UN context

Cardoso Report

WSIS context

UNMSP Project

UNMSP Charter




The Charter of the United Nations ( CHAPTER IX INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CO-OPERATION ) provides that :
Article 57

1. The various specialized agencies, established by intergovernmental agreement and having wide international responsibilities, as defined in their basic instruments, in economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related fields, shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 63.
2. Such agencies thus brought into relationship with the United Nations are hereinafter referred to as specialized agencies.
Article 59 :
The Organisation shall, where appropriate, initiate negotiations among the states concerned for the creation of any new specialized agencies required for the accomplishment of the purposes set forth in Article 55.

As a result, many UN specialized agencies ( see chart and charters ) were born, with their own constitutive charters. which became almost international organizations in their own right, with flashy buildings, countless flagpoles, huge bureaucracies and in some extreme cases, corruption.

The set of organizations is known as the UN system. The current system is in crisis. It has been criticized for its huge cost of operation, its ineffficiency. and the lack of contact with the people. The Secretary-General Kofi Annan is fully aware of the problems since 1996, and has promoted a Reform of the United Nations. As part of this Reform effort, and in relationship to the rise of the Civil Society, Kofi Annan formed a Panel of Eminent Persons, which prepared a report ( known as the "Cardoso Report", 21 June 2004 ) including a set of practical recommendations for the Secretary-General on how the UN's relationship with civil society, as well as with private sector and parliaments, could be improved.

The Cardoso Report proposes the formation of an Office of Constituency Engagement and Partnerships that would be a New-York office under the direct control of the Secretariat ( outer right column of the chart ). We propose a Multi-stakeholders partnership agency that would be a specialized agency or an other UN entity under the control of the Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC).

There are already some actions supporting the creation of Multi-Stakeholder partnerships in the UN system.

The UN is facing a permanent financial crisis. Reforms are always difficult to implement in such a context. Concerning the new UN Office to be created in New York, following the recommendation of the Cardoso panel, according to the TWN Analysis : the Panel estimates that the total annual budget for all measures proposed would be some $4 million in core funding of which 3 million could be met by savings through changes in accreditation etc. This core budget represents a fraction of 1% of the UN operating budget. "The Panel is of the view that unless resources of this magnitude are realized, it will be difficult for the United Nations to persuade civil society, the international community and others that it is serious about enhancing engagement." Paragraph 171. Bottom line, if no money is raised these proposals could lay idle for a long time to come or till another Panel is set up to review this Panel's findings and suggest even more concrete actions.
This implies that any new proposal of a specialized UN agency must comply within an extremely tight budget. Therefore only an innovative, lean and decentralized structure, making use of existing offices and conference halls, and relying heavily on ITCs ( virtual conference, virtual working meetings, electronic fora ) has any chance to come into being.