In 1961, Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane, which wanted to establish a UN right of interference in Katanga (Congo), crashed. The square in front of the General Secretariat in New York still bears his name.
In cases such as Haiti or East Timor, the UN intervenes when it is an internal conflict. This is because there is no commercial interest that puts pressure on the presidents of the USA, France, Russia, China and the United Kingdom. This is important because they are the ones who are part of the security council. https://www.cairn.info/revue-pouvoirs-2004-2-page-111.htm
So why do I still have confidence and why do I have my hopes for the UN?
Since the creation of the UN, the risk of dying from violent aggression has collapsed. The number of countries that have declared war to another has also fallen. The number of injured, maimed and dead is much lower in internal conflicts than in conflicts between countries.
But the UN does much more for peace, helping people to live better.
The results on child labour, slavery and women’s rights are staggering. No one can deny the effectiveness of WHO, which has been directly involved in the eradication of certain diseases. Who could criticize UNICEF?
It is very important for the UN to have people who support them. We are not the only ones. More and more groups around the world are pushing to help bring about this popular referendum project in the face of the increasingly autocratic trend of “liberal democracies”. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is concerned about these issues.
V-DEM is a department of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. It officially provides indicators and statistics for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 16 (related to peace, justice and strong institutions).
The UN has already collaborated in 2015 with the V-DEM cabinet to consider the measurement of the referendum on popular initiative. V-DEM provided statistics for the SDG in 2015 in a very technical report: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43561144.pdf
This index measures:
(1) the ease with which each type of popular vote can be initiated and approved, and
(2) the importance of this vote (if approved).
The ease of initiation is measured by:
(a) the existence of a process of direct democracy,
With regard to the importance of the vote, it examines its decisive nature (whether the decision is binding or not) and the threatening capacity of direct democracy mechanisms at the initiative of citizens, measured by the frequency with which direct popular votes have been used and approved in the past. Finally, the study tests the validity of the new measure, discussing its strengths and limitations.
The next revision of the indicators of SDG 16 (Peaceful and inclusive societies) will be in July 2019 with the opportunity to include the direct democracy indicator. If the project does not pass, the next chance to ask for a referendum on a citizens’ initiative at the UN will be in 2030.