A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations

Image: Commonwealth Secretariat


A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations

A talk with Augusto Lopez-Claros

The contemporary crises faced by humanity require a new kind of international agreement. One which will prevent accelerating climate change from ruining the world for future generations, deescalate the high levels of nationalism which risk precipitating further global conflicts, and address economic and social inequities which could undermine the basis of democracy and good governance. One which will remove the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons and place global security on international agreements securing freedom and democracy for all nations rather than on the military preparedness of individual states.

This is a world which the UN, as currently constituted, with its decision-making capacities paralyzed by the veto powers of its permanent Security Council members, cannot achieve. At the 1945 conference in San Francisco where the UN Charter was adopted the UN´s founding members, conscious of the need to placate many countries which viewed the veto as undermining the legitimacy and future effectiveness of the UN, introduced Article 109 — allowing for a future review of the appropriateness of the Charter in light of changes in the world. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s 2024 Summit of the Future provides the perfect opportunity to enact Article 109, binding states to hold a General Conference prior to 2030 where the Charter can be reviewed, and the first steps can be taken to confront the global catastrophic risks which threaten our future.

Find out more.


Augusto Lopez-Claros is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organizations, including most recently at the World Bank. He is also the Executive Director of the Global Governance Forum.

For the 2018/2019 academic years he was a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum Lopez-Claros worked in the financial sector in London for several years, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. He received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University.


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