I.P.O. Information Service


 "Reinventing Transnational Government an Imperative of Democracy"

I.P.O. President Addresses 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government in Seoul

Seoul/Vienna, 26 May 2005/P/RE/19235c-is

In a plenary address at the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government in Seoul (Republic of Korea), the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, called for the democatization of international relations and the strengthening of the international rule of law through integrating the emerging global civil society into the decision-making processes at the transnational level. "The lack of adequate opportunities for the emerging  global civil society to influence decisions at the transnational level has led to a serious credibility gap of international organization in general," the President of the I.P.O. said.

Dr. Koechler made his remarks in Plenary Session V on "Civil Society and Participatory Democracy: Challenges and Prospects." Referring to the Korean administration's philosophy of participatory government, he stressed the need of restructuring political processes on the basis of citizens' participation at all levels: local, regional, domestic, transnational, and supranational. He said that the democratic vacuum at the global level has been one of the major concerns of the International Progress Organization ever since its foundation in 1972, and he outlined the proposals advanced by the I.P.O. for the reform of the United Nations Organization, in particular the Security Council. "Only a fair and balanced distribution of the enforcement powers vested in the Council among the countries, peoples and regions of the globe will enable that body to safeguard international security and peace in a sustainable manner," the President of the I.P.O. explained. 

He welcomed the UN Secretary-General's recent reform proposals in the report "In larger freedom," but called for a more far-reaching "democratic overhaul" of  the Council than the one envisaged in Mr. Annan's paper (which suggests the enlargement of the Council's membership by additional member states without veto right). In order to address the issue of international democracy, the dominance of the five permanent members over all decision-making procedures will have to be effectively ended and replaced by a fair and balanced integration of all regions of the globe into the Council. "Such measures of adaptation of the UN system to the global realities of the 21st century (which basically differ from the power balance of 1945) are long overdue -- and urgently needed if the world organization is to preserve its paramount role as guarantor of peace and the international rule of law," Dr. Koechler concluded.

In an exclusive interview for KTV (Korean Television) and Yonhap News Agency  earlier today, the President of the I.P.O. further commented on the reform proposals for the Security Council and stated that adding additional permanent members without veto right will not change the power balance in the Council and will not provide democratic legitimacy to the Council's decisions -- something which is urgently needed in the present unipolar constellation.

More than 5,000 participants from 140 countries are attending the Forum at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Seoul, including Roh Moo-hyun, President of the Republic of Korea; Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil; Emomali Rahmonov, President of Tajikistan; Azarias Ruberwa Manywa, Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo;  Hamid Reza Baradaran-Shoraka, Vice-President of Iran; Lee Hae-chan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; Mahinda Rajapakse, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka; Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand; Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia; Wim Kok, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands; Donald J. Johnston, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and Josť Antonio Ocampo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The Chinese delegation is led by the Secretary-General of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Hua Jianmin.

In his inaugural adress, the President of the Republic of Korea outlined the Korean administration's philosophy of participatory governance and expressed the host country's full support for international efforts at making government transparent and accountable to the people, particularly as regards efforts at fighting corruption at all levels. "The goal Korea pursues in initiating innovation in government is to create a government that is efficient, a government that serves, a government that is transparent, a government that respects its citizens and a government that is decentralized," President Roh said. 

In a keynote address delivered at the opening ceremony, the President of Brazil, who is coincidentally making a presidential visit to the Republic of Korea, stated that democracy cannot be advanced without social justice on the domestic and transnational level as well. "We live in a highly asymmetrical world, a world threatened by weapons of mass destruction, by terrorism, but above all by deep economic and social inequalities that fuel fundamental hate and passions," President Lula da Silva said.

The President of the I.P.O. was guest of President and Mrs. Roh Moo-hyun at the grand banquet at Cheong Wa Dae presidential palace on the occasion of the 6th Global Forum. The President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, and other heads of state and government attending the Forum were the chief guests at the dinner.

The Forum is held under the theme "Towards Participatory and Transparent Governance." It will be concluded tomorrow with the adoption of the "Seoul Declaration" outlining the guiding principles of participatory and transparent governance and the role of global civil society in the 21st century.

  END/"Reinventing Transnational Government an Imperative of Democracy" -- I.P.O. President at Global Forum in Seoul/P/RE/19235c-is