Revised 2006 April 23. Newer version soon!
The creation of the United Nations Organisation (UN or UNO) in 1945 was a great advance. Unfortunately, the promise of world peace hasn't yet been fulfilled. The main reason, which is rarely even mentioned, is that the organisation is totally undemocratic. Each delegate to the UN is now appointed by the government of their country. Some of those national governments are quite democratic; some are dictatorships; and many are in-between. No UN delegate has ever been elected by the people whom that delegate supposedly represents. Which country will be daring enough to be the first to do that? We need just one country "to get the ball rolling". The UN Charter doesn't prohibit that. That should be done with a ranked ballot during a national general election. Below is my full, simple plan to make the UN very democratic. It does require amending the UN Charter and maybe amending the constitutions of some of the member countries.
1. Equal numbers of men and women delegates. Each member country shall send 2 voting delegates to the General Assembly of the United Nations: one male and one female. Each of them shall appoint an alternate delegate (of the same sex) to the general assembly. Together the 2 delegates shall sit on the other UN councils or shall appoint representatives to do so. When voting, they both must be present in order that either can vote, though each may then either vote or abstain. Some may ask, "Can't men delegates promote peace as well as women?" Maybe in an ideal world, but certainly not yet. With so many lives at stake, we must try everything.
2. Elected delegates. This proposal is for the most populous countries to be able to qualify to send more than 2 delegates (and alternates) to the UN General Assembly . To do so, they must elect all of them by free, UN-monitored, democratic, multi-party, secret-ballot, universal-suffrage, public voting. Also, they must use an approved method of proportional representation (such as MMP or STV). The only populous countries which have multi-party elections but which fail to use "pro-rep" for their national legislatures are Britain, the USA, Bharat (India), and Canada. Each country may send one male delegate and one female delegate for each estimated 10 million population the country had as of 1945 October 24. If equal numbers of a country's male and female delegates (or alternates) are not present to vote on a question, some of them lose their vote--enough to balance the men and women who can vote. (Those present and able to vote, however, still have the right to abstain.) The delegates from a country, meeting together, shall elect any representatives needed from that country to sit on the other UN councils. They must use a majority vote to do that.
Why 1945 for the population base?
Why is the representation in this plan based on the population in 1945? We don't want to award extra votes to the countries which have failed the worst to control their population growth. Furthermore, we don't want to give any country an incentive to grow any more. The "base" date of 1945 October 24 is the day the UN was officially founded in USA> California> San Francisco. The world celebrates that anniversary as UN Day. Right now there are 191 member states of the UN which may each send one voting delegate. With this new rule, those countries combined could send up to 716 delegates, approximately. (See calculations at the end of this article.)
Delegates independent of their home governments
What if a country had a president or prime minister who wanted to go to war, yet the public there had elected a delegation to the UN which mostly opposed that war? That delegation could make it harder for the country to wage war. It would be embarrassing, anyway. All of that is good. Therefore, unfortunately, war-mongering presidents, prime ministers, and legislatures might oppose this plan. On the other hand, such leaders might prefer to have more votes for their country in the General Assembly. To forgo those extra votes out of selfishness would lose them prestige. It could happen the other way around, though: a president keeping her country at peace in opposition to its pro-war UN delegates. So this plan uses the device of "checks and balances" to try to reduce war. Size estimates of proposed delegations
Here are the estimated numbers of delegates for the 26 countries with 20 million or more population as of 1945 October 24. (Very rough estimates. I need better statistics!)
Four delegates each for Azania (South Africa), Ethiopia, France, Iran, Italia, Misr (Egypt), Myanmar, Taehan (South Korea), Thailand, Turkiye, Ukrayina, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Philippines 6, Viet Nam 6, Deutschland (Germany) 8, Mexico 8, Nigeria 8, Bangladesh 10, Pakistan 10, Nippon (Japan) 12, Brasil 14, Russia 14, Indonesia 18, United States of America 24, Bharat (India) 86, Zhong-hua (mainland China) 114.
Elected delegates from those 26 large countries above 386
2 delegates from each of the 165 smaller countries +330 Total 716
Very few countries right now lack UN membership, and they are all very small. Therefore, under this plan the number of delegates for the whole UN couldn't increase much more than 716, unless countries subdivide. When the above measures are in effect--and at fewest 200 delegates are elected, then changes # 3 and 4 (below) would take effect.
3. No more veto. This proposal would repeal the veto power in the Security Council of the UN. Veto is now held by the permanent members of the council, the "Big 5" countries: the USA, Zhong-hua (mainland China), Russia, Britain, and France. Since 1945, those countries have betrayed their commitment to peace and have blocked many peace initiatives. It's time to be rid of that relic of World War 2. If that change is refused, the veto should be modified to require 3 of the Big 5 to effect a veto, instead of just one country, as it is now.
4. Empower the General Assembly. Even less democratic than the General Assembly is the Security Council, so power should be shifted from it. The General Assembly would be able, by a 2/3 vote, to reverse any vote of the Security Council.
An interim alternative to the United Nations
As you can imagine, changing the UN like that will be very difficult. In the meantime, let's do something as an example, something to spur change. I suggest that officials of relatively progressive countries, along with groups of private citizens from each country, create an alternative world organization for peace which is democratic and which follows better procedures. Right now, each of many countries have an association of private citizens called something like United Nations Association of [name of country]. Those groups are affiliated with the UN itself. They might want to help organise for this plan. Web sites: _________ . At first, many countries would refuse or neglect to participate in such an alternative organisation. They would send no delegates or observers. Therefore, the organization would invite private people in each such country, plus exiles, to create an interim delegation as democratically as possible. If necessary, delegates would be elected by voting organised by private citizens. The new organisation could be called one of these names perhaps: "The Alternative UN", "The Democratic UN", "Nations United for Peace", "The People of the World for Peace", "United Peaceful Nations", "The Grassroots UN", "The People's UN", "The League of Nations", etc.
End of article "Make the UN democratic!"