Terran Colonial Governmental Body
The United Nations is far from being a true world government, but it remains very powerful. In large part, its power comes from the fact that humanity is now in contact with several non-human species and the United Nations provides a forum where the nations of Earth can present a unified front to these various alien intelligences.
In 1958, the nations of the UN Security Council unanimously voted to not allow individual nations to make their own deals with alien intelligences without UN oversight. Although most members of the Security Council supported the idea of their own nation making advantageous deals with the mi-go and the other aliens humanity was in contact with, the leaders of all of the member nations were also worried about the possibility of rival nations gaining unilateral access to alien technology. To prevent anyone nation from gaining a substantial advantage over all others, the UN is in charge of all deals with aliens. When news of Earth’s contacts with aliens became public in 1987, the nations of the UN initially lodged dozens of protests with the Security Council, denouncing the secrecy involved. However, a combination of understanding how dangerous some of this knowledge is, combined with a pledge for complete openness and open and frank discussion of the complexities of the Cold War eventually helped to mollify most of these protests.
Today, the UN has both unprecedented power and severe limitations. The UN is the sole body allowed to make treaties and trade agreements with alien species, the OPS now has the right to investigate incidents that may violate the Dangerous Technologies Treaty (DTT) in the vast majority of the nations of the world, and DTT violations are grounds for serious UN action, including deployment of UN peacekeeping forces. However, all other forms of UN intervention are far more limited. Any nation can request UN humanitarian or military aid, and so can either side in a civil war. However, in the absence of a direct request for aid, the UN is forbidden from intervening in any political or military incident that does not cross national borders. Most nations now regard the UN as a vital body that protects them from both alien dangers and from people and nations who would misuse dangerous technologies. However, no nation wishes to have UN troops inside its own borders, and so UN rights to interfere in the sovereign affairs of a nation are both quite broad and strictly limited.
The United Earth Summit
The United Nations of 2030 still deals with problems of patronage and bureaucracy, but sheer necessity has enabled the body to become somewhat effective in its original purpose of keeping the peace.
The United Earth Summit in Geneva, on the 31st of December 1987, was attended by Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, the Russian Republic, South Africa, and the United Americas. The nations attending the summit committed to the goal of uniting the nations of Earth in preparation for the colonisation of the planet Mars and the rest of the solar system in the wake of The Great Revelation and worldwide economic collapse. The colonisation of space has greatly aided the nations of Earth in putting aside national differences, enabling them to present a (mostly) unified front. Despite this, some experts say that human tribal instincts have simply shifted to an interplanetary and interstellar rather than global stage. Important branches of the United Nations include:
- General Assembly
- Security Council
- The Office of Paranormal Security
- Interstellar Colonial Authority
- Interstellar Trade Commission
- The UN Law Enforcement Authority
- The Colonial Security Force
- The UN Health Service
- The UN Labour Force
Notable legislation introduced by the UN Security Council include:
- The Dangerous Technologies Treaty (1988)
- The Colonial Act (1999)
- The Colonial Policing Charter (1999, 2028)
- The United Nations Space Treaty (1990, 1999)
- The Geneva Statute (1987, 1999)
Based in Geneva, the General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is composed of representatives of all member states, each of which has one vote. Despite this supposedly level democratic playing field, politics are still dominated by the richest of the member states. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members, and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority. The wheels of United Nations government move slowly on many issues because of the time needed for the General Assembly to reach consensus.
The General Assembly may meet in special sessions at the request of the Security Council, of a majority of member states, or of one member if the majority of members concur. Emergency special sessions may be called within 24 hours of a request by the Security Council on the vote of any nine Council members, or by a majority of the United Nations members, or by one member if the majority of members concur.
At the beginning of each regular session, the Assembly holds a general debate, often addressed by heads of state and government, in which member states express their views on the most pressing international issues.
The composition and rules under which the Security Council operates have changed since the United Earth Summit. The Security Council is the branch of the UN charged with maintaining international peace and security and with dealing with all hyperspatial and extraterrestrial threats and dangers. Included in this power is the sole right to negotiate treaties with alien species and governments. While there are still only five permanent member seats, (United Americas, the Chinese Consortium, European Union, Russian Republic and the Japanese Affiliates), India, the Central African Bloc, Australia, and the Islamic Holy Republic also retain seats on the Security Council on a regular basis. The temporary members are each elected for a two-year term and are selected by the UN General Assembly, composed of representatives of all of the member nations of the UN. Also, the power of the permanent member veto has changed - a permanent member veto can be overridden by a four/fifths majority vote of the rest of the council. (12 votes out of the 15 seats available).
When a dispute leads to fighting, the Council's first concern is to bring it to an end as soon as possible. On many occasions, the Council has issued cease-fire directives which have been instrumental in preventing wider hostilities. It also sends United Earth Armed Forces peacekeepers to help reduce tensions in troubled areas, keep opposing forces apart and create conditions of calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought. The Council may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions (such as trade embargoes) or military action.
A Member State against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. A Member State which has persistently violated the principles of the Charter may be expelled from the United Earth Federation by the Assembly on the Council's recommendation.
The Office of Paranormal Security
Empowered by the UN Security Council, OPS is a large international agency formed in 1960 that seeks to protect humanity from alien threats. It has connections to all of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the UN Security Council and its member nations. The OPS has permission to work closely with members of these intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and on certain occasions, they can demand the cooperation of such personnel.
The cornerstone of the current mandate of the OPS is the Dangerous Technologies Treaty. The original version of the DTT was proposed by the Security Council in 1988, shortly after the truth about the presence of aliens on Earth and in space was revealed. This treaty originally only served to regulate hyperspatial technologies, including sorcery. However, the nations of the General Assembly who had not previously had access to knowledge of aliens or hyperspatial technology felt betrayed by the nations of the Security Council and demanded a more powerful treaty, which also governed potential weapons of mass destruction, including all chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. As a result, the DTT also allows the UN to interfere in cases of potential nuclear terrorism, and, most controversial of all unprovoked use of nuclear weapons by national governments. In the wake of massive protests both inside and outside their borders, the nations of the Security Council reluctantly agreed to this revision of the DTT. The OPS now has the authority to investigate a wide range of potential threats to the safety and security of humanity as a whole, including all unauthorized research or manufacturing of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and any theft or potential misuse of these weapons.
The Interstellar Colonial Authority
Formed after the Colonial Act of 1999, the Interstellar Colonial Authority (ICA), is a branch of the United Nations government tasked with the government of colonized space out beyond the Sol system designated as Zones 2 and 3 of the Federated Colonies, and to a limited extent representing UEF policies in Far Space. The ICA is responsible for the day-to-day management of these colonies, including local law and order, liaison with Earth, communications, logistics, and a host of other functions. In the absence of direct contact with Earth, the ICA has a veto on any local government decisions.
Each colony in Zones 2 and 3 has an ICA presence. In some of the newer colonies, it is little more than a small Settlement Welfare Team office with a handful of representatives. On larger, more established colonies there is a large established ICA administrative presence.
Interstellar distances have to allow for a necessary devolution of certain powers to local leaders, which allows for the elections of local officials by the colonial population. Despite this, the local ICA Administrator is able to dictate policy should he/she see fit. It is common practice for megacorporations with invested interests in a colony start-up to have representatives on local councils.
The ICA has surveyed hundreds of worlds, and its exploration arm, Interstellar Expeditions (ISX), is in the process of surveying dozens more The ICA has surveyed hundreds of worlds, and it's exploration arm, Interstellar Expeditions (ISX), is in the process of surveying dozens more. Each world surveyed is classified according to how much work is needed to establish a colonial base, and how rich the planet is in natural resources. Once a world has been surveyed and classified, contracts are then issued, up for bid by any nations and corporations interested in investing in the venture.
The ICA is also in charge of interstellar immigration/emigration. Despite hundreds of millions of people now living off-world in the colonies, Earth in the late 23rd Century is still home to almost 10 billion people and is woefully overcrowded. To compound matters, those wishing to live in the colonies must apply for Colonist Status from the ICA. This involves a series of rigorous background checks―physical, mental, and psychological examinations.
The Interstellar Trade Commission (ITC)
The Interstellar Trade Commission (ITC) came into being in 1999, when, in an effort to regulate interstellar commercial shipping and trade, the WTO was radically expanded and remodeled. The ITC is the primary body dealing with commerce throughout the systems colonized by the UN in 2030. All crewmembers of commercial transport and cargo starships are required by Federal law to possess a valid ITC license.
The ITC also deals with Customs and Excise Duties. All trade starships entering the Sol system must be prepared to go through ITC quarantine if the ITC suspects the ship is carrying any unauthorized cargo. In addition, ITC officers often work closely with Colonial Marines strike teams, fighting the endless battle against smugglers, pirates, and terrorist groups that are active in the Colonies.
The Hyperspace Access Network, or HyperNet, is the collective term for the technology behind the wirelessly-networked, ubiquitously-connected urban environment of 2030. HyperNet provides entertainment in the form of over a thousand digital television and radio channels, information in the form of the Interstellar Web (ISW), communications access for Personal ComLinks, etc.
This would be amazing if it were just on Earth, but a series of FTL Relay Stations throughout the Colonies provides HyperNet access to everyone who holds Citizenship in the United Nations. While the citizens of the Sol system can enjoy real-time HyperNet access, those further afield have time delays, as FTL datastreams travel at a maximum speed of 1 parsec per day. As a result, common information is stored locally at the larger colonies, and orbiting satellites allow wireless communications.
The reformation of the United Nations was the spark for several conflicts (the Unification Wars 1986-1990), primarily fuelled by nations who refused to be a part of the new global government. In response, the newly formed United Nations ratified a treaty of United Nations Armed Forces, a cohesive fighting force to stop these and future wars, with troops and equipment supplied by all member states, under one general command staff comprising high-ranking officers of all nations.
The UN Security Agency (UNSA) coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect UN government information systems and produce foreign signals intelligence information. A high technology organization, the UNSA is on the frontiers of communications and data processing. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the federal government. UNSA conducts some of the UN's leading research and development (R&D) programs. Some of the Agency's R&D projects have significantly advanced the state of the art in the scientific and business worlds.
Policing in 2030 is handled by the UN Law Enforcement Authority (UNLEA). From their headquarters on Earth, and via many local stations throughout the Federal Colonies, Federal police officers have the unenviable task of tackling crime over interstellar distances.