I.P.O. Information Service

The United Nations in a Multipolar World

Keynote Speech of President of I.P.O., Dr. Hans Köchler, at First Global Forum of Young Diplomats, inaugurated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as part of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students 

Sochi (Russia), 19 October 2017/26655c-is

In a keynote lecture on "Formation of a Multipolar World and the Potential for United Nations Reform," Dr. Hans Köchler, President of the Vienna-based International Progress Organization, earlier this week called for a revitalized policy of collective security at the global level. He explained that due to the absence of a  balance of power in the two decades since the end of the Cold War, unilateral uses of force have profoundly destabilized the political and social order in geopolitically sensitive regions, with the United Nations Organization being sidelined and its credibility undermined.

The President of the I.P.O. spoke at the initial thematic session of the First Global Forum of Young Diplomats, held in the framework of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students earlier this week at the Russian Black Sea Resort of Sochi. The meeting was opened by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, who emphasized the role the G20 states can play in the development towards a multipolar world.

Describing the difficulties of adapting the procedures and decision-making rules of the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, to the emerging multipolar order of the 21st century, Dr. Köchler emphasized the need to redefine the principle of "sovereign equality" of states on the basis of mutuality and a shared responsibility for the common good of mankind. Representing the power balance of an earlier era, the Council will have to be reformed so as to be able to tackle the ever more complex challenges of collective security. This must include better representation of global regions such as Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia, and the participation, on the basis of permanent membership, of new global actors from outside the Western world. The formation of regional groupings -- such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- and of new structures of global cooperation -- such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa) -- has underlined the importance of this adjustment, the President of the I.P.O. explained.

Referring to the growing threat of nuclear proliferation, the President of the I.P.O. said that statutory reform of the UN must be integrated into a revitalized disarmament regime. In a climate of increasing mistrust, one of the main difficulties will be how to obtain consensus among the five permanent members of the Security Council whose agreement is needed not only to the Council's coercive decisions on peace and security, but also to any amendments of the UN Charter. For the organization to remain relevant under totally different geopolitical circumstances, administrative measures of reform will not be enough. Even the creation of a "UN Parliamentary Assembly," a measure supported by an increasing number of member states and non-governmental organizations, can, if implemented, only be a first step. What is required is no less than a "reinvention" of the world organization as an inclusive and democratic community of states that is truly representative of the aspirations of all the peoples of the world, as solemnly stated in the Charter's Preamble. What has been proclaimed by the organization's founders in the middle of the 20th century must stand the test of time under a profoundly changed balance of power, Dr. Köchler concluded.

The World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi is attended by over 20,000 delegates from 150 countries and will conclude on 22 October.

  • I.P.O. documents on United Nations reform


International Progress Organization 
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