New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



This paper, presented at the conference "Korea in the UN: The Third Decade" (Seoul, July 12, 2011), examines the context and the prospects for reform of the United Nations. It considers reform of (i) institutions, such as the Security Council, ECOSOC, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the Peacebuilding Commission, and (ii) norms, such as self-defence and the evolving Responsibility to Protect. Underlying these programmatic approaches to reform is the question of whether that reform must take place primarily in the structures, procedures and personnel that make up the United Nations, or in the willingness of member states to use them. Here the greatest problem confronting the UN may be mismanaged expectations about what it can achieve, and how its success should be measured.

Date of Authorship for this Version



United Nations, Security Council, Responsibility to Protect, Self-Defence