UN Reform: The case for global rule-of-law and police organisation
As the most important international organisation in the world, the UN has to be reformed for the future to make new efforts for our planet. A crucial part of that development is necessary reforms regarding UN:s work with peace and security. In order for future events to be democratically accepted the current intergovernmental structure and international legislation making should be transformed into a fully representative global governance system via a World Parliament. Such a process should be based on the establishment of global institutions with direct responsibility for human security as when it comes to the worldwide rule of law and law-enforcement agency “by humanity-for humanity”.
Peacekeeping and peace-enforcement
For more than 70 years now, the UN has been involved in peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations. It started with observatory and guarding missions as in Middle-East after the Second World War. Today, the UN is mostly present in Africa as in Congo and Mali when it comes to working with peace and security.
During its history, peacekeeping operations have often been criticised for being problematic, inefficient and even counterproductive. For example, genocides took place in Bosnia and Rwanda while the UN-Security Council was not willing nor able to prevent atrocities from taking place. Such criticism also came to be famous as with the publication of the “Brahimi Report” 20 years ago.
Other problematic examples are regarding the current behaviours when it comes to the contribution of personnel as with soldiers and police officers. The main troop-contributing nations today are from the Global South and dominantly with status as developing countries while richer member stats as from Europe have been reducing their contributions. Such developments have led to the UN being exposed to lack of both financial and human resources.
A critical question for the future is how the UN can be transformed into a better security provider to protect humans and other species across our planet? The current model of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement is still based on intergovernmental approaches, where member states and nations are the ones deciding when and how the UN should act when it comes to peace and security. There are several problems with this approach, including that governments are acting upon interests and behaviours that are seen as national rather than doing necessary actions for climate, humanity and our planet.
The lack of trust and solidarity at the global level.
More people, including different stakeholders as governments, agree that the UN needs to be reformed for the future. However, fewer people agree on how reforms should look like regarding content and institutions. The reform process is not only about the UN itself but also about its member states and us as humans. There are significant problems with lack of trust and solidarity between individuals and governments for several reasons. Among them are geopolitical conflicts and nationalism as between states as India and China.
Historian Yuval Harari is right in his reasoning that without nationalism as in 19th-century humans would have been living in tribal chaos. Still, because of nationalism nations are today behaving as clans and tribes as the global stage. Such is the situation as when it comes to territorial conflicts in South-East Chinese Sea, lack of coordination and cooperation during Corona pandemic or ongoing conflict between Russia and the EU over Ukraine. Thereby, it is hard to make an optimal reform of the UN system when several of its member states regardless if they are democracies or not are operating in egoistic, dysfunctional or deteriorating ways.
In the best-case scenario, certain compromises could be reached, such as when it comes to cooperation between the UN and different regional organisations. Still, the UN will remain far from optimal and far from its ideals from the end of 1940s. Especially when it comes to peacekeeping and peace-enforcement, the UN has not always been acting in accordance with the UN Charter, mainly because different member states were not respecting the Charter nor providing enough support for peace and security globally.
Officially seen, the current reform agenda of UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, including Action For Peace (A4P), is a vital step to solve institutional problems and find new solutions that UN can work with towards the 2030s. Part of the process is that Department of Political Affairs has been transformed into a Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding (DPPA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) into a Department of Peace Operations (DPO). Also, the UN is aiming to develop further the concept of effective multilateralism where the focus is on regional organisations contributing to peace and security as the case is with the African Union as in Mali.
However, changing institutional names and frameworks is not enough. It is essential to keep in mind that despite official progress as via “uniting for peace” and the responsibility to protect principle (R2P) UN is still not able to act enough as in the case of genocidal acts in Burma by the government forces. Therefore, new solutions are still necessary for the future when our world and humanity is more interconnected than ever.
Future reforms have to be democratically approved and focus on all humans.
As a global movement and NGO, Democracy Without Borders are insisting that the UN system needs a radical change by transformation into a global democratic body. Establishment of a World Parliament would not become a global government similar to national governments but alternatively function as a global institution with benefits and responsibility for all humanity.
One solution would be to apply a similar type of multi-level and polycentric governance as in the European Union, which also includes democratic procedures conducted by EU-citizens. A vital part o such process would be the democratically elected World Parliament as a complementary to the current intergovernmental structure of the UN governing system.
Having a global representative democracy also means the existence of a global level rule of law with institutions as the World Court of Justice and the World Police Department in the future. Democratic global governance must be able to be based on principles of human and global security. This approach also includes peace-keeping, to prevent horrible and inhumane actions such as genocide, massive atrocities and war crimes, as well as other types of crime against humanity.
Therefore, a better and democratic solution than the current system for peacekeeping operations would be the establishment of the World Police Department (WPD) that would operate in accordance of global constitutionalism to genuinely protect humans around the world via its mandate, resources and capabilities. For example, the existence of WPD structure would replace the current model where peacekeeping missions are organised on an ad-hoc and temporary basis.
Additionally, the WPD would be responsible not only for peacekeeping missions and operations but also for other aspects such as terrorism, various organised crime as human trafficking, cyber-security etc. Such elements are too important to be analysed and elaborated via democratic procedures which today are lacking at the global level. For example, there is still no genuinely global implementation of dealing with terrorism, partly because governments tend to use the term selectively and opportunistic rather than acting against terrorism as a global problems and risks.
As an institution, the WPD would be own agency able to employ their staff and personnel as police officers. This would mean that WDP is functioning as an institution independent from direct political influence and with direct responsibility for the security of every global citizen. Such a system would be not only democratic the race a but overall improvement of the current system because as a central global public institution, the WPD would be obliged to present its results for the members of the World Parliament and citizens across the world.
Basically, the WPD would have to follow decisions taken by a World Parliament as when it comes to terrorism, organised crime and human security aspects. Comparing to the UN-peacekeeping and other security systems and institutions, the establishment of WPD will mean the following:
- A law enforcement agency with responsibility for global security the rule of law law
- Able to respond when necessary across the world
- Having own academy, personnel and organisational procedures
- Being loyal to humanity and the planet as a global polity
- Fighting against organised crime, terrorism and other problems based on universal values and principles
A necessary “protopia” planetary well-being and stability
Instead of temporary institutions and solutions as with different UN missions, the future of global democratic governance would be based on the existence of permanent rule-of-law institutions at the global level. In the case of the proposed World Police Department, it should be established the under supervision of a democratically elected World Parliament with representatives from all around the world. In principle, such an approach will be necessary because constitutionalism, human rights and rule-of-law are all vital parts of democratic processes for conversations and decision-making.