What the Member States Must Do

Support for strengthening the UN does not mean that it should become a world government with centralized bureaucratic behemoths trampling on the rights of people and states. Nor does it mean weakening the national governments. As Secretary General Annan's Millennium Report states, "Weak states are one of the main impediments to effective governance today, at national and international levels alike. By the same token, states need to develop a deeper awareness of their dual role in our global world. In addition to the separate responsibilities each state bears towards its own society, states are, collectively, the custodians of our common life on this planet."

a) Reclaim their Role in Representing and Protecting Citizens:

The state's indispensable role in protecting the welfare of its populations in the pursuit of social and economic justice should not be abandoned.

All states must in collaboration with the UN make institutions more accountable and transparent in:

- ensuring that human rights and fundamental freedoms are protected without distinction to cultural and ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, class, age, disability, language or religion.

- developing social policies to achieve sustainable and equitable human development.

- actively playing their role to prevent and complement market failures and to provide their people with public goods, such as health care and education;

- ameliorating the living conditions of disabled people and their families who are still facing discrimination, exclusion and poverty; support, practice and enforce the principles of the Standard Rules for equalization of Opportunities for Disabled Persons promoted by the United Nations since 1993; develop mechanisms to ensure access to resources available for older persons.

b) Monitor and Regulate Economic Globalisation: The recent trend of excessive emphasis on liberalization, deregulation and privatisation must be reconsidered. The recent Asian financial crisis that rapid liberalization of financial markets is very dangerous and that national and international mechanisms must be developed to cope with the volatility of capital flows. Governments must take their responsibilities as overseers and decision-makers in the Bretton Woods Institutions to work for democracy and transparency of these institutions together with limiting their political impact.

With the UN, member states must monitor and regulate fair trade, FDI flows, volatile financial markets and advocate for the HIPC debt elimination scheme, facilitate technology transfers between technology rich and technology poor nations, oppose TRIPS, encourage member states to strengthen labour laws and consider its role in global governance.

c) Increase Oversees Development Assistance: Donor countries must fulfil the agreed target of 0.7% of GNP as soon as possible, and achieve at least 0.5% by no later than 2005. Within those targets, donor countries need to earmark 0.15 to 0.20% of their GNP for the least developed countries, and new ODA should be provided in the form of grant rather than a loan, and free of interest. In addition, more assistance should be allocated to meet the basic needs such as primary education and basic health care. Developed countries should open up their markets for the import of agricultural and textile products from developing countries.

d) Implement Commitments: National governments should live up to the promises and pledges they agreed to in the major action plans produced at the major UN conferences of the last decade. In particular, national governments in the Global North should live up to their pledge to produce and share global public goods with the countries in the Global South. Also national parliaments need to regularly discuss global issues.

e) Participating in the Global Community: The world's leaders as well as peoples must be able to go beyond the narrow concept of national interest. Leaders of national governments should cooperate together to enhance global public interest, while keeping their own national interest and respecting others' at the same time. They have to cope with global market failures together; examples of necessary cooperation include global economic stability, global health research, global or regional environmental improvement, and international peace and security.

Recognising that certain goods and services (like biodiversity, human genome, and cultural heritage of the peoples) are common heritage of humanity they cannot become sources of private ownership for profit making. Fresh water, food, education, health care and other human essentials must not be considered as economic goods but declared common goods upon which a collective custody must be undertaken.

f) Protect and Promote Diversity: Governments must respect the aspirations for self-determination of indigenous peoples and minority groups without the domination or superiority of any.

g) Reducing Military Spending: National governments should cooperate together to substantially reduce military spending. At the Copenhagen Social Summit in 1995, the cost of the absolute eradication of extreme poverty was estimated at $80 billion a year over a period of 20 years, compared to worldwide military spending that was nearly $800 billion in that year. National governments should be urged to reduce military spending and increase social spending.

h) Increase Transparency and Accountability: National governments must involve civil society organizations in their decision-making processes. The UN conferences of the 1990s have played a central role not only in forging normative consensus among governments and spelling out practical solutions on the great issues of the day, but also in engaging and empowering civil society worldwide. The UNDP Poverty Report 2000 shows well that good governance is the key to poverty reduction and that grass-roots participation is the key to good governance.