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The UN Role in Promoting Democracy: Between Ideals and Reality
Edited by: Edward Newman and Roland Rich
ISBN: 92-808-1104-5
November 2004
  320 pages
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  • Description
    The notion of democracy is a key principle of the United Nations and underpins much of its work. Almost a third of the UN’s members have requested its assistance in conducting elections. The UN is supporting a new wave of democracy, although not without difficulty in places such as East Timor, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Kosovo. The role of the UN in the promotion of democracy is significant but also sometimes problematic.

    This book considers and questions the modalities, effectiveness and controversies of the UN’s work in promoting and assisting democracy. It examines if the UN can help to build the foundations of democracy and whether, as an ‘external

  • actor, it can have a substantive positive impact upon the development of democratic governance inside societies.

    Set against a background of political science and international relations, The UN Role in Promoting Democracy explores how the normative ideals of democracy interact with the realities of power in the international arena and in the societies in which the UN works. In so doing, this volume provides a timely analysis of the prospects and limitations of the UN’s work in this area, and of the broader field of democracy promotion.

    Edward Newman is an Academic Officer in the Peace and Governance Programme of the United Nations University.
    Roland Rich is the Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.

    THEMATIC PERSPECTIVES: Introduction: approaching democratization policy

  • The promotion of democracy: international law and norms
  • Crafting Security Council mandates
  • Building democracy through benevolent autocracy: Consultation and accountability in UN transitional administrations
  • Elections in post-conflict societies
    Democratization with the benefit of hindsight: The changing international components

    PERSPECTIVES FROM THE UNITED NATIONS: The UN’s electoral assistance: challenges, accomplishments, prospects
  • United Nations democracy promotion: comparative advantages and constraints
  • UN experience in long-term democracy assistance

    CASE STUDIES: Decolonization and democratization: The United Nations and Namibia’s transition to democracy
  • The United Nation’s modest impact on Cambodia’s democracy
  • Kosovo: a permanent international protectorate?
  • Delivering feudal democracy in East Timor
  • The UN and democratization in Afghanistan


  • Simon Chesterman
  • Tom J. Farer
  • Tanja Hohe
  • Ylber Hysa
  • Robin Ludwig
  • Henning Melber
  • Edward Newman
  • Sorpong Peou
  • Benjamin Reilly
  • Roland Rich
  • Amin Saikal
  • Laurence Whitehead
  • Richard Ponzio

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