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Экология The United Nations
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TheUnited Nations (UN) is the best-known international organization. Its special characteristics distinguish it from most others; for instance, its membership includes almost all independent states. The end of the Cold War helped the cause of universality, when in 1991 Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, North Korea, and South Korea—long denied a place in the UN—finally gained —admission, and the next year the breakup of the Soviet Union enabled the newly independent fourteen non-Russian republics of the former Soviet Union to join also. With the 1994 entry of the tiny state Palau, the organization reached 185 members, and will probably grow further when and if longstanding controversies about the status of potential new members are settled (see Focus 6.1)

In addition to its nearly universal membership, the United Nations is also a multipurpose organization. As Article 1 of the United Nations Charter states, its objectives are to:

· maintain international peace and security;

· develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples;

· achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all;

· function as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

These ideals have carried the United Nations into nearly every corner of the complex network of interstate relations. Its conference machinery has become permanent; it has provided a mechanism for the management of international conflict; and it has become involved in a broad range of global welfare issues.

Peace and security figured prominently in the thinking of those responsible for creating the United Nations and its predecessor, the League of Nations. Following each twentieth-century global war, world leaders have created new institutions to keep peace. The liberal conviction that war is not inevitable but can be eliminated by reforming the anarchical structures that encourage it inspired both efforts. The first, the League of Nations, sought to prevent a recurrence of the catastrophic First World War by replacing the balance-of-power system with one based oncollective security[32]. When it failed to restrain Germany, Japan, and Italy during the 1930s, the League collapsed.

At the start of World War II the U.S., British, and Russian allies began planning for a new international organization—the United Nations—to maintain the postwar peace after victory. However, faith in the United Nations' ability to maintain international peace and security quickly eroded. The world organization soon became paralyzed by the unforeseen Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The five major powers allied during World War II against Germany and Japan (the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China) became permanent members of the Security Council and reserved the right to veto its actions. This formula reflected the assumption that the major powers would act together to provide global collective security. Consequently, unanimous agreement among the five permanent members was essential, for without it the council would be deadlocked and no action could occur. As it turned out, that cement was seldom reached.

False Start: The United Nations during the Cold War

Security Council rapidly fell victim to the Cold War. Between 1945 and 1955, the Soviet Union exercised its veto power seventy-seven times to prevent action on matters with which it disagreed. In all, it accounted for three-fourths of the 149 vetoes cast in the first three decades of the UN's existence. But obstruction did not come from the Soviet Union alone. During the UN’s formative period, the United States did not have to veto Security Council actions it opposed because it could count on its "hidden veto" by easily persuading a sufficient majority of other allied council members to, vote negatively so as to avoid the stigma of casting the single blocking vote. This ability derived from the composition of the Security Council, on whose nine (later fifteen) members the United States could easily depend to provide a pro-Western majority. When the UN’s membership grew and that support was no longer assured, the United States itself became obstructionist, and after 1970 began to veto resolutions with which it disagreed. By the time the Cold War ended in 1991, the United States had exercised its veto power seventy-two times, twice as often since 1966 is all other permanent council members combined. As a result, the Security Council was often paralyzed, as vetoes severely restricted the UN's ability to undertake collective action. This impotence was aggravated by repeated financial crises caused by both superpowers' refusal to pay their mandated fees. Together, the East-West conflict and chronic financial problems during the Cold War destroyed the UN's capacity to operate as its creators had hoped.

The growing UN membership also reduced its capacity for concerted action. As its size increased, the organizations membership became less homogeneous. This process increased sharply with the Fifteenth General Assembly in 1960, when seventeen new states joined the United Nations, nearly all of them African. By 1985 well over half of the organizations members came from Africa and Asia, whereas in 1945 less than one-fourth came from these two regions, and their domination has increased since. Thereafter, the Third World increasingly dominated the United Nations, giving rise to the North-South dispute. Between 1960 and 1990, the United Nations experienced considerable disunity, which proved to be a great obstacle to collective UN action.

Fresh Start? The United Nations after the Cold War

The three barriers to the UN's performance—great-power rivalry, insufficient funds, and disunity—were somewhat reduced when the ColdWar ended. The great powers on the Security Council at last began to set aside their differences in order to maintain international peace. How far the United States and the Soviet Union had progressed became strikingly clear in 1990 when they joined forces to organize a collective UN effort to turn back Iraq's aggression in Kuwait. With Russia's repudiation of communism, collaborative crisis-management activities increased exponentially. The former antagonists' new cooperative attitude and renewed efforts to empower the United Nations to preserve world order and promote global prosperity were reflected in their mutual advocacy ofconsensus decision making[33] in the Security Council and their resurrection of the moribund Military Staff Committee.

Bolstered by the Security Councils demonstration of "the capacity to initiate collective measures essential for the maintenance of peace in a new world order" (Russett and Sutterlin 1991), as well as the Clinton administration’s endorsement of what former UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright termed "assertive multilateralism”, the prospects for an enhanced UN role appeared promising. However, as the UN’s delayed and weak peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and elsewhere illustrated, huge obstacles remained to orchestrating a response to the awesome challenges facing the global community, especially the rampant ethnic warfare and genocide breaking out within many failed states[34]throughout the world in the 1990s. As Secretary General Boutros-Ghali lamented in August 1995, "Everywhere we work, we are struggling against the culture of death." Hope for the UN's effectiveness dimmed, its limitations perhaps rooted in the ways it is organized for its ambitious and wide-ranging purposes.

The Organization of the United Nations: System and Structure

The Security Council is one of six principal organs established by the United Nations Charter; the others are the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice. In the General Assembly—the only organ that represents all the member states—decision making follows the principle of majority rule, with no state given a veto.

Unlike the Security Council, which is empowered by the UN Charter to initiate actions including the use of force, the General Assembly can only make recommendations. The founders of the United Nations did not foresee that this limited mandate would later be expanded to allow the General Assembly to participate with the Security Council in managing security. The General Assembly .is also now the primary body for addressing social and economic problems, which have grown in number and importance.

In response to the challenge of managing these global problems, the United Nations has evolved into an extraordinarily complex set of political institutions. The United Nations also often relies heavily on the many non-governmental organizations it helps to fund that are not under its formal authority. This involvement blurs the line between governmental and non--governmental functions. Examples include the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations for Population Fund Activities, and the United Nations University, which fulfill their missions in part through nongovernmental organizations. Thus, today the United Nations is not one organization but a decentralized conglomerate of countless committees, bureaus, boards, commissions, centers, institutes, offices, and agencies. If any of these occupies a central role in the overall structure of the United Nations, it is the General Assembly.

The increase in UN bodies and activities paralleled the growth of international interdependence and cross-cutting linkages since World War II, and the ways in which the UN's growing membership used it to accomplish their own aims. Countries in the Global South, for instance—seizing advantage of their growing numbers under the one-state, one-vote rules of the General Assembly - began to guide UN involvement in directions of particular concern to them. This was reflected in the enormous growth of diverse affiliated agencies created to address the full array of the world's problems and needs.

The Global South countries' use of the UN forum to further their aims and interests regarding decolonization and economic development contrasted with the U.S. view of the United Nations as a platform for pursuing its own Cold War strategies. During the 1970s the United States suffered a series of defeats: In 1971 the General Assembly voted to seat Communist China. In 1974 the General Assembly extended permanent observer status to the Palestine Liberation Organization against U.S. opposition. In 1975 the General Assembly went on record branding Zionism "a form of racism and racial discrimination." And in 1983 the United States was the target of an overwhelmingly approved resolution deploring the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

This era of struggle between the Global South and the United States shifted when the Cold War ended. Although control of UN peacekeeping operations and financial support of UN operations no longer divided the Global North and the Global South in the same way they routinely did when the United States (and the Soviet Union) had a singular military agenda in mind and the developing countries had a quite different social, economic, and environmental one, differences remained. Today the less developed Global South countries continue to resist domination by the Global North even while protesting that the Global North increasingly ignores its needs.

North-South differences over perceived priorities are most clearly exhibited in the heated debate over the UN’s budget. This controversy centers on how members should interpret the organizations Charter, which states that "expenses of the Organization shall be borne by the members as apportioned by the General Assembly."

The UN budget consists of three distinct elements: the regular budget, the peacekeeping budget, and the budget for voluntary programs. States contribute to the voluntary programs and some of the peacekeeping activities as they see fit. The regular program and some of the peacekeeping activities are subject to assessments.

The precise mechanism by which assessments have been determined is complicated, but historically assessments were generally allocated according to states' capacity to pay. Thus the United States, which had the greatest resources, contributed 25 percent of the regular UN budget, whereas several dozen extremely poor members paid the minimum (0.01 percent of the regular budget). The United States was also the prime contributor to UN peacekeeping and voluntary programs.

Resistance to this budgetary formula for funding UN activities has always existed. It has grown progressively worse, in large part because when the General Assembly apportions expenses, it does so according to majority rule. The problem is that those with the most votes (the less developed countries) do not have the money, and the most prosperous countries do not have the votes. Consider how wide these disparities had grown by comparing UN budget assessments and relative voting strengths in the General Assembly, based on the UN scale of assessments approved in December 1997 for the UN’s 185 members between 1998 and 2000. The eight largest contributors to the United Nations will command only eight votes, although they are expected to pay 70 percent of its costs. At the other end of the spectrum, the poorest members, who collectively are asked to pay only 30 percent of UN costs, will command 177 votes. This long-standing situation, of course, led to many fierce financial disputes between the more numerous developing countries that wielded considerable influence over the kinds of issues on which the UN’s attention and resources were focused, and the great powers' growing concern about the UN’s priorities, administrative efficiency, and expenses. The wealthy members questioned if the payment formula was fair. They asked, did the existing budget procedures institutionalize a system of taxation without fair representation? The critics countered with the argument that the great-power members should bear financial responsibilities commensurate with their wealth and influence.

At issue, of course, was not simply money (which remained, with a 1998 total regular assessment at the comparatively paltry sum of less than $3 billion), but differences in images of what was important and which states should have political influence. Poor states argue that needs should determine expenditure levels rather than the other way around. Major contributors, sensitive to the amounts asked of them and the purposes to which the funds are put, did not want to pay for programs they opposed. The United States, in particular, was the most vocal about its dissatisfaction, and in the early 1990s refused to pay its assessments, and was still $1.3 billion in arrears in 1998. This obstructionism about how much the United States should pay was not inconsistent with past U.S. retributive policy. Earlier, the United States had gone even further to register its disapproval with what it saw as the anti-Western drift of many UN bodies by withdrawing from its membership in them. In the 1970s, for example, the Carter administration left the International Labour Organization in an attempt to influence the direction of its policies, and during the Reagan administration the United States also withdrew from the 159-member UN­ESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in response to what it regarded as the politicization of the body and its hostility toward Western values (including, in particular, freedom of communication), thereby depriving UNESCO of one-fourth of its budget.

Even though the Global South countries usually managed to set the agenda in the General Assembly, like the United States they also regularly failed to pay for it or to spend time lobbying for political support from other important UN groups. In fact, in the 1990s about 90 percent of the Global South members were also in arrears.

Amidst these chronic cash-flow problems and rising complaints about the UN's "bloated bureaucracy" and inefficient administration, the largest contributor, the United States, refused to pay its financial obligations, and fell into arrears nearly $2 billion, on average, annually between 1993 and 1998. The U.S. Congress introduced legislation that sought to unilaterally lower the American contribution from 31 to 25 percent for peacekeeping, and in early 1997 passed 3 new law that would have cut the U.S. regular assessment by stages from 25 to 20 percent. At the same time, as a price for its continuing participation, the United States demanded massive streamlining reforms in the UN's budget, organization, and staff. Because the United Nations could not survive without the United States, it was in a good position at the time to get its requests for reorganization accepted. As one official put it, "It may happen that countries just throw up their hands and start to give in to the United States—the Europeans would be the first to go—if only just to keep the place rolling" (Economist, July 19, 1997).

In response to the crisis this pressure created. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced a "quiet revolution" of consolidation, delegating, and personnel cuts for the programs under his control, to reduce costs, correct corruption and waste, and allow for greater administrative efficiency. This included a $123 million reduction in the 1998-1999 biennium budget on the heels of a four-year freeze and the elimination of one thousand posts above the nearly two thousand positions previously cut (from twelve thousand in 1985) to reduce the staff an additional 25 percent, from ten thousand in 1996 to eight thousand. In addition, as a component of the highly detailed document entitled Renewing the United Nations: A Programme for Reform, Annan also begged the General Assembly to establish a commission to revise the mandates of the specialized agencies that are beyond his authority to reform (these kinds of changes require decisions by member states), and proposed that the members convene a Millennium Assembly in 2000 with a companion Peoples Assembly :o define the twenty-first-century policy agenda and procedures for the UN. These massive reforms also cut the Secretariats administrative costs by one-third, from 38 percent of the regular budget to 25 percent by 1999-2000, cutting the savings into a development fund for poor countries. The overall budget was reduced to about $2.5 billion in 1998 and 1999, while holding the U.S. share to 25 percent; reducing Russia's (to 2.87 percent); increasing Japan’s (to 20.6 percent), Germany's (to 9.6 percent), and Italy’s (to 5.4 percent); and keeping China’s below 1 percent. The reorganization plan merges the score of disparate programs into five categories and creates the UN’s first Deputy Secretary General (Louise Frechette). The new budget formula for the 185 members agreed to in December puts the UN financial house on a firmer if leaner foundation.

The future of the United Nations nonetheless remains uncertain. The U.S. Congress continues to resist paying Americans arrears, and turned down a "White House request for several billion dollars for the UN, intended to stop the criticism of the United States as a "deadbeat." The U.S. failure to meet its financial obligations undermines the faith ot both America's friends and toes in the sincerity of fhe U.S. promise to support the UN and further threatens the UN’s frail cohesion. To make matters worse, wide divergences among the General Assembly members continue to pose a well-entrenched obstacle to major changes in the way the UN works. However, given the promise of Kofi Annon’s reform package and budget cutbacks, many supporters feel optimistic about the organization's long-term prospects, because past crises have been overcome and the UNs many important previous contributions to world peace and development have given most countries a large stake in its survival. The great gap between the mandates that the UN's members ordered, and the means they allowed for fulfilling them, may yet be closed, because failure would spell disaster.

The United Nation's Shifting Purposes and Priorities

The history of the United Nations' first fifty years reflects the fact that both rich countries and developing countries have successfully used the organization to promote their own foreign policy goals, and this proud fifty-year record has bred much loyalty and hopeful confidence in the UN's future capacity to manage an ever-changing and growing agenda. The United Nations has been asked to address an expanding set of economic development and other nonmilitary issues, and its adaptive response has generated support from the members that demanded them. For example, the developing countries' interests were recognized in the host of world conferences and special General Assembly sessions held since the early 1970s, even if these conferences frequently became forums for heated exchanges between North and South that limited their global problem-solving capability.

In the twenty-first century, the United Nations is likely to continue to play an active role in both the area of social and economic enhancement and in that of peace and security. However, the prospects for future UN peacekeeping are uncertain, and the capacity for the globe’s most powerful IGO to "identify, and focus on, what the United Nations can do best" (Boutros-Ghali 1995) in the social and economic realm is likely to be severely tested. The challenge will be great, because the United Nations is expected to serve the economic and social development needs of 185 states and 6 billion people with less money than the annual budget for New York State University (UNDP 1997, 93). In the last analysis, the United Nations can be no more than the mandates and power that the member states give to it. As one high-level UN civil servant, Brian Urquhart, described the world’s political dilemma, "Either the UN is vital to a more stable and equitable world and should be given the means to do the job, or peoples and governments should be encouraged to look elsewhere. But is there really an alternative?"

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Secretary General Kofi Annan's Reform Proposal for Administration of the United Nations

To offset criticism and restore the United Nations to a sound financial footing that most members would likely fund, Secretary-General Kofi Annan pleaded in 1998, "Give us the tools and we will do the job." His pleas were heard, and he won acceptance for nearly all of his proposals to reorganize and streamline the many UN agencies under his authority. The cost-saving reforms "downsized" the organizational chart under a cabinet-style managerial chain of command, including the appointment of a French Canadian, Youise Prechette, as the first Deputy Secretary General in the UN’s history. The reform package reorganized the UN's huge network of separate agencies, as this administrative restructuring chart prepared by the UN shows.

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