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New study calls for reforming UN to keep pace with globalization

New study calls for reforming UN to keep pace with globalization

A newly released study by the United Nations University (UNU) calls for major alterations in the functioning of the UN, warning that an overhaul is needed "before a crisis induced by globalization forces the changes required."

The study, New Roles and Functions for the UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions, says globalization has reduced the power of national governments in economics and politics "without a corresponding increase in effective international cooperation or supra-national government which could regulate this market driven process."

In response, the study supports efforts to give voice to poor countries and people. "Even if they cannot shape decisions, they have a right to be heard," its authors argue, stressing that the concerns of poor countries and people should "constitute an integral part of any democratic design for global governance."

Prepared by the UNU with support from the UN Division for Social Policy and Development and Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the study also recommends the adoption of independent sources of funding for the world body to "loosen the reins of political control now exercised by the powerful Member States" and "ease the pressures on the United Nations that have been attributable to resource constraints."

Taking a broad look at the world body, the study says the UN must become more representative, fostering the participation of global civil society to a greater degree. It also calls for the UN to become more democratic in its decision-making. Among other measures, the authors recommend the establishment of a global peoples assembly, which would run parallel to the General Assembly and serve as "the voice of global civil society."

The Tokyo-based United Nations University was established in 1973 with a mission to "contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations, its Member States and their peoples."