The North–South Divide at the United Nations: Fading at Last?

Journal article

Malone, David M. & Lotta Hagman (2002) The North–South Divide at the United Nations: Fading at Last?, Security Dialogue 33 (4): 399.


International Peace Academy, New York, NY, USA

After an early period in which Western countries dominated the debates and decisions of most United Nations bodies, the era of decolonization introduced several decades during which UN debates (and sometimes votes) came to be organized mainly along a North–South divide. The authors provide a brief history of this often poisonous dynamic, then focus on three recent debates at the UN: the discussion surrounding the Brahimi Report on UN peace operations, the question of humanitarian intervention, and the issue of financing for development. They argue that while the North–South divide has hampered the work (and often the reputation) of the United Nations, a more sober, less ideological mood seems to have taken hold of the UN, particularly in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001.

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