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Reform of the United Nations
Strengthening the United Nations (UN) is one of the priorities of Swiss policy. Since its founding in 1945 the UN has carried out a number of major reforms to adapt to changing needs and expectations. The current reform process is merely a continuation of this. Switzerland is actively involved, making proposals for improving the effectiveness of UN instruments. Switzerland's approach is characterized by its constructive attitude and reliability.
The Security Council consists of five permanent members and of ten non-permanent members. The entire membership of the UN is required to implement decisions by the Security Council in the areas of sanctions and of peace operations. Many countries therefore want to see better interaction between the Security Council and the community of states as a whole. This is why since 2005 Switzerland has been active in the "Small 5" Group (Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland) in its efforts to improve working methods.
The main objectives are as follows:
- Strengthening transparency in the decision-making processes of the Security Council;
- Increasing opportunities for states which are not members to become involved in the work of the Security Council;
- Intensifying consultations between the Security Council, states that provide troops, the neighbouring states concerned and regional organisations;
- Better exploiting the experience acquired in the implementation of decisions by the Security Council;
- Ensuring that the principles of the rule of law are better observed when targeted sanctions are applied;
The S-5 presented a draft resolution to this effect to the General Assembly on 16 May but did not call for a vote on the draft resolution. Although there was a large measure of support, it had to be recognised that the General Assembly is not yet ready to take a formal decision on reform of the Security Council.
Thanks to the initiative by Switzerland and by its partners, the Security Council has already included some proposals of reform in its working methods. Switzerland will continue to advocate reform of the working methods and to engage in discussions with members of the Security Council.
The UN’s mandate has changed considerably since the organization’s founding. Today the UN has a complex structure which reflects the various abilities and requirements of its 193 member states. Its local presence has been greatly expanded through field missions around the world. The fact that it is now active on a global scale has increased the demands placed on the UN executive organs at operational level. Management reforms - its basis, structures and processes - are urgently needed. For this reason, since it joined the UN, Switzerland has taken an active role in promoting a more effective and efficient UN.
To take one example: The Secretary-General and his executives currently lack the freedom of action they need, to flexibly manage the organization in terms of personnel and financing. The Secretary-General should therefore be given greater managerial freedom. However, in return this would require the strengthening of internal and external supervisory mechanisms, as well as a general increase in the accountability of management to the member states.