5.5 Reform the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) has grown since its foundation by 50 countries in 1945 to 192 members today: it is the only international organization to which virtually every country belongs. The UN has sent 63 peacekeeping missions into areas of conflict and peacefully resolved at least 175 international disputes. Unfortunately, the UN suffered a ‘crisis of credibility’ in 2003 when the UN Security Council split over the use of force in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. The U.S.-led war in Iraq was clearly illegal under international law. At the same time, the UN has proved ineffective in preventing genocide, as in Rwanda.

The Green Party supports the role of the UN in diplomatic intervention and international peacekeeping, including acting with a ‘responsibility to protect’ people in situations where a state is not protecting its own citizens, such as in Darfur. We believe Canada can and must increase its commitment to the UN and that there must be significant UN reform to make the organization more effective, especially within the UN Security Council. The Security Council vetoes must be re-examined in a post-Cold War context. More balance in north-south representation must be achieved within the Security Council.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Increase our commitment of resources, especially funds for peacekeeping and adequate training and provisioning of troops, to the United Nations;

  • Promote the democratic reform of the UN Security Council to include more balance in north-south representation, elimination of bias in the treatment of, for example, Israel by the General Assembly, and ending the use of vetoes;

  • Re-organize other powerful multilateral institutions – the World Trade Organization (WTO), the IMF and the World Bank – placing these institutions under the authority of the UN General Assembly, and shift the direction of international trade away from “free trade” to “fair trade” focusing on the global protection of human rights, labour standards, cultural diversity, and ecosystems;

  • Move to make the UN Environment Program (UNEP) a funded organization of the UN system from its current status where donations from member nations are voluntary. Expand the UNEP mandate to a supervisory one over all multilateral environmental treaties, much as the WTO supervises all trade agreements within the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT);

  • Launch a global dialogue on the notion of a bicameral UN, with one house being the General Assembly of nation-state representatives, and a Peoples’ Assembly, as in the European Parliament, with direct election on behalf of the worlds’ peoples.