The United Nations and Democracy Promotion. The Importance of Being Earnest

Democracy has become a concept readily identifiable with the UN in relatively recent times. It was only at the end of the Cold War that democracy promotion entered at the fore of UN-driven global activities. The UN institutional and legal framework remained, instead, fundamentally unaffected by the post-1989 events, creating a discrepancy between the unchanged organization’s founding values, membership requirements, and general structures, and its progressively more intense pro-democratic global projection.
The paper firstly analyzes the approach of the UN towards democracy before and after 1989. It then focuses on the view of democracy both as a “universal value” (democracy as an end) and on the view of democracy as an instrument (democracy as a means). The 3 basic axioms – democracy for peace; human rights; and development – will be analyzed from both a theoretical/empirical point of view. In the conclusion, attention will be paid to the “importance of being Earnest” for the UN.