A million little pieces
In a very good op/ed on Saturday’s NYT (surprise!), Nader Mousavizadeh, who worked with Kofi Annan from 1997 to 2003, proposes a concrete and feasible solution to the inevitable dissolution of the discredited United Nations:
The title seem to refer – appropriately - to James Frey's memoir, that opens with the author "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood."
THE United Nations summit meeting last week should be the last of its kind. It allowed world leaders, once again, to over-promise and under-deliver on behalf of an organization that few of them genuinely wish to equip for success. With the failure of its member states to agree on meaningful reform - even after Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and the oil-for-food scandal - it is time for a new approach.
The central, governing structures of the United Nations - the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretariat - have each in their own dismal way been allowed to decay to the point where they arguably do more harm than good to the very causes they were founded to serve.
No doubt about it; we see it every day.
They should be dissolved, and their legislative responsibilities transferred to the governing bodies of the United Nations agencies that have demonstrated a capacity to deliver, decade after decade, on the world body's founding ideals - agencies like the High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Program and the World Food Program.
Each of the United Nations funds and programs could be reconstituted on this stand-alone model: financed by voluntary contributions; governed by a board composed of shareholders with an interest in results, and not just process; and staffed by men and women, hired on the basis of merit, who are given the resources to make a difference. Accountability, transparency - and, ultimately, success - would have a far greater chance of flowing from such a model than from the present one (emphasis mine).
This would satisfy those who insist that the UN are indispensable because of their humanitarian role and multilateral approach.
…to restore the merits of multilateral action, the United Nations must do away with its governing structures and let the agencies and programs operate independently. Working in dynamic partnership with the nongovernmental organizations, foundations and "coalitions of the willing" that increasingly are the real agents of progress in areas like global development, health, security and human rights, free-standing United Nations agencies offer the best hope of bringing the organization's founding ideals to life.
Read it all (ht Camillo).