April 6, 2015

On the Relevance of Reforming the UN

The Independent Analytical Center for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” affords ground to the analysts generation for expressing their point of view regarding the political, economic, security, information situation in Ukraine and in the world in general, according to their personal geopolitical studies and analyses.


Note that an authors’ point of view
can disagree with the editor’s one



Nadiya Serbenko

Born in 1995,

student at the Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, specialty “International Law”


The current Russian-Ukrainian confrontation shows that the leading international organization — the United Nations — is not able today to find solutions to international conflicts, especially when the interests of the leading countries of the world do not coincide. The UN did not prevent the annexation of the Crimea and the Russian military aggression against Ukraine that is it did not make the Russian Federation stick to the basic principles of public international law, such as the use of force or threat of force, protection of the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of the independent state of Ukraine. At one time, this had already taken place during the events in the Balkans (in 1999, NATO launched an operation without the UN Security Council's resolution), Middle East (Iraq, Libya, Syria) and the North Caucasus (Georgia, 2008). In fact, the current situation around Ukraine has served as a catalyst for accelerating the reforming of the UN.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the Symposium devoted to the 70th anniversary of the UN, said that the Security Council was not able to work out a common position on the resolution regarding the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. At the same event, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe pointed out that reforming the UN Security Council does not need a long discussion, it is time to take concrete decisions and act. Drawing attention to the fact that the UN had lost its effectiveness, he proposed to include Japan as a permanent member of the Security Council.

Despite active discussion of the Ukrainian question, (there have been held more than 20 meetings), the UN Security Council has never adopted a clear resolution on the Russian Federation's actions against Ukraine, limiting itself to general declarations. That is, the capability of the United Nations as an international organization that advocates peace, prevents conflicts and localizes them, promotes respect for peremptory norms of international law and protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its member states, not without reason, once again has been questioned.

Since the Russian Federation, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council has, in comparison with other UN member states, a definite advantage in the form of veto, it has been using it to the full (having blocked the adoption of the resolution on the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, and statements on the development of the situation in the east of Ukraine, etc.). At this, the Russian Federation has resorted to a powerful information pressure/influence on both permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

As for the focus and content of the reforms of the UN, then, according to leading Western and Ukrainian experts in international law, it is necessary to undertake the following:

— To increase the number of the UN Security Council's members (due to the RF's constant blocking of resolutions) by including the countries with the greatest economic potential (e.g., Germany, Japan, India, Brazil), or on a geographical basis (one country from each region), and to increase the representation of developing countries. All this is needed to change the balance of power in the UN Security Council;

— To cancel/to temporarily restrict the right of veto of permanent members of the UN Security Council in voting, or to introduce voting determined by a majority (60 % or 70 %) when dealing with such sensitive issues as the violation of peremptory norms of international law, genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian disasters and so on;

— To establish the UN Security Council's effective cooperation with the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights on the prosecution of those who violate the norms of international law and humanitarian law, are responsible for war crimes, genocide, etc.;

— To create the United Nations' Rapid Reaction Force. Like the already prepared multinational military force (for example, from Member States of the UN Security Council on a rotating basis), which will function both, on early stages of the conflict, and to prevent it;

— To develop new mechanisms for recognition of a state an aggressor-state, exporter of international terrorism or state-sponsor of international terrorism. That is, to determine the precise criteria, standards and activities for this procedure;

— To develop new mechanisms for ensuring international security and deterrence of aggressor-states (including tools based on the theory of conflict management, situational management and control of complex systems) to prevent the spread of socio-economic and humanitarian crisis. Such mechanisms should include a set of clearly defined measures and means of pressure/influence (in the political, diplomatic, military, financial, economic/energy/ and other spheres) on the state or group of states that infringe on the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of other states (both, in open or in latent form).

During the UN Deputy Secretary General and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark's official visit to Ukraine 23 March 2015, was put forward an offer to establish cooperation between Ukraine and the UN within the framework of the practical improvement of the UN Development Programme (taking into account the realities around Ukraine) with regard to the constitutional changes in Ukraine, increased efforts concerning the sending peacekeepers under UN auspices to de-escalate the situation in the Donbas, as well as in the context of the implementation of the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan to the situation in the region and preparation for the big international Donor Conference to be held in Ukraine in April.

Thus, the problem of reforming and developing the UN has been actual for a long time, but today its importance and inevitability causes no doubt among the member countries of this international organization. The international community faces new unconventional challenges, risks and threats to global and regional security issues, such as international terrorism; unauthorized dissemination of nuclear weapons and technologies; unilateral revision and failure to comply with basic international agreements; uncontrolled immigration and refugees, as well as distribution of narcotic substances; new unknown diseases, humanitarian and ecological disasters, etc., requiring balanced and consolidated solutions, as well as clear mechanisms and tools to ensure their implementation by all UN member states. The Ukrainian side's participation in this work is absolutely necessary.