All Nations May Have To Make Fundamental Changes In Their Economic, Political, And

     
Turning Point for All Nations

III. Defining a Role for the UN Within the Emerging International Order

IV. Releasing the power nguồn of the Individual: A Critical Challenge of the Emerging International Order


A Statement of the Bahá’í International Community on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations.

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Turning Point for All Nations

A Statement of the Bahá’í International Community on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations

“Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come lớn an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness và wholeness of human relationships, và establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.”

Shoghi Effendi, 1936


I. Overview: An Opportunity for Reflection

The 20th Century, one of the most tumultuous periods in human history, has been marked by numerous upheavals, revolutions and radical departures from the past. Ranging from the collapse of the colonial system & the great nineteenth century empires to lớn the rise & fall of broad and disastrous experiments with totalitarianism, fascism and communism, some of these upheavals have been extremely destructive, involving the deaths of millions, the eradication of old lifestyles và traditions, and the collapse of time-honored institutions.

Other movements & trends have been more obviously positive. Scientific discoveries và new social insights have spurred many progressive social, economic và cultural transformations. The way has been cleared for new definitions of human rights and affirmations of personal dignity, expanded opportunities for individual and collective achievement, & bold new avenues for the advancement of human knowledge and consciousness.

These twin processes—the collapse of old institutions on the one hand and the blossoming of new ways of thinking on the other—are evidence of a single trend which has been gaining momentum during the last hundred years: the trend toward ever-increasing interdependence & integration of humanity.

This trend is observable in wide-ranging phenomena, from the fusion of world financial markets, which in turn reflect humanity’s reliance on diverse và interdependent sources of energy, food, raw materials, technology & knowledge, to the construction of globe-girdling systems of communications và transportation. It is reflected in the scientific understanding of the earth’s interconnected biosphere, which has in turn given a new urgency to lớn the need for global coordination. It is manifest, albeit in a destructive way, in the capacities of modern weapons systems, which have gradually increased in power to the point where it is now possible for a handful of men lớn bring an over to human civilization itself. It is the universal consciousness of this trend—in both its constructive & destructive expressions—that lends such poignancy to the familiar photograph of the earth as a swirling sphere of blue và white against the infinite blackness of space, an image crystallizing the realization that we are a single people, rich in diversity, living in a common homeland.

This trend is reflected, too, in steady efforts by the nations of the world to forge a world political system that can secure for humanity the possibility of peace, justice and prosperity. Twice in this century humanity has attempted to lớn bring about a new international order. Each attempt sought to lớn address the emergent recognition of global interdependence, while nevertheless preserving intact a system which put the sovereignty of the state above all else. In the perspective of the century now ending, the League of Nations, a breakthrough in the concept of collective security, marked a first decisive step toward world order.

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The second effort, born from the cataclysm of World War II & based on a Charter drawn up principally by the victors of that conflagration, has for fifty years provided an international forums of last resort, a quality institution standing as a noble symbol for the collective interests of humanity as a whole.

As an international organization, the United Nations has demonstrated humanity’s capacity for united action in health, agriculture, education, environmental protection, and the welfare of children. It has affirmed our collective moral will khổng lồ build a better future, evinced in the widespread adoption of international human rights Covenants. It has revealed the human race’s deep-seated compassion, evidenced by the devotion of financial và human resources khổng lồ the assistance of people in distress. And in the all-important realms of peace-building, peace-making và peace-keeping, the United Nations has blazed a bold path toward a future without war.1

Yet the overall goals mix out in the Charter of the United Nations have proved elusive. Despite the high hopes of its founders, the establishment of the United Nations some fifty years ago did not usher in an era of peace và prosperity for all. 2

Although the United Nations has surely played a role in preventing a third world war, the last half decade has nevertheless been marked by numerous local, national & regional conflicts costing millions of lives. No sooner had improved relations between the superpowers removed the ideological motivation for such conflicts, than long-smoldering ethnic and sectarian passions surfaced as a new source of conflagration. In addition, although the over of the Cold War has reduced the threat of a global, terminal war, there remain instruments and technologies—and to lớn some extent the underlying passions—which could bring about planet-wide destruction.

With respect to lớn social issues, likewise, grave problems persist. While new levels of consensus have been reached on global programs lớn promote health, sustainable development và human rights, the situation on the ground in many areas has deteriorated. The alarming spread of militant racialism & religious fanaticism, the cancerous growth of materialism, the epidemic rise of crime và organized criminality, the widespread increase in mindless violence, the ever-deepening disparity between rich và poor, the continuing inequities faced by women, the intergenerational damage caused by the pervasive break-down of family life, the immoral excesses of unbridled capitalism & the growth of political corruption—all speak khổng lồ this point. At least a billion live in abject poverty and more than a third of the world’s people are illiterate.3

As the twin processes of collapse và renewal carry the world toward some sort of culmination, the 50th anniversary of the United Nations offers a timely opportunity to lớn pause and reflect on how humanity may collectively face its future. Indeed, there has emerged of late a wide range of useful proposals for strengthening the United Nations and improving its capacity to lớn coordinate the responses of nations lớn these challenges.

These proposals fall roughly into three categories. One group addresses primarily bureaucratic, administrative & financial problems within the United Nations system. Another group comprises those that suggest reconfiguring bodies lượt thích the Economic và Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Bretton Woods economic institutions. Still others propose lớn undertake changes in the United Nations political structure, calling, for example, for an expansion of the Security Council and/or a reconsideration of the United Nations Charter itself.4

Most of these works are constructive; some are also provocative. Among them, one of the most balanced and thoughtful is the report of the Commission on Global Governance, entitled, Our Global Neighborhood, which argues for the widespread adoption of new values, as well as structural reforms in the United Nations system.5

It is in the spirit of contributing to the ongoing discussion & consultation on this issue of paramount importance that the Bahá’í International Community has been moved to chia sẻ its views.

Our perspective is based on three initial propositions. First, discussions about the future of the United Nations need to take place within the broad context of the evolution of the international order & its direction. The United Nations has co-evolved with other great institutions of the late twentieth century. It is in the aggregate that these institutions will define—and themselves be shaped by—the evolution of the international order. Therefore, the mission, role, operating principles và even activities of the United Nations should be examined only in the light of how they fit within the broader objective of the international order.

Second, since the body of humankind is one và indivisible, each thành viên of the human race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This relationship between the individual & the collective constitutes the moral foundation of most of the human rights which the instruments of the United Nations are attempting khổng lồ define. It also serves to lớn define an overriding purpose for the international order in establishing & preserving the rights of the individual.

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Third, the discussions about the future of the international order must involve and excite the generality of humankind. This discussion is so important that it cannot be confined khổng lồ leaders—be they in government, business, the academic community, religion, or organizations of civil society. On the contrary, this conversation must engage women & men at the grassroots level. Broad participation will make the process self-reinforcing by raising awareness of world citizenship và increase tư vấn for an expanded international order.