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Erskine Barton Childers – For a democratic United Nations and the Rule of Law

Development dialogue no. 56, June 2011
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Erskine Barton Childers devoted his career as an international civil servant and his too short life thereafter to the tireless promotion of ideals and visions that both acknowledged and were animated by the spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld. His writings testify to his convictions and commitments, and thereby translate the legacy of the second Secretary-General of the United Nations into political discourse and practice in our times. Like Hammarskjöld, he relentlessly promoted the ideal of and belief in the relevance of a truly united family of nations. So do all of those, who have provided their reflections on the selected texts by Childers in this publication. Their statements are striking evidence of the continuing relevance of the positions taken by Childers, who was a friend to all of them.

Erskine Childers’s thought-provoking and pioneering ideas on reform of the UN system were also published earlier on in the very same Development Dialogue series. The current volume, presented 15 years after the death of Childers as a kind of comprehensive homage, keeps alive not only his thoughts in their relevance for today, but also the spirit of Hammarskjöld, whose untimely death occurred half a century ago this year.

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Title of article


Henning Melber
Vijay Mehta
In a time beyond warnings – Strengthening the United Nations System
Erskine Childers
Erskine Childers – A life dedicated to building a working world community
Sven Hamrell
Texts by Erskine Childers
United Nations myths and realities
Commentary by Phyllis Bennis
Interventions – The roles of the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, governments, and the NGO community
Commentary by Hanne Christensen
An Agenda for Peace and an Agenda for Development
Commentary by Muchkund Dubey
The United Nations after the Gulf Crisis
Commentary by Richard Falk
The Gulf Crisis as a mirror
Commentary by Denis J. Halliday
Female participation in the United Nations
Commentary by Eva Haxton
The United Nations and global institutions
Commentary by Sir Richard Jolly
The future of the United Nations – Europe’s responsibility
Commentary by Bruce Kent
Who is the tailor of peace-keeping?
Commentary by June Lambert
The United Nations in the ‘New World Order’
Commentary by Chandra Muzaffar
Seizing the day for United Nations reform
Commentary by William R. Pace
The financial arrangement of the United Nations
Commentary by James A. Paul
The United Nations in a world of conflict
Commentary by Jan Pronk
Far too serious a matter to be left to governments
Commentary by Sir Brian Urquhart
An Epilogue
Marjolijn Snippe
Notes on Contributors

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