced by another one unless in case of death or resignation. The parliament elects a speaker every four years. All voting delegates have a voting power of one while all non-voting delegates have a voting power of zero. A majority means over half of all voting delegates while a supermajority means over two-third of all the voting delegates. The Parliament meets every week for at least forty sessions every year. Any country can come up with a resolution while individual delegates require the approval of twenty other delegates. A resolution is adopted if it obtains a majority unless the EC demands for a supermajority.
The Secretariat liaises between the different organs of the UN and the countries. At the head of the Secretariat is the Secretary-General (SG), who is appointed by the parliament for four years with the approval of the EC. No SG can serve more than two mandates. A Supermajority can remove a SG from office. The SG can demand an emergency meeting of the Parliament and/or the EC at any time in order to accelerate the adoption of a resolution.
The EC is constituted of 30 representatives. Elections are held every four years. Twenty-four representatives are elected by the parliament. Three of the representatives are appointed by the ECOSOC and the last three by the ICJ. Each Member State with at least ten delegates must have at least one representative in the EC. The EC representatives, the SG and the Speaker elects a EC President (Second highest UN official after the SG). The EC President is the Head of the EC and appoints the other EC representatives to their respective positions in relation to UN agencies. No representative of the EC can serve more than two consecutive mandates. The permanent members of the defunct Security Council are expected to have each two representatives in the EC (privilege can be discarded). No single country can have more than two representatives in the EC. The representatives meet every week to discuss the resolutions adopted by the Parliament and then execute them through the various UN agencies. They can demand amendments if needed. Any EC representative can be impeached by the parliament.
Economic and Social Council
The EC with consultation with the SG and the Speaker elects a council of 50 representatives from the parliamentary delegates. A single member state cannot have more than two representatives in the ECOSOC. Representatives of the ECOSOC maintain their voting power in the parliament. The election of the ECOSOC representatives takes place every two years. The responsibilities of the respective representatives are determined by the EC. Any member who served the ECOSOC for at least four mandates is eligible to be appointed to the EC. The ECOSOC governs the various UN agencies. ECOSOC representatives elect a president among themselves every year.
The International Court of Justice
The ICJ is made up of fifteen judges each elected individually by the parliament and then approved by the EC. Each judge is elected for a period of nine years. The informal rule that the seats are distributed by geographic regions so that there are five seats for Western countries, three for African states (including one judge of francophone civil law, one of Anglophone common law and one Arab), two for Eastern European states, three for Asian states and two for Latin American and Caribbean states is maintained. The five permanent members of the defunct security council are also expected to have at least one judge (privilege can be discarded).
The Audit Committee
The SG and speaker after each EC election has to elect ten of the delegates to The Audit Committee for a period of four years. Once elected, they lose their voting power in the Parliament. Members of the Audit Committee cannot be of the same nationality as any of the members of the EC. The Audit Committee acts independently of the other organs. The Audit Committee members elect a president each year among themselves. The Audit Committee checks whether the UN budget is being implemented correctly.
2. Description of the Model
The main goal of the Rejuvenated United Nation is to switch from an organization responsible for preventing wars to an organization responsible for our evolution into a planetary civilization. The UN was built upon the words, as stated in the preamble of the charter, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…” On the other hand, The rejuvenated UN will be built upon the words “to give succeeding generations a planet with the human development and technological advancement that has so far only brought dreams to mankind…” Two centuries ago, colonial empires ruled the world. It is impossible to know how the world is going to be two centuries from now but for the time being nation states rule the world. And if we want a Rejuvenated United Nations to turn that dream into a reality, it needs to build itself from these nation states.
Under the UN, the 193 countries and the two non-observer states (with one non-voting delegate each) are equal. Although their number of delegates defer in the parliament, all countries have an equal right to address the parliament through their delegates or leaders. Relations between a country’s government and its delegates are expected to be cordial as long as international matters are concerned and the UN will not interfere in the relations between countries and their delegates. Before each parliamentary election, each country must present the list of its delegates along with the delegate team to the Secretariat. Countries will be working with all the organs and agencies of the UN. In case, the UN is taking some actions within any country’s territory and the country feels its sovereignty threatened, the country can present a resolution to oppose these actions. In case, the resolution does not pass, the country can demand an enquiry by the ICJ. In addition, countries should keep diplomatic relations among themselves outside the UN. As long as there is mutual respect between the countries and the lives of civilians is not at risk, the UN will not interfere in minor diplomatic tensions. Likewise, the UN will not interfere in domestic policies of a country unless there is a clear crime against humanity. However, if a particular country demands that the UN help in the restructuring or the upgrading of its institutions, the UN will study the case and help as far as possible. The UN will also help countries through its various organs and agencies or with the help of other institutions during a financial or environmental crisis.
Beyond Member States
Any modern and efficient government works in collaboration with the private sector, NGOs and other organizations. Likewise, the UN as a global government will have to do so. The UN does not favor any of these organizations just like it does not favor any of it Member States but sometimes working with intergovernmental organizations may prove to be more fruitful in achieving global peace than working with individual countries. For example, the UN can work in collaboration with the African Union in order to solve the famine crisis in various African countries. The UN will also work with non-governmental international organizations such as The International Olympic Committee for the promotion of sports as a mean to consolidate international unity. The UN may also enter into partnership with businesses whether they are local or international in order to achieve its objectives. These partnerships and collaborations may not necessarily involve the individual Member States or the UN organs but can be done through the various UN agencies. The UN should present itself as the platform for all these organizations to work together and in collaboration with Member States.
Member States will be represented by their chosen delegates and as mentioned earlier, the election of delegates is the responsibility of the country and not the UN. As such, some countries may opt for choosing their delegates themselves, others may instead opt for holding elections where citizens will vote for the delegates, or even have a combination of both.
A delegate is the voice of a country in the parliament and they are appointed to work in the interest of that country and its people. However, they may interest themselves in issues regarding other countries and the international community as well. Any delegate can present a resolution (a proposal) to the parliament with the approval of their country. In case, their country rejects that proposal, they must have the approval of any other twenty delegates in order to present it. Delegates who are representatives of the EC or the ECOSOC can only present resolutions approved by their respective organ without the need for approval from their country. Representatives of the Audit Committee cannot present resolutions but they can always ask questions if approved by the Audit Committee (without the need for country approval). The Speaker cannot present a resolution or vote. Delegates can also talk to the parliament or give their opinions on a resolution. A delegate is expected to report their work to their respective countries and delegate team. If a delegate wishes to act independently of their country on a certain resolution, they may do so but only on that particular resolution. It is expected that after the voting process, they will continue to work with their country and delegate team.
A delegate serves their six years term and cannot be removed from their position neither by the UN nor their country. If a delegate dies or chooses to resign, the country has to elect another delegate to complete the term. A delegate can be prosecuted by the ICJ or any national court or international court.
For more effective functioning of the parliament, each country must have a delegate team. The delegate team is composed of all delegates from that particular country as well as other diplomats. The delegate team can be of any size and is financed by the country and not the UN. Members of the EC, ECOSOC and the Audit Commission may not be in the delegate teams. Each delegate team must have a delegate leader who should be a delegate of the parliament. The election of the delegate leader is to the discretion of the country. Countries having only one delegate must have a delegate team too with the only delegate being de jure delegate leader. The delegate leader also acts as the whip to the delegate team and has the responsibility to negotiate with delegate leaders from other countries in order to facilitate the working of the parliament. Furthermore, the delegate leader gathers the questions of their respective delegates and submit them to the Speaker before any session. The duties of the other diplomats in the delegate team are assigned by the respective country. They are there to help the delegates in their work but in no way are supposed to interfere with the working of the parliament.
The primary function of the delegate team is for a country to give each of its delegate a specific duty where they are more competent. For example, a country with five delegates may have the first delegate as delegate leader, the second one responsible for economic matters, the third one for geopolitical matters, the fourth one for trade issues and the last one for cultural matters.
The parliament is the only organ where all the member states are represented. As the number of delegates is a demographic and economic reflection of various nations, it will be certainly be the place where each individual in the world should find themselves represented. Thus, the parliament will act as the main organ of the rejuvenated UN and it will be the first to be implemented during the transition.
The parliament is going to work according to the following algorithm:
(i) Delegate leaders, The EC president, The ECOSOC president, independent delegates (with the condition mentioned above) submit their proposals and questions to the Speaker
(ii) The Speaker dispatches these proposals to the required delegates or UN organs or officials and make them public
(iii) The Speaker includes the resolution proposal in the calendar of a coming sitting
(iv) The resolution proposal is presented in one or more parliamentary sitting
(v) The resolution proposal is debated
(vii) The voting takes place
(viii) If the resolution is passed and the EC does not demand a supermajority vote, then the resolution will have to be executed by the EC
(ix) If the resolution fails and requires a second reading if amendments are made, the algorithm is repeated
The parliament can only work if there is a quorum of at least one third of the total number of delegates. Any delegate leader may ask the Speaker to make a quorum call. In case a quorum is not present during three consecutive sessions, the Speaker has to suspend the parliament and organize a meeting with the SG, EC President and delegate leaders of major countries in order to find a solution as soon as possible. All debates taking place within the walls of the parliament are recorded in a Hansard which is made public.
Ideally a tripartite system of global governance is set to be achieved but the current world order will not allow such a system to be stable. Hence, the parliament, as the legislative branch, will act as the main organ of the UN. Here are some of the functions of the parliament:
(i) Provide an equal voice for every member state and work closely with each of them
(ii) Make sure that every human being on Earth is being represented by at least one delegate
(iii) Pass resolutions in order to solve international problems
(iv) Give specific duties to the other organs
(v) Voting the UN budget
(vi) Electing the Speaker, Secretary General and the Executive Council
(vii) Impeaching high officials of the UN via a supermajority
A resolution can be either internal or universal and it must be clear in its formulation under which category it falls. Internal resolutions are only enforced upon the UN organs and does not require the participation of any country in its implementation. Universal resolutions require the participation of all countries and falls under international law. A resolution must contain a title, preambles and operative clauses. The whole resolution proposal must be submitted to the Speaker before the sitting and the whole resolution must be made public.
During a sitting, the delegate (presenter) will do a short presentation of their resolution and then are going to defending it during the questioning. The questioning is done in two phase. Phase one gives the opportunity to delegates who are not representatives of any other organ to ask there submitted questions. The presenter will then answer to these questions. No additional questions will be allowed by the Speaker. A single country cannot have more than three questioners on a single resolution proposal and an independent delegate can only have one submitted question (approved by twenty other delegates) and a supplementary question. Delegates or delegate teams may withdraw their questions if it is deemed necessary. The second phase allows only delegates who are representatives of other organs to ask their questions. First they will ask their submitted questions which can be followed by additional questions. The EC have a maximum of ten questioners while the ECOSOC and Audit Committee have a maximum of five and two questioners respectively.
After all questions have been answered, the presenter is allowed to have a summing up of ten minutes. Then, the resolution proposal is subject to voting. Voting delegates can vote For the resolution, Against it or Abstain. If the resolution was approved by a majority, the EC may contest the results and demand a supermajority. The EC may also contest the result(if it was voted with a majority) demanding that an amendment is made to the resolution proposal. In that case, a second reading will be required. The next voting takes place during the next session. If a resolution is not passed, it cannot be resubmitted to the parliament unless major changes are made. Once resubmitted, it is considered as a new resolution proposal.
A resolution is a very powerful and important document. It has the power to change the internal structure of the UN, to amend International laws and to give the other organs instructions in performing their work. Thus, those organs can propose their resolutions too to the parliament to facilitate their work. These resolutions will undergo the same process as any other resolution.
Parliamentary sessions and sittings
As the main organ of the UN, the Parliament is not only a place for passing resolutions or to debate them, it is also a place to consolidate international peace and global governance. Thus, delegates may make speeches to their colleagues. They must first inform the Speaker about their topic and length of the speech so that it can be included in the calendar. Delegates may talk about present resolutions or coming resolutions or they may just talk about a new issue. At any time, leaders of any of the Member States may make a request to make a speech to the parliament. The Speaker will then find a date and time in the calendar for this speech. The UN will no longer be a place just for geopolitics. The UN should be inclusive. It should be a platform for the whole world to express itself. As such, the UN will invite messengers of peace to talk to the parliament. Messengers of peace include people who have excelled in sports, arts, science, literature and popular culture. The UN, through its agencies, will also increase its number of goodwill ambassadors in order to reach the maximum of people around the world. These goodwill ambassadors will be invited to give speeches to the parliament too. Once again every speech made within the walls of the parliament is made public through a Hansard.
The Speaker is the third highest ranked UN official after the Secretary General and the Executive Council President. Any of the delegates (which is not a representative of the EC or ECOSOC) can be candidate to be Speaker except if they are the sole delegate of their country. To submit their candidacy, they must have the support of fifty other delegates. Each voting delegate has one vote during these elections. The candidate with the most votes is elected Speaker. The Speaker will be allocated an office with a staff to help them in their job. The Speaker will also appoint a deputy Speaker from the delegates who are not representatives of the other organs. The function of the Speaker is to make the parliament work as efficiently as possible. The Speaker will be responsible for the working calendar of the parliament. In case of an emergency, the Speaker may extend the working hours of the Parliament. The Speaker may as well set up an additional sitting on another day. In case the Speaker dies or resigns, the Deputy Speaker will be elected as new Speaker and will remain in that position until the term ends. A Speaker can only be removed from office by impeachment.
Elections are held every two years. There are seven main elections in the Rejuvenated UN:
(i) Delegate elections
(ii) Election for the post of Speaker
(iii) Election for the post of Secretary General
(iv) Executive Council elections
(v) Economic and Social council elections
(vi) Audit Committee elections
(vii) ICJ judges elections
Every two years, about one-third of seats in the parliament are contested through elections. Since the total number of delegates in the parliament will not be a fixed number(around 600), it is impossible to determine exactly how many seats are going to be contested in advance as during the US senate elections. The simple rule is that after a term of six years, a delegate seat will become vacant. Therefore, the country will need to either renew this seat or elect a new delegate. Typically, a country with three or more delegates will have about one-third of their seats contested during every elections while countries with one or two delegates will only be troubled by elections every six years. Two weeks are dedicated every two years for elections. The elections for delegates are done last thus giving every delegate at least two years for them to know each other before electing one among themselves to an important position. If the six years term of a delegate expires in the parliament while they are a representative of another organ, they shall not lose their seat in the parliament until their mandate with that organ ends.
The elections for the post of SG and Speaker are done during the same year. Likewise, The elections for the EC and Audit Committee are done in the same year(which should not coincide with the elections of the SG and Speaker). The election for the Audit Committee is done after the election for the EC thus eliminating any candidate who has a compatriot in the EC. The elections for the ECOSOC is done every two years before all the other elections are done. As far as the election of judges of the ICJ are concerned, the current process will only be slightly changed. In other words, candidates are first nominated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration then a majority of the parliament will approve of the candidate followed by an approval by the EC. Judges are to serve for nine years and the current system already makes sure that one third of the seats are contested every three years.
"The United Nations is what member nations made it, but within the limits set by government action and government cooperation, much depends on what the Secretariat makes it... [it] has creative capacity. It can introduce new ideas. It can, in proper forms, take initiatives. It can put before member governments findings which will influence their actions"
– Dag Hammarskjold
The Secretariat in its present form is responsible for the coordination between the different organs. In the Rejuvenated UN, the secretariat will keep this function. However, since the other organs will be changing, it will also undergo some changes too. The parliament will act as the brain of the UN making the thinking process while the EC will act as its limbs making the actions. In this analogy, the secretariat will play the role of the spine.
One of the main purpose of the Secretariat is to make sure that the other organs are respecting the powers bestowed upon them by the UN charter. Although the Secretariat doesn’t have the authority to vote resolutions or execute them, it will have the duty to give its opinion to the other organs concerning the priorities of the UN. The Secretariat will also continue to supervise the various offices and departments such as the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations respectively. However, each office and department will have at least one EC representative also responsible for supervising the work. Besides, the Secretariat is responsible for running elections in the UN, to take care of the premises and other administrative work.
The Secretariat will also act as the treasury of the UN with the SG being the chief treasurer. Thus, the organ will have to determine how much money the UN needs from each member state to properly run for the coming year after the presentation of the budget by the EC president. In addition, the secretariat will run an emergency fund which should be at least ten percent of the budget. The emergency fund can be financed by any member state, non-governmental organization or philanthropic association. Money from this fund will be used only in a situation of global or transnational emergency such as war, a natural calamity, a pandemic, amongst others.
There will be no other UN official that will individually hold as much power as the Secretary General. Since with great powers come great responsibilities, the SG must be carefully chosen. The SG is elected by the following algorithm:
(i) The EC representatives will secretly study all possible candidates and make a list of five finalists.
(ii) This list will be made public and member states will be encouraged to give their opinions secretly to the EC.
(iii) Ultimately, the EC will select the final candidate as SG and deputy SG among the five.
(iv) A majority approval by the parliament elects the candidate as Secretary General along with the proposed Deputy SG.
(v) If the candidate is not elected by the parliament, the process is repeated from the beginning
The main function of the Secretary General follows from the functions of the Secretariat. However, the SG will also act as an advisor to the EC and the parliament. If the SG feels that a resolution must be urgently voted, they may ask the Speaker to change the calendar in order to make that resolution go on the floor as soon as possible. The SG can also call for an emergency meeting of the parliament. On the opening session of the parliament every year, the SG will have to present the accomplishments of the UN during the last year and will talk about the objectives of the UN in the coming year.
The Executive Council as the name suggest will be the Executive branch of the Rejuvenated UN. In other words, it will be organ which will replace the Security Council. The EC will be made up of 30 representatives which will be elected by the other organs as follows:
(i) The ICJ elects three of their former judges to the EC. This decision is final and cannot be contested by the other organs. Two judges from the same country cannot be elected.
(ii) The ECOSOC elects three of their representatives, who has already served at least four mandates, to the EC. Once again, this decision cannot be contested by other organs and two representatives from the same country cannot be elected.
(iii) To be a candidate from the parliament, a delegate needs the approval of their delegate team plus the approval of twenty other delegates from other countries. A single country cannot have more than three candidates. If a country already has two representatives elected from the ICJ and ECOSOC, they cannot place any more candidate
(iv) The candidates have to present their objectives as EC representative to the parliament and the parliament immediately votes. If they have a majority, they are qualified for the next round
(v) Voting during this round will be secret. Each parliamentary delegate (voting and nonvoting) will be able to rank the candidates according to their preference on the ballot
(vi) The candidates are then elected one by one using the single-transferable voting mechanism. Here the quota to be elected will calculated using the Droop formula, that is, dividing the total number of delegates by twenty-five and then adding one to the result
(vii) Firstly, only candidates from countries of the defunct Security Council are considered, allowing each one to have at least two representatives in the EC. All of the non-elected candidates from these countries are eliminated and their votes redistributed
(viii) Secondly, only candidates from countries with more than ten delegates are considered, allowing each one to have at least one representative in the EC
(ix) Finally, all the remaining candidates are considered and they are elected one by one having their votes redist