Category Archives: United Nations

EU Again Split on Palestine

 

Palestine
Palestine (Photo credit: Squirmelia)

Last night the European Union again failed to present a Common Foreign Policy with regards to Palestine. Following on from last years split on the admission to UNESCO, the EU split on upgrading Palestine from being an “nonmember observer entity” to “nonmember observer state” at the United Nations. Bringing it to the same level as the Vatican City in the UN System.

See how the EU Split in the UNESCO Vote

While overall the UN General Assembly vote was 138 Yes, 9 No and 41 Abstentions, this time round the EU Split 14 Yes, 1 No and 12 Abstentions. They were as follows (countries in Italic changed vote since 2011):

Countries Voting Yes

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Country Voting No

  • Czech Republic

Countries Abstaining:

  • Bulgaria
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • United Kingdom

Again Some Common Policy? Its interesting to note that most countries softened there positions. Italy, Denmark and Portugal went from Abstain to Yes. Germany, Netherlands and Lithuania went from No to Abstain. Sweden did a straight switch from No to Yes.

Slovenia was the only country to change from a Yes vote and Abstained.

This vote shows that the Czech Republic is the only country still out-rightly opposed to the recognition of Palestine in International Bodies for the moment.

Of course what this vote really shows is the utter shambles that is the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is when it comes to Palestine.

At the end of the day, I am delighted that Palestine is now the 194th country recognised by the United Nations.

See how your country voted here

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EU split on Palestine

 

Flag of the United Nations Educational, Scient...
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Today’s vote at UNESCO’s General Conference on full membership for Palestine gives an idea of how a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote could go if the membership bid gets that far. More worrying for me is the complete split among European Union member states showing the failure of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

The application for membership was accepted by 107 Yes votes to 14 No votes with 52 Abstentions. The EU was split as follows;

Countries voting YES:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Slovenia
  • Spain

Countries voting NO:

  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden

Countries who Abstained:

  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • United Kingdom

So that meant the EU split 11 Yes, 5 No and 11 Abstentions. Some Common policy there?

The question of Palestinian membership of the United Nations is going to be a long protracted one as long as the United States is threatening the use of the Veto on the UN Security Council. This is holding up a vote in the UNGA on Palestine’s membership. But at least now the Palestinians have an idea of the amount of support they have within the UN System.

Of course the fallout of this vote will not show in the EU’s CFSP and will be ignored. But the big fallout will either be the US withholding funding from UNESCO or withdrawing from the organisation completely.

For now though the idea of a Common Foreign Policy is a long way off, and today’s vote proves that.

Addendum

The applicant Countires to the EU voted as follows:

  • Croatia: ABSTAINED
  • FYR Macedonia: ABSTAINED
  • Turkey: YES
  • Iceland: YES

The potential Candidate Countries voted as follows:

  • Albania: ABSTAINED
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: ABSTAINED
  • Kosovo: Not a member
  • Montenegro: ABSTAINED
  • Serbia: YES

To see a full list of how countries voted check out the post on

The Human Province

Campaign for a more accountable and democratic UN

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After my posts on the UN Security Council Elections I received an interesting email on a “Campaign for a more accountable and democratic UN”. They are campaigning for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). The appeal is quite interesting.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) for the first time would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalization.

As a transitional step until direct elections become practical, the UN Parliamentary Assembly could consist of delegates from national and possibly regional parliaments, reflecting their political diversity. The UNPA would therefore include members of minority parties whose opinions are often not represented in the United Nations. Unlike current UN ambassadors, UNPA representatives would not be subject to the authority of national governments. These parliamentarians would be free to ask probing questions, raise sensitive issues, and table innovative proposals for consideration by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Bretton Woods financial institutions and other UN bodies.

The great problems of our times – such as war, disease, poverty and climate change – cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone. Direct citizen representation could help the world develop a greater understanding of itself as a global community. At the highest levels of the United Nations, a UNPA could function as a world conscience and watchdog, and a catalyst for further reforms. Over time, the UNPA could evolve from a consultative body to a world parliament with genuine rights of information, participation and control.

A consultative Parliamentary Assembly at the UN could be established as a subsidiary body by a vote in the General Assembly under Article 22, without changing the UN Charter. The historical record demonstrates, as with the Land Mines Treaty and the International Criminal Court, that if a few countries urged on by civil society take the lead, significant transformation at the international level is indeed possible.

The “Appeal for the Establishment for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations” promoted by the UNPA-Campaign reflects the consenus among like-minded parliamentarians, civil society representatives, activists and scholars regarding the proposal.

The campaign is being supported by many important people.

After only three years the campaign is now already supported by 779 parliamentarians from 97 countries and 270 NGOs. In addition to this, individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 268 professors from 53 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 10 former foreign ministers, 5 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

There is a facebook page for people who want to find out more. You can endorse the campaign here.

After only three years the campaign is now already supported by 779 parliamentarians from 97 countries and 270 NGOs. In addition to this, individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 268 professors from 53 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 10 former foreign ministers, 5 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

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United Nations Security Council Election Voting Results

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As promised here are the results from today’s elections at the UN General Assembly to fill 5 non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council. The quota in all elections was 127 based on the fact that 182 members were present and voting.

African Group:

  • South Africa 182

Asian Group

  • India 187

Latin America

  • Columbia 186

Western Europe and Other States

Round 1 Result:

  • Germany 128
  • Portugal 122
  • Canada 114

Round 2 Result:

  • Portugal 113
  • Canada 78

Round 3 Result:

  • Portugal 150
  • Canada 32
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Security Council Election Results

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Members of Security Co...
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A follow on from this mornings post on the Elections to the five non-permament seats on the UN Security Council.

The following countries have been elected:

  • African Group: South Africa
  • Asian Group: India
  • Latin America: Columbia
  • Western European and Other States: Germany and Portugal

While the African, Asian and Latin American seats were uncontested, the candidates still needed a two-third majority to be elected.Canada, Germany and Portugal were contesting the Western European and Other States Seat.

Germany attained the required votes on the first round of voting. On the second round Portugal finished higher then Canada. Following that announcement and before the third round of voting, Canada withdrew from the election. The General Assembly is currently voting on Portugal membership of the council.

The full voting results are here

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Elections to the Security Council

UN Security Council Chamber in New York.
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Today 5 new members of the of United Nations Security Council will be elected. They will replace Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Austria.

They will be elected for two years. The African seat is not being contested as South Africa as been endorsed by the African Union and is therefore unopposed. For the Asian seat, India is running unopposed and it is the same in Latin America where Columbia is running unopposed. The only election will be for the Western Europe and Others Group. Portugal, Germany and Canada are all vying for a place on the council.There are two seats available for this group so only one will lose out. Many do hope to see Canada win one of the seats.

Germany and India want reform of the UN to allow them (plus Brazil and Japan) to have permanent seats at the UN Security Council. This is of course opposed by many other UN member states especially Italy and Mexico. Russia and China also don’t like the idea.

I will post the results as soon as they are out.

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Register for TH!NK3!

From upper left: Manhattan south of Rockefelle...
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I got this via Email from the European Journalism Centre. I took part in Th!nk1 and Th!nk2 (though didn’t finish it). Do check it out.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) invites you to apply for the third round of our acclaimed blogging competition, TH!NK3: Developing World.

TH!NK3 will bring together some 100 bloggers, journalists, issue experts and students from the 27 EU member states, as well as neighbourhood countries and beyond, to exchange ideas and debate sustainable development and global cooperation topics. The blogging competition will run from 24 March to 31 August and begins with a launch event in Brussels, 22-23 March. The awards include opportunities to travel and report from Asia and Africa. The big prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, at the time of the Millenium Development Goals summit. All trips are sponsored by the EJC or our partners.

The previous two editions of our competition, TH!NK2: Climate Change and  TH!NK1: European Elections 2009, received hundreds of thousands of visitors and got the attention of major mainstream media. TH!NK2: Climate Change won the European Public Affairs Award for the “Best Web 2.0 Campaign of the Year” in 2009.

To participate in the competition, please go to www.thinkaboutit.eu, where you can read more about TH!NK3 and fill out the application form.

The EJC is an independent, international, non-profit institute dedicated to the highest standards in journalism. For the TH!NK3 launch event, we have received additional support from the European Commission.

Best of luck if you enter! I can guarentee it is worth it! I won’t be entering due to the fact I am too busy with college and Anna Lindh Foundation stuff.

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United Nations, Security Council Reform: Plan A or Plan B??

The United Nations summit in New York, this September, faces a difficult choice A or B?

In his recent report, In Larger Freedom, Kofi Annan, secretary-General of the UN outlined two proposals for reform of the Security Council.

Model A provides for six new permanent seats, with no veto being created, and three new two-year term non-permanent seats, divided among the major regional areas.

Under Model A Europe will get another permanent seat, but who will get it? It will be hotly contested between Germany, Italy and Spain. Europe will also get 2 non-renewable 2 year seats. These will pass among the European Members of the UN.

Under Model A Africa will get 2 new permanent seats, but who will get these? Nigeria and South Africa and hotly tipped for them but there could be other challengers. Africa will also get 4 non- renewable 2 year seats.

Asian-Pacific Region will also get 2 new permanent seats and there will be plenty of competition between Australia, Japan, India, Pakistan and others for them. The Asian-Pacific region will get 4 non-renewable 2 year seats.

The Americas will get 1 new permanent seat which will be contested by Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Mexico and other countries. The Americas will also get 4 non-renewable 2 year seats.

For this model Germany, Japan, Brazil and India have pledged to vote for each other in getting the new permament seats on the council.

Model B provides for no new permanent seats but creates a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas.

Under Model B Europe will get 2 new renewable 4 year seats and 1 non-renewable 2 year seat.

Africa will get 2 renewable 4 year seats and 4 non-renewable seats.

The Asian-Pacific Region will get 2 renewable 4 seats year and 3 non-renewable 2 year seats.

The Americas will get 2 renewable 4 year seats and 3 non-renewable 2 year seats.

Under both models each region; Africa, Americas, Asian-Pacific and Europe will each have 6 seats representing their views on the Security Council. Of course their is no change recommended in the number of veto holding members.

Security Council reform is not the only thing outlined in the report. Change is advocated in most of the organs of the UN from the General Assembly to the Trusteeship Council, which is hoped to be implemented as a Human Rights Council.

For more inforamtion on the UN please visit http://www.un.org