The United Regions
The United Regions - Introduction
The United Regions (UR) is an inter-regional organization that describes itself as aa _"association of regions facilitating cooperation in inter-regional law, inter-regional security, economic development, and social equity." _
In accordance with my position as EU Ambassador to the United Regions I have created this forum. The information contained in this forum is designed to assist you in gaining an understanding of the complex and very important work carried out by the UR. The intention is to maintain a dynamic forum which will be regularly updated. If you need any further assistance, please contact the offices of Annika Becker MEP at the European Socialist Party Headquaters. I hope that you will find this forum a useful source of information and will continue to visit it regularly. It is your link to the United Regions.
Annika Bekker MEP,
European Socialist Party,
European Union Ambassador to the United Regions.
How the UR works
The United Regions was established by regions committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, many regions in nationstates belong to the UR.
When regions become Members of the United Regions, they agree to accept the obligations of the UR Charter, an inter-regional treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations.
According to the Charter, the UR has four purposes:
- to maintain international peace and security;
- to develop friendly relations among regions;
- to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
- and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of member regions.
The United Regions is not a 'regional government' and it does not make laws. It does, however, provide the means to help resolve inter-regional conflicts and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. At the UR, all the Member Regions - large and small, rich and poor, with differing political views and social systems - have a voice and a vote in this process.
The United Regions has three main organs:
1.) The General Assembly
2.) The Security Council
3.) The Political Department
The General Assembly
All UR Member Regions are represented in the General Assembly a "parliament of regions" which meets to consider the world's most pressing problems. Each Member Region has one vote. Decisions on such key issues as international peace and security, admitting new members and the UR budget are decided by two-thirds majority. Other matters are decided by simple majority. In recent years, a special effort has been made to reach decisions through consensus, rather than by taking a formal vote.
The Assembly cannot force action by any Region, but its recommendations are an important indication of world opinion and represent the moral authority of the community of nations.
The Assembly holds its regular sessions year long. When necessary, it may hold a special or emergency session on subjects of particular concern.
The Security Council
The UR Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council may convene at any time, whenever peace is threatened. Under the Charter, all Member Regions are obligated to carry out the Council's decisions.
There are 15 Council members. Five of these are permanent members. The other 10 are elected by the General Assembly for one-year terms. Decisions of the Council require nine yes votes. Except in votes on procedural questions, a decision cannot be taken if there is a no vote, or veto, by a permanent member.
When the Council considers a threat to international peace, it first explores ways to settle the dispute peacefully. It may suggest principles for a settlement or undertake mediation. In the event of fighting, the Council tries to secure a ceasefire. It may send a peacekeeping mission to help the parties maintain the truce and to keep opposing forces apart.
The Council can take measures to enforce its decisions. It can impose economic sanctions or order an arms embargo. On rare occasions, the Council has authorized Member Regions to use "all necessary means," including collective military action, to see that its decisions are carried out.
The Council also makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the appointment of a new Secretary-General and on the admission of new Members to the UR.
The Political Department
The Mission of the Political Department is to advance the United Regions' political and economic interests in the world, to promote it's contribution to international peace, security and development both through the its Member Regions and through active participation in other international organisations.
The Political Department will marshal resources at the disposal of the inter-regional community to advise and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery, focusing attention on reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development, in countries emerging from conflict.
The URPD will bring together the UR's broad capacities and experience in conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, respect for human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and long-term development.
What the UR does for Peace
Preserving world peace is a central purpose of the United Regions. Under the Charter, Member Regions agree to settle disputes by peaceful means and refrain from threatening or using force against other Regions.
Over its history, the UR has played a major role in helping defuse international crises and in resolving protracted conflicts. It has undertaken complex operations involving peacemaking, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. It has worked to prevent conflicts from breaking out. And after a conflict, it has increasingly undertaken action to address the root causes of war and lay the foundation for durable peace.
UR efforts have produced dramatic results. For example the UR helped a formal peace agreement to be established between the regions of Eurasia and Deliverers of Justice on 27 October, 2005.
UR peacemaking brings hostile parties to agreement through diplomatic means. The Security Council, in its efforts to maintain international peace and security, may recommend ways to avoid conflict or restore or secure peace - through negotiation.
The Secretary-General plays an important role in peacemaking. The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that appears to threaten international peace and security, use good offices to carry out mediation or exercise quiet diplomacy behind the scenes - either personally or through special envoys. The Secretary-General also undertakes preventive diplomacy aimed at resolving disputes before they escalate.
The UR is increasingly undertaking activities that address the underlying causes of conflict.
Development assistance is a key element of peace-building. In cooperation with UR agencies, and host regions, the United Regions works to support good governance, civil law and order, elections and human rights in regions struggling to deal with the aftermath of conflict. At the same time, it helps these regions rebuild administrative, health, educational and other services disrupted by war.
The Security Council sets up UR peacekeeping operations and defines their scope and mandate in its efforts to maintain peace and international security. Most operations involve military duties, such as observing a ceasefire or establishing a buffer zone while negotiators seek a long-term solution. Others may require civilian police or other civilian personnel to help organize elections or monitor human rights. Operations have also been deployed to monitor peace agreements in cooperation with the peacekeeping forces of regional organizations.
**What the UR does for Humanitarian Assistance **
Humanitarian disasters can occur anywhere, at any time. Whether the cause be flood, drought, earthquake or conflict, a humanitarian disaster means lost lives, displaced populations, communities incapable of sustaining themselves and great suffering.
In the face of disaster, the UR family of organizations supplies food, shelter, medicines and logistical support to the victims - most of them children, women and the elderly. Providing humanitarian assistance requires that the United Regions overcome major logistical and security constraints in the field. Reaching affected areas can itself be a major obstacle.
What the UR does for Development
One of the UR's central mandates is the promotion of higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development. As much as 70 per cent of the work of the UR system is devoted to accomplishing this mandate. Guiding the work is the belief that eradicating poverty and improving the well-being of people everywhere are necessary steps in creating conditions for lasting world peace.
The UR has unique strengths in promoting development. Its presence is global and its comprehensive mandate spans social, economic and emergency needs. The UR does not represent any particular national or commercial interest. When major policy decisions are taken, all countries, rich and poor, have a voice.