The Divides in Today’s Societies and How to Overcome Them

The global market economy – our current outlook:

Since 1989, the market economy, aka capitalism, reigns supreme in many forms and disguises globally: social market economy, state-controlled market economy, zombie-capitalism, to name only a few. It has brought economic prosperity to many, but also new forms of marginalisation and economic vulnerabilities to  people in all countries. Economic activities have destroyed our natural resource base, sometimes beyond its ability to renew itself, and it has devalued widely used technologies and technical achievements without necessarily replacing them by better ones. The market economy has left many politically powerless, and is weakening democracy and strengthening authoritarian rules. While the nation state remains globally the entity by which people are governed, the globalised market economy transcends these national borders and has created globally problems, which, however, no global institution has the authority to resolve.

Our current political, philosophical and economic narrative does not give us the means to successfully address today’s challenges. In many countries we see political “clowns” or “harlekins” voted into office, who rebel against the established order,   but they do their havoc on behest of the powers that be. And these are not the peoples of this world, but oligarchs, and super-rich entrepreneurs whose reach into everybody’s life is more powerful than any government. Some time ago the BBC reported that about 6 super-rich managers in the City of London determined the course of the Tory party with regard to the Brexit. What is more important to note, is, that only a few realise that there are forces operating behind the political scene well hidden from public scrutiny.

What could a new outlook be?

We have globally not one, but multiple divides. These divides are social, economic, political and philosophical in nature. If we want to overcome them, our narrative has to accept the complexity and it has to accept the diversity. It has to be built around values, and the knowledge that many means and ways can be employed to address successfully the existing divides. Tolerance as advocated by former German President Joachim Gauck will have to be the centrepiece, with strong intolerance towards all those who defy our values. These values are the canon of human rights. Respect of others and their gender, race, religious beliefs are paramount. Freedom of speech ends where this respect is denied.

Let’s take a look at the complexity of our divides. Surely there are even more divides, such as the age-old gender divide and the divide between the generations. Although we have overcome some of the gender divide since the early 20th century, globally we have not really eliminated them. The struggle between the generations is just heating up over issues like sustainability, e.g. climate change, and care of the elderly. In industrialised countries we struggle to establish nursing services, in the less industrialised countries family support is quickly disappearing and there are no alternatives in sight.

But let’s look at some of the divides and see how they hang together and how they can be addressed.

 The political divide:

The traditional divide between left and right, is becoming more and more meaningless. In particular the social-democrats, haven’t as yet noticed it. Parties further to the left, remain less affected, as they reflect the views of those who believe that the system is wrong, although they are losing grounds to the rebels from the right. The largest groups in the spectrum of views are still those seeking pragmatically solutions through political compromises. But they do not find the words to respond to the provocations and fake information of the right and extreme left.

We live In the post-neoliberal era. Neoliberalism has changed fundamentally the individual outlook of people and their ambitions in life. The trade offs the younger generation is willing to accept in their personal life, are quite different from those of their parents and grandparents. Hence the balance between individual responsibility and solidary, collective responsibility needs to be newly established and calibrated. In particular, not the state should have the operative responsibility for the collective system, but non-commercial, but highly efficient institutions, overseen by state and user representatives, should take over. The state should retain the overall oversight, and ensure that fairness is being observed in the determination of benefits and obligations for the participants in the social security system. State subsidies financed from tax income should come from taxes which are levied on the rich and be given to supplement the benefits of those, who have not acquired a minimum level of benefits. The currently discussed case of topping up retirement benefits of some 1.5 million retirees in Germany to a minimum level and to fund these from a tax on financial transactions, is a good beginning, in spite of all the justified criticism of the current proposal to only levy a tax on purchases of a very limited number of financial transactions. The narrative thus should be: as much individual freedom and self-determination as possible, as much collective responsibility and oversight as necessary to guarantee fairness and social security.

But as these adjustments are being discussed by governments and parliaments, the media focus their attention primarily on the divide between internationalists and nationalists, and in fact mislead the general public. It is not this clash of views which is the most important one in ongoing political debates. As this debate is at times acrimonious, with lots of provocations, even vulgarity and violence, they make easy headlines. Mostly those not in positions of political command or those speaking supposedly in the name of the “powerless” use provocative and vulgar language. But it is not the language, which is used, which is the challenge. It is fake information and fake solutions to our current problems, which are the issue.

It is remarkable in this context to note, that information and knowledge are still being used as a means to gain political influence and power. Previously, information was withheld, as knowledge was power. Publicly, only criticism, which did not threaten the existing order, was permissible. Withholding information by the media and the political powers was grudgingly accepted, but in the age of social media and digitised surveys this has greatly changed. Information is collected and at times manipulated to suit specific interests. The influence, which a company like Cambridge Analytica has yielded not only in the UK, but in elections in 68 countries around the world, is staggering. A President to whom in 3 years 15000 public lies are attributed, does not even care, nor do his supporters. Truth and honesty are a challenge at all times in our personal and in public life. We all live with “white lies”, but the extent to which these are dominating today published information is intolerable. In particular, if and when human rights are being violated. We need to define rules of what constitutes truth and honesty. The current political efforts to make facebook and twitter exercise stricter controls is one step, but we need to take many more. A political debate about a well formulated policy for social media behaviour and use, which is understandable to each and every one, is sourly lacking. As is a policy with regard to technological advances.

The technological divide:

The one technological advance which penetrates all economic sectors and almost all aspects of life, is the digitisation. Understandably, because in all forms of life and activities we need information: reliable, credible, quick and easy to understand. Digital systems help in this regard tremendously. But, they remain means to an end, although it appears in many discussions around digitisation that they are the all determining end.

Hence there is great confusion in the debate, and there is fear by those who receive the “wrong end of the stick” in this development, e.g. they lose their jobs, and are not qualified to assume newly created ones.

The current debate centres around the overpowering market position of a few US American companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. No question this is a problem. Another topic is data safety, cyber attacks and protection of personal data. Again, this is a problem, which begs for solutions. Less often is the focus on the enormous pressure on users to update their hard- and software without necessarily gaining much in terms of improved services. And only marginally is the focus drawn on the waste and vast need for specific raw materials (rare earths), which are mined in many instances under inhuman conditions and often by children. A brief notice went through the established media recently, that the Internet is emitting as much C02 as vehicular traffic. But that was just a flicker, and no discussion arose around this finding.

It is safe to assume that digitisation will continue, and will divide the world into those, who can afford the new instruments and those, who cannot. It is already dividing the world into those, who have access to these emerging technologies and their application, and those, who do not have such access. In particular, rural and remote areas lag behind, although they could benefit the most from the easy access to electronic services. Interestingly enough, China seems to be a rare exception to this general evolution, as the state invests in the needed infrastructure nationwide and rural entrepreneurs use the Internet for marketing agricultural products.

In educational and health services the penetration of digital systems is very spotty, even in wealthy countries. This is contributing to a divide between those, who will be ready for further changes and those, who will not. It will also drive a deep dividing line between those, who have access to up-to-date medical services and those, who do not. In this context it is worth noting, that a) we need to establish minimum standards of access, competency and affordability of digital systems, and b) we need to look out and politically support those developments which can help leapfrog over the dividing lines. African societies are full of examples for such leapfrogging, e.g. mobile banking, but regrettably also for great failures, e.g. electronic voting in general elections.

Therefore what we need, first and foremost, is a political debate and decisions which weigh the advantages and disadvantages of newly emerging technologies, in order to ensure that users feel they control the use of these technologies and not someone or something else.

The socio-economic divide between the rich and the poor:

It is by now a well documented fact, that the rich get richer more quickly than the poor get less poor. Abject poverty has been greatly diminished, but new forms of poverty have emerged. Barriers to escape from social exclusion and economic vulnerability are high and seem to be getting even higher. In wealthy countries social security systems help to protect families from abject poverty, but the overall rate of such vulnerable families in the German society hovers for years around 18 percent. In less wealthy countries with no or only nascent social security systems many young people take matters in their own hands and migrate to the US, Western Europe or the Gulf states. Not all succeed, as we can read in the papers and see on TV every day. The extent of the income divide is well documented. However, what is less well documented are the drivers for the increasing inequality in our societies. Hence, we do not discuss what can be done to block these drivers, and to level the playing field so that many more people get a chance to prosper. In fact, we do not have a consensus on what constitutes prosperity. But as long as we do not have a clear idea about this, we shall continue to experience the current inequalities. Proposals to tax the rich and use such tax revenue for social welfare of the less well off members of the society receive less and less popular support. Besides, in a country like Germany roughly one third of the federal budget is today used for social security and services with limited effect on reducing social inequality. The general scepticism is thus justified. Today’s challenges are asking for new measures; the state has a vital role to play, but maybe less in financial and operative terms. I shall come back to this.

The divide between rich and poor is less a problem of redistributing wealth, but rather to block the influence of private corporate interests on political decisions and the control of corporations over production and consumption patterns. It is more a question of limiting financial speculation and, where it occurs, to skim off part of the exorbitant gains which are being realized, in order to plough those revenues into fostering new economic activities which will bring sustainable production and consumption patterns about.

We shall have to be much smarter and nimbler in finding the right mix between incentives, subsidies, tax breaks on the one hand, and taxes, levies, rules and regulations on what is permissible and what is not, on the other. We need much more information on public and private partnerships, and private non-profit networks which create sustainable production and foster sustainable consumption patterns. We need on a daily basis examples of good practices and a debate how this can be strengthened to such an extent that they become the dominant feature in our economies and societies at large. The agenda 2030 formulated under the auspices of the UN and adopted unanimously by all member states in 2015 is a strong platform, on which we can build such partnerships and policies in the international and national context.

Of course, there is opposition. There is lobbying against such transformative policies. But any politician worth his or her grain will have to be willing to face such opposition and counter vested private interests in the name of the interests of the majority of people. That these can be mobilized, we witness at this moment in many countries around the globe.

Reactions against the existing divides:

People begin to rebel against the current state of affairs and their trends. France, UK, USA, Hong Kong, Middle East, Latin America, to name only those which make it to be headline news. But similar uprisings occur in African countries, in Russia and China. What all these rebellions have in common is the fear of the future, the denial of the present, and the look into a past, which, as they see it, never existed. Furthermore, there is an increasing mistrust in the established public order, and the existing state, and its representatives are no longer given the authority, which, however, they need to function in the interest of the common good.

Closing the divides – rebalancing individual and common interests:

In fact, we have no clear understanding anymore of the common good. We structure the world around us according to our own personal views and interests, but lack the understanding or tolerance of other views and interests. A corollary to this individualized view of the world is that we are fearful that our ways and means are insufficient to rectify the situation. Yet, our starting point has to be confidence, that we can change the situation, and not fear, that we cannot change anything. We should not only provoke the powers that be, while at the same time leaving it to them to find solutions, but we should participate actively in finding solutions.

Confidence will move us forward. Public debates and discussions will be needed, projects and experiments, not only among and with like-minded people, but with those, who hold a different view. More often than not, we may have as a result “we agree, that we disagree”, and we may fail. But eventually, we may reach points where we can see the common interests of us all, and can begin to act on that basis, while also entrusting politicians with the power to guard our common present and future.

„Off to a New Beginning, Moving beyond National Borders“

Rede vor der OLmun 2019 international session

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you for this invitation to address you on the topic of „Off to a new beginning – Moving beyond borders.“

Yes indeed, we need a new beginning of political and diplomatic multilateralism and find ways and means that help us address the problems which transcend national borders. We need new ways which allow us to cooperate among nations in a constructive way. To do so, we need to go back to the origins of the United Nations, we need to recall the letter and in particular the spirit of the UN Charter. Only such a recollection of the original purpose and mission will allow us to make the UN fit for today’s global and international challenges.

The spirit of the UN

The UN was founded in the name of the peoples of this world. According to the charter the United Nations were to free the world of the “scourge of war”, faithfully observe human rights, ensure that international law is respected, so that social progress and better living standards “in larger freedom” can be promoted. In order to achieve this the Charter states: we shall “practise tolerance”, and “live together in peace as good neighbours”. We shall “unite in order to maintain international peace and security”, and “to use armed force only in the common interest”. In addition, the Charter said that an “international machinery” should be set up, which will promote “the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.
I am speaking today to you as a former senior UN official and not in any official capacity. This gives me the liberty to neglect to a large extent Realpolitik and share with you some bold proposals for reform. Such neglect, albeit temporary, is necessary to allow for clear thinking and to worry about the feasibility of these ideas later. In fact, I would like to strike a bargain with you: I give you some ideas, and you translate these ideas into tangible results through your deliberations and decisions at your meeting.

Global Multilateralism

Let me start by stating the obvious: the UN are not the only multilateral organisation which exists today. There are the International Financial Institutions – ie the IMF, the World Bank, and the IFC; WTO, the OECD, the G20 and the G7; and regional groupings like the EU, ASEAN, MERCUSOR, AU, Arab League, CIS, BRICS to mention only a few. Neither is the UN the only global multilateral organisation, e.g. the IMF is a global institution, which even has an advantage over the UN, because it has policy-based financial means at its disposal with which it can enforce its fiscal policies, without, however, always giving due regard to the economic, social and other consequences of such enforced policies. But that is another story for another occasion to talk about.
Still, many believe that the UN is unique in spite of all its shortcomings and that it would have to be invented, if it did not exist. What then makes them unique, and which are the shortcomings which we need to overcome?
As to the uniqueness 4 points come to mind:
1. All internationally recognized nation states are members of the UN.
2. They thus represent almost 100 % of the world population true to the opening statement of the UN Charter “We, the peoples of this world”.
3. All member states have an equal vote whether they represent 500000 people or 1.4 billion people. The UN are thus not leaving any nation state behind in their current voting structure. Besides, the UN decision-making bodies cherish the voting by consensus.
4. Foremost, however, the UN stand for a very specific thinking and a set of values. They stand for settling conflicts through negotiations and compromises, and not through wars, and the UN are built on the respect of the human rights of each and everybody.

Shortcomings in today’s UN

The third and fourth point lead us right into the middle of the shortcomings of the UN. Powerful national leaders of today do not think that diplomatic negotiations and compromises are valuable as political solutions, but consider deal-making and/or military action as more important. They do not believe that the rule of law and the protection of human rights are the best guarantee we have against the abuse of power and the mistreatment of people, but that the protection of self-interest should be our first priority.
What then can be done to overcome such a philosophical divide? The short answer is, we need different political leaders, but that is easier said than done. Therefore, while we wait for having such new leaders elected, let’s review some of advice and reform proposals we might wish to give them.


In national democracies, we give all people above a certain age voting rights, and we establish constituencies, which represent an equal number of such voters. Hence, would we not need to introduce some differentiation to the voting system within the UN? Besides, in national elections we have political parties as a transmission mechanism between the general voting population and the eventual representation in parliament. Hence, do the governments of nation states still suffice as such transmission mechanisms in the UN? Of course, we have groupings among the member states, such as the Group of 77 and China, regional groupings, the LDCs, SLC, SIC and the like, but can we consider them to be adequate in terms of representing different interests and views among the peoples of this world? There are ideas to establish a global parliament which would have representation based on population size. Is this feasible or at least desirable as an additional UN body?

Delegation of Authority

In the Security Council the situation is different. There, not all 15 members are equal, although they still all have one vote. But 5 countries have a permanent seat und have a more important voting power than the other members. They can exercise a veto. When they do, this normally means negotiations stop and a planned resolution is dead, although the General Assembly can assume direct responsibility of the issue, if 2/3 of the member states vote for such an action. But let me add, it is not the veto as such which is the stumbling block, it is the fact, that such vetos are cast in an effort to block a specific view by one or the other permanent member. In particular the European members and non-permanent members of the Council have developed many informal mechanisms to work around these clashes between the US and Russia/China, the council will only develop its rightful watchdog function, and take authoritative decisions, if and when these clashes can be overcome. I shall come back to this.

Global Developments

In many ways, the system did hold during the decades of the Cold War, as no global military conflict erupted, but only among and within smaller nations, although in many cases these were proxy wars, having the two blocks supporting different camps from behind the scenes. Some attribute the avoidance of a global war to the existence of the atomic bomb. This threat certainly played an important role, but I believe it was also the possibility of leaders from both blocks to meet in the UN and speak freely.
When in 1989 the Soviet Union collapsed and with it the Soviet Block, free market economies and neoliberalism became the dominant political philosophy with global free trade and large multinational corporations with direct foreign investments in many countries. At the same time the East West impasse over human rights appeared to have been overcome in the Vienna Conference on Human Rights in 1993. The UN under the leadership of Kofi Annan attempted to develop a blueprint for global development through a series of international conferences and the Millennium Summit in 2000. The aim of these conferences was to uphold human rights as the guiding value, and to create social justice while at the same time managing the use of natural resources sustainably. While all conferences ended with a consensual result, the adherence to the decisions were, let’s say, spotty. Technically all the UN summits of the 1990s adopted normative outcome documents/resolutions; some of which with mechanisms for measuring progress along agreed targets and some with binding conventions such as the CRC and some ILO conventions. In parallel there were a number of soft law agreements.

Now, 30 years later, the ground is shifting again; but this time we witness that the UN is unable to uphold the spirit of the UN and oblige member states to stick to existing international law and the UN charter. It is not that today there are no forces within and around the UN committed to the spirit and letter of the UN charter, but political leaders, who say, my country’s interests have priority over all international and global interests and concerns, occupy the main stage of international politics. Which camp will become the decisive force and shape today’s and future world politics is too early to say. But what we most likely shall see is the strengthening of non-governmental forces, such as civil society networks on the one hand and big business on the other and many other actors in-between. They all will bring strong pressure on national governments. What will be the outcome of this interplay of different forces, let’s say in 10-15 years from now, is too early to say, but in five points I would like to summarize what the current result of this interplay of forces is:

1. Neoliberalism and economic globalization have created incredible wealth concentrated in the hands of a small number of families and countries, while at the same time alleviating a great part of abject poverty. Acute income poverty decreased between 1995 and 2013, when measured at the global level, but, both in relative and absolute terms, they increased in South Asia and Subsaharan Africa, although in all regions life expectancy and educational levels were raised. These developments are coupled with the depletion of most of the planet’s natural resources beyond their capacity of renewal and are causing global warming which is as yet not under control.
2. Neoliberalism and economic globalisation have promoted and even accelerated the development of new technologies, and unleashed a wave of digital applications which create unknown opportunities, but also great disparities within and among countries.
3. The difference between the haves and the have-nots is growing, to an unprecedented extent. As 1% of the world’s population have the same wealth as 50 % who live on this planet, the rich perpetuate unsustainable economic activities, in particular unsustainable production and consumption and this in turn is limiting equal opportunities for an ever-growing number of people. The most dynamic among those seek opportunities for themselves and their families as migrants and often work and live under trying circumstances. With their remittances they often sustain the economies of their regions or countries of origin.
4. These developments and changes in the demography create a widespread sense of insecurity and fear among many people in many countries, which in turn lead to nationalistic, xenophobic and racist political trends. We experience a growing defiance of the principles of human rights and respect for the agreements which most countries have ratified. Hundreds of human rights defenders/climate activists/journalists are imprisoned, tortured or even murdered each year.
5. Since the late 1980s each year there are around 50 armed conflicts ongoing in the world, with no end to these military fighting in sight. And even, when the Security Council unites and passes a resolution to end these conflicts, little, if anything is achieved. Although we need to acknowledge that there would be an even greater number of armed conflicts, if it were not for the many UN led peace-keeping missions around the globe, the uncontrolled fighting and terrorist attacks are putting a large number of civilians in deadly danger.
Clearly these trends are against the UN Charter.

The UN response to date

What have the UN, the secretariat and the member states, done to counteract these negative global trends?
One important step was the globally led discussion through national, regional and global consultations and through the Internet, and the formulation of the Agenda 2030 with its 17 SDGs, targets and indicators, which the General Assembly approved in September 2015. The participants in these consultations were government officials, staff of NGOs and other civil society organisations, individuals of all ages, but in particular young people, pupils and students. They elaborated a social, economic and ecological blueprint for the world. If and when all goals are met, we shall live in a very different world. The agenda is transformative in nature and demands creative and innovative action in all countries. In those countries, where the UN funds and programmes and the specialized organisations like WHO, FAO, ILO are active, they assist in accelerating the transformation. In OECD and/or EU countries necessary actions are left to the national and regional authorities, but not all these countries have as yet taken the Agenda 2030 on board. Germany is just such a case. Much remains to be done in our country as in many other wealthy nations. ECOSOC and the reformed system of UN Resident Coordinators certainly have a crucial monitoring role to play and they will have to point out periodically the achievements or rather the danger of not achieving the agreed goals. But let’s also not overlook that the consensual adoption of the agenda and the 17 goals are non-binding for the member states. Is it thus only a wish list or can it or, at least, should it not be more? Although for all international treaties there are monitoring processes in place, but their power does not reach further than blaming und shaming those who do not fulfil the treaty obligations.

International Cooperation

It is interesting to note that international cooperation with regard to SDG 10, overcoming inequality within and among countries, has until now found the least operational attention. And yet, we do need a global policy debate, how to foster creativity, innovation, change, without, however, continuing the current practice of “winner takes all”. Innumerable studies exist about the various aspects of inequality and inequity, many proposals have been made, in particular with regard to steer funds into those countries, which are disproportionally left behind in the global economy, but I think we are not as yet addressing the root causes of such uneven developments. Getting rich may be glorious, getting super-rich and suffocating all other efforts is a problem. Being individually free to choose your own life style and course, is okay, but if we leave lots of others in the process behind, it becomes a problem. In other words, we need a global debate on how we want to balance, in future, individual pursuits and the pursuit of the common good. In academic circles the debate has begun. One very elaborate and early study is Tony Judt’s “Ill fares the Land”. Of similar interest are the writings by Pickety, Stiglitz, OXFAM and others. But such academic discussions are just beginning to reach the political sphere. For instance the Economic Forum in Davos had a report from an expert group stating that the existing inequality is a major global threat, similar to climate change. The UN organisations, too, have done some thinking in this regard in recent years: UNRISD flagship report 2010 was on inequality, UNDP, World Bank, UN women, DESA reports all have addressed this. The HLPF in July 2019 is dedicated to SDG 10. World Bank & DESA convened an expert meeting on SDG 10 in April and I hear that UNDP through its HDR 2019 will contribute to the ongoing global debate.
It is equally interesting to note that with regard to SDG 3 health and well-being for all, cooperation within and among countries is booming, and we even have a Global Action Plan in its first phase, because of an initiative by Germany, Ghana and Norway as a result of the G 20 process. This Global Action Plan has, among others, measurable milestone targets to be reached by 2023 and an elaborate monitoring system, which shows where the gaps are between current trends and needed developments. Such global action plans, would be desirable for all other SDGs as well.
Often the UN don’t mention the price tag which such an ambitious agenda carries. Fortunately, our colleagues from the World Bank have in this regard a sharper eye. They have calculated that over the remaining years until 2030 we are short of some 350 billion US Dollars a year. If one considers that member states spent some 1.8 trillion $ in 2018 for military purposes, a reduction of 20 % might help. Alternatively, the World Bank suggests to use Private Public Partnerships more than before. But that raises other issues.

What the UN can and should do in addition

Let me now turn to some of the reform steps, which need to be taken, so that international policy and politics are truly governed by the spirit and letter of the UN charter. In some ways this is the chicken – egg situation. What comes first: a change in our thinking and attitudes, or a structural reform which will change our thinking?

1. Strengthening the authority of the Security Council

Let’s take the need to reform the Security Council. In a few words: the council has to be more representative of all current member states, hence the composition has to be changed. I favour the proposal to divide the world into 8 regions and to give each region two seats. All regions shall have veto power, but a veto is only acceptable, if and when a draft resolution violates the letter and the spirit of the UN Charter. In other words: we need to define when and how a veto is permissible. If you wish to read more about this fairly radical proposal I suggest you look up the article published on my website. Included in a reform of the security council should also be, that the current practice of the council to informally review many conflicts and other threats to global peace, the council members should look at issues which are global in scope and scale and threaten international peace and stability. It should be acknowledged that the council in recent years has been very active and is diligent in its review and monitoring of threats and conflicts, but little of this work is known outside the UN. This invisibility has to be overcome by focusing the council’s attention on global key issues, such as climate change and disarmament and agree on a binding decision. Germany is taking up some of these issues as a current non-permanent member of the SC and is forming coalitions with members from other regions, but it could be more forceful in this endeavour. We all know that acting on article 26 of the UN Charter is long overdue, and the German initiative will hopefully contribute to change this situation. While for all the just mentioned issues separate UN bodies exist, and thev should continue to exist, it is indispensable, that the Security Council from time to time throws the spotlight on these issues, as was done some years ago with regard to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The discussions in the Security Council clearly gave the fight against this threat to the global society a big push and greater attention by all the member states. Initially HIV/AIDS was a runaway epidemic. Today we can say, it has become a partial success story. We have not yet conquered the disease, but we have contained its further spread.

2. Making participation stronger

We need to come closer to reflect the will and interest of the peoples of this world. Now, this is potentially a minefield. But, let me still throw in the following idea: A vote in the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies should in future be valid, when more than half of all member states representing at least 51 % of the world’s population have accepted a draft resolution. This will replace the consensus mode, but does still allow for a consensual decision, too. Such a change, by many considered a breach of one country, one vote, may still help to accelerate decision-making in the UN bodies, and may encourage many more member states to deal with global issues at and through the UN in a proactive manner. It also should make such decisions binding for all member states. As you know, consensus decision by the General Assembly today remain non-binding. I would welcome if the G 20 rather than to meet separately would carry its work into the UN and would spearhead this part of the reform process.

3. Reducing financial imbalances

A related issue is whether the organisation should cap the assessed contributions to the UN secretariat at a much lower level. Currently the US pays 22% while the next largest contributor, Japan, pays below 10 % of the total budget, as do the next in line Germany, China, France and Great Britain. Russia at this moment pays around 3%. Such capping may lead to reductions in the overall income, but it may give further reforms of the UN secretariat in New York and Geneva a strong push. Basically, the secretariat should focus, as it does in the area of humanitarian assistance, on the coordination of activities by other UN organisations and serve the security council and the general assembly. Technical cooperation activities should be transferred to specialized UN organisations and thus free up the secretariat’s financial and human resources.

4. Managing global participation better

There also is a need to improve the mechanisms by which we have the peoples of the world participate in meetings and conferences. The process leading to the Agenda 2030 was a big step in that direction, but now we also have to have this participation as we implement the SDGs. In particular, we need to ensure that civil society organisations from all member states are admitted to the discussions of UN bodies. This is a tall order, and by definition, admission will have to be selective, in order to keep meetings manageable. But assuming we would admit 2 NGOs from each member state to the sessions (in total ca. 400), we would limit and expand NGO participation at the same time. However, national NGOs from smaller countries may not always be able to attend. Therefore they should be given the option to be represented by an INGOs. At present, too many NGOs accredited come from only a small number of member states, mostly Western and economically wealthy, but while not excluding these, we need to find ways and means to facilitate NGO participation from all countries in the world. In principle, civil society organisations need to be given a voice, and they need to be listened to.

5. Strengthening enforcement capacity

Most difficult is a reform that would strengthen the capacity of the UN to enforce decisions by its executive bodies, i.e. the security council and the general assembly. As such enforcement needs to be carried out by the member states themselves, we need to strengthen the authority of the UN bodies in such a way that member states have to respect the relevant decisions and feel obliged to implement them. Regional groupings, “alliances of the willing” and their political and military forces can and should serve as powerful enforcement mechanisms. The case of Kuwait after the Iraqui attack in 1991 is still a model for such collective and successful action. Why then, did we not continue to act in a similar way in Syria and Yemen? This is not the place to analyse these cases in further detail. Suffice it to say that international peace has to be secured by the member states with mandates from the UN security council. We need to reintroduce the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which we needlessly misused in the case of Libya, and we need to confirm the principle that human rights are a higher legal norm and standard than national sovereignty. To get there, we do need a different approach to solving such crises. President Truman’s statement of June 1945 during the closing session of the UN founding conference in San Francisco still holds:
“We all have to recognize-no matter how great our strength–that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please. No one nation, no regional group, can or should expect, any special privilege which harms any other nation. If any nation would keep security for itself, it must be ready and willing to share security with all. That is the price which each nation will have to pay for world peace. Unless we are all willing to pay that price, no organization for world peace can accomplish its purpose.”
A current case which begs for a solution along those lines is Venezuela. While it is admirable that the Norwegian government, once more, is engaged in mediating a solution, the security council should have been giving such a mediation mandate. As three of the five permanent members have vested interests in this Venezuelan conflict and have taken sides, as members of the security council they should be acting in the interest of the Venezuelan population. That, at this stage, means mediation and not taking sides.
Furthermore, in cases of armed conflicts, like in Syria and Yemen, the council should not only impose sanctions and a weapon’s embargo from all sources, but also be able to enforce this. Monitoring alone will not suffice. It will indeed demand a military command, which is empowered by all member states, to intercept weapons’ delivery. The international justice system will need to act on those who defy a Council decision and have offenders stand trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and/or for genocide. In cases, where the security council comes to the conclusion that none of the warring parties can protect the civilian population within a foreseeable timeframe, the UN should be authorized to establish a trusteeship government, which temporarily will assume, under the UN flag, the public administration, while the national political camps negotiate a settlement to their conflict. In Syria, we have some elements of this solution in place, but not all. In Yemen, we are all watching more or less helplessly as this man-made disaster is ongoing, and the UN does not succeed in protecting the civilian population.
In order to oversee such cases of a caretaker government, the Trusteeship Council should be given a revised mandate. Such cases, however, should be rare and only the last resort. The situation of East Timor, after its vote for independence from Indonesia, can serve as a model, as the UN caretaker government has produced a positive and lasting result.
One quick word on sanctions: we need to avoid that sanctions harm the civilian population and we should through the UN make it very clear that sanctions are ineffective means to bring about regime change, and that sanctions should be based on a collective decision an not decided unilaterally.

Radical ideas, strong networks

These ideas are radical in the context of today’s international politics, and they require a very different political thinking, if we wish to implement them. The nation state will continue to exist, but all national leaders will have to assume their share of responsibility for international peace and peoples’ well – being everywhere. Civil society organisations have a tremendously important role to play to bring about such a change in all countries. We need networks and solidarity and we need stronger mechanisms to uphold the authority of the UN, in order to level the international playing field. When we have to criticize some of the UN actions and some of its officials, then we have to guard ourselves against discrediting the whole UN.

4 Dimensions of reforms

Each of the above proposals is related to the four dimensions of democracy, namely accountability, participation, fairness and equity. They in turn are the building blocks for people to live in “larger freedom”. You will note that I am not suggesting that there is only one political system which aligns all these building blocks properly. I think, there are many different ways by which we can use these building blocks and construct a solid democratic home in each country. How to do this, we shall leave to the people of each country, but we can from the UN side provide a helping hand to improve their respective governance system.

The Way Forward

Undoubtedly such UN reforms will need extensive discussions within and among the member states. Equally beyond doubt is that such reforms cannot such be left to governments and their diplomatic representatives. We need a spectrum of participants in such a reform debate, which reflects the complexity of today’s governance system with non-state actors such as NGOs, the business world, media and scientists. We have to start a process of consultations in a similar way as was done for the Agenda 2030. Fortunately, the UN charter gives us an opening for such discussions. In Article 109 (slide) it is foreseen that every 10 years a general conference should be held, which assesses whether the UN is still functioning according to the demands of the global challenges. Such a conference was never convened, but it is high time that it be held, and discuss with the same commitment, as was shown by the founders of the UN 1945 in San Francisco, how to rebuild a UN which can indeed and measureably ensure international security, peace, and human well-being for all, while fostering and relying on international cooperation and development.
I leave it to you, the members of this assembly, to tackle these ideas and to establish a roadmap, which will get us to a new beginning. My ideas are not only meant to make the UN more effective, they reach farther than that. They push the envelope as one says. Let me close by stating the following: On the basis of my 30 years with the UN (slide), I can unreservedly say that the UN is making the life of many people better. The UN gives people hope and encouragement, and through its operational activities it supports their survival, and helps them to create better living conditions for themselves and their families. My ideas thus aim to not only recognize the UN’s soft power more widely, but also to give it some means by which hard power can be exercised in cases where international law, human rights and the well-being of people are violated. We need a UN which is not only one among many global and multilateral organisations, but we need a UN which is the flag ship for the whole fleet of all nation states and multilateral organisations, and thus for all the peoples in the world. Thank you!


Was unsere Zukunft bestimmen wird

Im Augenblick gibt es in den Medien und auf unzähligen Tagungen und Konferenzen eine lebhafte Diskussion darüber, dass Deutschland und Europa die Entwicklungen der Digitalisierung verpassen. Der Wettkampf zwischen den USA und China treibt den Prozess voran, und Europa weiß nicht so recht, wie es darauf reagieren soll, außer die Risiken für den Datenschutzes zu kontrollieren, und in der Industrie Roboter und selbstlernende Systeme einzusetzen.

Lassen wir einmal bei Seite, ob diese Behauptung stimmt, oder vielmehr eine anspornende Provokation ist. Ich glaube, wichtig wäre es das Augenmerk auf einen anderen Aspekt zu legen, nämlich darauf, dass mit unseren traditionellen Mitteln, wir weder bestehende wirtschaftliche und soziale Herausforderungen in den Griff bekommen, noch unsere Naturstoffe besser nutzen und schützen.

Wir wissen, dass die Ressourcen der Erde endlich sind, aber die Erdbevölkerung weiterhin wächst. Wir wissen, dass wir dem Klimawandel bisher ziemlich schutzlos ausgeliefert sind, obwohl wir Lösungsansätze kennen, wie die Erderwärmung begrenzt werden kann, und viele technologische Lösungen schon soweit getestet sind, dass sie in die industrielle Produktion und den kommerziellen Verbrauch gebracht werden könnten. Wir kennen Bedrohungen durch Naturkatastrophen, wie Fluten und Dürren, die durch eine andere Nutzung des Bodens und des Raumes reduziert werden können. Dazu braucht es veränderte Anreize für landwirtschaftliche Produzenten und öffentliche Infrastrukturmaßnahmen. Wir kennen die Bedrohung durch Krankheiten und wissen, dass einige dieser Herausforderungen komplexer sind, als die Entwicklung eines ambitionierten Weltraumprojektes.

Anfang dieses Millenniums nahmen sich Bill und Melinda Gates Präsident Kennedys Vorgabe an die NASA zum Vorbild, zu einem vorherbestimmten Datum einen Mann auf dem Mond zu landen. Auf ähnliche Weise wollten sie die Malaria ausrotten. 15 Jahre später und nach Einsatz von Milliarden US Dollar, ist der Parasit, der Malaria verursacht, nicht besiegt. Er lernt schneller und passt sich an, so dass es zwar weniger Menschen gibt, die an Malaria erkranken und daran sterben, aber einen durchschlagenden Erfolg hat es noch nicht gegeben. Es muss eine ernüchternde Erkenntnis für Bill und Melinda Gates sein, dass manche Probleme sich eben nur im steten und langfristigen Einsatz und durch menschliches Lernen erfolgreich angehen lassen.

Diese Aussicht führt unter anderem schon heute dazu, dass viele junge Menschen, die sich der Disziplin einer Berufsausbildung nicht mehr unterziehen,langfristig arbeitslos bleiben oder nur niedrig bezahlte Arbeit bekommen. 2019 gibt es in Deutschland in der Altersgruppe der 20-34jährigen 2,1 Millionen Menschen, die keine Berufsausbildung haben. Es gibt von etwa 21 Millionen sozialversicherten Vollzeitbeschäftigten 3,38 Millionen, die weniger als 2000 € brutto im Monat verdienen. Deshalb muss nicht unser gesamtes Wirtschaftssystem in Frage gestellt werden. Aber viele der jetzigen staatlichen Subventions- und Zuschussmaßnahmen schon.

Wo ist die Kreativität und das gesellschaftliche Engagement allen Menschen eine Perspektive für ihr Leben zu geben? Im Moment steht nur der Vorschlag eines bedingungslosen Grundeinkommens und einer Grundrente im Raum der öffentlichen Debatten. Ist das genug?

Es scheint, dass wirtschaftlicher Erfolg und gesellschaftliche Notwendigkeit immer weiter auseinanderklaffen. Wer oder was kann uns aus dieser Fehlentwicklung führen?

Agenda 2030: 17 Nachhaltigkeitsziele und die Situation in Deutschland

Im September 2015 verabschiedeten die Vertreter der Mitgliedsländer in New York die Agenda 2030 mit 17 Zielen zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung, die universell gelten und bis 2030 erreicht werden sollen. Die deutsche Regierung hat schon während des Formulierungsprozesses und auch bei der Verabschiedung unmissverständlich die Geltung dieser Ziele für alle Länder akzeptiert, mit anderen Worten auch für Deutschland (siehe Bericht der Bundesregierung vom Juli 2016).
Etwa 2 Jahre später, im Oktober 2017, hat das Statistische Bundesamt in Wiesbaden nun eine erste Bestandsaufnahme vorlegt mit Zahlen, die z.T. den Stand 2016 widergeben. („Indikatoren der UN-Nachhaltigkeitsziele, Statistisches Bundesamt, Oktober 2017) 175 Unterziele und Indikatoren wurden mit statistischen Angaben belegt. Der Bericht ist eine willkommene Initiative und kann als ein robustes Werkzeug dienen den weiteren Verlauf der Erreichung der Ziele in Deutschland zu verfolgen.

Gesamtbild: erschreckend

Bei einer Durchsicht der Statistiken ergibt sich ein manchmal erschreckendes Bild, sowohl was die vorhandenen Statistiken anzeigen, aber noch viel mehr, wo die statistischen Werte fehlen. Das Gesamtbild, das sich ergibt, zeigt einen manchmal beschämenden Stand der Dinge in Deutschland. Zwar ist dies alles nicht wirklich neu, aber die Diskrepanz zwischen Zielvorstellungen, zu denen sich die Regierung bekannt hat, und der aktuellen Realität werfen ein zusätzliches Licht auf politische Entwicklungen in diesem Land, in Europa und der Welt. Wenn die Politik die transformative Kraft dieser Ziele nicht nutzt, dann müssen wir uns nicht wundern, dass verbale und tätliche Angriffe von Wutbürgern, Extremismus, Kriminalität und andere Gewalttätigkeiten zunehmen werden. Von einer Verstärkung der Ängste und der sozialen Verunsicherung friedliebender Bürger und Bürgerinnen einmal ganz zu schweigen.
Die 175 Indikatoren, die der Bericht enthält, lassen sich grob einteilen in drei Kategorien:
1. Indikatoren, für die es Statistiken gibt: 104
2. Indikatoren, für die Statistiken fehlen: 66
3. Statistiken, die nicht unbedingt im nationalen Rahmen
relevant sind: 5

Bekämpfung der Armut: keine nennenswerte Verbesserung seit 2010

Nun muss man sich nicht lange damit aufhalten, ob dies eine gute oder eine schlechte Widerspiegelung der Tatsachen ist. Entscheidender ist wohl zu schauen, wo es unbedingt zu Verbesserungen kommen muss. Zum Beispiel: Das definierte Ziel für 2030 lautet, es sollte keine statistisch nennenswerte Armut mehr in Deutschland geben. Allerdings lag 2015 der Anteil der Bevölkerung, der unter der nationalen Armutsgrenze lebt, bei 16,7 %. Dabei fällt zusätzlich auf, dass der Anteil bei Frauen höher ist als bei Männern. Da gibt es also viel zu tun, um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, zumal der Prozentsatz im Zeitraum 2010 – 2016 mehr oder weniger unverändert blieb.
Ähnlich problematisch ist die Lage in Bezug auf die landwirtschaftliche Produktion (Ziel 2). Laut Unterziel 2.4 soll bis 2030 die Nachhaltigkeit der Nahrungsmittelherstellung und resiliente landwirtschaftliche Methoden angewandt werden. 2016 betrug die Ökoanbaufläche an der gesamten Agrarfläche in Deutschland gerade einmal 7.5 %! Wenn man den Zuwachs seit 2010 zur Grundlage nimmt, dann werden es 2030 einmal 11% sein. Auch hier gilt, vieles muss getan werden, damit wir wenigstens bei 50% plus liegen werden.
Statistiken zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung: eine große Lücke
Noch verheerender ist die Lage in Bezug auf die Ziele 12 und 13 Nachhaltiger Konsum und Produktionsmuster bzw. Bekämpfung des Klimawandels und seiner Auswirkungen. Für insgesamt 10 Indikatoren gibt es für 9 keine statistischen Angaben. Ebenso traurig sieht es bei den Daten für die Indikatoren zum Ziel 14 Schutz der Ozeane und Meeresressourcen aus; von 11 Indikatoren gibt es nur bei einem Daten. Nun ist es schwierig festzustellen, ob es die Statistiken gar nicht gibt, oder ob das Bundesamt die vorhandenden statistischen Daten nicht erfasst. Auf alle Fälle ist hier eine Lücke, die dringend gefüllt werden muss. Ebenso fehlen Angaben zu Unterziel 10.7, das sich mit einer gut gesteuerten Migrationspolitik beschäftigt. Mindestens für 2015 und 2016 würde man dazu Zahlen erwarten.
Wie sehr wir uns noch in den Fängen traditioneller Wirtschaftspolitik befinden, wird verständlich, wenn man sich im Gegensatz zu den obigen Zielen die Daten zu den Zielen 8 und 9 dauerhaftes Wirtschaftswachstum, produktive Vollbeschäftigung bzw. Infrastruktur, Industrialisierung und Innovationen ansieht. Da gibt es Daten zu 10 Indikatoren von insgesamt 11.

Gleichstellung von Mann und Frau: nach wie vor eine große Herausforderung

Zum Abschluss dieser kurzen Durchsicht des Berichtes noch ein paar Anmerkungen zur Gesundheitssituation (Ziel 3) und Gleichberechtigung der Frau (Ziele 4 und 5). Zum einen fällt auf, dass es an manchen Stellen deutliche Verbesserungen gegeben hat, z.B. ist die Müttersterblichkeit in Deutschland zwischen 2010 und 2015 deutlich gesunken. Andererseits gibt es in anderen Bereichen keine nennenswerten Veränderungen, z.B. bei AIDS Erkrankungen und Tod durch Herz-Kreislaufbeschwerden. Zwar ist die Dichte der medizinischen Versorgung per 1000 Einwohner in den letzten Jahren verbessert worden, aber es gibt keine Daten zur Abdeckung grundlegender Gesundheitsleistungen, obwohl die genannten Kriterien eine statistische Erfassung relativ leicht ermöglichen würden.
Bei den Indikatoren zu Ziel 4 sind die Daten nicht durchgängig nach Geschlecht aufgeschlüsselt, und sagen deshalb wenig über die Gleichstellung von Männern und Frauen aus. Bei Statistiken zum Ziel 5 ist es erstaunlich festzustellen, dass es nicht zu allen Länderparlamenten Angaben zum Frauenanteil zu geben scheint. Es ließe sich trefflich darüber streiten, ob ein durchschnittlicher Frauenanteil von 25 – 30 Prozent in den deutschen Parlamenten eine angemessene Abbildung des Frauenanteils in der Gesellschaft ist.
Für das Ziel 17 zur globalen Partnerschaft ist bemerkenswert, dass Deutschland nach wie vor das gewünschte und angestrebte Ziel 0.7 % des Bruttonationaleinkommens (BNE) für entwicklungspolitische Zusammenarbeit zu leisten auch 2015 nicht erreichte. Obwohl die Ausgaben insgesamt gestiegen sind und 2015 bei 0.52 % angelangt waren, verschlechterte sich der Anteil, der für die Zusammenarbeit mit LDCs verwandt wurde, im Zeitraum 2010 – 2016 von 0.11 auf 0.08 Prozent. Mit anderen Worten die Ausgaben blieben konstant, während andere wuchsen. Das sagt noch nicht allzu viel aus, über die Ursachen und ihre Wirkungen, aber ein kritischer Tatbestand ist es allemal.

Der Bericht: ein sinnvolles und hilfreiches Mittel zur Verfolgung politischer Umsetzung von Zielvorstellungen

Nochmals soll hervorgehoben werden, dass dieser Bericht sehr nützliche Angaben enthält, die Politiker, Beamte, Vertreter der Zivilgesellschaft und der Wirtschaft informieren können über den Stand der nachhaltigen Entwicklung in Deutschland. Es wäre begrüßenswert, wenn dieser Bericht nicht nur periodisch auf den neuesten Stand gebracht würde, sondern auch als ein Mittel eingesetzt wird, die Indikatoren zu schärfen, um die transformative Natur der 17 Ziele voll einzufangen und widerzuspiegeln.

Reform of the United Nations

Ever growing numbers of Refugees and Migrants – a reason to modernize the international political order

The global population is currently roughly 8 billion people. 65 million of these are refugees and/or migrants, to escape from civil war, poverty and discrimination. In addition, there are migrants who seek education or employment in another country, with a legal or illegal status. Percentage-wise these are a small number of the global population, but these numbers mask millions of sometimes painful individual lives.

What can be done? We have to act on article 109 of the UN charter

On the one hand, we can manage the flow of refugees and migrants much better. I have published a blog on this topic earlier. But we also have to debate how we can reorganize the international political order, which was created at the end of the Second World War, in particular through the founding of the United Nations.
The United Nations have to operate differently in today’s world than it has so far. A critical review of the charter by member states and a revision of its modus operandi are needed. In that context, the reform of the Security Council is necessary. But not only that! We have to request the activation of article 109. In this article the founding members of the UN stipulated that a General Conference of all member states is convened every 10 years in order to review whether the UN is still functioning well and addressing the needs of maintaining international peace and stability adequately. If necessary, revisions to the charter and the UN should be agreed upon.

The Reform of the Security Council

Clearly the reform of the council is necessary in order to become more representative of the current membership. My thoughts can be summarized as follows: The world should be divided into 8 regions and each region should have 2 seats, one permanent and one rotational. Veto rights should be maintained, but only a qualified veto would be permissible. That means, only when a draft resolution violates the spirit and the letter of the charter, can it be vetoed. In situations where the council members cannot resolve the issue, the International Court in The Hague should be asked to make a ruling. For further details please see my website under “Publikationen”.

Revising Article 76 about the trusteeship system

We do not have colonies anymore which need a transition government under a UN mandate, before they can be given a self-determined national government. But we have a number of failed states. Humanitarian aid should be continued to help the suffering populations, but this is not enough. We need a mechanism which allows the international community under a Security Council mandate to end a civil war. A general weapon’s embargo to all warring parties, a temporary government under UN leadership, and a peace-building military and police force under UN command should be instituted, when national political parties cannot reach agreements which avoid military conflicts. Today’s Syria, Yemen, Southern Sudan and possibly Libya are candidates for such a role of the UN. The agreement between Syria’s neighbours and the government in Damascus for peace zones should receive a UN Security Council mandate to reinforce the agreement.

The way forward

Regrettably it is unrealistic to assume that 193 member states of the UN will soon meet in a General Conference. However, countries like Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa should work for such a convocation and thus show their commitment to shoulder more responsibility for international peace and stability and their support for the UN and its peace-building role.
Article 109 paragraph 3 should no longer be ignored. This paragraph says that the General Assembly should put the convocation of the General Conference of its next agenda, and that a simple majority and the positive vote of 7 Security Council members suffice to call for such a conference.
Of course, such a conference will need careful preparation. But the UN secretariat has a lot of experience in this regard. In the 1990s the then secretary-general invited to a Millennium Summit in New York and 149 heads of state and government followed his invitation. It does not look that the current secretary-general will take such an initiative therefore member states should formulate such a request.
For too long have we published and criticized the disparities, the civil wars and discriminations in today’s world. The need of people to flee their countries should no longer be acceptable. Otherwise we shall all suffer, in the countries of their origin as well as in receiving countries, dire consequences. The UN member states have to pursue actively the protection of human rights in all countries. Law experts accept that the protection of human rights is a higher legal value than national sovereignty. We need political instruments to act on this.
In order to intervene in crisis situations we need to strengthen our existing tools. Instead of permanent members of the Security Council to unilaterally engage in civil wars, the cooperation agreement between the UN and NATO should be activated and peace-building troops should together with those of non-NATO members be sent to the territory of failed states under a Security Council mandate and with the aim of ending a civil war and to protect the civilian population.
We need a broad based consensus, that the international community can not only grant, but also withdraw recognition of a national state authority, when governments violate their obligations towards their people. It is time that the UN Charter is filled with new life in the interest of all peoples of this earth, for which they were founded in 1945.

Reform der Vereinten Nationen

Flüchtlings- und Migrationsströme – Anlass die internationale politische Ordnung zu modernisieren

Etwa 8 Milliarden Menschen leben zurzeit auf der Erde. Davon sind laut UNHCR geschätzte 65 Millionen auf der Flucht aus ihren Ursprungsländern, um Krieg, Armut und Verfolgung zu entgehen. Dazu gibt es noch eine große Zahl von Migranten, die zur Ausbildung und beruflichen Beschäftigung in einem anderen als ihrem Ursprungsland leben, sei es auf legalem oder illegalem Wege. Prozentual ist das ein sehr kleiner Teil der Erdbevölkerung, aber hinter diesen Zahlen verbergen sich auch die individuellen Schicksale von Millionen Menschen.

Was tun? Endlich Artikel 109 der VN Charta umsetzen!

Was kann getan werden, um deren Leiden zu lindern? Zum einen könnte die Aufnahme von Flüchtlingen und illegalen Migranten deutlich besser gemanagt werden. Ich habe mich in einem früheren Blog dazu geäußert. Gleichzeitig müssen wir aber darüber nachdenken und diskutieren, wie wir in der nächsten Zukunft die internationale Ordnung, die am Ende des 2. Weltkrieges geschaffen wurde, insbesondere durch die Gründung der Vereinten Nationen, der heutigen Zeit und ihren Gegebenheiten anpassen wollen. Dabei bleibt uns eigentlich keine Wahl als uns die Charta der Vereinten Nationen vorzunehmen und auf einen angemessenen neuen Stand zu bringen. Doch nicht nur die Reform des Weltsicherheitsrates steht an, wie oft und ergebnislos diskutiert wird, vieles mehr muss durchleuchtet und verändert werden.

Es muss endlich Artikel 109 der Charta umgesetzt werden, der vorschreibt, dass alle 10 Jahre eine Allgemeine Konferenz der Mitgliedsstaaten stattfinden soll, um zu überprüfen, ob die Vereinten Nationen noch den aktuellen Herausforderungen gewachsen sind, um internationale Stabilität und Frieden zu gewährleisten und den sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt für alle Menschen zu sichern, wie es die Charta verlangt.

Die Reform des Weltsicherheitsrates

Zur Reform des Weltsicherheitsrates habe ich auch schon früher geschrieben. Meine Gedanken lassen sich wie folgt zusammenfassen: Zwar muss die Zusammensetzung des Rates alle Mitgliedsländer besser widerspiegeln, aber deshalb muss er nicht um viele Sitze erweitert werden (aus meiner Sicht nur +1 Sitz). Zwar kann man die Zweiteilung in ständige und rotierende Mitglieder beibehalten, aber es müssen alle Regionen der Welt gleichmäßig vertreten sein (aus meiner Sicht sind es 8 Regionen). Zwar kann das Veto beibehalten werden, aber es sollte in Zukunft nur erhoben werden, wenn ein Resolutionsentwurf nicht dem Gedanken und den Vorschriften der VN Charta entspricht. Im Streitfall soll der Internationale Gerichtshof eine Entscheidung über die Zulässigkeit treffen. Nachlesen kann man dies in meinem Artikel von 2012, den man auf meiner Webseite unter „Publikationen“ findet.

Die Aktualisierung des Artikels 76 über das VN Treuhandsystem

Heute haben wir zwar keine Kolonien mehr, die nach einer Übergangsverwaltung durch die VN in die nationale Unabhängigkeit entlassen werden, aber wir haben eine Reihe von zerfallenen Staaten (failed states). Zwar sollte die internationale Gemeinschaft weiter über staatliche und nicht-staatliche Hilfsorganisationen den notleidenden Bevölkerungen helfen, aber es sollte auch ein Mechanismus geschaffen werden, der es der internationalen Gemeinschaft erlaubt, die zeitweise Übernahme der staatlichen Autorität an die VN zu übertragen, wenn nationale politische Interessengruppen bzw. Parteien sich nur noch militärisch miteinander auseinandersetzen, und die zivile Bevölkerung zum Opfer wird. Das heutige Syrien, der Jemen, Süd-Sudan und möglicherweise Libyen wären Kandidaten für eine solche Maßnahme. Verbunden mit einem allgemeinen Waffenembargo an alle Parteien im jeweiligen Bürgerkrieg, sollte die Entsendung einer Friedenstruppe der VN und Polizeieinheiten die öffentliche Ordnung wiederherstellen. Die Vertreter der VN sollten das Mandat erhalten, die konkurrierenden politischen Kräfte an einen Tisch zu bringen, um langfristige Lösungen auszuhandeln und Vereinbarungen zu treffen. Wenn diese Vereinbarungen dann auch von allen streitenden Parteien respektiert werden, dann kann die staatliche Gewalt wieder in nationale Hände übergehen. Nur der Weltsicherheitsrat und andere Organe der VN haben die nötige Autorität und Unparteilichkeit, um eine solche Statthalterfunktion im Namen der Völker auszuüben. Der Erfolg in Osttimor sollte als Vorbild dienen.

Der Weg nach vorn

Leider ist es nicht sehr wahrscheinlich anzunehmen, dass sich 193 Mitgliedsländer der Vereinten Nationen bald auf einer Allgemeinen Konferenz treffen und zügig die oben skizzierten Veränderungen beschließen würden. Länder wie Deutschland, Japan, Indien, Brasilien und Südafrika sollten sich gemeinsam für die Einberufung der Konferenz einsetzen und so ihr internationales Engagement und ihre Unterstützung der Vereinten Nationen aktiv unter Beweis stellen.

Artikel 109 Absatz 3 darf nicht mehr ignoriert werden. Dieser besagt, dass die Generalversammlung die Einberufung der Allgemeinen Konferenz auf ihre nächste Tagungsordnung setzen muss, und ein Mehrheitsbeschluss sowie die Zustimmung von 7 Mitgliedern des Sicherheitsrates ausreichen, um die Allgemeine Konferenz abzuhalten.

Selbstverständlich muss eine solche Konferenz gut vorbereitet werden, aber dafür gibt es viele Erfahrungen. Allerdings müssen nicht nur einige Mitgliedsländer, sondern auch der Generalsekretär und sein Sekretariat aktiv, diplomatisch und mit Voraussicht an solchen Vorbereitungen teilnehmen, so wie es in 1990iger Jahren passierte in Vorbereitung auf den Millenniumsgipfel, an dem immerhin 149 Staats- und Regierungschefs teilnahmen. Es sieht nicht so aus, dass der aktuelle Generalsekretär eine solche Initiative ergreifen wird. Deshalb sollte aus den Reihen der Mitgliedsländer entsprechende Forderungen an ihn gestellt werden.

Wir haben lange genug die Ungleichheiten Bürgerkriege und Diskriminierungen beklagt. Die Notwendigkeit für viele Menschen aus ihren Ländern zu fliehen, sollte nicht mehr toleriert werden. Sonst werden wir früher oder später mehrheitlich unter diesen Fehlentwicklungen leiden sowohl in Ursprungs- wie in Empfängerländern. Die Regierungen der Mitgliedsländer der Vereinten Nationen müssen sich pro-aktiv im Rahmen der Vereinten Nationen und ihrer Organe für den Schutz der Menschenrechte in allen Ländern einsetzen. Schon wird von vielen Juristen anerkannt, dass der Schutz der Menschenrechte ein höheres Rechtsgut ist als die nationale staatliche Souveränität. Wir brauchen politische Instrumente, um entsprechend handeln zu können.

Um in Krisen effektiv eingreifen zu können, müssen die bestehenden Instrumente gestärkt werden. Anstatt dass ständige Mitglieder des Weltsicherheitsrates eigenmächtig in Konflikte eingreifen, sollte der Kooperationsvertrag zwischen dem VN Sekretariat und der NATO so ausgebaut werden, dass NATO Truppen in Verbindung mit denen von Nicht-NATO Mitgliedern zur Friedenssicherung unter einem Sicherheitsratsmandat eingesetzt werden können, um Bürgerkriege zu beenden und den Schutz der zivilen Bevölkerung zu sichern.

Wir brauchen einen internationalen Konsensus, dass die internationale Gemeinschaft staatliche Anerkennung entziehen kann, wenn grobe Verletzungen der Sorgfaltspflicht seitens der Regierung gegenüber den Menschen in ihren Ländern vorliegen. Es wird Zeit, dass wir die VN Charta mit neuem Leben füllen zum Wohlergehen der Völker dieser Erde.