What is Negotiation Inside and Outside of The United Nations?
Negotiations take place both within the United Nations and between the United Nations and other parties, but there are similarities.
There are 193 member states represented in the United Nations. When a large number of parties is involved in jointly hammering out a deal or dispute, agreement can be elusive. Sometimes the question of how to negotiate can be more hotly debated than the issues that come up during the negotiation itself.
Who should be involved in making key decisions?
Should the negotiation process be public or private?
How can parties ensure that all involved feel they’ve had a voice?
The member states of the United Nations faced these each of these questions when they chose a new secretary general in 2016. In the past, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States—have conducted secretive negotiations among themselves to choose the world’s top civil servant.
That tradition was challenged by a coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), calling the negotiation process for the United Nations secretary general “significantly outdated,” saying that it “falls short of modern recruitment practices for high-level international appointments” in addition to failing to live up to the U.N.’s own “standards and ideals.”
Alternatively, some negotiations between the United Nations and other parties (even member states) are more suited for small groups. For example, the meeting of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) and Iran in January 2016 to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions led eventually to the Iran Nuclear Deal.
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