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Die Vereinten Nationen: Entwurf und Wirklichkeit

Plenary / Panel
in englischer Sprache


Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, New York
Chairman, ESI - European Stability Initiative, Istanbul
President, IPI - International Peace Institute, New York Abstract
This year´ s topic of the Alpbach Political Symposium focuses on the relationship between institutional constructions and the current political realities. In this panel, the key question is: can the UN, as it is constructed, fulfill its mandate and deliver the global goods of peace, security, and development? There are reasons to doubt that. Dramatic changes in the distribution of economic and political power on the global stage create a very different reality for the UN, not only from the days of its foundation, but also from the dreams and visions of the early 90s.
Reality is posing five existential dilemmas to the United Nations:
1) what kind of UN (a "talk-shop" or a global norm-setter and broker?);
2) what kind of moral position (neutrality vs. impartiality);
3) what kind of legitimacy (tension between the legitimacy and the impact of the decisions)
4) what kind of Secretary-General (" lay pope", " political prince", or the "global CEO" ?)
5) what relation between keeping and making peace (tension between keeping the status-quo and pushing for political solutions).
At the roots of these dilemmas, there are important differences in the way member states see sovereignty ( "jealously guarder" vs. "globally responsible" ). These dramatically different positions on the UN pose important questions for the future of the world body, undermining its relevance and effectiveness. States might decide that the current format of UN decision-making does not serve their interests and prefer to work through clubs of leaders with different configurations depending on the topic to be addressed (see G20, Group of Friends, Contact Groups, etc.). However, since clubs do not have bureaucracies or secretariats to implement decisions, the UN might still be the global executor.
Secretary General, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Kathmandu Abstract
UN: Construction and Reality as seen from South Asia

For South Asian countries, which comprise almost one-fifth of humanity, the UN system on the whole has been an immensely valuable asset for their economic development and for the wellbeing of their peoples (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). The UN agencies working in the capitals in South Asia have spanned a wide spectrum of activities covering health, education, women and children, food and agriculture, environment and climate change, trade and cover a range of development related portfolios. They have also contributed to fighting crime and trafficking in drugs, women and children. These soft dimensions of global governance under the UN have made it indispensable for the prosperity of South Asian countries. The numerous line Ministries in South Asian capitals reach out to the UN system agencies and organs for necessary coordination and cooperation as envisaged in the Charter. In recent years, disaster response and risk reduction has figured with growing prominence in the interface of South Asia with the UN system.

The political and security dimension of the UN system also has a very important constituency in South Asia, where Governments have contributed in no small measure to UN peace-keeping from the early years onward. Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka have all been active participants in the UN missions for peace-keeping and, of late, peace-building. These countries have also been and remain active stakeholders in the UN role for peace, disarmament, decolonization and security, in a broader sense. South Asian countries have been represented from time to time in the Security Council (against non-permanent seats); though India has been a consistent claimant for its permanent membership. Diplomats from South Asia have made a strong and constructive presence in the UN Forums at New York, Geneva and Nairobi as well as regional commission in Bangkok.

It is, thus, a veritable real United Nations that South Asia perceives in circa 2010. Since its creation in 1945, the construction aspect of the UN has given place to deep foundations and a robust edifice.

In recent years, there have been instances when UN either sought or was asked to play a political role in South Asia with mixed results. The UNMIN in Nepal is still struggling to draw all concerned parties to implement the peace agreement in full; receiving in the process much varied criticism from several quarters from time to time. Sri Lankan situation has been resistant to UN counsel and assistance in the context of the government´s use of force in dealing with rebels. Afghanistan is the focus of so much concerted international effort for peace-building and for end to conflict and violence. The UN role in Afghanistan has been a challenging one. In the latest catastrophic floods in Pakistan, UN has come forward with generous offer of assistance.

In broader Asian framework, the march of economic growth, has outstripped old mindsets. Asia prepares itself for the twenty-first century being an Asian century. Already, 27 per cent of global exports come from Asia, and Asian economies contribute to a large per cent of global GDP. Regional structures in Asia, including South Asia, have come into being over the past several decades with a complementary role to the UN system. There are no contradictions whatever between the institutions of regional and sub-regional cooperation in Asia with the UN system. On the contrary, the entire framework of cooperation in Asia has been crafted drawing from the UN concepts and structures, as well as considerable UN input and assistance. Like most countries in the developing world, South Asia and the vast majority of Asian countries have a real and tangible sense of identification with the UN.

What are the challenges and prospects for the future in this overall setting?
Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia, EEAS - European External Action Service, Brussels Chair


Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, New York

 She has studied at the London School of Economics and holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from the University of Oslo.
 Ambassador Mona Juul took up her appointment as Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations in New York in January 2005. In 2007 she was the first woman to chair the 1st Committee of the 61st session of the United Nation General Assembly. Prior to her work for the Norwegian UN mission Juul was Ambassador to Israel and Cyprus, Deputy Foreign Minister of Norway and Special Advisor and Middle East Coordinator to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairing the AHLC (Ad Hoc Liassion Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians). She was part of the Norwegian team that facilitated the negotiations between Israel and PLO leading to the Oslo-agreement.

Gerald KNAUS

Chairman, ESI - European Stability Initiative, Istanbul

 Gerald Knaus is the founder of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a Berlin-based think tank (www.esiweb.org) working on South-eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus and the future of European enlargement. He studied in Oxford, Brussels and Bologna. He taught economics at the State University of Chernivtsi in Ukraine and worked for five years in Bulgaria and Bosnia for NGOs and international organizations. He was director of the Lessons Learned Unit of the EU Pillar of the UN Mission in Kosovo (from 2001 to 2004). He co-authored more than 60 ESI reports as well as many scripts for TV documentaries on South East Europe (www.returntoeurope.eu). Gerald Knaus has been based in Istanbul since 2004. He is a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and associate fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard University Kennedy School where he also spent one year as a visiting fellow lecturing on state building and intervention.


President, IPI - International Peace Institute, New York

 Terje Rød-Larsen has been President of the International Peace Institute since January 2005. He serves concurrently as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004). He began his career as an academic, teaching sociology, political science, and philosophy at the Universities of Bergen and Oslo, before establishing the Fafo Institute for Applied Sciences in Oslo in 1981. As Director of Fafo, he initiated a research project into the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which led to a request by the PLO in 1992 that he help establish a secret channel for negotiations between the PLO and the Government of Israel. The subsequent talks between Israelis and Palestinians concluded with the Oslo Accords and the signing of the Declaration of Principles at the White House on September 13, 1993.
 In 1993, he was appointed Ambassador and Special Adviser for the Middle East Peace process to the Norwegian Foreign Minister. In mid-1994, he was appointed United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories at the rank of Under-Secretary-General. In 1996, he became Norwegian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and Cooperation, before re-joining the United Nations. From 1999 to December 2004, he served as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, holding the rank of Under-Secretary-General

H. E. Dr. Sheel Kant SHARMA

Secretary General, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Kathmandu

1971 Master of Science, Nuclear Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai
1974 Ph.D., High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai
1973 Joined Indian Foreign Service
1976-1977 Served as Third Secretary/Second Secretary in Kuwait/Saudi Arabia
1978-1981 Under Secretary, Middle East desk, Ministry of External Affairs, covering at various stages countries from Iran, Iraq to North Africa
1981-1982 Fellow, Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA), N. Delhi
1982-1983 Deputy Secretary (North), Ministry of External Affairs, dealing with Nepal and Bhutan
1983-1986 First Secretary (Disarmament), Permanent Mission of India, Geneva
1986-1989 Counsellor, Embassy of India, Algiers
1989-1991 Director (United Nations Division) and Disarmament Head, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi
1991-1994 Joint Secretary (South & Disarmament), Ministry of External Affairs, dealing with ASEAN, Indo-China and South Pacific
1994-2000 Deputation to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna in External Relations & Policy Coordination Division
2000 Joint Secretary (Disarmament & International Security Affairs)
2003 Covering all disarmament issues, bilateral security dialogues and Dialogues on nuclear non-proliferation, export controls and defence Cooperation, regional security forums such as ARF, CICA and other ad hoc groupings
2003-2004 Additional Secretary (International Organisations), Ministry of External Affairs with previous charge expanded to include international organisations
2004-2008 Ambassador of India to Austria and Permanent Representative of India to International Organisations in Vienna
since 2008 Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Kathmandu, Nepal


Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia, EEAS - European External Action Service, Brussels

1977 Diploma, Law Studies in Vienna
1977-1978 Postgraduate-Studies, College of Europe, Bruges
1978 Diploma of The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague
1979 Joined the Austrian Diplomatic Service
1982-1986 Austrian Mission to the European Communities, Brussels
1986-1990 Austrian Embassy, Moscow
1991-1993 Private Office of the Austrian Foreign Minister, Vienna
1993-1995 Deputy Head of Cabinet of Foreign Ministers Mock and Schüssel, Vienna
1995-1999 Deputy Political Director and Director for Security Policy and Policy Planning, Austrian Foreign Ministry, Vienna
1999-2003 Ambassador of Austria to Belgium and Head of the Austrian Mission to NATO, Brussels
2002-2004 Special Representative of the Austrian Foreign Minister for the Western Balkans
2003-2004 Representative of the Chancellor in the Reform Commission of the Federal Army, Vienna
2003-2008 Political Director (Director General for Political Affairs) of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Vienna
2008-2011 Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, New York
2009-2010 Also represented Austria on the United Nations Security Council, New York
2011 Vice-President of the 66th General Assembly of the UN, New York
2011-2015 Ambassador, (Head of the Delegation) of the European Union to the United Nations, New York
 Visiting Professor, College of Europe, Bruges and Natolin
 Lecturer, Diplomatic Academy, Vienna
since 2015 Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia, European External Action Service, Brussels

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