“Towards reforming the United Nations –
Proposals from university students in Japan”
On 1 July 2005, 65 students from 14 universities gathered from all over Japan in order to discuss the report “IN LARGER FREEDOM: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All”, which was presented by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 21 March 2005. The main purpose of this discussion, held at EXPO Aichi UN Pavilion, was to think about the future of the United Nations. At this event, preceding the World Summit at the UN Headquarters in September, the students in Japan summarized their perceptions of the United Nations as well as the international community, and agreed on the proposals they wish to disseminate to the world. This report aims to introduce these proposals.
Through our discussion, we have reached the following comprehensive conclusions:
- The goals in the report “In Larger Freedom” represent a long-term viewpoint and their achievement will reap global benefits. Therefore, all Member States must cooperate in order to realize these benefits.
- The United Nations should form a direct bond and strengthen it not only with the representatives of Member States, but also with the civil society. The Organization needs to communicate well its ideas to all the global citizens.
We have summarized our viewpoints in the following four proposals.
Proposal 1: To the Member States of the United Nations
In the long run, to realize the global benefits proposed in the report will yield the national benefits. In other words, each country’s national interests will be met. For example, increasing ODA contributions to the developing countries will boost their development, which will subsequently lead to mutually beneficial economic relations between donors and recipients. For future generations to be able to inherit a healthy and livable planet, measures must be taken against environmental problems such as climate change, across the borders and regions. Once the worldwide disarmament is achieved, countries will no longer be troubled with enormous military expenditures. Thus all Member States must adopt global and long-term perspectives, and collaborate in achieving the targets outlined in the Secretary-General’s report.
Proposal 2: To the United Nations
In order to familiarize the aforementioned principles not only to the representatives of the Member States but also directly to the global citizens who are easily affected by the measures and policies, the United Nations should become more accountable and make serious efforts to promote a deeper engagement from the global citizens. In addition to strengthening the partnership with NGOs and the private sector further, the United Nations should encourage each country to create an educational programme to deepen international understanding. One of the feasible ways to carry out intensive information activities might be through the partnership with the Global Compact participants.
Proposal 3: To the Japanese government
As Japan is aiming to become a permanent member of the Security Council, the Japanese government should provide a more detailed vision on how Japan will contribute to the activities of the United Nations, especially in the fields of development, security and human rights after achieving permanent membership. Furthermore, Japan should actively appeal its strong commitment to participate in the United Nations’ activities, as a country to realize the long-term and global perspectives that we have described in Proposal 1 in the above.
Proposal 4: To the media
The media, especially the Japanese press, while introducing the report “In Larger Freedom”to the public, have focused almost extensively on the United Nations reform and the enlargement of the Security Council, hence the full contents of the report remained unclear to the readers. They should cover the core issues in the report －development, security, human rights and UN reform － more comprehensively, and feel it more responsible to communicate the importance of the report to the public. Media should also help strengthen the partnership between the global citizens and the United Nations, as mentioned in Proposal 2. It is believed that media’s active and effective role in communication could contribute to conveying the government’s viewpoints discussed in Proposal 3 to the general public.
Facing a complicated and diverse community of Member States, to realize the UN reform is indeed, quite challenging. When we look at the reality of full of challenges, pursuing the ideal world where all countries work in close cooperation seems demanding. However, our time does require us to overcome these challenges and, in fact, it is not impossible at all to walk hand in hand to advance the UN reform. We, the students who gathered at UN Pavilion of EXPO Aichi 2005, have decided to disseminate these proposals, as we strongly believe that the United Nations, the Member States and the global citizens can share the common ideas and visions in order to create a world which we wish to pass on to the next generations.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the following Global Compact companies from Japan that supported this event.
Alpha E.C. Co. Ltd., Amita Corporation, Fuluhashi Corporation, Japan Energy Corporation, Life Corporation, Millea Holdings, Inc./Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., Sakaguchi E.H. VOC Corp., Security Systems Integration Japan Corporation, Toshiba Corporation (in alphabetical order)