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UN: Organs & Issues


Organs of the United Nations Charter => 6 Principal organs (diag. Pg. 100-101) Else: * General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Trusteeship Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice A. General Assembly 1. arguably the paramount organ often through asserted authority where mandate is unclear 2. Arena for general debate, world forum 3. Regular annual sessions (Sept), also can call special sessions 4. Most work done through committees (like Congress): 7 main, items allotted according to subject matter a. Political and Security b. Special Political Committee (to take some load from 1st) c. Economic and Financial d. Social, Humanitarian and Cultural e. Trusteeship f. Administrative and Budgetary g. Legal Note: each member reqd to have rep on each committee (burden?), also many subcommittees to help w/work
5. Powers of Genl Assembly:

a. Most important discussion & recommendation (also able to inquire, study, investigate) b. Supervise & review all UN action central coordinating body c. Financial decisions budget approval, expenses d. Elective function, esp. re: nonpermanent Security Council, ECOSOC, Judges (w/SC), Secretary Genl (w/SC), admission of states (w/SC) e. Charter amendment & revision (2/3 + 9 SC)

B. Security Council 5 permanent members (US, UK, USSR, China,

France) 1. Other members: (6, then 10 in 1965) on a 2-yr term 2. Primary Responsibility maintaining peace and security, a. req. unanimity of permanent members b. broad review for agenda setting c. permanent organ at HQ (unlike GA) 3. Nonperm. Seats allocated geogr.: 5 Africa & Asia; 2 LatAm; 1 - EEur; 2 - WEur & Other 4. Presidency rotates monthly by alphabetic (English) order of states 5. Secondary function elective function shared w/Genl Assemb. all subject to veto (as substantive matters) EXCEPT ICJ judges majority vote of both
C. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

18 members (then 27 in 1965; 54 in 1973), elected from Genl Assembly, 3 year terms, 1/3 every year 1. Mission: promote welfare of peoples everywhere UN budget! 2. Three general functional categories: a. deliberation & recommendation diverse topics: human rights, refugees, education, health, social development, transportation, labor, housing, environment, communications the day to day issues See Chart: b. research & reports * source for gathering, disseminating & coordinating information (not to be understated) c. coordination try to limit duplication, conflict

D. Trusteeship Council inactive since 1994

1. Role supervise non-governing territories designated as trusts 2. Each trust has a state trustee, Council supervises
E. Secretariat the civil servants of the UN

1.Full-time employees, neutral, promote interests of UN 2. Headed by Secretary-General a. 2/3 vote of G.A., after recommend. of S.C. b. length of term 5 years (determined by 1st G.A., b/c no spec. in Charter) c. 8 Secretaries-General thus far: 1. Trygve Lie (Norway) 1946-1953 2. Dag Hammerskjld (Sweden) 1953- 1961 (plane crash) 3. U Thant (Burma) 1961 1971 4. Kurt Waldheim (Austria) 1972 1981 5. Javier Prez de Cullar (Peru) 1982 1991 6. Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) 1992 1996 7. Kofi Annan (Ghana) 1997 2006 8. Ban Ki-moon (SKorea) (2007-present) d. Major functions of Sec Genl (from Charter): 1. Chief Admin. Officer 2. Secretary to all major delegate bodies 3. Perform functions assigned by GA and three Councils 4. Annual report to GA (State of the United Nations) 5. Appoint Secretariat staff 6. Act on own initiative to bring any matter to SecCouncil reality: powers have broadened
F. International Court of Justice (ICJ)

aka World Court, in the Hague (Netherlands) Note: differs from Intl Criminal Court 1. Members all members of the UN 2. 15 Judges approved by GA & SC a. no 2 judges of same nationality b. 9 year terms, 1/3 every 3 years, no limit on terms c. Should repr. principal legal systems of the world

3. Cases referred to Court by member states

a. Only states may bring cases (have standing) b. In specific hearing, states may have own judge sat on Court if none of own nationality, w/full voting rights c. Decisions by majority of participating judges d. Lack of compulsory jurisdiction Result: advisory opinions on legal questions still add to body of intl law, form basis for possible action elsewhere (GA sanctions, SecCouncil action, etc) II. Issues in the United Nations A. Membership As w/ any organization: exclusive/inclusive, limited/universal 1. UN 2 categories: original members and admitted a. Original = 51 states, San Fran Conference by end of 1945 b. Admission Process: i. Recommendation by SC (subject to veto [substantive matter]) ii. 2/3 vote of General Assembly iii. Eligibility any peace-loving states 2. Problems w/ admissions (?) Why contentious? a. 1946-1950 nine non-partisan states admitted b. 1950-1955 deadlock c. 1955 package deal solution > 16 new members See: d. Opened up process, w/rare exception (e.g., China), now pretty much universal (e.g., Switzerland 2002) 3. Withdrawal, Suspension, Expulsion a. No provision for withdrawal! only 1 state ever announced w/d: Indonesia; returned after 20 months (no readmit process) b. Suspend or Expel 2/3 vote w/SC recommendation c. No practical way to expel permanent SC

d. Rare pressure (no actual action) to expel: African states & SAfrica (apartheid), Arab states & Israel
B. Representation > Import: How Members have voice heard,

ability to impact policy (any organization) * UN= largely custom & necessity rather than Charter Issues/Questions: 1. Number of representatives 5 in GA, 1 in Councils; nothing about advisors or alternates 2. Qualifications sovereignty issues dictate no mandated qualifications for representatives 3. Size of missions (support staff)?: mainly ability to support, need & desire (HQ in NY = expensive) rare problem: US & USSR, Byelorussian, & Ukrainian delegations 4. Right of US to deny access to HQ? Ex) US & Arafat 1988; $600mln move to Geneva 5. Import of permanent missions in NY (more-so than embassies?) 6. Most relevant representation issue: Transition - how to determine who gets seat if state/govt in flux Ex) China & Taiwan (China in 1971) Credentials: GA may vote to refuse to accept the credentials of a representative (thus denying them participation in deliberations) Ex) S Africa

C. Voting: Rules & Practices Central enigma: reconciling democratic decision-making processes with the theory of the absolute sovereignty of states gradual abandonment of unanimity rule in IOs

1. General Assembly majority or 2/3 (present or total membership) See important questions requiring 2/3 vote 2. Security Council Qualified majority, veto issue emergence of abstention as not being a veto Ex) Charter = substantive decisions need affirmative vote, has changed 3. Lesser agencies simple majority (b/c reviewed by GA) 4. World Bank & financial orgs some form of weighted voting based on contribution 5. Voting suspension if 2 years in arrears on dues (?) 6. Fairness of 1 state 1 vote? attempt to change have not been successful D. Amendment Difficult at best 1. Proposed 2/3 GA, in force if ratified by 2/3 govts (incl. all Perm. SC) 2. Review Council: 2/3 GA, 9 SC, then ratified same way 3. Informal Amendment real venue of change a. Growth by means of custom, interpretation, elaboration b. General Assembly expanding role, Security Council absence or abstention not a veto c. May also atrophy by disuse Article 43 & standing UN military force
E. Finance Key ongoing issue, esp. for continued relevance &

effectiveness of UN Total annual budget = less than 1% of members military budgets Several budgets w/in UN: 1. Basic Budget: Approx. $1.6 bln in 2008 a. Assessed on ability to pay formula b. Consider national income, per capita, economic dislocations from WWII, ability to obtain foreign currency c. Based on formula: US = 50%, initially reduced to 40, then 1/3, then 25%

continuing problems w/US meeting obligations 2. Special budgets: Economic & Social programs (UNICEF) funded voluntarily 3. Specialized Agencies (under ECOSOC): funded by members, roughly along lines of UN allocation 4. Peacekeeping most controversial near bankruptcy in 1960s; politicization of allocation process Increasingly political w/in US congress (1998 US owed $1.4 bln) 5. Future of financing the United Nations? F. Issues of Reform 1. Security Council: pg134 G. Sample of Success: 1982 Law of the Sea Convention Pg 128