The Outlook for UN Reform

25 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2011 Last revised: 30 Apr 2014

See all articles by Simon Chesterman

Simon Chesterman

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 12, 2011


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.

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

Suggested Citation

Chesterman, Simon, The Outlook for UN Reform (July 12, 2011). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-55, Available at SSRN: or

Simon Chesterman (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

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