How the Commission Was Formed
The Commission on Global Governance was established in 1992 in the belief that international developments had created a unique opportunity for strengthening global co-operation to meet the challenge of securing peace, achieving sustainable development, and universalizing democracy.
The first steps leading to its formation were taken by former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who a decade earlier had chaired the Independent Commission on International Development Issues. In January 1990, he invited to Königswinter, Germany, the members of that Commission and individuals who had served on the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues (the Palme Commission), the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), and the South Commission (chaired by Julius Nyerere).
Those attending the Königswinter meeting agreed that while the world situation had improved, the new decade would present major challenges that could be met only through co-ordinated multilateral action. They asked Ingvar Carlsson (then Prime Minister of Sweden), Shridath Ramphal (then Commonwealth Secretary-General), and Jan Pronk (Minister for Development Co-operation of the Netherlands) to prepare a report on the opportunities for global co-operation on issues requiring multilateral action.
Following this group's report, some three dozen public figures met in Stockholm in April 1991 to discuss the needs of the 1990s. In the 'Stockholm Initiative on Global Security and Governance' they proposed that an international commission be set up to explore the opportunities created by the end of the cold war to build a more effective system of world security and governance.
Willy Brandt, after consulting Gro Harlem Brundtland and Julius Nyerere, invited Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal to co-chair the proposed Commission. In April 1992, the co-chairs met UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali to explain the purpose of the Commission. He commended the initiative and assured them of his support.
By September 1992, the Commission was established with twenty-eight members from around the world. All have served in their personal capacities, and not under instruction from any government or organization.
The Stockholm Initiative
The following individuals participated in or formally endorsed the Stockholm Initiative on Global Security and Governance:
Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Kuwait
Arjun Sengupta, India
Ali Alatas, Indonesia
Babacar Ndiaye, Senegal
Bernard Chidzero, Zimbabwe
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egypt
Bradford Morse, United States
Brian Urquhart, United Kingdom
Bronislaw Geremek, Poland
Eduard Shevardnadze, Soviet Union
Edward Heath, United Kingdom
Enrique Iglesias, Uruguay
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway
Hongkoo Lee, Republic of Korea
Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden
Jan Pronk, Netherlands
Jimmy Carter, United States
Julius Nyerere, Tanzania
Kalevi Sorsa, Finland
Mahbub ul Haq, Pakistan
Manuel Camacho Solis, Mexico
Maurice Strong, Canada
Michael Manley, Jamaica
Nafis Sadik, Pakistan
Patricio Aylwin Azocar, Chile
Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart, Venezuela
Robert McNamara, United States
Saburo Okita, Japan
Salim Salim, Tanzania
Shridath Ramphal, Guyana
Stephen Lewis, Canada
Thabo Mbeki, South Africa
Vaclav Havel, Czech and Slovak Federal Republic
Vladlen Martynov, Soviet Union
Willy Brandt, Federal Republic of Germany
The Commission on Global Governance
TIME FOR A NEW ORDER IN WORLD AFFAIRS
Lecture given by Ingvar Carlsson at the Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, on 23 October 1996.
For the past four years, Sir Shridath Ramphal and I have co-chaired the Commission on Global Governance, and today I would like to consider with you some of the issues we address in our report.
The Commission was set up as the result of a series of initiatives begun by Willy Brandt. He very early realized that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the old Soviet Union signalled an end to the Cold War and the possibility of a new start in international affairs. And Willy Brandt asked Sonny Ramphal and me to start a new independent commission, to look at how that new start could best be managed.
The 28 members of our Commission began working in 1992, convinced that it was time for a new order in world affairs, a new style of managing our relations on this planet, and a new way of relating to the planet itself.
We realized that the first task in proposing reforms in these fields would be to define the values and ethics that would guide us - the international community - in this new world. The strength and force of our ideas should come from commitment to a set of principles and ideals that are right for our time and our needs.
They include respect for life, justice and liberty, integrity and caring. We use the concept of a 'global neighbourhood' as the title for our report, in order to highlight our emphasis on people, and the importance of the rights and responsibilities involved in being a neighbour, in a world which is becoming more and more global in every sphere of human effort.
In the old international order, survival meant focusing first on our own security and our own advancement. It will be difficult for some to make the adjustment to a new order. For some in government, it is also difficult to be generous and caring when their domestic situation is troubled and the atmosphere abroad seems hostile and unrewarding.
However, I am encouraged by the great American President Franklin Roosevelt. Speaking in 1933 at his first inaugural address, to a nation in the depth of the great depression, he proclaimed - and I quote: "In the field of world policy, I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbour. Roosevelt realised what we must realise now - that his neighbours problems are his own. In today's world, all are neighbours. Places we once thought of as far away are now in our living rooms every night. Our neighbour's hopes, fears and achievements become part of our lives. Their insecurities are ours and their crises, more than ever, are our concern.
In today's global neighbourhood, our survival must involve cooperation on many fronts: to maintain peace and order; to expand economic activity and ward off recession; to share scarce resources; to tackle pollution on land, at sea and in the atmosphere; to combat terrorism and the drug trade; to curb the spread of weapons and to fight global epidemics.
These perceptions guided the Commission as we worked to fulfil our mandate to assess the existing global institutional arrangements, and to come up with proposals for strengthening or reforming them.
The four main areas of our work were: security - economic interdependence - the United Nations - and the rule of law. Let me first consider some issues of security.
It is a sad irony that, despite the increasing 'safety, in conventional terms, of most states, people in many areas feel more insecure than ever. They are not fearful of attacks from outside their borders, but of the consequences of internal problems: of environmental catastrophe, of civil strife, of discrimination or persecution, of armed bands and of economic deprivation.
Too often, one or more of these problems develops into a major humanitarian crisis; we have seen it happen with terrifying ferocity in Rwanda, in the decay of Haiti and the tragedy in Chechnya.
The United Nations Charter, which sets out the basic rules of international conduct, was designed to provide a response in cases of conflict between states rather than these internal crises. It is essential that we reflect carefully before we meddle in the internal affairs of states.
However, I am convinced that the time has come for the international community to assert its rights and interests in situations within states, where the security of people is grievously violated.
There is already a trend in this direction. We first saw it with the international consensus on isolating South Africa over its apartheid policy. More recently, the Security Council has authorised the use of force in Rwanda and Haiti.
But ad hoc stretching of existing rules is not good enough. If this new trend does represent the will of the international community, then the UN Charter should be amended. We have proposed an amendment which would allow the Security Council to act in cases where the security of people has been violated so severely that it requires an international response on humanitarian grounds.
For too long, various regimes have been able to violate the rights of their people in the most appalling ways, and then to rebuff international concern by using the principle of sovereignty and non-interference. In future, we should be able to say - yes, it is an internal conflict - but no,it is not your internal affair.
There is a saying in English - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the field of security, this is very good advice.
If we are to maintain the peace, we need to improve our ability to identify, anticipate and resolve tensions before they become armed confrontations. Once the fighting starts, most of our better options disappear.There are many ways to do this. The Commission proposes the establishment in the United Nations of a Council for Petitions, to receive submissions from individuals or organisations on glaring injustices in certain areas.
Non-governmental organisations, relief groups and humanitarian agencies are often well placed to sense when trouble is coming, and to blow the whistle, long before governments are prepared to recognise the danger or to act.
The Council for Petitions, comprising a few eminent individuals, would receive their petitions and evaluate their concerns. This council would not have any executive power, but would be able to put a matter directly on to the agenda of the Security Council.
It is important too that the Secretary-General continues to use his authority to send out fact-finding missions. Their role can be crucial not only in verifying what is happening, but in demonstrating international concern and exploring opportunities for the parties in conflict to resolve their differences. Inevitably, there will he times when it is necessary to deploy troops. Despite the problems of Somalia and in Bosnia, I believe the United Nations peacekeeping has been one of the great successes of modern time. in different parts of the Middle East, in Namibia and in Cambodia amongst other places, the presence of the blue helmets has made the crucial difference.
The experiences of Macedonia and elsewhere provide a clear basis for reviving the concept of a UN Volunteer Force proposed by the first Secretary-General Tryggve Lie and lately championed by Sir Brian Urquhart. Such talk arouses fear of the UN becoming some kind of supranational body. We believe that those concerns must give way to the very real advantages of the Security Council and the Secretary-General having at their disposal, for immediate deployment, well trained, motivated and equipped peacekeepers. At present, it can take weeks, and more often months, between the passage of a resolution and the arrival of the first elements of a peacekeeping force. Operationally and politically, that is unacceptable.
It is no longer possible to talk about security without dwelling on economic matters. For much of the world, security means an economic struggle, earning enough to provide for the family, educate children and live with some basic dignity.
In the late 1970s, the then President of the World Bank, Robert McNamara coined the stark expression 'absolute poverty', and he estimated that about 800,000 people lived in conditions most of us would find unbearable, if not unimaginable.
Today, that number is around 1.3 billion - despite all the immense economic progress across much of Asia and Latin America. This is a matter of shame for us all.
We must also consider the overall economic environment. it is clear that governments are no longer completely dominant in setting and maintaining economic policies. In almost all countries, governments must acknowledge the power of the bond market and of the vast capital controlled by mutual fund managers and in the currency markets.
Newsweek magazine has asked the question: "Has the global economy become a free-for all - with no-one in charge?" it is a fair question.
I am not going to suggest that any one group should be in charge of the global economy. Free markets are not perfect mechanisms, but long experience has persuaded us that they are preferable to other systems.
But it is evident that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have lost their old influence in global economic affairs, as private capital flows now far outweigh financing from bilateral and multilateral programmes.
On every continent, governments have become dependent on the availability of external capital. But money that pours in can also pour out. Global markets are now judging and punishing national economic policies. The consequences can be devastating as funds for investment, infrastructure and government programmes suddenly dry up.
There are many organisations with roles in economic governance. The Bretton Woods institutions have central roles, as do the G7, the OECD, the World Trade Organisation and a number of mainly technical organisations and regional groupings.
But they do not, either individually or collectively, provide real leadership in global economic affairs - in the issues central to our welfare and future survival.
Part of the reason is that their membership or voting rules do not recognise the realignment taking place in the world's economies - the fact for example that the top 15 economies now include Brazil and Indonesia, or that China and Russia are in the top seven.
After much consultation and study, the Commission has proposed the establishment of an Economic Security Council, as a new principal organ of the United Nations - and we have done that in a way we believe offers the best prospect for an early and successful implementation.
It is not intended to be a forum for crisis management, but I am sure that many would expect it to provide direction when economic crises arise with dire consequences for many economies.
As envisaged, an Economic Security Council would meet at a high political level - including annual meetings of Heads of Governent. Its membership would include the world's largest economies, with additional members representing different regions, and provision also for strong regional organisations. It is important that the membership include the major economies, and also be sufficiently representative so that its views command the attention of all states. Its tasks would include an assessment of the overall state of the world economy; providing a long-term policy environment to promote balanced, sustainable development; and securing consistency between the policies of the major economic institutions. Inevitably, the Commission spent much time considering the United Nations. There is a paradox these days. On one hand it is fashionable to attack the United Nations for its failings but on the other hand there are more and more demands for the UN to deal with issues that governments do not want to tackle on their own. At the same time, we cannot escape the fact the United Nations Charter and the Organisation are more than 50 years old and showing signs of age.
Our proposals for the United Nations include the need for revitalising the General Assembly, giving the Trusteeship Council a new role in overseeing environmental treaties and protocols, and reforming the Security Council. I will focus on this last point.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Security Council has been in almost continuous session - passing more than three hundred resolutions and putting tens of thousands of UN troops into the field. This intense activity has highlighted the central importance of the Council, and also the not very representative nature of a body built around preserving the power of the five victorious nations of 1945.
To remedy this, we propose the appointment of five new standing members - two from industrialised countries, and one each from the developing regions - Africa, Asia and Latin America. As well, the number of rotating members should be increased from ten to thirteen in a Security Council which would then have 23 members.
It is doubtful that the five permanent members will readily give up their veto. However, it is encouraging to note that the veto has been used just twice over the past five years. I would hope that this restraint could continue, and that the five might formally agree not to use their veto except in the most extreme circumstances, so that in ten years or so it would be possible to phase it out altogether.
There can be no doubt that a more representative and democratic Security Council would be a more effective body - and more capable of winning broad support from member states for its decisions.
At the same time, as we look to enhance some areas of the United Nations, it is clear that other parts have served their purpose and can now be put aside. The Economic and Social Council has never lived up to its potential and, with the establishment of an Economic Security Council, it should be wound up. Agencies such as UNCTAD and UNIDO as well as the regional Economic Commissions should be reviewed.
This pruning should be seen as part of the normal process of growth and renewal - essential for any Organisation to remain effective and relevant.
The rule of law is what distinguishes a democratic from a tyrannical society. It secures liberty and justice against repression, and it empowers the weak against the unjust claims of the strong.
It is a basic neighbourhood value. It is regrettable then, that the International Court of Justice, the World Court, has been so badly weakened by our collective neglect. It was meant to be a "cathedral of law", but then states were left free to decide whether or not and when they would accept its jurisdiction. Many opted out, and the World Court was marginalised.
As nations continue to mature and reflect more fully on some of the values I have raised tonight, I would hope to see moves towards acceptance by all members of the United Nations of the compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court. It is also time to make more of the Court's potential - by appointing the best available jurists, and by accepting its role in settling inter-state disputes and as a source of advice and opinions to the Security Council.
It is time also to agree on an International Criminal Court. This idea has been around for some years, and there is no longer a substantive reason to delay taking action against those committing crimes against humanity, or those involved in cross-border terrorism. The mechanisms are already evolving, with the ad-hoc courts set up for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. A permanent structure might serve as a deterrent by giving the possibility of swift action when such crimes are committed.
In politics we quickly learn how difficult it can be to perfectly execute any plan or policy. There are always compromises and accomodations that have to be made along the way. In framing our various recommendations, my colleagues and I on the Commission on Global Governance realised very well that we were not producing a perfect blueprint for the future of our world.
There are many proposals for reform being presented. We welcome this, as an essential part of starting a serious dialogue on the issues raised in our report. But dialogue is only the first step ... after that must come action.
The Commission proposes that governments commit themselves to a World Conference on Governance. Such a conference should be preceeded by a comprehensive preparatory process, involving the many non-state bodies involved in global concerns. That conference should make decisions to be ratified and then put into effect as soon as possible.
In the past, the issues I have been discussing were the almost exclusive concern of governments, their officials and diplomats. Today, they are matters which involve leaders at every level of society.
In our report, we express concern at the lack of leadership in the world today, as a cause for the anxiety which is so common in many societies. There is a desperate need for a new kind of leadership - which looks beyond the next election, which looks beyond local and national boundaries, and which cares as much about the future as the present.
It is political leadership, certainly - but also leadership in business, in nongovernmental organisations, in universities and particularly in the media.
We all have serious concerns in our governments, in our national economies, in the running of corporations. Many may also feel a certain fatigue with international causes, whether it is the problems of the United Nations, the never ending needs of the least developed world, or the succession of humanitarian crises demanding our attention.
But if we despair, we admit that the tasks of leadership in the world today are too much for us, that the problems are greater than we are. None of us can accept this. We have an opportunity in the coming few years to act and take decisions which will determine the course of our world in the new millennium and the kind of world we leave for our children. It is an opportunity and a challenge we must meet.
Reforming the United Nations
On 16 July 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a special session of the General Assembly with a blueprint for the most thorough overhaul of the United Nations in its 52 year history. His report was the result of a six - month long reform programme and marked the beginning of what Mr. Annan insists is a "continuing process, not a single event".
The Commission on Global Governance played a prominent role in the debate on the future of the United Nations during the anniversary commemorations in 1995. Since then, Co-Chairs Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal and Commission members have helped focus attention on the principles at stake in UN reform and marshalled support for reform aimed at strengthening the mechanisms of international cooperation.
Group of 16 Backs Annan's Reforms
In 1995, while still Prime Minister of Sweden, Commission Co-Chair Ingvar Carlsson had formed a group of 16 heads of government from all regions of the world to promote multilateral cooperation. In August 1997, this group presented a statement to Secretary-General Annan expressing their firm support for his efforts.
In the statement the heads of the 16 nations urged their colleagues to give them "due attention" and said, "It is the time to go from words to deeds, and for member states to take decisions on actual reforms and to ensure practical steps of implementation. Let us empower the United Nations to confront, through collective action, the global challenges of the 21st century."
The group is now headed by Goran Persson, Carlsson's successor as Prime Minister. He presented the statement on behalf of the group to Secretary-General Annan in Stockholm on 10 August 1997 during the Mr Annan's visit to Sweden. Ingvar Carlsson also met the Secretary-General and expressed his hope that the reform efforts would receive wide support. Full Text of G16 Statement (including list of the 16 countries).
Much Common Ground
The Secretary-General's July statement showed an approach similar to that of the Commission on Global Governance on several matters, including action to improve the UN's ability to launch peacekeeping operations rapidly and also strengthen its post-conflict peace-building capacity. He also made two specific proposals in line with important recommendations in the Commission's report.
Secretary-General Annan proposed that the Trusteeship Council should be "reconstituted as the forum through which member states exercise their collective trusteeship for the integrity of the global environment and common areas such as the oceans, atmosphere and outer space." He went on to suggest that the Council should serve to link the UN and civil society "in addressing these areas of global concern, which require the active collaboration of public, private, and voluntary sectors." The Commission had suggested that "the Trusteeship Council, now free of its original responsibility, be given the mandate of exercising trusteeship over the global commons." It envisaged the Council becoming the chief forum on global environmental and related matters.
Pointing out that the Council in its new role would benefit from contributions from civil society, it suggested that governments should be free to nominate persons from civil society to represent them on the Council.
Another of the Secretary-General's proposals was that "the General Assembly in the year 2000 should be convened as a special 'Millennium Assembly" with a summit segment at which Heads of Government could come together to articulate their vision of prospects and challenges for the new millennium and agree on a process for fundamental review of the role of the United Nations." The Commission had proposed that the General Assembly should agree to hold a World Conference on Governance in 1998, with its decisions to be ratified and put into effect by 2000.
Broader Issues Also Need Attention
The Commission's two Co-Chairmen, Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal, welcomed the high profile the Secretary-General has given to the question of UN reform.
While expressing gratification that several proposals show a convergence between the Secretary-General's ideas and those of the Commission, they said it was vital that, besides endorsing the changes that Secretary-General Annan was putting in place, the world community should address the wider issues of institutional reform - on which the power to make decisions rests with governments, rather than the Secretary-General.
In this context they attached particular importance to two proposals the Secretary-General made: the call for a Millennium Assembly and the suggestion that governments should set up a Special Ministerial Commission to consider the need for changes in the Charter to improve the UN's capacity to serve the world community in the new century.
"I hope there will be strong support from governments for the suggestions from Secretary-General Annan," Co-Chair Ramphal said in London. "He sees the need for a 'fundamental review of the role of the United Nations' and I hope Heads of Governments will respond to the challenge. I would like to see the proposed Ministerial Commission have a broad agenda that enables it to assist world leaders to undertake the 'fundamental review' the Secretary-General envisages."
Security Council Reform Moving Up
The reform of the Security Council, the most powerful organ of the United Nations, has also moved up on the world agenda. The previous President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia, as chairman of a General Assembly working group which considered Security Council reform, presented in March 1997 a set of proposals for enlarging the Council, including the addition of five permanent and four non-permanent members. These suggestions are similar in many ways to the proposals for reforming the Council put forward by the Commission in Our Global Neighbourhood.
Time for a Conference on Global Reform
by Ingvar Carlsson, Co-Chairman and Prime Minister of Sweden
article published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow on 19 April, 1995
Throughout European history the great wars have usually ended with a major conference - a gathering of the powers to decide on the new, post-conflict order.
Such conferences included the 1648 M? and Osnabr?eace conferences after the 30 years war which produced the Treaty of Westphalia; the 1815 Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic conflicts in Europe and north Africa and the 1919 Paris Conference after the Great War. And then San Francisco in 1945 which created the United Nations.
So far there's been nothing to draw a line under the Cold War which for more than 40 years divided the world between east and west, aggravated the differences between the industrialized north and the developing south, and diverted resources from human needs to an arms race which threatened human survival.
The Commission on Global Governance believes it is time to hold a post Cold-War conference. Its report, Our Global Neighborhood, proposes that the 185 members of the United Nations agree this year to hold such a conference in 1998 - allowing at least two years for a careful and thorough preparatory process.
There are many proposals for reform of the United Nations and the development of improved forms of international cooperation. The UN Secretary-General has made valuable contributions with his Agenda for Peace and Agenda for Development. It will be important for all these to be assessed in deciding on structures more suited to a world which is becoming more global in every sphere of human activity.
globalization means that our very survival will depend on our willingness to work with each other on matters that individual governments, acting alone, cannot resolve. These matters are well known in Russia. They include the struggle to maintain peace and order, expand economic activity and ward off recession; to share scarce resources, tackle pollution on land, at sea and in the atmosphere, combat terrorism and the drug trade, curb the spread of weapons and fight global epidemics.
Although the threat of nuclear obliteration has passed, many people still feel threatened and insecure. The threat now usually comes from events inside their own countries.
The United Nations Charter, which sets out the basic rules of international conduct, was designed to provide a response in cases of conflict between states rather than these internal crises.
The time has come for the international community to assert its rights and interests in situations within states where the security of people is grievously violated.
However, it is risky business to accept ad hoc interventions in domestic situations such as in Somalia, Rwanda and Haiti. The Commission proposes an amendment to the UN Charter which would allow the Security Council to act in cases where the security of people has been violated so severely that it requires an international response on humanitarian grounds.
For too long, various regimes have been able to violate the rights of their people in the most appalling ways and then to rebuff international concern by using the principle of sovereignty and non-interference. In future, we should be able to say - yes it is an internal conflict - but it is not your internal affair.
The Commission looked carefully at the issue of self determination and decided that this is another basic principle of international affairs which needs adjustment if we are to avoid wide-scale territorial dismemberment, not least in this country and its neighbors. Self determination will remain important but it can be achieved without establishing new sovereign states.
Once again, the concept of 'security of people' is central, with governments needing to be sensitive to the aspirations of ethnic or other groups that feel alienated or threatened. There are governments which have found ways to make diversity a source of enrichment rather than a cause for division and the international community must find ways to support and strengthen such policies.
Deep social and economic differences are enormous obstacles to the creation of a democratic system of governance - an essential foundation for peace and development. To be sustainable, democracy must hold the promise of contributing to the prosperity of citizens. Unless people see the hope of improving their life, they are unlikely to work on behalf of the democratic process.
Economic progress at the national level needs to be supported by a stable international framework encouraging sustainable development. The recent economic crisis in Mexico followed by the turmoil in the currency markets and longer term economic issues including support for the economies in transition make this an issue needing urgent attention.
It is obvious that the G7 - a self-appointed economic directorate representing just 12% of the world's people - is not the right solution to the world's current needs. The Commission's proposes an Economic Security Council, as a principal organ of the United Nations, comprising the worlds major economies including Russia along with representation from all regions. It would meet at the finance minister and head of government levels.
This is an urgent issue. Without such a representative high level body, developing an international consensus on critical economic issues, the global neighborhood could become a battleground of contending economic forces. Nobody's interests are served by a world even further divided into economic winners and losers.
Tackling these fundamental reforms is never an attractive task for governments who are often more concerned with handling today's crises rather than those which might erupt in twenty years time. This is understandable - but short-sightedness in international affairs can be a dangerous indulgence.
The conference on global reform proposed by the Commission asks the world's leaders to be statesmen and women able to look beyond their own boundaries and possessing a vision that takes in the world their grandchildren will inhabit.
The 50th Anniversary of the United Nations is a fitting time for making such plans. I believe the best celebration of the UN's birthday would be to lay the foundations for the next 50 years.
Note on the Commission on Global Governance
The Commission on Global Governance was established in 1992 in the belief that international developments had created favourable circumstances for strengthening global co-operation to create a more peaceful, just and habitable world for all its people.
The first steps leading to its formation were taken by former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who a decade earlier had chaired the Independent Commission on International Development Issues. A meeting he convened in January 1990 asked Ingvar Carlsson (Prime Minister of Sweden), Shridath Ramphal (then Commonwealth Secretary-General) and Jan Pronk (Netherlands Minister for Development Co-operation) to prepare a report on the new prospects for world co-operation.
Some three dozen public figures who met in Stockholm in April 1991 to consider this report proposed, in their Stockholm Initiative on Global Security and Governance, that an international commission should recommend ways by which world security and governance could be improved, given the opportunities created by the end of the cold war for enhanced co-operation.
Willy Brandt, after consulting Gro Harlem Brundtland and Julius Nyerere, who had headed two previous commissions, invited Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal to chair the new commission. The Commission, with twenty-eight members all serving in their personal capacity, started work in September 1992.
The Commission held eleven meetings, six in Geneva (where its secretariat was established) and the others in New York, Cuernavaca (Mexico), Tokyo, Brussels, and Visby (Sweden). It commissioned a number of papers; it had discussions with several of their authors, a number of persons from public life, and representatives of many civil society organisations. Discussions on key issues on the Commission's agenda were arranged by the Common Security Forum, the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics. The UN University co-hosted a public symposium with the Commission in Tokyo. Regional consultations with experts were arranged, with the collaboration of local organisations, in San Jose (Costa Rica), Cairo and New Delhi.
Support for the Commission's work was provided by the governments of Canada, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, two UN Trust Funds established by Japan, the Canton of Geneva, the government of Mexico City, the European Commission, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (Kuwait), the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation (all of the United States), the World Humanity Action Trust (United Kingdom), and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Germany).
The Commission decided at an early stage to remain active in efforts to disseminate its report and to promote its ideas and recommendations. These will be pursued through speaking engagements, seminars and workshops; work with governments, international organisations, NGOs, the media; and the distribution of material.
Our Global Neighbourhood - Facing the 21st Century
by SIR SHRIDATH RAMPHAL
Westminster Central Hall London, 13 January 1996
The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was held not in New York but in London, at the Central Hall in Westminster, on 10 January 1946. Giving the commemorative lecture at a meeting held in the same hall on 13 January 1996 to mark the event's 50th anniversary, Shridath Ramphal, Co-Chairman of the Commission on Global Governance, recalled the hopes vested in the United Nations at its start. He also recalled that Winston Churchill had, in a speech at Harvard University in September 1943, said that if the League of Nations had failed, it was because it had been abandoned and later betrayed. Ramphal asked - in the context of developments over Bosnia - whether the United Nations was in turn being abandoned as a prelude to being betrayed
"For all of us there are bits of writing capturing essential truths that remain half-remembered in our minds until recalled by some evocative moment. For me, one such is something written by Jean Paul Sartre thirty years ago in his Introduction to Frantz Fanon's timely book 'The Wretched of the Earth'. He wrote: And when one day our human kind becomes full grown, it will not define itself as the sum total of the whole world's inhabitants, but as the infinite unity of their mutual needs.
How incisively and with what conviction those words assert the oneness of our human condition. How directly they invite the question: `has our human kind yet become full grown'. I recalled Sartre's words in San Francisco last June when Maya Angelou recited the moving verse she had written for the anniversary of the signing of the Charter. Her poem spoke of a wonder that she likened to the great wonders of the world - the wonder of our human capacity to acknowledge the eternal unity of the needs of the world's people and our human potential to respond to them. She longed for the day when we would reach the point of fulfilment, for the moment 'when we come to it' - to that selfsame truth of which Sartre wrote: the infinite unity of the mutual needs of all the world's people.
Glimpses of that truth led the world to San Francisco as 'united nations' fifty years ago - pellucid glimpses from the scourge of World War II. Close encounter with self-destruction on a global scale had shaken the generation that experienced it out of smug assumption of the continuity of human progress. The destiny of the world's people was palpably both inseparable and insecure. The infinite unity of their mutual needs demanded a shared response.
This week we commemorate a landmark in that response: the time fifty years ago last Wednesday when on January 10 1946 the First Session of the UN's General Assembly convened here in this historic Central Hall of Westminster. London was a fitting place to begin that journey to common security for it was by then the scarred symbol of fortitude in preserving for future generations the promise of freedom - freedom quintessentially from fear, but freedom too from want. It was a promise that had been gravely jeopardised by the (as yet) most globally destructive conflict in all of human history; it was in the cause of fulfilment of that promise of freedom that the leaders of 51 countries convened in Central Hall. We do well to remember the sense of urgency that characterised their meeting, the range of their concerns and the depth of their commitment to success. In that at least they were united. But they were divided too; and that first Assembly bore witness to both elements.
A thousand miles along the South American littoral of the Caribbean Sea from my Guyana birthplace is Colombia whose ancient city of Carthagena is the symbol of an earlier time of imperial conquest over freedom. Human history holds few continuities. A quarter of a millennium after the conquistadors, it was from Colombia that came the first Chairman of that First Session of the General Assembly and the first words spoken at it in this Hall. I recall Dr. Zuleta's role not in geo-political rhapsody but lest we forget that others besides those who bore the mantle of 'great powers' shared in the creation of the United Nations and in the moulding of its promises. He had been the President of the Preparatory Committee from whose arduous and sometimes passionate debates the Charter had emerged.
Clement Atlee, as Britain's Prime Minister, in welcoming world leaders to London, presented the challenge before the world in characteristically straight-forward terms. He recalled how during the years of war private interests and individual national aspirations were sunk in the common endeavour. Now today, he asserted, when victory has crowned our arms, we have to bring to the task of creating permanent conditions of peace, the same sense of urgency, the same self-sacrifice and the same willingness to subordinate sectional interests to the common good as brought us through the crisis of war. The United Nations Organisation, he insisted, in words that were to become more appropriate to an epilogue than an introduction, must become the over-riding factor in foreign policy.
And he explained his meaning thus:
After the first world war there was a tendency to regard the League of Nations as something outside the ordinary range of foreign policy. Governments continued on the old lines, pursuing individual aims and following the path of power politics, not understanding that the world had passed into a new epoch. In just such a spirit in times past in these islands, great nobles and their retainers used to practice private war in disregard of the authority of the central government. The time came when private armies were abolished, when the rule of law was established throughout the length and breadth of this island.
What has been done in Britain and in other countries on a small scale has now to be effected throughout the world.
This was not rhetoric for the inaugural. More than a decade earlier, in the turbulent pre-war years Atlee and others, including Churchill, had been calling for a universal Commonwealth of Nations. Founded in 1932 as what was described as an 'International Society to promote International Law and Order through the creation of an Equity Tribunal and an International Police Force', the New Commonwealth Society had as its primary aim to reconstitute and revitalise the League of Nations as an international authority possessing the power to alter the public law, and to enforce it.
Lord Tweedsmuir - the novelist John Buchan - was one of its Trustees, Harold Macmillan was a member of the international Executive Committee. Atlee himself was an early member of the 'British' Commonwealth Section, of which Churchill was the President. In 1934, the Society republished an exchange of open letters between Einstein and Freud called Why War? in which these great men argued that the one sure way of ending war was the establishment, by common consent, of a central control which shall have the last word in every conflict of interest. Nearly a decade later, on 6 September 1943, Churchill was to return to these convictions in his now famous Harvard speech. If the League of Nations had failed. said Churchill, it was largely because it was abandoned, and later betrayed. He saw as the central and creative task the working out of the form a system of world security may take - a task which included as he saw it coming to grips with whatever derogations are made from national sovereignty for the sake of a larger synthesis. It is worth repeating that acknowledgement from so grand a supremacist as Britain's war-time leader: whatever derogations are made from national sovereignty for the sake of a larger synthesis. It was mature enlightenment; we were becoming more fully grown.
ACHIEVING FREEDOM FROM FEAR AND FROM WANT
And that of course was the compelling vision that led to the United Nations - to San Francisco and to London; the vision that Roosevelt did not live to put into words himself but left Truman to convey to the Founding Conference:
We still have a choice (said Truman) between the alternatives: the continuation of international chaos ... or the establishment of a world organisation for the enforcement of peace.
Notice the insistence on a choice between 'world anarchy' and 'world order'; the emphasis on 'enforcement of peace'. As late as 1958 Atlee, in a lecture in memory of Lord David Davies who founded the New Commonwealth Society, was asserting the choice of internationalism so resonant in his welcoming address in Central Hall twelve years earlier in calling for collective security under the United Nations:
We just cannot afford any longer (he said) to indulge in the exercise of unfettered individual sovereignty ... If we do not accept such a submission to a world authority we shall not get peace.
The ethic of survival which permeated the discussions of the First General Assembly in Central Hall fifty years ago was rooted not in piety or even in idealism, but in hard-headed practicality and deep conviction. It reflected a maturity about issues of sovereignty and nationalism that had been developing before the conflict itself.
Atlee was a reforming European socialist. But the principles and purposes of the new UN organisation underlined in his welcoming address spoke more to survival than to socialism. It was Roosevelt who had developed the 'Four Freedoms' of the Atlantic Charter, prominent among them 'freedom from fear' and 'freedom from want'. And it was Truman who warned at San Francisco that if we should pay merely lip-service to the inspiring ideals (of the Charter) and then later do violence to simple justice, we will draw down upon us the bitter wrath of generations yet unborn.
Tension between promise and performance was present here fifty years ago. Promise was embodied in the very first resolution of that First Session of the General Assembly. Resolution 1.1, moved by Britain and co-sponsored by France, the Soviet Union and the United States, requested specific proposals for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction, and also to ensure the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only. It was passed in this Hall unanimously. It was an understandable priority for the new world organisation. But it was already too late.
The Charter negotiated in San Francisco six months earlier was for a world from which the scourge of war would be removed by 'collective action'. When it was signed in San Francisco on 24 June 1945 few, very few, of the signatories knew of developments at Los Alamos or of the plans in hand to initiate a new era in the use of weapons of mass-destruction. The first atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, just forty-one days after the Charter was signed. By the time it came into force on 24 October 1945 the world it was to serve had changed in fundamental ways. Little wonder that at the first General Assembly in London in January 1946 the UN had at least to promise release from this new threat to human survival.
Yet failure in performance was not long in coming. In the Atomic Energy Commission established by Resolution 1.1, the United States suggested a set of wide-ranging measures (known as `the Baruch Plan') for bringing all nuclear activity, from uranium mining to power generation, under international control and for destroying its still minuscule stockpile of atomic bombs. The Soviet Union saw this as a ploy to prevent it developing its own nuclear capability. It delayed the proceedings in the Commission for three years - until in 1949 it had tested its own nuclear weapons. Well within the first five years of the founding of the United Nations the nuclear arms race was under way. It was to last most of the UN's first fifty years, transforming the world for which the Charter was designed at San Francisco. Resolution 1.1 - the first act of the First General Assembly - was a dead letter!
Between the Cold War and the nuclear arms race the UN was effectively hobbled. The quintessential requirement Atlee had identified as he inaugurated the General Assembly in this Hall was that for all nations the United Nations Organisation must become the over-riding factor in foreign policy; virtually from the outset it was set at nought. A post-war generation all too quickly returned to those old habits which he had so succinctly described as the undoing of the League of Nations: - Governments after 1945 as after 1920 - `continued on the old lines, pursuing individual aims and following the path of power politics, not understanding that the world had passed into a new epoch'. Was the maturity of the forties only an illusion?
Today, as we commemorate those beginnings of the UN fifty years ago we are, as then, at the start of a new epoch. Will we, as then, for the third time, continue on the old lines, fail once again to make the UN the over-riding factor in foreign policy, pursue in accustomed ways our individual aims following the path of power politics? The trust to future generations consecrated in this Hall 50 years ago was not enjoined alone on those assembled then. We were, we are, all trustees as well. The promise of the Charter - that old promise of freedom from fear and freedom from want remains unfulfilled. Truman's words at San Francisco were prophetic. We have merely paid lip-service to the ideals of the Charter and done violence to simple justice. We have drawn down upon us the wrath of generations not then born.
It is the central compulsion of the new epoch we have entered that we must return to those ideals in deeds not words alone; that fulfilment of the promise of freedom from fear and freedom from want cannot long remain deferred; that we must end what Camus once called this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world - remembering in North and South, East and West, on every continent and the lands of every sea that assertion of Jean-Paul Sartre with which I began: the infinite unity of those human needs
FROM A WORLD STILL OF STATES TO ONE MORE OF PEOPLE
In recent years I have had an opportunity as Co-Chairman of the Commission on Global Governance to examine these compulsions. The themes of the Commission's work inform the thrust of this Commemorative Lecture for they address the essential issue: facing the challenges of the 21st century.
We called the Commission's Report Our Global Neighbourhood. Its title is its message; a message of realism, not nostalgia; one that implies, for example, no illusions about neighbourhoods. A few months ago, I spoke to these themes at Columbia University in New York, a notable seat of learning and culture in what many would describe as the rough, deprived, degraded neighbourhood of Harlem. There are neighbourhoods like that all around the world and in all countries. Neighbourhoods are not just places with white picket fences, neighbourhoods are people living together in a great variety of conditions. There are neighbourhoods filled with people who do not even like each other, but they are still neighbours. They are people who must live together, like it or not. Neighbourhoods are congregations of people whose fate depends on each other, people who come to recognise that the neighbourhood cannot be good for any if it is not good for all. It leads in the end to discovery of the riches that lie buried in the neighbourhood's variety - the `otherness' within it.
The world has become such a global neighbourhood. Many factors contribute; but perhaps none so dramatically as the worldwide transformations that have taken place since 1945. They include 'globalization' and 'interdependence', code words that have become keys to human existence whether we are talking of security, of health, of economics, of war or of peace. Nothing more forcefully conveys this than the reflection that were we here at a meeting of the General Assembly today rather than commemorating the one held here 50 years ago it would be a co-mingling of different people and different perceptions. To start with, there were 51 member states then; there are 185 today. And governments themselves have changed.
In 1945 governments had a perception of the world as a world of so many sovereign powers, the repositories of the authority that governments wielded. Very few who speak for governments today, if they speak honestly, will say that they have a similar sense of power now. They have in truth an intimation of powerlessness, and for the best of reasons, for power is dispersed. Those who look only at economic indicators would have us believe that this a 'myth'; but, in truth the transformations of the past five decades have made it impossible for any country, including the United States which represents the largest reservoir of wealth and power in the world, to go it alone. No country can manage its destiny on its own; that is not a myth. Global cooperation - working together - is essential over a great variety of issues. The world has changed, in some respects imperceptibly; but the result of that change in its totality is that for states, for governments, for people, there is just no option now but to cooperate; living together, not apart, is a compulsion for survival. That old `infinite unity of mutual needs' again.
That is why we now have global Conventions on climate change and biodiversity; no country can respond to all the challenges of environment by itself. That is why issues like drugs and terrorism and migration have ceased to be just national issues and become global issues too. That is why the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade has evolved into the World Trade Organisation; if we are going to bring sanity into the market place it has to be on the basis that all will play by rules to which all agree. That is why when fishing in the North Atlantic by Spanish trawlers brought Canada and Europe to such a point of conflict, there had to be a process of dialogue and concurrence not just about jurisdiction but about the dwindling fish stocks of the oceans. That is why a trader in Singapore gambling on the value of the yen could bring down a vintage bank in Britain and devalue major currencies around the world.
And 1996 will bring its quota of reminders of our oneness. We are simply no longer separable. I am not talking about a need for world government, but about the compelling need for states to work together effectively in more and more areas - with a deeper commitment to consensus, with less paranoia about sovereignty.
San Francisco was a watershed in the evolution of a world of separate nation states. In the 50 years that have passed since the UN was established, those parts remain the central feature of our world order. Nation states are not about to disappear, or the nation state system to lose its centrality. Yet something has happened on the way to the 21st century. Several of the elements of the nation-state system have become less creedal, less assertive, less defining, even less hallowed. Sovereignty, self-determination, even non-intervention have had to yield some of their innocence. We still speak of them in the language of orthodoxy, but we know that global realities have curbed their claims, that they no longer reflect universal truths or represent undiluted norms. We are in transition from a world still of states to one more of people. It is a transition to a new order and, as in all transitions, there is contention between old habits and perceptions and new realities and needs. All I say about our global neighbourhood is conditioned by this awareness.
VALUES FOR A WORLD OF DIVERSITY
So how do we respond to the transformations that have taken place in the world since that First General Assembly met here in Central Hall in 1946? How do we change institutions to make them more responsive to these larger transformations? It should not take us long to recognise, for example, that we cannot begin to talk about reform of the UN, of the Security Council, of the future of the Economic and Social Council, of financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, until we develop a collective vision of the neighbourhood and of the goals towards which we are reaching, until we agree among ourselves about the values that should inspire us as we reach for those goals. Without those values, without a global civic ethic, without a vision of the world as a community of people, how do we start the building process? Architects do not sit down and just begin to doodle. They begin with a concept, a vision, some notion of function, before they can develop the architecture of the structures that will serve human needs.
As we have seen both vision and values were there briefly in 1945. We have to return to values, we have to develop a vision of and values for the world of our inseparable humanity. We cannot face the 21st century inured in those values of the 20th century that failed to serve us well as a global neighbourhood; the values, or lack of them, that will yet make this century remembered as both the best of times and the worst of times - and all too distressingly the best of times for a few, the worst of times for many.
At the centre of any universal value system must be acknowledgement that the world is essentially a world of diversity; not of uniformity. That is why we must talk not about global government or about centralisation or think mainly in terms of supranational authority. We must think rather about governance - governance that makes space for and accommodates new players alongside nations and governments. This is fundamentally important. For most of us values are alright if they are our values. That cannot be the prescription for a world of diversity. We have to recognise that the world is enriched by diversity not made more difficult by it; that variety is not a problem but a resource. The debate about 'a clash of civilisations' is in danger of encouraging us to follow false trails.
None of this means, however, that in a global setting there should be a suffusion of diversity into a 'melting pot'; more apposite is the analogy of harmonisation of variety as in a bouquet of flowers - variety made more glorious by being assembled harmoniously - each flower itself, but its beauty enhanced as part of the whole. That is the kind of world for which we have to be reaching as we face the 21st century. Once we can get to that point in our minds we can begin to develop a desirable system of values: tolerance, mutual respect, equity, justice, democracy - many of the things to which governments paid lip service at and after San Francisco - among them the rule of law worldwide. It means, too, that we have to begin to adjust our minds to trimming the edges of some of those sacred creeds that are part of yesterday's world like 'sovereignty' and 'self-determination' which will still retain their core meaning but have to be trimmed at the edges to accommodate the newness of the world.
SELF-DETERMINATION IN THE GLOBAL NEIGHBOURHOOD
In this latter context, there are few more troubling developments as we face the 21st century than the rise in violent conflicts as political movements seek separate statehood for communities that have been part of larger national entities. These movements justify their actions by the principle of `self-determination'. This principle was crucial to decolonisation and has influenced the political geography of the world. There must be misgivings, however, about applying it across the board to support the break-up of existing states. There are understandable fears about the risks of instability and insecurity from so unhindered a process of fragmentation. Many of the nearly two hundred states in the world consist of more than one ethnic group. There is considerable scope for discord and conflict.
But there is also a positive side to diversity as was manifest in Bosnia before the forces of 'otherness' overwhelmed Bosnian identity. If such tragedies are not to be multiplied a hundredfold, concern for the interests of all citizens, of whatever racial, tribal, religious or other affiliation, must be high among the values informing our conduct in today's world. There must be respect for their rights, in particular for their right to lead lives of dignity, to preserve their culture, to share equitably in the fruits of national growth and to play their due part in the governance of the country. The world community needs to strengthen protection of these rights, even as it discourages the urge to secede that their frustration can breed.
Peace and stability in many parts of the world could be endangered if these values are neglected. In fact, the demand for separation and the resort to violence in many cases follow the frustration of constitutional efforts to secure more modest changes. Greater sensitivity to the aspirations of communities that feel alienated is a major need if the right of self-determination is not to be another case of the best becoming the enemy of the good. The challenge we face is to find ways to define and protect this inalienable right in the environment of the global neighbourhood. It is time to begin to think about self-determination in a new context - the emerging context of a global neighbourhood rather than the traditional context of a world of separate states. Living by neighbourhood values faces no stronger challenge in the 21st century. Regionalism will have a role to play here; sharing a house of many rooms is not the same as sharing a room.
The issues of `self-determination' are multiplied many times over by the culture of sovereignty and nationalism. It is the notion of authority, of sovereign power, that `we' not `they' should superintend our lives - that leads to the gravest problems of our time. It is this narrow insistence on self that questions how fully grown we really have become. Nothing is more fraught with danger than the current rise in racial and religious extremism and chauvinism - part of what has been called 'the politics of identity'. Some nationalist movements have displayed crudely xenophobic edges. Ethnic cleansing has brought death to thousands and displacement and suffering to millions - and shame to our civilisation. In some parts of Europe, neo-fascist movements have made scapegoats of immigrants - to the point of murder. Elsewhere, religious extremists have used violence to achieve their goals. Writers have faced death threats, and their associates have been killed, for offending religious leaders. In the United States today, right-wing extremists are showing themselves to be more numerous, more organised and more evil than ever. This is not growing up; it is a return but to an earlier time when life was short, nasty and brutish.
These assertions of particular, narrower loyalties may be a reaction against many of the changes that characterise our time, including the forces of globalization and homogenization and the currents of modernisation and secularisation. Whatever the proximate causes, these trends, whose common stamp is intolerance, take humanity back. They allow atavistic fears and hates to prevail over the instinct of human solidarity and fellow-feeling. They allow the law of the jungle to replace the rule of law. They require us, therefore, to reassert the importance of respect for 'the other': other people, other races, other beliefs, other colours, other cultures. The world community must uphold these values and offer protection against the actions of those who would trample upon them; and a new order in the global neighbourhood must help to do both. We celebrated last year the victory of 1945 in Europe. It was a noble victory; but was it only a victory over those who physically waged war? Were the dark forces of 'otherness' not vanquished too? If not, we may have had less to celebrate than we thought, and more to do.
DEALING WITH INTERNAL CONFLICTS ON THE BASIS OF LAW
In this Central Hall of Westminster 50 years ago the UN's founders thought much about security, and what was central in their minds, of course, was the security of countries, the security of states - their freedom from aggression, freedom from inter-state conflicts. What is the reality today ? Inter-state conflicts are not extinct. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait is a reminder that they are not. I do not agree fully with how the world responded to that aggression; but the aggression was real and required a response. So aggression has not gone away. But most of the conflicts the world is confronting today, and I suspect will continue to confront for decades to come, are intra-state conflicts. What is Somalia? What is Rwanda? What, above all, is the former Yugoslavia ? But what also is Chechnya ? or Chiapas? or Nigeria? And how many more of these conflicts within states are in the making ? When we speak of freedom from fear today, it is the fear of people within countries of the conduct of others within those same countries that must be uppermost in our minds. It is neighbourhood fear in a very real sense. And the UN's Charter does not provide for it. It has no provision for dealing with conflicts within countries.
So the Charter has been stretched and strained. The Security Council has never been more active than it has been in recent years. But it has been active under a whole series of pretences - because the Charter sets its face squarely against United Nations action in those essentially domestic situations which need to be addressed globally but need to be addressed on the basis of law. `Creative ambiguity' will not do; certainly not in the long run - not as the signpost to the 21st century. We are at the cross-roads in this area of law; because what the international community can do and should not do are matters of law.
The issues that are being discussed have been in discussion for a long time. The question of what to do in Bosnia was, of course, substantially political; but it was also about the rule of law in the global neighbourhood. What does NATO mean in this context? Is it a free-wheeling military alliance with decisions taken by a few countries? Is it a NATO that is responsive to the will of the international community as expressed through the United Nations? A few months ago it came down to arguing whether the United Nations element of a dual key arrangement was to belong to the representative of the Secretary-General or the Commander of UN Forces in the field. That discussion is now otiose. New configurations of `command and control' beyond the reach of the United Nations are arising in the aftermath of peace in the Balkans - if it is indeed the aftermath. This is how we are slipping and sliding. We are in a new time, and we are not acknowledging the need to respond to its newness.
COLLECTIVE INTERACTION - NOT VIGILANTE ACTION
As we face the 21st century, 'security' must be allowed the breadth of meaning reality now demands, and global governance must take account of the full range of insecurities that so grievously afflict human society as to compel the attention of us all. Specifically, the time has come to establish arrangements of global governance that respond to threats not just to the security of states but to the security of people.
Human suffering on a large scale, whatever the cause, very naturally gives rise to the feeling that the world community should act to bring it to an end. These feelings are articulated as demands for UN action, even if such action would mean external involvement in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. The sovereignty and territorial inviolability of nation states have been bedrock tenets of the world system. States have valued them as fundamental to the protection of their independence and integrity. Small and less powerful states in particular have seen in these principles their main defence against more powerful, predatory countries, and they have looked to the world community to uphold these norms. And so it should.
But the adapting of some old norms is crucial to any truly new world order. In an increasingly interdependent world, old notions of territoriality, independence and non-intervention have lost some of their meaning already. Nations are having to accept that in certain fields sovereignty has to be exercised collectively. The principle of sovereignty and the norms that derive from it must be adapted in ways that recognise the need to balance the rights of states with the rights of people, and the interests of nations with the interests of the global neighbourhood.
To acknowledge this newness must be to call for the amendment of Article 2.7 of the Charter. This is the only legitimate way to give effect to the consensus that exists in the world at the level of the world's people - a consensus that when the security of people within a country is outrageously ravished (as it was in the former Yugoslavia), when people are facing genocide and mass violence (as they did in Rwanda), when militarism has trampled democracy and human rights (as it has in Nigeria), that a line has been crossed which makes what is going on within that country no longer the concern of its people alone, but the concern of the global neighbourhood. There is legitimacy then in neighbourhood action - intervention as a genuinely collective act by the world community, action undertaken by the United Nations or authorised by it and carried out under its control.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that in our global neighbourhood it is the primary duty of everyone - states and people alike - to support, not usurp, neighbourhood action - UN action. It is also essential that UN intervention should follow principled criteria; it must be consistent and even-handed. Above all, intervention must not be unduly influenced, much less determined, by the interests or domestic political agendas of powerful nations, within a region or globally. An activist UN will not long survive as a legitimate and effective body if it is used as a cover for the intervention of major powers.
What we cannot allow to happen is for the global neighbourhood to be policed by vigilantes, either because the police are not being paid or because the rule of the `sheriff's posse' is preferred to the rule of law. That is precisely what the world was trying to escape in 1920 with the League of Nations and again in 1945 with the United Nations. Yet, here we are in 1996 - in the Balkans again - with internationalism displaced and unaccountable power rampant. Must we conclude, as Churchill did at Harvard in 1943 in relation to the League, that the UN in turn is being abandoned as a prelude to being betrayed? This simply must not happen; but it could, unless we recognise the signs of regression and mobilise global support for the United Nations system - reformed as it must be to ensure a return to the principles and purposes of the Charter, which remains the most important political document of this century. If we were to face the 21st century without it, our global neighbourhood will do so wearing the King's new clothes.
FREEING MANKIND FROM THE INSECURITY OF WANT
And what about that other dimension of freedom whose realisation those who gathered here fifty years ago knew to be essential to true peace and security? Again Atlee spoke for architects and inhabitants of the new order alike - many of the latter yet to be represented in the world body being inaugurated, but prominent among the sufferers of the old order it was to replace:
In the purposes of the United Nations, we have linked with the achievement of freedom from fear, the delivery of mankind from the peril of want. To the individual citizen the spectre of economic insecurity is more constant, more imminent than the spectre of war. Every individual can be brought to understand that the things that are discussed in conference here are the concern of all and affect the home life of every man, woman and child. Without social justice and security there is no real foundation for peace ....
... let us be clear as to what is our ultimate aim. It is not just the negation of war, but the creation of a world of security and freedom, a world which is governed by justice and the moral law. We desire to assert the pre-eminence of right over might and the general good against selfish and sectional aims.
The sustained prosperity of Western industrialised countries in the post-war world and the recent performance of some developing countries, particularly in Asia, have tended to blur a less admirable aspect of the economic changes of this century: the relentless growth in the number of those who do not enjoy freedom from want - the number of the very poor. Though the global economy has expanded five-fold over the last four decades it has not rooted out dire poverty or reduced its prevalence. Even some otherwise successful countries have not managed to eliminate poverty. In the result, a sophisticated, globalized, increasingly affluent world currently co-exists, globally and within countries - all countries - with a marginalised under-class.
This gives new meaning to 'security' itself for so long the goal of international endeavour as to become its symbol. We understand better today that what afflicts the hungry, the homeless, the destitute, the unemployed, those who are ill without health care, who are cold without heating, who are old without social support - is lack of security. For them, 'security' is a meal, a roof, a job, medicines, warmth and relief from poverty in general. Their insecurities may be less dramatic than the physical insecurities of war or repression. But they are as real and as pressing - and represent for them the most immediate denial of their rights as human beings.
This wider, deeper meaning of security was always understood, but in a subliminal way; kept out of sight and out of mind, in the cellar of human consciousness. Articulated, as we have seen, in the Atlantic Charter as 'freedom from want', it failed to find entrenchment in the Charter of the United Nations at San Francisco and has been the most critical unmet need in the post war period.
Much is claimed for the transformational impact of the process of globalisation, of deregulation and privatisation, that has swept the world in the last decade. But the fact is that this era has not been a golden age for a large proportion of the world's people. Not just for the 1.3 billion of the absolute poor in developing countries whom globalisation seems to have bypassed. It has failed to be a golden age also for many millions in industrial countries, where high and recalcitrant unemployment has created economic insecurity on a scale unprecedented since the depression of the 1930s.
The world responds to these insecurities when they reach the proportions of an Ethiopia. But, for the most part, it avoids thinking about such human calamities. We can no longer put them out of mind as occurring in distant places; for no place on the planet is any longer far away. Human security has become inseparable. The hopes, the fears, the terrors, the torments of these global neighbours are ours too. Their crises are not theirs alone. Oases of prosperity in a global wasteland are ultimately mirages. In the longer term, human security has to be just that - the security of all humanity.
REVITALIZING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AS A UNIVERSAL FORUM
We are commemorating this week in a specific way not just the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations but the 50th anniversary of the First Session of the UN's General Assembly. I cannot, therefore, end without reflecting on the fortunes of the Assembly. In this Central Hall 50 years ago the first Chairman called the General Assembly `the Town Meeting of the World (in which), the small powers will be able, year in, year out, to make their voices heard'. They did make their voices heard; but few listened; fewer still responded.
The Charter does not set out the principal organs of the United Nations in a hierarchical order, but the General Assembly is listed first in Article 7. It is the only 'principal organ' under the Charter that consists of all the members on a 'one member, one vote' basis. It is the symbol of the UN as a universal organization in the democratic tradition. The establishment of the General Assembly may even have implied that a first step was being taken towards `a parliament of the world'. It was hardly that. It was not a parliament to which the Security Council was a cabinet in need of continuous support. Nor was the relationship structured to provide the separation of powers that is a feature of some democratic systems. The General Assembly was, from the outset, only a deliberative forum; it had power to discuss and recommend, to debate and pass resolutions, but no real authority, certainly no power to take decisions binding on member-states.
The special value of the General Assembly is its universality, its capacity to be a forum in which the voice of every member-state can be raised. The opportunity exists for countries to ventilate issues, bring complaints to the floor in the General Debate, and suggest new ideas in Committees of the Assembly. But the assumption surely is valid that deliberation should inform action. The Assembly ought over the years to have become more significant in the UN system. In fact, it has become less of a 'principal organ' than at least some of its founder- nations hoped.
This outcome is only partly caused by its own failures. Marginalization resulting from a focus on the role of the Security Council, particularly in recent years, has been a contributory factor. But, the Security Council could hardly be blamed for an ineffectual General Assembly during the years when its own role was curbed by Cold War constraints. Yet even then, with the veto restraining the Security Council, the five permanent members--at different times, according to the voting balance in the General Assembly - were not about to be overwhelmed by a General Assembly majority.
With a large and reliable Western majority in the General Assembly in 1950 the West used the Assembly to put through the Uniting for Peace Resolution (or 'Acheson Plan') transferring to the Assembly the powers of the Security Council should the latter be blocked by the veto. The Soviet Union denounced this as a breach of the Charter; later on, when the West no longer had an automatic majority in the Assembly, it in effect acceded - once again becoming strong defenders of the exclusive powers of the Security Council in matters of peace and security.
This pattern of use and abuse of the General Assembly by the major powers was to repeat itself throughout the 50 years following the first Assembly in this Central Hall of Westminster. It was so in relation to economic issues through the long debate in the 1970s on a New International Economic Order where developing countries were not blameless but where the industrial countries simply refused to use the Assembly as a forum for negotiation. It was so, too, in the emasculation of the Assembly's right under the Charter to exercise budgetary control, this time through the artifices of consensus.
High among the changes that should mark the fiftieth anniversary of the UN is the revitalization of the General Assembly as a universal forum of the world's states. Even with a reformed Security Council many member- states with a capacity to contribute significantly to the policies and programmes of the UN and to global governance will have to stay on the sidelines. A General Assembly that occupies more of the stage and reorders its work to make it more focused and result- oriented will allow these countries a meaningful role in world governance through their work in the Assembly.
What is needed at every level in the UN and beyond it is a recognition that it is in the interest of the global neighbourhood to have a more vigorous and effective General Assembly. It can and should play a vital legitimating role in the UN consonant with the universality of its membership. In the years ahead, the General Assembly must be seen - as it was seen in 1945 - to be a 'principal organ' of the United Nations system, fulfilling the promise of the Charter and of the Assembly's First Session here in 1946.
In Central Hall Westminster 50 years ago a pact was made with future generations: a pact that we would create a world of security and freedom, a world which is governed by justice and the moral law, one in which we assert the pre-eminence of right over might and the general good against sectional aims. As the Anniversary Concert on Wednesday emphasized, it is a pact that needs renewal. May our acts of commemoration this week - all of them - be our commitment to that renewal, which more than ever is a renewal in which every person can participate.
I began by recalling some lines of Sartre brought to mind by Maya Angelou's verse at last year's Charter Ceremony in San Francisco. Let me end by recalling her verse itself for it reminds us of what we can do, what we must do, this anniversary year and beyond it as we face to the 21st century:
When we come to it (she wrote)
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
The peace-and security agenda of the United Nations: From a crossroads into the next century
by Olara A. Otunnu
The peace-and-security agenda of the United Nations has developed gradually in phases. In a period spanning some forty years, from the first mission that was established in 1948 to supervise the truce in Palestine (UNTSO), to just before the launching of the first major multidimensional peacekeeping operation in Namibia (UNTAG) in April 1989, the UN organized fifteen peacekeeping operations. Most of these operations were concerned with conflicts between states. The mandates of the missions consisted principally of monitoring or supervising truces, cease-fires, troop withdrawals and buffer zones. Significantly, these were consent-based operations, marked by adherence on the part of the peacekeepers to the principles of cooperation, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defense.
This generation of operations defined what many commentators now call 'traditional peacekeeping.' The development of this mechanism in itself represented a major innovation by the UN. Indeed the very idea of peacekeeping is not mentioned at all in the UN Charter, although the practice was developed in the spirit of Chapter VI of the Charter. During the same period, and corresponding to the explicit provisions of Chapter VI of the Charter concerning pacific methods of settling disputes, the UN also developed the use of fact-finding, good offices, and mediation as part of its repertoire of peacemaking activities.
This situation underwent a significant change in the late1980s and early 1990s. The end of the Cold War, the success of an ambitious operation in Namibia, and a certain sense of triumph emanating from the Gulf war all injected a new lease of confidence in the UN, thereby creating enlarged expectations about what the organization could accomplish. Responding to this new mood, the UN embarked on a more ambitious program of peace activities, with its operations growing in number and complexity. In a space of only six years (1989-1995), the UN established twenty new peacekeeping operations.
Unlike in the previous era, most of these missions (seventeen) were inserted in the context of conflicts within nation states. The tasks of peacekeepers now expanded to include implementation of complex peace agreements; overseeing transition to democratic governance through supervision and observation of elections; demobilization and integration of previously opposing armed factions; rehabilitation of collapsed state structures; provision of broader support to humanitarian missions, including protection of 'safe areas' and escort of relief convoys; and removal of anti-personnel mines from contaminated countrysides. This development represented the second phase of peacekeeping, the high points of which were marked by the successful completion of the operations conducted in Namibia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cambodia and Mozambique.
In spite of these remarkable achievements, the evolution of the peace-and-security agenda of the UN is caught at a difficult crossroads today. The rapid expansion of complex operations have generated serious political and financial stresses on the organization. These stresses, combined with the tragic failures in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina have produced a mood of retrenchment for the present and serious uncertainties about future directions.
As we look to the future, what indeed are some of the principal lessons to be derived from almost fifty years of multilateral peacemaking and peacekeeping? This is a time for stock-taking by the United Nations; it must also be a time for sketching, however tentatively, the outlines for a future peace-and-security role into the next century. I am concerned that the UN should not swing from one extreme to another, from being committed to too much to undertaking too little. In charting this path, there are major challenges that will need to be addressed. The purpose of this commentary is to highlight some of these challenges.
RESTORING A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE
Peace operations, including humanitarian relief, have increased by leaps and bounds in recent years. This dramatic development is leading to an increasing loss of perspective. Significant areas of imbalance are beginning to emerge in the overall vision and conduct of the UN peace-and-security agenda. Three such areas need to be examined with a view to restoring a sense of perspective.
Three Areas of Imbalance
The first area of imbalance has to do with the growing tension between peacekeeping operations and development activities. A serious disequilibrium is beginning to emerge between resource allocations for peacekeeping and relief operations, on the one hand, and resources available for long-term peacebuilding on the other. The resources devoted by the UN, other international organizations and by donor governments to peacekeeping and emergency humanitarian activities are beginning to outstrip the resources for long-term peacebuilding, in other words resources for development. In fact a number of governments and other donor institutions have started to divert resources from their development budgets to peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief. A recent example of this emerging pattern is the case of the European Union (EU) drawing on funds from its development budget to finance the Belgian peacekeeping contingent in Somalia. As the UN budget for peacekeeping has increased from $230 million in 1987 to $3.6 billion in 1994, the aggregate development assistance expenditure of OECD countries (albeit a larger absolute amount) has witnessed a stagnation. In 1993, OECD members' Official Development Assistance (ODA) declined by 6 percent (in real terms) from the previous year; in contrast, the proportion of OECD spending on emergency assistance has risen sharply in recent years. In general, there has been a notable decline in funding for development activities within the UN system in contrast to funding for emergency relief operations. In recent years, for example, there has been a fifteen percent reduction in the core resources of UNDP as compared to an almost doubling of resources for the World Food Programme (WFP), the bulk of which is devoted to relief food assistance.
This trend needs to be re-examined. Investing in social and economic development is one of the surest ways to build a solid foundation for long-term peace within and between societies. This in turn means that development strategies must seek to address the roots of conflict: an example of this is in a situation where a pattern of gross imbalance in the allocation of development resources is bound to provide a fertile ground for conflict. There is therefore a need to consciously build a conflict response component into the design of development projects, especially in countries where the potential for conflict or its escalation is high.
The second area of imbalance concerns the imperative for preventive action. The UN and other international actors need to invest a great deal more in preventive measures. Successful preventive action can be highly cost-effective, saving lives and sparing general destruction. In addition, it is considerably cheaper than an operation to restore a broken peace.
It may be useful to clarify what is meant by preventive action here. First, by preventive action I am referring to a broad spectrum of activities, going well beyond the traditional notion of preventive diplomacy and the new mechanism of preventive deployment. Preventive action must encompass a broad range of political, economic, social and humanitarian measures aimed at averting or de-escalating the development of conflict. This is a project for long-term peace-building. It is for this reason that preventive action should be viewed as the link between an agenda for peace and an agenda for development.
Second, conflict prevention should not be viewed as the abolition of all conflicts in society. After all, conflict -- by which I mean competition for power, resources and prestige -- is entirely natural to society. Indeed it constitutes the essence of the political process. The challenge of preventive action is different. It is about how to manage this competition without plunging a society into a spiral of violence. It is about how to build equitable patterns of development, democratic institutions, and political cultures that can mediate such competition peacefully and routinely.
Third, preventive action must encompass the consolidation of peace, in the aftermath of violence or following a political settlement. Unless systematic political, social and economic measures are taken to consolidate the peace and rebuild confidence, a conflict can recur, thereby leading to a 'cycle of violence'. The examples of Burundi and Rwanda illustrate this latter danger. Both countries have been caught in the throes of cyclical pogroms, in large measure because after each tragedy little or no effort was made to address the underlying causes of the conflicts, or to embark on a serious project of national reconciliation. On the other hand, Cambodia, El Salvador, South Africa and Mozambique have just emerged from years of protracted conflicts. After achieving negotiated political settlements, they each now face a tenuous period of transition. It is in this post-conflict phase that internal and external measures must be taken to consolidate their new-found peace and avert a possible recurrence of violent conflicts in the future. In this respect, the evolution of Franco-German relations since World War II provides an example of a successful strategy of peace consolidation. Over the last fifty years, a deliberate process of political confidence-building and economic cooperation has transformed these erstwhile historic enemies into partners in the construction of European unity, so much so that today it seems all but inconceivable that the two countries could ever again go to war against each other.
It is in this context that we should note that the evolution of conflict often follows a circular rather than a linear path. Thus, a political settlement should not be viewed as an end in itself, but rather as the beginning of a new political process. To build enduring peace, this process must lead to a credible project of reconciliation and overall peace consolidation. In its absence, there is a real danger that a political settlement will fracture, thus leading to the outbreak of another cycle of violence. External actors can play an important facilitating role in the a process of peace consolidation, by encouraging reconciliation and providing material incentives, but the impetus for a new beginning must ultimately germinate from the local soil.
Fourth, while we must probe the boundaries of preventive possibilities to the utmost, we should not lose sight of some serious constraints inherent in this enterprise. How, for example, shall we overcome the shield of national sovereignty, or quite simply a country's sense of national pride, the temptation for brinkmanship, asymmetry of response amongst the parties in conflict, the tendency to misread a developing situation until it is too late, or the lack of interest or will on the part of international actors at critical moments? Indeed efforts to intervene at the earlier stages of a conflict situation are likely to prove particularly frustrating for outside actors. For it is during this phase in particular that they are likely to come up immediately against the wall of national sovereignty. This is especially so when dealing with a strong state, a state which is itself the instrument of repression or is a major party to the conflict in question. In such cases, the challenge is how to induce the 'opening of the door' sufficiently ajar to allow for preventive initiatives.
Finally, it is critical that a body of both serious knowledge and serious practice be built in the area of preventive action, through systematic preventive engagement in specific situations of actual or potential conflict. This will require innovation and long-term commitment. The ambition must be to develop in the area of preventive action something akin to what has been built over the last fifty years in the peacekeeping sector. Unless this is done, I fear that preventive action will remain an easy but largely empty slogan.
The third area of imbalance is about the preoccupation with humanitarian action in a conflict situation vis-à-vis the need for a political process. It is important that humanitarian action be located within an overall vision of a society in conflict. This means, in particular, that humanitarian action should move in parallel with a political process aimed at addressing the underlying causes of a conflict and achieving a political settlement. Otherwise I fear that the tremendous efforts being deployed on the humanitarian front will inevitably count for very little. The experiences of Cambodia, El Salvador and Mozambique represent examples where a combined strategy of humanitarian and political actions was successfully employed. In sharp contrast to this stands the current situation in and around Rwanda where a major humanitarian operation is in place but no comparable concerted efforts are underway to find a political settlement to the conflict itself.
BUILDING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITIES
Toward a Division of Labor
It is apparent that the UN presently lacks the capacity and resources to perform well all the peace-and-security tasks that it has come to assume in recent years. An appropriate division of responsibilities between the UN and other international actors in the spheres of preventive action, peacemaking, peacekeeping, enforcement action and peacebuilding must therefore be developed to enable a more effective and comprehensive international response to conflict situations around the world. Such a division of labor could take advantage of the different capabilities and interests of regional organizations, national governments and non-governmental organizations. The idea should be to identify areas of comparative advantage and build around that a system of complementarity. A possible division of labor may be developed along the following areas of comparative advantage.
United Nations. In the light of recent experience, it would seem most effective for the UN to concentrate its efforts on preventive action, traditional peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, mediation, and peace-building activities through its various agencies.
Regional Organizations. In time, regional organizations must come to assume greater responsibility for peace and security. Alas, that time is not yet here. Most regional organizations are still far from being able to play the role envisaged for them in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, mainly because of their lack of relevant tradition, financial resources, political prestige and credibility, impartiality, and operational capacity. This places a particular responsibility on the United Nations, the major powers, traditional peacekeeping countries, and other bilateral and multilateral donors to work in a more concerted way to help build the capacities of regional organizations. Until then, however, we must guard against exaggerated expectations. For the time being, the areas of distinct advantage for regional organizations would seem to be preventive action, peacemaking, and confidence- building at the regional and sub-regional levels, while allowing for a more gradual development of peacekeeping capabilities.
In discussing a scheme of division of labor, there is a tendency to concentrate on the roles of the more established and traditional regional institutions, such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This is a mistake. We must not overlook the increasingly significant and innovative roles being played by less traditional regional arrangements. In particular, three types of formations deserve more attention: sub-regional organizations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) or the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC); international political-cultural associations based on shared historical affinities, such as the Commonwealth; and ad hoc arrangements put in place for the purpose of undertaking particular regional projects, such as ECOMOG in relation to pacification in Liberia, the former Frontline States (FLS) in the context of the liberation of southern Africa, the former Contadora Group in relation to the Central American peace process, or the IGADD Committee constituted by the countries of Eastern Africa for promoting a peace process in Sudan.
The comparative advantages of these associations and arrangements lie in part in their flexibility and informality, and a certain quality of relations and affinities which tend to characterize their internal rapport. In addition, they are often able to move more lightly and respond more quickly to unfolding events than the UN or larger regional organizations. These features can translate into distinct advantages , especially for purposes of undertaking preventive initiatives, mediation, and confidence-building among their members.
But the emphasis on the role of regional organizations must not lead to a tribalization of peacekeeping activities, whereby, for example, conflicts in Europe are viewed as the responsibility of the Europeans or African conflicts as the domain of the Africans. This notion goes against the grain of the UN -- its universality and its worldwide responsibility for maintaining peace and security. Moreover the problem is compounded by the uneven spread and varying capacities of regional organizations in different parts of the globe. Clearly member states from a particular region should be encouraged to spearhead an international response to a conflict situation within their region, but this must not detract from the importance of wider international participation in these efforts. This is necessary for reasons of broader legitimacy and solidarity, as well as for practical reasons of capacity.
Sub-contracting to ad hoc coalitions. For the foreseeable future, enforcement action will have to be farmed out to 'coalitions of the willing and able'. Inevitably this option is only viable when the national interests of key countries are sufficiently engaged by a particular development. In such a situation, the Security Council should, however, not simply authorize the action in question but also be more closely associated with the execution and the conclusion of the operation. When it is envisaged that the UN should take over a situation following the completion of enforcement action, as was the case in Somalia and Haiti, early and adequate preparation should be made for assuming that responsibility. In this context, particular attention needs to be given to formulating and organizing clear transition arrangements for this purpose.
Independent Actors. We are witnessing the emergence of independent actors in the field of peacemaking and peacekeeping. Drawn from the ranks of international civil society, these actors are increasingly making direct contributions to peace processes. On account of its informal and flexible character, this sector can often complement official efforts, particularly in the areas of early warning, preventive activities, peacemaking, humanitarian action and peacebuilding. Different independent organizations tend to specialize in various aspects of these activities.
Peacekeeping and the Challenge of the 'Gray Zone'
Traditional peacekeeping remains the most developed of all UN response mechanisms to conflict situations. In general, peacekeeping works best when there is an agreed peace to keep and when an operation is based on the consent of the parties in conflict, while observing the principles of cooperation, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defense.
At the other end of the spectrum, a more radical mode of response is available to the UN, in the form of collective enforcement action. Enforcement action may be defined as forcible collective military operation authorized by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter for the purpose of restoring compliance with international norms following a major breach of the peace or an act of aggression. Although it involves war-fighting, enforcement action should be viewed and conducted in a different way from a war waged primarily to achieve national objectives. In its fifty-year history, the UN has so far sanctioned the prosecution of two full-fledged enforcement operations, namely in Korea in 1950 and against Iraq in 1991.
Before embarking on enforcement action, at least three prerequisites need to be in place: adequate political will, including the will to bear the human cost of the military operation; the will and capacity to assume the necessary financial cost; and the availability of troops adequately prepared and equipped for the task. This is a tall order. It is for this reason that, for the foreseeable future, it is more practical for the UN to continue to farm out such operations to coalitions of the willing and able. In practice, it is difficult to mobilize the requisite political will to commit national forces for enforcement action against a party in gross breach of international norms, unless such a development also impinges in a crucial way on the national interests of the major powers.
Recent experience, especially in Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, has demonstrated that on the ground there is a growing 'gray zone' between these two well-defined modes of response. The gray zone is in effect the thin end of the enforcement wedge -- it is the space between traditional peacekeeping (including an appropriate application of force for self-defense) and all-out war-fighting. Situations encountered in the gray zone often require responses that are neither traditional peacekeeping nor full-blown enforcement action, but something in between.
Confusion between peacekeeping and enforcement action, including the tendency to slide from peacekeeping to enforcement action and then back again, has proved to be very dangerous. This is essentially what we have witnessed in the operations in Somalia, Liberia and in the former Yugoslavia, with disastrous consequences in all three cases. This confusion has arisen precisely because no effective mechanisms have yet been devised for responding to the challenge of the gray zone.
The following scenarios are examples of the contingencies that may arise in the gray zone:
when an armed faction in a conflict unilaterally blocks the way, preventing a relief convoy from gaining access to a population in distress;
when a 'safe area' under the protection of the UN is attacked or over-run by a party in conflict;
when a peacekeeping contingent comes under a massive attack from a faction with superior firepower;
when peacekeepers are taken hostage;
when a no-fly zone is violated;
or, when a conflict suddenly escalates to a drmatic point but short of generalised large-scale violence as, for example, the situation in Rwanda in April 1994 following the presidential plane crash, when the massacres started, but before they swelled into a genocidal tide.
The above scenarios illustrate the range of worst-case situations that may develop in the gray zone. These situations tend to arise typically in the context of an on-going intra-state armed conflict in which several factions are contending for control and when there is no general agreement about the role of peacekeepers or when initial cooperation has collapsed.
These developments in the gray zone place peacekeepers in an untenable position in various ways. At the practical level, because they are lightly armed, peacekeepers usually lack the capacity for escalated armed response. The effectiveness of peacekeepers is dependent not on the ability to impose their will by overwhelming force, but rather on the moral authority conveyed by their multilateral presence. From a political perspective, peacekeepers are supposed to remain impartial vis-à-vis the warring parties. For peacekeepers to engage in a military confrontation with a particular faction is to compromise their impartiality and thereby forfeit their political usefulness in the conflict situation.
The predicament of peacekeepers in the gray zone is further compounded by the sentiment of public opinion which does not always appreciate why peacekeeping military contingents seem powerless to respond to force by force, even in the face of aggressive actions or atrocities. The fact that peacekeepers are there to play an essentially diplomatic rather than a military role is little understood by the public.
All of this underscores the need for a less ad hoc and more systematic response to contingencies arising in the gray zone. But this will require that at least two projects be explored more fully. In the immediate term, the UN should develop clear guidelines regarding the conditions for a more forceful response, whenever necessary, including a determination of decision-making responsibilities between the contingent commander on the scene, the overall mission commander, and UN headquarters in New York.
But more fundamentally, this may require the development of a third mechanism, separate from both traditional peacekeeping arrangements and massive enforcement action. In particular, the UN should examine more seriously the various ideas that have been put forward for creating some form of a rapid response capability. A rapid response force could be dispatched immediately to a conflict theatre in order to avert or minimize the deterioration of the situation to crisis proportions. Intervention of this kind would go beyond traditional peacekeeping, but still fall short (by its scope and duration) of a full-scale enforcement action. And being the thin end of the enforcement wedge, actions in the gray zone should necessarily be mandated by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter.
In exploring the prospects for a rapid response capability, several questions will need to be examined more fully. To begin with, how should the proposed force be organized? Ideas range from an autonomous volunteer force recruited directly by the UN,to a force assembled on an as-needed basis from national contingents earmarked for that purpose, to an ad hoc coalition force organized outside the UN, but acting with the authorization of the Security Council. Given the proliferation of crises worldwide, how many situations could be covered simultaneously by a rapid reaction force? And how would the fact that deployment of such a force is authorized by the Security Council affect the perception of impartiality of the UN in relation to its other functions, particularly its mediation and traditional peacekeeping roles? Most importantly, are governments prepared to accept either the creation of an autonomous force at the disposal of the UN or, alternatively, the exposure of their own national contingents to the risks in the gray zone?
These are important but not insurmountable problems, provided sufficient political will can be generated for responding to them. For without an adequate response to the challenge of the gray zone, the peacekeeping role of the UN risks being seriously discredited. This could well be part of the lasting legacy of the combined failures in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Seeking Additional Revenue Sources
The dramatic growth in peacekeeping activities has simply not kept pace with the flow of financial resources, as the present arrangements based on national contributions have come under increasingly severe stress. Three issues need to be addressed in this regard: the obligation of member states to fully and promptly meet their assessed contributions; an eventual reconfiguration of the present scale of assessments; and the possibility of seeking additional revenues from extra-governmental sources. The first two issues, which are the most critical at present, are currently under review by an official Working Group within the UN. My concern here is to highlight the last issue, which has so far not received the attention it deserves.
I believe that the time has now come to think more boldly and innovatively about ways to generate additional revenues for multilateral peace-and-security activities. The idea of receiving direct contributions from sectors of the international community whose activities tend to benefit disproportionately from a more stable and peaceful international situation should be considered more seriously. There are several possibilities that deserve to be explored more fully in this context.
First, there are activities that benefit in a general way from a peaceful international environment. These include international air travel, telecommunications, international financial transactions, and the activities of transnational corporations. Over the years, various schemes for direct surcharges or fees on these activities have been proposed. Some of these proposals seem quite practical, while others may appear somewhat farfetched. A direct surcharge on international air travel, which is regulated by IATA, or on international telecommunication, which is regulated by the ITU, could generate considerable revenue which would be relatively easy to collect in either case. The levels of surcharge do not have to be exorbitant. In fact a contribution of $1 per international air ticket (which is less than what a traveler might pay today for a cup of coffee at most international airports) could yield $315 million annually. A direct surcharge on international financial transactions has also been suggested as another possibility in this category -- a surcharge rate of 0.5% on foreign exchange transactions could generate $1.5 trillion a year at the same time as dampening speculation in the foreign exchange markets. The above schemes are indicative of a wide variety of proposals which deserve more serious and systematic consideration than they have received so far in order to test their practical viability.
Second, there are corporate sectors which benefit in a particular way from access to certain facilities, the usage of which depends on the restoration of peace in a zone of conflict. Such was the situation with the Suez Canal during the Suez crisis of 1956. In the aftermath of the crisis, at the suggestion of the then UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, the cost of clearing the canal was partly met through a surcharge on the normal tolls, levied on ships using the waterway. The Panama Canal toll is an analogous arrangement that has existed in a peacetime context. Following the opening of the Panama Canal in 1912, a toll was levied on all international vessels navigating the canal, a practice which continues today. More recently, the use of the sea lanes and sea ports in the Gulf were greatly affected during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 and in the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. Why not consider the feasibility of obtaining a contribution to the UN from the commercial users of these facilities?
A third category could be special contributions that may be sought from some of the peacekeeping recipient countries, which after all are the direct beneficiaries of the peace operations. This category may also include states which, for reasons of special historical, political or economic association, have a particular interest in the restoration of peace in a conflict area. There have already been some ad hoc examples of this kind of contribution. The cost of the United Nations Yemen Observer Mission (UNYOM) of 1963-64 was borne by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Similarly Indonesia and the Netherlands shared the cost of mounting the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in West New Guinea (West Irian ) of 1962-63 (UNTEA). Today Cyprus contributes one third of the operational cost for the UN peacekeeping force in the country (UNFICYP), while Kuwait is responsible for two thirds of the cost of the UN military observer mission on its border with Iraq (UNIKOM). These ad hoc arrangements need to be developed into a more systematic framework for seeking special contributions from some of the beneficiary countries, especially those with a strong revenue base.
In order to explore more fully the various options on extra-governmental funding, member states should first be prepared to modify a kind of ideological prejudice that has conditioned discussions of this matter -- I refer to the view that the financing of UN peace operations should be an exclusive affair of governments. I do not believe that this position can be sustained in the long run. However, it must be recognized that member states have some legitimate concerns that need to be addressed in any discussion of extra-governmental sources of revenue. Of particular significance in this regard are the concerns about possible loss of control over decision-making and derogation from collective inter-governmental responsibility for peace-and-security activities.
The recent experience of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) may be of some relevance here. Traditionally all the activities of the OAU have been supported through a system of assessed contributions from member states. In the period 1992-93, in the discussion leading to the establishment of the new OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, a controversial issue arose as to whether the OAU should solicit and accept financial contributions from funding sources outside Africa for the operation of the Mechanism. Was there not a danger that outside contributions would compromise the independence of the OAU and expose its agenda to external manipulation? After a difficult debate, the decision was made in favor of accepting such contributions. This decision was accompanied, however, by a carefully defined policy to ensure transparency and control over contributions by the OAU. So far this innovation has worked well, affecting neither the primacy of member states in these matters nor their control over the new Mechanism.
The OAU experience would seem to demonstrate that it is at least possible, through clearly designed policies and procedures, to meet the legitimate concerns of member states. It must be emphasized, moreover, that the idea of extra-governmental funding is not meant to supplant, but rather to supplement, governmental sources of revenue. It is appropriate that governments should bear the primary financial responsibility for the peace-and-security activities of the UN; this corresponds with their political responsibility in this area.
REFORMING THE SECURITY COUNCIL
Any discussion of the evolving peace-and-security agenda of the UN must take account of the growing demand for reform of the Security Council. Although there is so far no agreement on the scope, formula and timetable for reform, there is no doubt about the strength of the movement for change. Any reform project should seek to achieve four main objectives: clarification of the role and mandate of the Council; recomposition of its membership; broadening of the base of participation and transparency in the work of the Council; and strengthening the effectiveness and credibility of the Council. These objectives translate into several themes of reform.
The first theme of reform is the need to clarify the scope of the Security Council's mandate. Under the UN Charter the Security Council is entrusted with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the dominant concern was understandably over threats of cross-border aggression. This concern translated directly into the central mandate of the Security Council. In the past therefore the notion of a "threat to international peace and security" was generally understood to encompass an act of aggression or a breach of the peace, usually in the context of an inter-state or regional conflict.
By contrast, the preoccupation of the international community today is with the rampant breakdown of peace and security within national borders. A survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in 1993, for example, recorded thirty-four major armed conflicts in the world in that year -- all of them situations of internal strife. In response to this development, a trend has emerged of a more expansive interpretation of the concept of a threat to international peace and security, with a number of measures being adopted by the Security Council, most of them aimed not so much at inter-state conflicts but at violent struggles within countries.
Recent examples of situations which have been determined by the Council to constitute threats to international peace and security include: the internal repression of the civilian population in northern Iraq, including the cross-border flow of refugees (resolution 688 of April 1991); the failure of the Libyan Government to extradite the suspects in the bombing of the Pan American jetliner that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 (resolution 748 of March 1992); the magnitude of human suffering caused by conflict within Somalia (resolution 794 of December 1992); and most recently the reluctance of the military junta in Haiti to restore power to the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (resolution 940 of July 1994). It remains open to debate whether all of these situations fall truly within the meaning of a threat to international peace and security as envisaged in the Charter.
If the Security Council is to remain relevant, it must adapt to this new reality by developing a more progressive interpretation of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security. This is the path of pragmatic response. But the legitimacy of the Security Council would suffer if its practice in the long-term was seen as departing too radically from the explicit stipulations of the Charter. For the immediate, this dilemma underscores the importance for the Security Council to seek to build broad-based international support for its decisions. If the present trend continues indefinitely, however, it may well raise the issue of amending the UN Charter to take account of this new phenomenon -- the preponderance of intra-state conflicts and their ramifications.
Another issue relating to the scope of the Security Council mandate concerns non-military aspects of security. A broader understanding of threats to security is emerging; this includes economic, social and environmental concerns. In this connection, at its first summit meeting on 31 January 1992, the Security Council declared, "The absence of war and military conflicts amongst States does not in itself ensure international peace and security. The non-military sources of instability in the economic, social, humanitarian and ecological fields have become threats to peace and security. The United Nations membership as a whole, working through the appropriate bodies, needs to give the highest priority to the solution of these matters" (S/23500:31 January 1992). The question arises as to whether all these issues of security belong to the agenda of the Security Council. This has implications for the division of labor between the Security Council, on the one hand, and the other organs of the UN on the other, particularly the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The second theme of reform concerns the restructuring of the membership of the Security Council. Two developments in particular have given impetus to this movement: the dramatic growth in UN membership, from 51 in 1945 to 185 in 1995; and the emergence of a new power structure in the world of today, compared to the situation that obtained in 1945 when the UN was founded. In this context, there is broad agreement that the re-emergence of Japan and Germany as major powers deserves some special recognition. But there is less common ground as to what constitutes appropriate recognition. Should they assume permanent seats on the Council? And, if so, with or without the right of veto?
It would be difficult, however, to accord a special status to Japan and Germany without at the same time addressing the issue of an overall balance in the composition of the Council. This may entail the creation of a new category of membership -- they may be called 'tenured' or 'standing' members. Such members would occupy their seats for an extended period of time, but less than permanently (say 5-7 years), with provision for re-election or rotation. The crucial point is that the selection of tenured members should combine the need for both regional and global representation.
Regional representation would in the first place be a response to the concern about 'Northern' dominance of the present Council, a situation that would be further compounded by any dispensation for Japan and Germany. Equally important, this would provide a constructive opportunity for promoting good 'regional citizenship', since election to a tenured regional seat would necessarily depend on the goodwill and support of members of a particular region. Although this in itself would not stop the emergence of regional hegemons, it could provide a powerful incentive against overbearing behavior.
Selection to global tenured seats, on the other hand, would be through direct election by the General Assembly from an open slate of candidates. This exercise would be designed to promote 'good citizenship' at a broader level, by recognizing significant contributions to the work of the United Nations and, in particular, to its peace-and-security activities.
Whatever formula for recomposition may be adopted in the end, it is important that the composition of the Security Council not be set in stone. It will be necessary to review any new arrangement on a periodic basis, perhaps every 10 to 15 years, in order to ensure that Council membership reflects the evolving power relations in the world.
The third theme of reform is about the right and use of veto power. There is a general reluctance to extend veto entitlement to new members. In addition, there is disquiet about the unbounded use of existing veto powers. A formal move to curtail this power would lead to a direct confrontation with the five permanent members, all of whom are likely to oppose any formal modification of their present prerogative.
For the foreseeable future, therefore, it would be more practical to encourage self-restraint, while exercising peer pressure. Already, in recent years a trend has set in for an occasional rather than a trigger-happy use of the veto as was prevalent during the Cold War era. Since the beginning of 1991, the veto has been used only three times: twice by the Russian Federation (in May 1993 to prevent converting the funding arrangement for the Cyprus operation (UNFICYP) from voluntary contributions to mandatory assessments, and in December 1994 to stop the Security Council from imposing more stringent restrictions on imports and exports to and from the Bosnian and Krajina Serbs), and once by the United States (in May 1995 to block the adoption of a resolution criticizing Israel for the confiscation of fifty-three hectacres of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem).
In the period between 1948 and 1991, an average of six vetoes were cast each year, as compared to a total of three over the last four years. This is a positive trend that needs to be encouraged and strengthened through peer pressure by the general membership of the UN. One such device could be a declaration by the General Assembly expressing concern about the use of the veto and providing a guideline to narrow the range of issues on which the veto may apply. The veto should be a defense mechanism to be used in extremis, only when a truly vital interest of a permanent member is at stake.
The fourth theme of reform relates to the need for more transparency and broader participation in the work of the Council. The challenge is how to achieve this objective without compromising the equally important goal of ensuring prompt and effective action by the Council. There are two areas where the work of the Council could be improved in this respect.
The first area of concern relates to the fact that the Security Council remains the only major decision-making body of the UN which does not have a channel of communication for receiving information, ideas and proposals from independent non-official sources. In other sectors of the activities of the UN, notably in the humanitarian, economic, environmental, social and cultural spheres, the input of NGOs is now well developed and accepted. There is no reason why the peace-and-security sector should remain an exception. The presidency of the Council could be the initial focal point of communication. The President could receive information from and hold informal audience with representatives of civil society and independent public figures. To avoid opening a floodgate, the interaction would have to be selective, restricted initially to organizations and public figures with known 'track records' and credibility, and who have specific contributions to make to issues under consideration by the Council. This arrangement could be extended gradually, by invitation, to include informal audiences with the Council as a whole, whenever this is judged to be useful.
The other area of concern in this regard is the need to broaden the base of participation by the wider UN membership in the decision-making process of the Council. After all, the authority of the Security Council derives from the special responsibility conferred upon it by the membership of the UN as a whole; thus the 15 members of the Council act on behalf of the entire 185 members of the organization. Several measures could help reduce the present sense of exclusion felt by the general membership.
First, more opportunities should be accorded to the wider UN membership to provide substantive inputs before final decisions are made by the Security Council on important questions. This means that in addition to the frequent informal consultations, which are private and held behind closed doors, the Council should make it a practice to schedule some special open sessions for this particular purpose. A better balance should be struck between the need for informal consultations and the need for some open sessions that can serve as a means for wider consultations. Second, the Security Council needs to develop a more systematic method for consulting member states which are likely to be especially affected by measures under consideration. Recently a process of consultation with troop-contributing countries has been instituted, but this practice needs to be broadened and deepened. Third, there is a need to develop a better briefing system that would provide all members of the Council, especially some of the non-permanent members with limited independent means, the essential elements they need for making informed decisions. This could be organized by the Secretariat. It is also necessary to improve the briefing system between the Council and the rest of the UN membership. The idea here is to ensure that relevant information is readily available to all concerned.
The fifth theme concerns the credibility of the Security Council in relation to its own decisions. There is a growing dissonance between the flow of resolutions from the Council and developments on the ground. The work of the Council is driven by the speed of events, public pressure to 'do something,' and contradictory pulls from different political quarters. This sometimes results in a lack of coherence and inadequate attention to the provision of resources and means necessary for the implementation of the Council's resolutions.
The experience over the former Yugoslavia has particularly highlighted this problem. Over the last three years, the Security Council has adopted some 80 resolutions concerning the situation in the former Yugoslavia. Some of the resolutions appear to be contradictory of each other, others do not relate well to developments on the ground, and few have been accompanied by the necessary means and resources for implementation. This places the UN Secretariat, and the peacekeeping and peacemaking missions in the field, in a very difficult situation.
As a political organ, it is inevitable that the Security Council should respond politically to the competing pressures on its decision-making process. On the other hand, if the present trend continues, it could seriously erode the credibility of the Council. The authority of the Security Council ultimately depends on its capacity to adopt measures that are credible, carry weight and have prospects of implementation.
GENERATING COLLECTIVE WILL
Building Domestic Support for International Action
A critical challenge faces the international community as a whole today. In the face of pressing domestic preoccupations, budgetary constraints, low tolerance for risks of casualties and a creeping sense of crisis fatigue, how can we build domestic political constituencies in support of collective international action? In part this is the challenge of relating what has hitherto been a narrow concept of national interest to the broader imperatives of an increasingly interdependent world. Traditionally, national security was organized to respond to a particular conception of threats, usually military and territorial in nature or relating to strategic and geo-political interests. These threats emanated from particular sources, with country-specific targets. This vision of national security may have worked well in the past, especially during the Cold War era, but is today rendered too narrow and inadequate against emerging global realities.
Today there is a growing list of transnational threats which are generalized in scope and unpredictable in their evolution. This list includes the spread of nuclear weapons and materials, as well as other weapons of mass destruction; terrorism, both domestic and cross-border; the production and consumption of narcotic drugs; life-threatening epidemics; galloping population growth relative to diminishing resources; mass migration of peoples; armed conflicts; and natural as well as human-caused humanitarian catastrophes. These problems stand out because they defy the traditional logic of national boundaries and national solutions. To tackle them effectively requires concerted international response. Global interdependence has come to stay -- it is an inescapable fact of modern international life. This basic reality needs to be articulated more clearly and consistently.
But beyond the general reality of interdependence, there are specific interests that tend to shape national responses to international crises. Among the interests at play are the following.
Direct interests of major powers.
When the vital interests of the major powers are at stake, as was the case in the Gulf crisis, international action is easier to mobilize because of the highly motivated leadership on the part of the countries directly affected.
The interest to avoid instability in a regional neighborhood as well as the desire to demonstrate good regional citizenship can often provide a strong incentive for countries to contribute to peace initiatives and operations within their region. Australia, Japan and the ASEAN countries, for example, played a leading role in the Cambodian peace process. France and the United Kingdom have contributed the largest peacekeeping contingents for the former Yugoslavia, while the United States and several Latin American countries have spearheaded the operation in Haiti. In a similar way, the countries of West Africa were propelled by the force of events in neighboring Liberia to mount the ECOMOG operation; this was in effect a sub-regional self-help project.
Civil wars may rage for the most part within the borders of particular countries in remote corners of the globe, but it is impossible to throw a cordon sanitaire around them. Local conflicts have a tendency sooner or later to walk across national borders, spreading violence and refugees in their paths and destabilizing entire regional neighborhoods. Thus the war in Rwanda has caused instability in and imposed a major humanitarian burden on the neighboring countries of Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire. The conflict in Liberia has shaken a large zone of West Africa, and directly contributed to civil strife in Sierra Leone and a military coup d'état in the Gambia. Similarly, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia could spread to engulf most of the Balkan region, and war in Chechnya could affect stability in the Russian Federation as well as some of the neighboring former Soviet republics. It is sometimes the case that the fate of a particular country in conflict is unable initially to arouse much external concern. But the stakes soon change when the same conflict expands to affect neighboring countries whose stability has greater impact on international relations.
Collective international action provides a framework for sharing the political, financial and human costs of an operation. The enforcement action against Iraq, the peacekeeping operations that restored peace to Cambodia (US $1.65), Mozambique (US$541.7 million), or the ongoing operation in the former Yugoslavia (annual cost US $1.6 billion) -- the burden of each of these operations would have been difficult to bear without broad-based international cooperation. It is also important to emphasize that from the point of view of a cost-benefit analysis, the earlier collective action is engaged, the cheaper is the cost in all respects.
There are some situations where the primary impetus for international action remains humanitarian concern. Such was the case in respect of Somalia in 1992-93 or in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide in 1994. The pressure of public opinion, especially in democratic societies, often makes it difficult for governments to abstain altogether from some measure of response to major humanitarian tragedies. That being said, public opinion is by nature unpredictable and sways both ways, providing at different times either a spur or a brake on international action. Leaders' perceptions of public opinion also plays a role in defining policy. These factors are, in turn, influenced by access to information, the facility with which information and images are transmitted across the globe, and the extent to which they can stir public reaction.
Umbrella of legitimacy.
A multilateral response can also serve the purpose of providing internal as well as external legitimacy for difficult and politically risky undertakings. In 1992, for example, then US President George Bush invoked United Nations actions and resolutions in his efforts to mobilize Congressional and public support for the Gulf war. Both Japan and Germany have also invoked the legitimacy conferred by the United Nations to allay public disquiet about their involvement in any military-related engagements abroad. Yet there is need for vigilance here. The broader legitimacy of the United Nations would suffer if the organization was viewed too much as a vehicle for providing multilateral blessing for 'pre-cooked' national projects.
The question needs to be asked as to whether there are any situations of radical transgression of international norms or massive human suffering for which the international community is prepared to undertake enforcement action as a matter of collective obligation. Examples of such radical breaches might include an act of aggression or a campaign of genocide. It is one thing to express moral outrage, but quite another to translate such sentiment into concrete action. It remains very difficult to mobilize sufficient collective will to take action primarily on the basis of a moral imperative, without a compelling coincidence of direct national interests being at stake as well, as was the case in the Gulf crisis. However, in the case of Somalia international action was mobilized on humanitarian grounds. Ironically, it is in no small part the disastrous experience of Somalia which has led, at least for the time being, to a retreat from such engagements. This is what we have witnessed in the cases of Rwanda and Bosnia-Hersegovina.
Role of Information.
Another important factor in shaping national response is the role of information and the part played in it by the media. Wars and scenes of mass suffering tend to attract extensive media coverage. But averting, mediating or ending a conflict is not nearly as news-creating. Yet public awareness and reaction is largely dependent on what is received through the media. This underscores the importance and responsibility of the media in providing a more balanced coverage of conflict situations. It also highlights the responsibility of the United Nations to convey a clearer picture of peacekeeping, its possibilities and constraints, its successes and failures, as well as its objectives and costs.
At a given moment, any of the factors outlined above can combine to define national response to particular international crises. But these factors do not operate independently. Their function and impact are in turn shaped by political leadership.
To provide adequate multilateral response to the growing peace-and-security agenda will require political imagination and leadership at the national as well as international levels. At the domestic level, leadership needs to articulate the nexus between national interest, broadly conceived, and international responsibility, by explaining to its constituents the ways in which national well-being can ultimately be affected by seemingly far-away dangers. This is a new reality being driven by the fact of growing interdependence. Furthermore, I believe that there exists a largely untapped reservoir of humanitarian concern in many societies. The question is whether national leaders are prepared to galvanise this resource and channel it in support of international action. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union have thrust the United States into a position of unparalleled pre-eminence, having been left on the world stage with no other obvious center of power to provide a countervailing weight. The US is presently perhaps the only nation in a position to project its power in a sustained fashion on a global scale. This raises the challenge of the stewardship of this power. To what political ends is the United States prepared to project this considerable influence? What kind of leadership is the United States prepared to offer the world today? The US acting alone cannot lead the world. But the role of the US, acting in concert with others, providing leadership through engagement and the force of ideas, is crucial to the viability of any major multilateral enterprise today. But a general mood of political reticence seems to have descended on the United States. There appears to be little political support in the US for the financial costs or human risks of international engagement, except when American vital national interests are involved. Fundamentally, this is a debate about the international vocation of the United States, now that the Cold War is over. This national debate is likely to continue for the forseable future. In the meantime, however, we must not overlook other levels of contribution that the United States could provide right away in support of multilateral peace-and-security activities. These might include: contributing to the development of a system for preventive action; helping to build the capacities of regional organizations for conflict management; in the context of burden-sharing, paying its fair share of the costs of peacekeeping and peacemaking; providing logistical and other support systems to countries in need of assistance in deploying their contingents in peace operations; and playing a leading role in humanitarian relief operations.
Selecting priorities for UN engagement The proliferation of conflicts in many parts of the world, all of which call for some form of UN involvement, stands in sharp contrast to the limited capacity and resources of the organization.. In view of these contradictory pressures, the UN will have to determine more systematically where, when and to what degree to get involved. These are questions concerning the breadth, the depth and the stage of UN engagement, which are distinct from the issue of functional priorities (such as investment in preventive action, mediation, traditional peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities) discussed earlier. In general, the UN should invest its political and material resources where they are needed most and where they are likely to make the greatest difference. Yet political realities, combined with the difficulty of formulating any objective criteria for applying such a policy, means that decisions will in practice be made on a case-by-case basis. Is there not a danger then that such an ad hoc method of decision-making could become entirely hostage to the fortunes and vagaries of the political process? The challenge for the Security Council in this regard is to apply, and be seen to apply, similar policies in similar situations. While selective engagement is perhaps a necessary response to the present realities, it also poses a serious moral predicament as a long-term policy. Under selective engagement, conflicts will inevitably fall into two categories: on the one side, those 'adopted' by the UN or other international organizations and, on the other, the ones that are allowed to fall between the cracks of the international system. These latter conflicts would be left to run their course and would effectively constitute the forgotten tragedies of the world. This moral predicament provides a poignant reminder of the necessity to develop, as a matter of priority, two measures discussed earlier, namely investing in preventive action, and building the capacities of regional and other organizations to assume more responsibility for peace and security in the world.
A REGIME OF INTERNATIONAL NORMS
Evolution of Sovereignty
The issue of national sovereignty will continue to be both central and controversial. When and how can international action be reconciled with the principle of non-interference in matters deemed to be essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states (Article 2 (7)of the UN Charter)? This question becomes acute when a country is faced with a massive humanitarian crisis which begs some form of international response.
International response to a human rights or humanitarian catastrophe can take several forms. These may be divided into five broad categories: multilateral peer pressure, as in denunciation of human rights abuses in a given country by the UN Commission on Human Rights or the UN General Assembly; use of bilateral and multilateral conditionalities which have become common, if controversial, means of promoting human rights, democratization and structural economic reforms; humanitarian relief; providing a relatively benign international presence on the ground, such as human rights monitors or military observers; and, finally, a radical insertion of an international presence under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The issue of interference is rendered moot as long as an operation is being conducted with the consent and on-going cooperation of the competent national authorities. But in the absence of consent, two principles come into competition. On the one hand, the stability of the present international system depends in large measure upon accepting and respecting the sovereign rights of states. On the other hand, there is a major evolution in thinking at the level of international public opinion, that can no longer accept that massive suffering should go unchallenged behind the walls of national sovereignty.
The search here is for an acceptable threshold. When is the level of human suffering within a given country of such magnitude as to warrant an energetic international response? This problem cannot be resolved through a juridical design. The appropriate threshold is more likely to emerge slowly over a period of time, through judgment on a case-by-case basis. This judgment needs to be informed by some general considerations.
First, national sovereignty has always been a relative rather than an absolute principle. The growth of global interdependence, human rights standards and humanitarianism in general have further accentuated the relative quality of this principle. In effect, the very notion of what constitutes the domestic affairs of a state is shrinking. Furthermore, sovereignty is under pressure simultaneously from forces of both integration and fragmentation. The movement towards globalization and regional integration is chipping away at sovereignty from above, while devolutionist pressures, internal fragmentation and collapse undermine it from below.
Second, the concept of national security has traditionally been confined to the narrow sphere of the security of the state. In non-democratic polities, there has developed a perverse situation whereby the security of the state has often been organized at the expense of the security of the very people whose protection and welfare constitutes the raison d'être of the state in the first place. Because of this contradiction, there is need for a broader concept of security, one that encompasses the well-being of the citizens of a country as well as the legitimate security needs of a democratic state.
Third, there is need for a sense of measure here. It is not just any incident of human rights violation or an act of petty repression that must give rise to a dramatic international response. Forceful international intervention is a drastic move; it should be applied as a measure of last resort, only when all other means of inducing change have failed to yield results.
Fourth, there continues to be a North-South cleavage on this issue. This cleavage arises in part because the Security Council, as the principal decision-making organ on these questions, is dominated by the major western powers, while the 'recipient countries' are predominantly located in the South. One way to counter this imbalance is to ensure that greater efforts are made to arrive at decisions which command broad support within as well as outside the Security Council.
Finally, there is a growing paradox surrounding the question of intervention today. In the past, this issue was marked by apprehensions of unilateral intervention by the major powers of the West and the East. Although this tendency has not disappeared, the greater danger today may come from the opposite direction -- the prospect of too much disengagement, if not outright indifference. This is due in part to the sheer proliferation of apparently intractable armed conflicts, particularly those raging within nation states. Another reason is the fact that, with the end of the Cold War, the major powers have redefined their interests and shifted their focus to domestic preoccupations.
Building a Community of Values
It is difficult to build an effective and sustainable framework for preserving peace and security without some kind of a normative underpinning. In the past this seemed less apparent because everything was subordinated to the logic of the Cold War. Today the task of constructing appropriate peace-and-security mechanisms needs to be related to the challenge of building a community of values at various levels of the international system.
At the global level, the UN has been instrumental in the development and dissemination of a core of normative standards, covering such areas as human rights, environmental ethics, peaceful settlement of disputes, women's rights, and minority rights. These universal principles can best be taken seriously when translated into a context of application at lower levels of the international system. A regional organization or a sub-regional arrangement can provide a more concrete and local framework for the application of universally accepted principles of governance. The core principles might comprise the following: the general observance of universal human rights standards; the promotion of democracy; the peaceful settlement of internal and inter-state conflicts; and the protection of minorities and other seriously disadvantaged groups.
A formal and common commitment to these principles would then become the basis for assessing good citizenship within a particular region or sub-region as well as the criteria for participation in the regional association. The idea here is to create a form of regional political 'code of conduct,' by which the actions and policies of member governments can be judged. Unless translated into regional commitments of this kind that can give rise to regional discipline and peer pressure, universal norms can seem remote and abstract and, at times, compromised by overtones of big power hegemony.
Today the experience of Europe represents the most advanced efforts at building a community of values at the regional level. The Helsinki Final Act of 1975 led to a long political process that culminated in the Charter of Paris of November 1991. This sets out a common pan-European commitment to certain basic principles of democratic governance and a regime of rights. In Western Europe, with its well-rooted democratic tradition, this may not be breaking any new ground. But more important is the fact that the states which have just emerged from the former communist bloc of Europe should accept to be judged by these same standards, even as they struggle to put them into practice.
In Latin America, an important beginning has been made on the issue of democracy. A common regional commitment contained in the Santiago Declaration of June 1991, to change governments only through democratic elections, has already been successfully invoked to de-legitimize and resist the military junta in Haiti that had toppled the democratically elected government in September 1991.
On the other hand, the regions of Africa, Asia and Middle East, by and large, have not yet joined in this process of building a community of values at the regional and sub-regional levels. In order to respond effectively to the rising incidence of conflicts, especially at the intra-state level, which beset those regions, it will be necessary to address this issue more directly.
Everything I have said argues for exploring the full potential of the UN. Yet in doing so, we must not lose sight of some of the objective political and material limitations under which the organization must operate. It is for this reason that the UN should always strive to identify its comparative advantages in any given sphere of activity, in relation to other actors on the international scene. This is particularly pertinent today as the UN contemplates the future evolution of its peace-and-security agenda.
Moreover, the UN is not a world government; it is an association of sovereign states. As such, the effectiveness of the organization depends largely on the role that the constituent governments are willing to entrust to it. In this regard, the UN cannot operate solely on the basis of ideals and principles, divorced from the realities of the world of power politics. On the other hand, the UN should not become merely an instrument of realpolitik. The UN should be the place where power relations are recognized, but mediated by ideals and principles.
It is within this context that the UN must formulate a credible peace-and-security agenda for the next century. It is my hope that from the present crossroads, there will emerge an important, balanced and sustainable role for the UN in fulfilling its mission of preserving international peace and security.
Terms of Reference
The Commission's terms of reference, adopted at its third meeting in February 1993, are as follows:
The Commission on Global Governance has been established at a time of profound, rapid and pervasive change in the international system-a time of uncertainty, challenge and opportunity.
Freed from East-West tensions, the world's nations have more favourable conditions for working together to build a better world for all. The need for co-operation among them has also increased. They have become more interdependent in many respects. New problems have appeared that call for collective action. Global society faces the forces of both integration and division.
These trends pose fresh challenges to the existing structures of international co-operation. It is therefore necessary to reassess their capacity and the values and concepts that underlie them. It is time to review the arrangements for the governance of our global society.
Five decades after World War II and in the aftermath of the Cold War, a new world is taking shape. It could give new meaning to the common rights and responsibilities of nations, peoples and individuals. It could bring greater peace, freedom and prosperity. The Commission has been established to contribute to the emergence of such a global order.
The elements of change
Wide-ranging changes have taken place in international relations. The number of nation states has multiplied, and shifts have occurred in their relative importance. The East-West division has come to an end. Several countries have formed closer relationships, ceding some sovereign power to collective entities. Other nations have fragmented, as ethnic, religious or other groups assert their separate identities.
Authoritarian rule is giving way to more democratic government, but the transition is not complete and human rights are still widely violated. Apartheid has begun to be dismantled but progress is halting and there has been a surge of racism elsewhere.
The two superpowers have started to disarm but the level and proliferation of arms, including nuclear weapons, continues to endanger peace. New sources of instability and conflict-economic, ecological, social, humanitarian-call for rapid collective responses and new approaches to security.
Economically, the last half century has seen unparalleled growth and transformation. They have been spurred by expanding world trade and investment and accelerating technological change. Widespread trade liberalisation and financial deregulation have created an increasingly global market. But many protectionist barriers remain and weaker countries risk being marginalised. The gap between rich and poor, among nations and within them, has widened. Though economic progress has benefited billions, a fifth of the world's people live in abject poverty. Even rich countries are troubled by a deprived underclass. World disparities could deepen as the capacity to use knowledge through new communication and information technologies becomes the key to economic success. Growing disparities, made more visible by the media's wider reach, accentuate discontent and, among other things, produce pressure for migration, not just from rural to urban areas in developing countries, but now also from poorer to richer countries.
Migration has been a safety valve, easing pressure on and from desperate people. Today, while frontiers are breached by economic forces, they are being closed against people, even as poverty, famine, conflict and environmental deterioration drive more people from their homes. This narrowing of access could produce tension and potential for conflict.
The concept of the international system is also changing. People have begun to see it not just as a scene for states and their representatives but more as a global society with legitimate roles for many more actors. This new world-view values cultural diversity and sees equity and justice as essential underpinnings of institutions of governance.
Cultural variety and indigenous values suffer as homogenisation is promoted by global exposure to Western communication and entertainment industries and other purveyors of Western lifestyle. This tends to create divisions between younger and older generations and to prompt counter-movements that sometimes take extremist or obscurantist positions.
Despite greatly expanded international co-operation, global and regional institutions have not been able to keep pace with the challenges of increasing interdependence. At all levels, there is a gap between the demands of individuals, peoples and nations and the capacity of the system to meet their needs. In a world turning into a global village, the rights and responsibilities of its different actors must be redefined-and respected-as we move towards a new global democracy.
The task of the Commission
The Commission's basic aim is to contribute to the improvement of global governance. It will analyse the main forces of global change, examine the major issues facing the world community, assess the adequacy of global institutional arrangements and suggest how they should be reformed or strengthened.
The Commission will be able to draw on the work of the previous independent commissions chaired by Willy Brandt, Olof Palme, Sadruddin Aga Khan and Hassan bin Talal, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Julius Nyerere. These contributed to a better understanding of policies and measures necessary to address key issues in important fields: North-South relations, security and disarmament, humanitarian questions, environment and development, and the progress of the developing countries.
The Commission does not have to go over the same ground, but will examine their proposals for continuing relevance and consider how their acceptability may be enhanced. It will explore what factors may have caused past efforts to improve global governance to fail-and what conditions helped them to succeed. The Commission will suggest how global, regional and national institutions should be developed to better support co-operation in today's world.
The principal challenge will be to mobilise political will for multilateral action. Attitudes must be fostered that enable enduring collaborative solutions to global problems to be put into effect. The political and economic arguments for action in the common good need to be well marshalled. It will be the Commission's task to articulate a vision of global co-operation that may inspire nations-leaders and people-to intensify their collective endeavours.
Some basic issues
The improvement of global security in its many aspects will be a prime concern of the Commission. The world has been spared a great war in recent decades, but conflict and violence have not diminished. In particular, there has been a rise in strife within states. Some conflicts have highlighted the vulnerability of minorities. Some have resulted in large-scale suffering, gross abuses of human rights and massive refugee problems; these have generated demands for external intervention. There is also cause for growing concern over the threats to stability that could arise from non-military factors. In considering security issues, the Commission will examine what approaches the world community should adopt to deal with threats to security in the broadest sense.
The Commission will study measures that could strengthen the system of collective security under the Charter of the United Nations to prevent or halt conflicts between states. An important linked issue is arms control and action by which the world community could prevent potentially destabilising situations arising from arms proliferation and the trade in arms which assists it. A system of collective security that inspires confidence could reduce the urge of individual states to build up large arsenals, freeing valuable resources for socially useful purposes. The Commission will also pay attention to disarmament by the major powers and the prospects for securing a part of the savings for action to accelerate development.
The Commission's concern with security will extend to the considerations that should govern international action, whether preventive diplomacy or coercive intervention, to deal with conflicts within states that may trigger wider involvement or that cause outrage on humanitarian grounds. With increasing internal conflicts prompting calls for intervention, clear guidelines are desirable so that such action is both effective and consistent. The Commission will need to examine what the world community may set down as the limits of permissible behaviour in a range of areas, and consider mechanisms-in the context of a future regime of international law-to encourage and, if necessary, enforce compliance with these norms.
The values upheld by the international community must be reinforced by the regulatory framework of the global rule of law. As sovereign states remain the primary units of the international system, the changing nature of state sovereignty and the relationship between national autonomy and international responsibility will be germane to the work of the Commission.
Together with the world-wide movement towards participatory democracy, there has been greater attention to the rights of individuals and of minorities, and to the role of civil society and its voluntary organisations in advancing the people's interest. The Commission will be concerned with the protection of these rights. It will consider how individuals, peoples and nations can be empowered to exercise greater control over their fate and how democratic accountability can be fostered at all levels, from local to global.
The economic turbulence of recent times calls for renewed efforts to improve co-ordination in policy in the interests of achieving more stable conditions for investment and growth world-wide. There is also a need for nations to ensure that progress towards multilateral free trade is maintained. These issues will receive the Commission's attention.
A central concern will be the need to accelerate development in less developed countries, so that absolute poverty may be brought to an end and the living standards of billions of people raised to acceptable levels. The Commission will consider ways to foster an international environment that is more supportive of developing countries, and actions to reduce external obstacles to these countries' own efforts to earn their way out of poverty. Fairer conditions for selling to developed countries through the removal of import barriers, better terms of trade for primary commodities, and improved access to capital and technology remain key issues. The proliferation of trade blocks may adversely affect non-member countries, especially those in the developing world. The debt problem, which continues to burden many countries, draining resources that could be invested to raise output and living standards, also calls for further action.
Another important concern will be the environment, with its close links to development and population growth. Both affluence and poverty contribute to environmental stress, and so does population pressure which often accompanies poverty. Grave environmental problems beyond national remedy, such as greenhouse warming, ozone depletion and, in some cases, natural disasters, have linked the fate of nations more closely together. They call for co-operative strategies based on the principle of equitably shared responsibility. Such strategies must be responsive to a common danger and be guided by concern for the interests of future generations, in order to promote sustainable development on a global basis.
The Commission will consider how the limited progress made at the Earth Summit of June 1992 can be consolidated and extended, and how recognition of the interdependence of the human family, signalled by ecological dangers, can be widened so as to evoke greater international support for sustainable development.
Focus on international institutions
An extensive system of international co-operation has been built up over the past fifty years. With the United Nations at its centre, the system has an array of important organisations.
However, these institutions of global governance-mainly created for a much less complex world with far fewer nations-fall short of today's demands. In many cases, current arrangements inhibit the development of an improved system of global security and the advancement of the human condition. A key objective of the Commission will be to propose how an adequate international institutional framework can be achieved.
The Commission will identify the tasks that need to be performed as clearly as possible. It will study the requirements for carrying them out effectively and the adequacy of the existing institutional arrangements. It will then develop proposals for improving these facilities.
The United Nations, as well as its specialised agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and the GATT, will be an important focus for the Commission's recommendations. The composition of the Security Council and the use of the veto will be matters for review. The Commission will also study how a number of functions can be performed at the regional level, frequently outside the UN framework.
A crucial factor in the effectiveness of organisations is their perceived legitimacy. This is linked to participation and transparency in their decision-making processes and to the representative nature of bodies that exercise authority. In considering how global institutions can be reconciled with these requirements, the Commission will examine how non-state actors-non-governmental organisations, business and labour, the academic community, cultural and religious movements, rights groups-can be usefully involved in the work of international institutions.
Effectiveness also depends on how well institutions are financed and staffed. A predictable and adequate resource base and a well-functioning international civil service are essential to the proper functioning of world organisations, which face rising demands. The Commission will suggest steps to improve the present position, which has manifest weaknesses.
In the spirit of San Francisco
The United Nations was founded and its Charter adopted at a conference in San Francisco in 1945.
As 1995, its fiftieth anniversary, approaches, the adequacy of our institutions of global governance and the need to strengthen them will increasingly claim the attention of world leaders and citizens alike.
Recent improvements in international relations have created an exciting opportunity to construct a world system that is more fully responsive to the interests of all nations and people. It should be possible to move the world to a higher level of co-operation than has ever been attempted, taking advantage of the growing recognition of global interdependence.
In making its own contribution to this endeavour, the Commission will aim to invoke the spirit of multilateralism that animated those who worked together in San Francisco to form the United Nations. It plans to issue its report in 1994, so that its conclusions and recommendations may be discussed before the General Assembly of the United Nations holds its 50th anniversary session.
The Commission on Global Governance
Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden Prime Minister of Sweden 1986-91 and from October 1994 to March 1996, and Leader of the Social Democratic Party in Sweden, 1986-96. Deputy Prime Minister from 1982 to 1986. Member of Parliament since 1964. Served as Minister of Education (1969-73), Minister of Housing and Physical Planning (1973-76), and Minister of the Environment (1985-86). In April 1991, hosted the Stockholm Initiative that led to the creation of the Commission on Global Governance.
Shridath Ramphal, Guyana Shridath Ramphal, Guyana Secretary-General of the Commonwealth 1975-90 and Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Justice of Guyana 1972-75. Chief Negotiator for the Caribbean on international economic issues since 1997. Chairman of the Board of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance - IDEA since 1995. Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and of the University of Warwick in Britain, both since 1988. Member of the Brandt, Palme, Brundtland, and South Commissions, and the Commissions on Humanitarian Issues and on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Chairman of the West Indian Commission 1989-92. Author of Our Country The Planet, written for the Earth Summit.
Members (Text as appearing in Our Global Neighbourhood)
Ali Alatas, Indonesia Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia from 1988 to 2000. Indonesia's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (1982-88) and in Geneva (1976-78). Has represented Indonesia in several international fora, including as Chairman of the First Committee at the 40th UN General Assembly Session in 1985. President of the Amendment Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests and was CoChairman of the Paris International Conference on Cambodia. At present, Indonesia also holds the Chairmanship of the NonAligned Movement.
Abdlatif AlHamad, Kuwait DirectorGeneral and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in Kuwait. Former Minister of Finance and Minister of Planning of Kuwait. Member of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues and the South Commission, and chairman of the UN Committee on Development Planning. Board Member of the Stockholm Environment Institute.
Oscar Arias, Costa Rica President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990. In 1987, drafted a regional accord, known as the Arias Peace Plan, to end the ongoing wars in Central America. This initiative was signed by all the Central American Presidents on 7 August 1987, and culminated in the award of that year's Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Arias. In 1988, he used the monetary award to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress.
Anna Balletbo i Puig, Spain. Member of the Spanish Parliament since 1979. Member of Parliamentary Committees on Foreign Affairs, Development and Aid to Cooperation, and Radio and Television. Member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party in Catalonia. General Secretary of the Olof Palme International Foundation in Barcelona since 1989. Formerly President of Spain's United Nations Association, a Scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., and Professor of radio and television at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. An activist on women's issues since 1975.
Kurt Biedenkopf, Germany Minister-President of Saxony since 1990. Active in German national and regional politics. Member of the Federal Parliament in Bonn (1976-80 and 1987-90) and of the State Parliament of NorthrhineWestphalia (1980-88). Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany from 1973 to 1977, and later Chairman of its regional organization. Prior to entering politics, served as Professor, Dean, and President of the Ruhr University in Bochum.
Allan Boesak, South Africa Former Minister for Economic Affairs for the Western Cape Region. Also Director of the Foundation for Peace and Justice in Cape Town. A leading figure in his country's struggle against apartheid, Chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) for the Western Cape Region and a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee. Previously, President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and a Patron of the United Democratic Front.
Manuel Camacho Solis, Mexico Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Mayor of Mexico City. Served as Mexico's Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology (1986-88), where he was responsible for the reconstruction programme after the 1985 earthquake. As Peace Commissioner in Chiapas, played a key role in establishing the ceasefire in 1994 and facetoface negotiations with the EZLN. Recently published 'Change Without Breakdown', a blueprint for democratic reforms in Mexico.
Bernard Chidzero, Zimbabwe Former Senior Minister of Finance. Politically active in the international and domestic arenas since the 1960s. Has served in different capacities with the United Nations for twenty years, including Deputy SecretaryGeneral of UNCTAD (1977-80) and President of the Seventh Session of UNCTAD (1987-91). Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the IMF (1987-90), and a member of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Barber Conable, United States President of the World Bank from 1986 to 1991. Currently Chairman of the Committee on USChina Relations, and a member of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Global Environment Facility. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1985, where he served on the Ways and Means Committee for eighteen years, the last eight as its ranking minority member, as well as on the Joint Economic Committee, the House Budget Committee, and the House Ethics Committee. Has served on the boards of multinational corporations and on the Board of the New York Stock Exchange. Currently Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and a Trustee Fellow and Executive Committee member of Cornell University.
Jacques Delors, France President of the European Commission from 1985 to January 1995. Served as Minister for Economics, Finance, and the Budget (1981 and 1983-84). Mayor of Clichy 1983-84. Adviser to the Prime Minister (1969-72), Member of the General Council of the Banque de France (1973-79), and Member of the European Parliament and President of its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (1979-81). Previously, a Professor at the University ParisDauphine, Chairman of the research centre 'Travail et Societé', and founder of the association 'Echanges et Projets', of which he is Honorary President.
Jiri Dienstbier, Czech Republic Chairman of the Free Democrats party in the Czech Republic and Chairman of the Czech Council on Foreign Relations. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. A signatory of and spokesman for Charter 77, and a key member of the group led by Václav Havel initiating political change in his country. As a result of his opposition activities, he was sentenced to three years in prison in 1979. First spokesman of the Civic Forum's Coordinating Centre on its establishment in 1989. In June, 1998, Mr Dienstbier was appointed Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for the former Yugoslavia.
Enrique Iglesias, Uruguay President of the InterAmerican Development Bank since 1988. Served as Minister of External Relations of Uruguay (1985-88), as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (1972-85), and as President of the Central Bank of Uruguay (1966-68). Chairman of the Conference that launched the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations in 1986.
Frank Judd, United Kingdom Member of the House of Lords, where he has been the Labour Opposition's principal spokesman on education and is now the principal spokesman on development cooperation. A specialist and consultant in international affairs working particularly on the UN, Third World issues, conflict resolution, and arms control. For thirteen years, a Member of Parliament, serving consecutively as Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State for Defence, Minister for Overseas Development, and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he was deputy to the Secretary of State. Director of Voluntary Service Overseas from 1980 to 1985, and Director of Oxfam from 1985 to 1991.
Hongkoo Lee, Republic of Korea Prime Minister. Served as the Republic of Korea's Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1991 to 1993, and as Minister for Unification between North and South Korea from 1988 to 1990. In 1985, founded the Seoul Forum for International Affairs and served as its Chairman until 1988. Professor of Political Science at Seoul National University from 1968 to 1988, and Director of the Institute of Social Sciences (1978-82). Currently also the Chairman of the Seoul 21st Century Committee and of the World Cup 2002 Bidding Committee.
Wangari Maathai, Kenya Founder and coordinator of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. An environmental conservationist and activist on women's issues and human rights. Formerly the Chairman of the National Council of Women of Kenya, and spokesman for nongovernmental organizations at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Previously, Associate Professor of Anatomy at the University of Nairobi.
Sadako Ogata, Japan Currently United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (since 1991) and previously Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo and Director of its International Relations Institute (1980-91). Japan's Representative on the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1982-85, and a member of the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues. From 1978 to 1979, Japan's envoy to the United Nations as well as Chairman of the Executive Board of UNICEF.
Olara Otunnu, Uganda, Since September 1998, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict. Formerly, President of the International Peace Academy in New York. As Uganda's Foreign Minister from 1985 to 1986, facilitated the peace talks culminating in the Nairobi Peace Agreement. During tenure as Uganda's Permanent Representative to the UN (1980-85), served as President of the Security Council (1981), VicePresident of the General Assembly (1982-83), and Chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Has taught at The American University and at Albany Law School, and was a visiting fellow at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales in Paris.
I.G. Patel, India Chairman of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in India. Has held key economic positions in India and internationally: Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian Government, and Permanent Secretary of the Indian Finance Ministry. Previously, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Has served as the Executive Director for India of the International Monetary Fund and as Deputy Administrator of the UN Development Programme.
Celina Vargas do Amaral Peixoto, Brazil Director of the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil. DirectorGeneral of the Brazilian National Archives from 1980 to 1990 and Director of the Center of Research and Documentation on Brazilian History from 1973 to 1990. Member of the InterAmerican Dialogue and has been a member of several national commissions on cultural, historical, and technological issues.
Jan Pronk, Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, a position he also held from 1973 to 1978. ViceChairman of the Labour Party (1987-89) and a Member of Parliament (1971-73; 1978-80; 1986-89). Served as Deputy SecretaryGeneral of UNCTAD from 1980 to 1986. Previously, a Professor at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague and at the University of Amsterdam. Member of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues.
Qian Jiadong, China Deputy DirectorGeneral of the China Centre for International Studies in Beijing. Previously, Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Geneva to the United Nations, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, and a representative to the Conference on Disarmament. Member of the South Commission.
Marie-Angélique Savané, Senegal A sociologist and currently Director of the Africa Division of the UN Population Fund in New York. Formerly Director of the UNFPA country support team in Dakar (1992-October 1994), Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (1990-92), team leader at the UN Research Institute for Social Development (1979-88), and EditorinChief of Famille et Dévéloppement (1974-78). Founder and former President of the Association of African Women for Research and Development. Member of the Boards of several international organizations and institutions, of the South Commission, and currently of the UNESCO Commission on Education for the 21st Century.
Adele Simmons, United States President of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Member of the Boards of several organizations and corporations and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1993, appointed by the SecretaryGeneral of the UN to the HighLevel Advisory Board on Sustainable Development. From 1977 to 1989, President of Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where she developed new programmes in population and health and in peace and international security. From 1978 to 1980, served on President Carter's Commission on World Hunger and from 1991 to 1992, on President Bush's Commission on Environmental Quality.
Maurice Strong, Canada Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Reform. Formerly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Hydro, and Chairman of the Earth Council. Has received the Order of Canada and is a member of the Queen's Privy Council of Canada. SecretaryGeneral of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, and of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Member of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Brian Urquhart, United Kingdom Currently a Scholar in Residence at the Ford Foundation's International Affairs Program. Involved in the formation of the United Nations in 1945 and served as Under SecretaryGeneral for Special Political Affairs from 1972 to 1986. Main fields of interest and operation at the UN were conflict resolution and peacekeeping. Publications include A World in Need of Leadership: Tomorrow's United Nations (with Erskine Childers, 1990); Towards a More Effective United Nations(with Erskine Childers, 1991); Ralph Bunche: An American Life (1993); and Renewing the United Nations System (with Erskine Childers, 1994). Member of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues.
Yuli Vorontsov, Russia Ambassador to the United States, following a fiveyear term as Ambassador to the United Nations, and an Adviser to President Boris Yeltsin on Foreign Affairs. Served as the USSR Ambassador to Afghanistan (1988-89), France (1983-86), and India (1977-83). Between foreign assignments, appointed First DeputyForeign Minister in 1986.
Statements On Governance Issues
Ramphal calls for better governance in the 21st century
Carlsson seeks a Brandt report for the new Century
Ramphal urges better management of globalisation
CGG Co-Chairmen decry NATO action in Yugoslavia
The need for good governance and democracy - both within states and globally
Socialist International calls for Economic Security Council
UN Deputy Secretary-General warns of Security Council authority eroding
Even in era of globalisation, it’s the poor who suffer most, says Ramphal
Ramphal says G7 Birmingham summit shows need for new economic body
Former WTO head calls for summit on globalisation
Carlsson joins other leaders in calling for an end to intolerance
Canadian support for Tobin Tax concept
Earlier Speeches by Co-Chairmen and Members
Ramphal Calls for Better Governance for 21st Century
Key areas in which the world’s arrangements for governance need to be improved for the 21st century have been outlined by Shridath Ramphal in “Improving the World’s Governance”, an essay forming a chapter in a book, “Where Next? Refections on the Human Future,” launched on World Environment Day, 5 June 2000, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London.
Ramphal notes that the world enters the new millennium with the pre-eminence of the United States as a defining characteristic. While the world had benefited in the past from enlightened US leadership, the US had recently not been living up to its own high standards.
“The international system needs the support of all major powers if it is to function well in the service of the world community as a whole. An isolationist United States that shuns global involvement would harm the world system, but a US with hegemonic ambitions would harm it even more. This is the situation the world community has to contend with, as it seeks to shape the architecture of global governance to meet the problems and pressures of a new century,” says Ramphal.
The essay deals with such issues as nuclear disarmament, international intervention to protect people within states, reform of the Security Council to make it more representative of the UN, refugees and displaced persons, the arms trade and drug trafficking,
In addressing issues of economic governance, Ramphal says that a more vigorous effort to end extreme poverty and deprivation should be a high priority in the new millennium, pointing out that widespread poverty in the midst of great affluence was “an indictment of humanity’s performance during the 20th century.”
Rich countries appeared to be using globalisation as an excuse for withdrawing from their commitment to work against world poverty. But globalisation, while it had a dynamic, integrative impact, also had a downside. It was selective in its benefits, bypassing many poor countries. It seemed moreover to have made the world economy less stable and countries more vulnerable to shocks. Another worrying aspect was a growth in inequality, globally and within countries.
Ramphal says such issues as these - persistent poverty, economic instability, increasing inequality - should be addressed globally at the highest level, but there was a gap in the structures of world economic governance. The UN’s ECOSOC had been enfeebled, and the G7, as a body representing only rich countries, had no legitimacy to consider such issues on behalf of all nations. The Commission on Global Governance had come to the conclusion that the needs of world economic governance would be best served by an Economic Security Council in the United Nations.
Such a forum would also be the appropriate body to consider how the world could resolve the looming conflict between consumption and resources, says Ramphal.
“Where Next?” has been edited by Dr Duncan Poore, an academic and environmental activist, and includes contributions from distinguished figures from such disciplines as philosophy, economics, ecology, science, law and sociology. It is published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, ISBN 1-84246-000-5.
The world as a global neighbourhood -- where neighbourly values and the recognition of a set of common rights and responsibilities will prevail -- is the model envisaged by the twenty eight members of the Commission for Global Governance. Their report, issued at the beginning of 1995, and entitled "Our Global Neighborhood", dealt with the need to develop a just, peaceful, secure and democratic future for all the inhabitants of the world.
After the momentous shames which took place during the 1980's, there was a new fervour for democracy and liberal trade and economic policies. Released from the tensions of the East/West conflict, the world looked to a "peace dividend" to provide new resources for development and collective security.
But this optimism was shortlived. There has been a loss of confidence in the idea of the "peace dividend", and questions about world order, and about the capacity of global systems currently in place to sustain human existence on a basis tolerable to all people, began to trouble many people.
The basic problem was how to develop a new global ethic to guide action in a world where it was fast becoming clear that there was no alternative to people and governments working together, based on a set of common rights and responsibilities. The 50th anniversary year of the United Nations was looming, and it seemed appropriate that efforts should be made to address these issues in the context of global security and governance.
The Commission on Global Governance was constituted in 1992, and its mandate was to ask questions about world order, to examine the systems in place for world governance and to weigh up the prospects for future generations. The report Our Global Neighbourhood' is the result of the Commission's work. Its title is its message: the changes of the last half century have brought a global neighbourhood nearer to reality -- a neighbourhood, like all others, that must be good for all if it is to be good for any. These transformations, particularly those on resent years, have placed mankind on the threshold of a new time. We need nothing less than a new order in world affairs, a new style of managing human relations on the Planet, a new way of relating to the Planet.
Today, the world's people and their government have no credible option but to live by neighbourhood values, to work in partnership in order to maintain peace and order, expand economic activity, tackle pollution, check greenhouse warming, combat pandemic diseases, curb the spread of weapons, prevent deserts growing, preserve genetic diversity, deter terrorists, ward off famine, save species, defeat economic recession, share scarce resources, beat drug traders. And matters calling for global neighborhood action are constantly increasing. What were once considered far away places are no longer distant. Their hopes, their fears, their achievements, bear on our own. Their insecurities are ours. Their crises are the crises of our global neighbourhood.
That is why the report urges, as a matter of priority, that in this new world, 'security' should be allowed the breadth of meaning reality now demands. It should accommodate the full range of insecurities that so grievously afflict human society as to compel the attention of all. Specifically, the Commission believes the time has come to establish arrangements of global governance that respond to threats to the security of people and threats to the security of the planet -- in short, to human security.
The Commission sees the emergence of a global civil society, with many movements worldwide reinforcing the sense of human solidarity, as one of the most positive features of our time. It reflects a large increase in the capacity and will of people to take control of their own lives and to influence the conduct of their governments. In the emerging global neighbourhood, while states and governments remain primarily actors in global governance, they are not the only players; while the United Nations must continue to exercise vital functions, it cannot do all the work. Global governance is the governance of diversity, not uniformity; it is governance through democracy, not dominion; it is governance that is multi-layered, not from the mountaintop. It is necessarily governance as an uncentralised system.
The UN's founders saw dangers to peace and security arising essentially from conflict between nation states. The conflict in the Gulf gave a recent warning that wars between states have not become extinct. But the higher probability now is that threats to the security of people will arise from situations within countries. Our concern cannot be limited to the security of states and the sanctity of territory. The security of people may be endangered by civil war, by humanitarian emergencies both natural or Man-made, by despotic rulers, and even, in extreme cases, by the collapse of civil order. Sometimes two or more factors may be present in vicious combination.
In these circumstances, when the security of people is extensively imperilled, the principle of sovereignty and the norms that derive from it must be adapted to balance the rights of states with the rights of people, and the interests of nations with the interests of the global neighbourhood.
The security of people has other dimensions too. If the concept of a global neighbourhood is valid, neighbourhood values must guide us. The duty of care for our neighbour is the foremost of these values. In a neighbourhood, all are neighbours; in the global neighbourhood, our duty of care is owed to all who share the planet. This duty is the more compelling, the more a neighbour needs care. High among those who stand in need of care are the world's poor, the one in five of its people that economic progress has bypassed.
The continuing growth of poverty has been obscured by the dazzling performance of the Asian tigers and the vigour exhibited by the second wave of candidates for NIC status -- countries such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and now India in Asia and others such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico in Latin America. But the unchecked expansion in the number of the absolute poor from around 600 million, when Robert MacNamara first made that term part of our vocabulary in the late 1970s, to 1.3 billion in 1993 points shamefully, and dangerously, to the scale of the problem of economy insecurity.
Yet, the utter deprivation that is absolute poverty is not the only form of economic insecurity. I still recall, with shock, my sight, on the night of President Clinton's Inauguration, of what I thought was the longest bus queue ever, only to discover that it was a queue of the homeless waiting for a mobile soup kitchen, in the capital city of the world's superpower. The exceptionally high increase in unemployment in industrial countries over the past few years, which recovery from recession has not reversed, has made life insecure for many millions of people. Their situation may not be so abject as the plight of the absolute poor, but it spells insecurity all the same. A sophisticated, globalised, increasingly affluent world currently coexists with a marginalised under--class, global and within countries -- all countries.
We have also belatedly become aware of how much the way we live has been damaging our planetary habitat, in some ways irreparably. It has been driven home to us that our life--styles must be guided by greater care for the earth. Not only population growth in poor countries, but consumption in rich countries also has to be reduced if global sustainability is to be achieved. We know in our minds that we need to act with greater concern for our children and to treat the earth and its resources as assets we hold in custody for the generations that will follow us. Most will accept that just as we hold equity to be a desirable value in relations among nations and peoples, so we must respect the case for equity between generations.
We must now develop a new concept of 'planetary security' -- including new arrangements for the practical exercise of genuine trusteeship in relation to the environment generally and the global commons specifically. The Commission has put forward proposals to this end.
The Commission's Report is a call to action, based on our assessment of what should be done to make the way we manage its affairs -- its systems of governance more suited to the world's needs. Our proposals emerge as ten clusters of reform -- nine clusters around a central vision of the world as a neighbourhood with people, not states at the centre; with systems of governance that invoke civil society, not governments alone; and with shared values as the basis for shaping the system and realising the goals of global governance . The nine other clusters then encompass the following:
1. - Protecting the security of people within states through international
humanitarian action clearly authorised -- and circumscribed --under the UN
Charter: namely, in cases where in the judgement of a reformed Security Council
there is violation of the security of people so gross and extreme that it
requires an international response on humanitarian grounds;
-- A new Right of Petition for non-state actors to -bring before the Council for Petitions matters justifying humanitarian intervention;
-- Indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
-- Elimination of chemical and bacteriological weapons;
-- Concerted action to diminish accumulation and dispersal of conventional arms through treaty agreement to restrict arms sales and to prohibit the manufacture of landmines;
-- Creating a Demilitarisation Fund to assist countries in furtherance of demilitarisation of the global neighborhood.
6. - Strengthening the UN's peacekeeping and peace enforcement roles in ways that
Creating a UN Volunteer Force with- a maximum of 1 0, 000 personnel with ability to backup preventive diplomacy through support for negotiations and peaceful settlement of disputes.
-- Revitalisation of the General Assembly through theme sessions each year and strengthening the Assembly's authority in relation to the UN budget;
-- Winding down failed or spent UN institutions and further restructuring its bureaucracy with particular reference to ECOSOC, UNCTAD, UNIDO and the Regional Economic Commissions -- in the context of the creation of a new and representative apex economic body.
-- Establishing an Economic Security Council as an apex global economic body within the UN system constituted to reflect the new realities of the dispersed economic strength among countries and beyond countries with a capacity to coordinate global economic responses in response to the challenges of globalisation and economic dependence;
-- Democratisation of the Bretton Woods institutions with the distribution of votes taking account of purchasing power parity as a more realistic index of economic strength;
A start with raising global revenues for global purposes through international charges (such as charges for use of the global commons and to reflect the 'polluter pays principle') and taxes agreed and imposed by treaty (such as a tax on international currency transaction) -- a particular priority in the utilisation of global revenues to be assistance to the least developed countries through supplementation of concessional World Bank funds, and enlarged peacekeeping costs arising from collective neighbourhood action in promotion of the security of people and of the Planet.
Faced with this reality, the strongest and most privileged under existing systems have adopted a minimalist approach -- to do as little as possible. Although ultimately all are involved, the impact of disaster on their countries is more containable; they could be tempted to filibuster and avoid change. It is the weak and vulnerable and the enlightened and caring of all countries who most need a new order and must mobilise for it.
No country is so small that it cannot be heard; no concept so novel that it cannot be urged; no proposal so bold that it cannot prevail. It was a lone representative from the small island state of Malta speaking in 1967 in the First Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations who proposed that the sea and the sea-bed beyond national jurisdiction should be accepted as the common heritage of mankind. To some, at the time, it seemed an impossible dream -- and many scoffed. It took 27 years for that vision to be realised but it was realised when the Headquarters of the new Regime opened in Jamaica two years ago.
On the issues the Commission on Global Governance has addressed, the global neighborhood may not have the possibility of 27 years of 'business as usual'. These end years of the century could yet be proven to be the worst of times. They need not be; but even if they were, from them could come, the best of change. It was the Commission's conviction that each and every one of us can help to make that happen.
Ingvar Carlsson seeks a Brandt Report for the 21st century
"Willy Brandt had a vision but he also admitted the risk of failure. He wrote that there was a danger that in the year 2000 a large part of the world’s population would still be living in poverty and that the world would be overpopulated. Mass starvation and dangers of destruction might also be growing. But he also said: One should not give up the hope that problems created by men can also be solved by men. We are now in the year 2000. We are all grateful to the Willy Brandt Foundation and the Development and Peace Foundation for taking this initiative to discuss the future with the background of the Brandt Report. That is probably what Willy Brandt would have liked us to do." FullL Text - the full text of the proceedings is also on line at http://sef-bonn.org.
Ramphal urges better management of globalisation
CGG Co-Chairman Shridath Ramphal welcomed the call for improved global governance made in the Human Development Report 1999 when he was one of a panel brought together for its launch in London on 12 July, 1999.
The 1999 report - the tenth in an annual series published by UNDP - deals with globalisation. Its central message is that the challenge of globalisation in the new century is not to stop the expansion of global markets but to find "the rules and institutions for stronger governance ...to preserve the advantages of markets and competition...and ensure that globalisation works for people and not just for profits." REPORT
CGG Co-Chairs decry NATO action, call for respect for UN Charter
CGG Co-Chairmen Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal have described NATO’s airstrikes against Yugoslavia as striking "at the heart of the rule of international law and the authority of the United Nations."
They have pointed out - in an article in the International Herald Tribune on 1 April 1999 - that NATO had not sought UN authority for its action, which was therefore an act of aggression against a sovereign nation. The UN Charter, which was every country’s ‘superior law’, barred any state or group of states from using force against another, save in self-defence, except under UN authority.
While NATO countries asserted respect for the UN Charter and international law, "the gamekeepers have turned poachers, posing as policemen." Assuming police powers on the basis of righteousness and military strength was, the two authors warned, dangerous for world order and world peace; what resulted was a world run by vigilante action.
"NATO countries are understandably frustrated in their efforts for peace, and rightly indignant at the humanitarian wrongs committed by the Serbian regime. Others are indignant as well.... But if in our responses we become violators too, in the end we return to a dark time when might alone is right and law comes out of the barrel of a gun. That cannot be our signature as we turn the page into a new millennium." (Full text.)
Governance and Democracy within states and globally
Speaking at the Olof Palme International Foundation’s Seminar "Governance at the End of the Millennium" at Barcelona, Spain on 26 February 1999, Sir Shridath Ramphal argued: " When we talk of ‘governance’ and ‘democracy’, we have to look beyond governance within countries and democracy within states. We have to look to Global Governance and Democracy within the Global State. I will come back to these matters in the course of my remarks, but I wanted to place them squarely before you at the outset, for they are to me fundamental elements of any discussion on issues of governance and democracy, and their impact on people, at this turning point in human history. Olof Palme understood all this very well and much earlier in this century. Full Text
Socialist International calls for an Economic Security Council
The Socialist International has backed the call for an Economic Security Council within the United Nations - a key recommendation of the Commission on Global Governance.
The Socialist International is the worldwide organisation of socialist, social democratic and labour parties, including several now in power in their countries. Its President is Pierre Mauroy, former Prime Minister of France, who succeeded German statesman Willy Brandt in 1992.
The Socialist International Council - which includes all member parties - has proposed the creation of an ESC "as a way to effectively coordinate international economic policy and to address global issues such as the stability of exchange rates and international capital flows, the avoidance of fiscal competition and action on global programmes to reduce unemployment and stimulate economic recovery."
The Council, at a meeting Geneva on 23-24 November 1998, said a stronger institutional framework was needed to achieve a new system of collective responsibility, and called for negotiations involving both developed and developing countries to create an Economic Security Council.
It envisaged the ESC as combining a set of permanent members with a variable membership of smaller countries, saying that such a structure would be "both more representative of global realities and constitute a manageable forum for the exercise of collective responsibility."
"At the top of its agenda, this Council should include not only the redefinition of the role of Bretton Woods institutions but also a global recovery programme promoting investment, trade, income and employment," the Council said.
The call for an Economic Security Council was the highlight of a statement in which the Socialist International Council discussed the current financial crisis and the need "to regulate globalisation and to globalise regulation" in the light of the paradox that "trade and financial markets are now global but governance and regulation are mainly national."
Security Council seen as unrepresentative - UN’s Frechette
The UN Security Council’s authority was gradually eroding as many people saw its membership as "narrow and unrepresentative", said UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, when she spoke on the challenges of global governance at the Overseas Development Institute in London on 8 December 1998.
In her opening remarks, Frechette said the notion of global governance had lately become prominent in the international community’s vocabulary, and the report of the Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighbourhood, issued in 1995, had become the standard text on the subject.
The Commission’s feeling that "we do not have an adequate global system" was widely shared, with most people having a sense of "living in a world that is out of control".
For global rules to enjoy legitimacy and be generally respected, they must be the product of a multilateral process, Frechette remarked, "Multilateral co-operation, well-functioning global rules and a level playing-field that protects the weak against the strong are necessary preconditions for spreading benefits and reducing risks."
"The process must be democratic and inclusive," she added. "Even the Security Council’s authority is gradually eroding because so many people perceive its membership as narrow and unrepresentative. That applies a fortiori to small self-selected groups of powerful countries like the G7 or G8.
"There has to be a forum where these issues can be debated openly and where a variety of actors can feel they have a say. In my view the United Nations is the institution by far the best qualified to provide that forum."
Even in era of globalisation, it’s the poor who suffer most, says Ramphal
It’s the poor who always get pneumonia, says Shridath Ramphal, co-chairman of the Commission on Global Governance, in an article on globalisation written for the first issue of SOSTENIBLE?, a UNESCO-sponsored international journal edited from the Technical University of Catalonia in Spain.
Ramphal points out that it used to be said that when the US economy sneezed, Europe would catch cold and the Third World would go down with pneumonia. This time the infection has started in East Asia, from where a wave of tremors has spread even to the US. So times have changed, with rich countries becoming vulnerable to infections from the poor. But in a vital sense, says Ramphal, things have not changed. What has affected countries such as Indonesia and Thailand is more pneumonia than sneeze. Irrespective of where the infection starts, it is the Third World that suffers most.
While globalisation has benefited many economies, it has also made the world economy more unstable - as evidenced by recent turbulence - and even countries that have gained from globalisation have become more susceptible to shocks, the article says. Globalisation has also made the disparities between rich and poor wider, creating a more unequal world.
Furthermore, globalisation has been very selective in offering its benefits. While foreign capital flows to the Third World had increased substantially, only a small set of countries had been recipients, and these were all middle-income countries except for China. Globalisation’s beneficial effects on trade have also bypassed many developing countries, whose trade as a proportion of their GDP has indeed shrunk.
Ramphal asserts that the present crisis of the world economy strengthens the case for a representative world forum to address such issues as the adverse effects of globalisation, and renews the call made by the Commission on Global Governance for an Economic Security Council. Such a Council would not be able to offer quick remedies but "would ensure not only that important economic issues and trends, including those associated with globalisation, received attention but also that they were considered not just from the perspective of rich countries but by a representative body that can bring all perspectives to bear and respond to the widest global interest."
Ramphal reiterates call for new world economic body
As the Group of 7 held its annual summit in Birmingham in mid-May 1998, CGG Co-Chair Shridath Ramphal reiterated the Commission's call for an Economic Security Council to exercise global economic oversight.
Ramphal pointed out - in an article published in the alternative, people's summit newspaper on 16 May 1998- that developments since the Commission published its report had reinforced the case it made for an apex body within the United Nations to give policy leadership on key economic issues.
He said the world community should consider action to prevent such crises as that which had recently struck several Asian countries.It should also consider other issues raised by globalisation, such as the widening disparities which had accompanied globalisation. But the G7 was not the right body to consider these issues on behalf of the world community.
While the G7 was fully entitled to represent its seven members - who account for just 12 per cent of the world's people - it had no legitimacy to act on behalf of the whole world. As a self-constituted body, it was accountable only to its few members, said Ramphal. Full text
Peter Sutherland calls for world summit to tackle strains of globalization
In calling for a world summit to devise ways to cope with "the stresses and strains of globalization", Peter Sutherland, former head of the World Trade Organisation and now chairman of Goldman Sachs International and of British Petroleum, has again underlined the inadequacy of existing bodies - including the Group of Seven industrial countries - as a forum for global economic governance.
In an article in the New York Times of 8 February 1998, written in his capacity as Chairman of the Overseas Development Council in Washington together with John Sewell, the Council's president, Sutherland called for a meeting of "a group of world leaders from the old industrial countries, emerging economic powers and those countries facing marginalization."
"Unlike the G7, this meeting should include countries representing all regions and levels of development. A group of about two dozen leaders would be big enough to allow broad participation," the article said.
The authors said that the Asian economic crisis had shown that ad hoc action taken by the IMF and the World Bank were "often necessary, often effective" but only temporary measures. Only a carefully designed summit conference could point the way to "longer-term measures to prevent and anticipate future crises." Referring to the inadequacy of existing forums, they pointed out that the G7 was "too narrow in membership" and the IMF and World Bank "too focused on finance."
Sutherland has long been a prominent advocate of new arrangements for world economic governance. About the time the Commission on Global Governance was emphasising the inadequacy of the G7 and proposing - in its report issued in 1995 - the formation of an Economic Security Council at the United Nations, he told the World Economic Forum in Davos there was "a structural deficit" in the world economy, maintaining that existing forums were inadequate "for the development of global economic policy initiatives".
In an article in the International Herald Tribune of 20 February 1997, Sutherland reiterated the case for improved economic governance. He said structures for co-ordinating international economic issues should be at the highest political level and "representative enough to command the necessary consensus for effective action."
Carlsson says new enemy is intolerance
CGG Co-Chairman Ingvar Carlsson is one of five world figures who, in the Milano Charter issued on 4 April 1997, called for a world struggle against intolerance, asserting that "the new enemy is not another's civilisation but simply intolerance."
The Commission on Global Governance identified mutual respect as one of the core values that should guide life in the global neighbourhood, pointing out that in the spread of conflict and violence in the world, the common stamp was intolerance. It said the world community should reassert the importance of tolerance and respect for the 'other'.
The Milano Charter identifies "intolerance against the other's culture, civilization, religion and ethnicity" as "the very origin of the culture of violence", and says that recent years have taught that intolerance has to be fought with determination on all fronts: "that of terrorism, that of the so-called ethnic cleansing, that of whose who claim the purity of religion, culture and civilization as a justification to spread violence."
The Charter's other signatories are former US President George Bush, former Soviet leader Michail Gorbachev, former UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and former senior UN official Giandomenico Picco.
"A Stronger, More Efficient and More Democratic United Nations"
In a speech in Milan after signing the Charter, Ingvar Carlsson said that on the eve of the 21st century, there were three possible choices for the world. The first was "a global democratic leadership" based on the United Nations. The second was for a superpower - with the United States as the only candidate at present - talking responsibility and leadership. The third course was "anarchy, with no leadership and no democratic mechanisms at all".
He hoped the world would opt for the first course.The first step towards such a world order was "a stronger, more efficient and more democratic United Nations." Summary
A European Strategy for Global Economic Governance
by Ingvar Carlsson
(Edited extracts from the chapter "Global Economic Governance and the Future Role of Europe" in The Future of European Social Democracy published in honour of Franz Vranitsky)
A common European strategy for global economic governance that the countries in the European Union could initiate through their common mechanisms could include the following elements.
The European Union should take the initiative in a new constructive partnership between world economic and democratic leaders. The social dialogue of the European Union could be one model to use. In the words of Gro Harlem Bruntland:
"However good market mechanisms are at allocating resources effectively, the market alone will never achieve the overall political objectives of our time - full employment, environmental excellence, and social justice. There is no invisible hand that will guide our global community to stability, peace and development."
Political democracy and markets have both been very successful in the last decade. Both are taking large risks at present. In Europe the greatest chance of gaining power in an election is to have been in opposition, and national politicians are not able to deliver what is expected of them. Financial markets have become so volatile, that even speculators themselves, such as the Quantum Fund’s George Soros, warn against imminent disaster comparable to a nuclear meltdown.
There is, possibly, a growing awareness that the one cannot live without the other. Governments must accept that borrowing has a price, and excessive borrowing has a risk. Markets must accept that democratically elected governments represent all the population, and that the best policies for economic development are not necessarily that of tax cuts for incomes as high as those of the money dealers themselves.
In fact, markets and governments need each other. A free market is not sufficient to establish democracy, but it is hard to find democracy without a free market. They should work hand in hand to build supranational structures, frameworks within which they have freedom of movement. What the World Bank has stated in its World Development Report 1997 on the importance of the state for development is, of course, also true at the international level.
The European Union could take the initiative to move the theoretical framework forward on a global level. The tremendous unmet human needs, the great affluence, and the high unemployment of many countries indicate that there is a global structural problem.
It is apparent that neither the old left in the former communist states nor the new right of the neo-liberal economies has been successful in solving this paradox.
There is a need for a new economic theory, springing from the facts of today. The European Union could – as it did with the Delors white paper on employment, growth and competitiveness – bring the best brains together and challenge the economists and the social innovators of today.
Closely linked to the need for a new economic theoretical framework is the need for a strategy to make use of the full human potential.
Unemployment is one important aspect. In the EU countries unemployment means that more than one in ten is outside paid employment. This is a tremendous waste of human resources. It involves more than the ten per cent actually unemployed since a lot more than those are less apt to take risks, and tend to stay on at jobs.
Though unemployment is terrible for the individual and a great loss to the economy as a whole, discrimination is possibly an even greater loss. Discrimination on the basis of gender in the labour market means that half of the human potential is not fully used. And the other half, the male half, is consequently put into use above its capacity. Discrimination on other bases – religion, colour, sexual preference, class background – represents similar losses to our societies.
Gaining from diversity is in the interest of everyone. And a European Union initiative in the international framework would be most welcome.
In 1990, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria together had fewer telephone connections than Canada. And 2 billion people still lack electricity.
These figures make the term "globalisation" of information somewhat misleading. The Internet is a marvellous thing - but only for those who can access it. And to my knowledge, in sub-Saharan Africa, there are only a few thousand who are online.
Since knowledge and information is the basis for democracy, it is in the common interest to develop an information infrastructure. The European Union has experience of developing multilingual, multcultural governance, and should share that in working for a global information infrastructure.
In Davos in 1995, the founding head of the World Trade Organisation, Peter Sutherland, said:
"Improving co-operation among the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank is just dealing in technicalities unless it takes place within a coherent policy framework that can command broad international support. We simply do not have such a framework. Neither the G7 nor the G15 reflects a perspective that adequately represents the world economic community. Their capacity to set and pursue global economic objectives is thus limited. We have, in short, a structural deficit in the world economy in terms of both making the policies and their execution. To see what this deficit is costing, you only have to look at the lack of co-ordination and clear direction which has bedevilled international efforts to assist the transition to a market economy in Russia; or the international community's failure to come up with effective joint action to help Sub-Saharan Africa join the world economy as a participant rather than a dependent; or the linkages illustrated by the recent Mexican experience between the trade and capital needs of emerging markets and wider currency and investment issues."
Addressing that structural deficit is at the core of any serious, comprehensive effort to develop a new world order in the coming years. There is increasing recognition of the limits to the G7s ability to fill this role. A group representing little more than 50% of the global economy and no more than 12% of the world's people is simply unable to command the consensus necessary to provide leadership on the major economic issues affecting the great majority of the world's peoples.
As proposed by the Commission on Global Governance which Shridath Ramphal and I co-chaired, an Economic Security Council within the United Nations should have balanced representation between the world's main regions and include the possibility of smaller states having a role. There should also be enough flexibility to allow strong regional groupings a role, representing their whole membership. These could include the European Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations and MERCOSUR.
Its roles would develop over time, in an overall framework of responsibility for providing a long-term, strategic policy framework to promote stable, balanced and sustainable development. This would necessarily involve securing consistency between the policy goals of the main multilateral economic bodies (the IMF, IBRD and WTO) while recognising their distinct contributions. Other roles would include promoting consensus-building dialogue between governments on the evolution of the global economy and, in this area, providing a global forum for regional trade and economic groupings.
With a modicum of political goodwill and co-operation, as well as some creative experimentation, such a body has the potential of providing real leadership on economic, social and environmental issues.
These are issues well understood in the strategic studies institutes of many countries but ill addressed at the global level. The missing link, Peter Sutherland's 'structural deficit', has been a high-level inter-governmental mechanism to give economic governance the same focused attention that security issues receive in the Security Council.
At a gradual but steady pace, the European Union will play an increasingly active role on the global political scene. This development may however, be hampered by some obstacles and obstructions.
One possible obstacle is to look at common institutions as necessarily devaluing the influence of nation states. For most practical purposes, increased governance and democracy on one level rather increases governability on another level. It is not a zero-sum game, except maybe for the decision-maker individually. National political sovereignty is not threatened by European democracy, and European integration is not threatened by global governance. They are mutually supportive.
One possible mistake is to emphasise too much the hardware of politics, like common defence and common currency. Common democracy is established bit by succeeding bit, solving problems as they come along. Politics is not architecture that requires a finished model before the work starts. The building does not even need to be fully conceptualised before it starts to be built. I remember Shimon Peres at a press conference in Stockholm, shortly after having received the Nobel Peace Prize. Asked why the Middle East peace process despite everything had made some progress, he answered, "We decided to start with a calendar rather than a map."
One hindrance is to wait for the leadership of formal institutions. The immensely persuasive effect of a good idea works anyway. A small country may sometimes have a greater say than a much larger one, simply by presenting good and constructive proposals, an example of this being the important role of Luxembourg during the Maastricht negotiations.
There are certainly many possible obstacles. But the challenge is even more impressive, and the need enormous. Sooner or later, the EU will get very heavily involved in the governance of the globe. It is better to seize the initiative, than wait to save a situation from a possible catastrophe.
(Extracted from Die Zukunft der europaischen Sozialdemokratie (The Future of European Social Democracy) published by Locker Verlag
Towards a New System of Security
by Ingvar Carlsson*
The following article was published on the op-ed pages of the International Herald Tribune on 25 January, 1995
The reactions to the tragic events unfolding in the Russian republic of Chechnya are an important demonstration of changes evolving in the basic principles of international relations. The old pillars of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs are slowly giving way to a more flexible system, based as much on concern for the security of people as for the security of states.
This is overdue, and welcome as a sign that the international community is taking advantage of the opportunities for change offered by the end of the Cold War. It is in the hopes for this new era rather than as a reversion to the tensions of the Cold War that the international concerns on Chechnya are rightly being expressed. Certainly, there is no serious suggestion that secessionist aims should succeed in this fashion.
The world's responses in Haiti, Rwanda and Somalia have been earlier markers on our progress towards defining new principles for international action based on concerns for the security of people. Tragically, we were less prepared when the break up of the former Yugoslavia began in 1991 and must continue to live with the consequences of our failure to act effectively before that conflict became entrenched.
The principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states should not be taken lightly. But it is essential to assert the rights and interests of the international community in situations within states in which the security of people is extensively endangered.
This week (on January 26th) in Davos Switzerland, Sir Shridath Ramphal and I will present the UN Secretary General with the report of the Commission on Global Governance which we have co-chaired for the past two years. The report, Our Global Neighbourhood , deals extensively with security in all its dimensions.
In it, we propose an amendment to the UN Charter, rather than allowing basic principles of international relations to be decided arbitrarily in response to crises or to be defined by pressure from a major power or group of states with particular interests in certain cases. Such an amendment would permit international action in cases that, in the judgement of the Security Council, constitute such a gross violation of the security of people that it requires an international response on humanitarian grounds.
This is one move worth making but I am also convinced that it is not sensible to attempt piecemeal amendments or reforms. The various issues involved in global governance, which we define broadly as the management of our common global interests including of course security concerns, are increasingly connected and interdependent whether they involve military security, economic issues or the environment - the security of the planet.
These connections are central to any effective effort to recognise tensions and provide solutions before they erupt into conflict. Most major crises have a variety of root causes, ignored or exacerbated by successive, usually un-democratic regimes. When they flare into conflict it is usually under the banner of secession. But recourse to the old right of self-determination does not provide a solution.
Self determination is another basic principle of international affairs which needs adjustment if we are to avoid widescale territorial dismemberment, not least across the former Soviet Union. Once again, the concept of 'security of people' is central, with governments needing to be sensitive to the aspirations of ethnic or other groups that feel alienated or threatened. There are governments which have found ways to make diversity a source of enrichment rather than a cause for division..
Intervention has many faces. It must not be misunderstood to mean, in every case, the despatch of troops or military invasions. This remains the last resort. We recommend strongly that the international community improve its capacity to identify, anticipate and resolve conflicts before they become armed confrontations. Our ability and willingness to act is sharply reduced once fighting breaks out.
In a new framework for security, there needs to both international and bilateral assistance available to address the root causes of conflict - whether it is ethnic tension exacerbated by uneven or unjust economic development or more obvious forms of discrimination.
The UN Secretary-General already has the authority to despatch fact finding and investigative missions to look into any matter which could threaten international peace and security. In this increasingly interdependent world it is clear that what were once 'internal affairs' now affect us all and we would urge that greater use be made of this and other forms of preventive diplomacy.
At the same time, member states of the UN need to support early warning and preventive efforts by making available information they have gathered which could assist the Secretary-General and the Security Council in defusing potential conflicts. It's too late now for Chechnya, Rwanda and Bosnia but it need not be too late for the millions of people who live across other ethnic, religious or economic fault lines.
* (Since 1992, Ingvar Carlsson has been co-chairman of the Commission on Global Governance, in October 1994 he was re-elected Prime Minister of Sweden)
Tobin tax a good idea, says Canadian finance minister.
Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin has said he favours a tax on international currency transactions to provide revenue for global purposes but doubts that it will get enough support from other rich countries. Nobel Prize-winning US economist James Tobin first suggested such a tax to dampen speculative currency movements. But others have seen it as a way also to raise funds for important global causes.
The Commission on Global Governance called for serious study of such a tax as one of several options for mobilising international resources to complement contributions by governments out of national budgets.
Finance Minister Martin revealed to a recent meeting in Ottawa how he had unsuccessfully raised the idea of a Tobin tax at a meeting of the finance ministers of the Group of 7 leading industrial countries. These are excerpts from a report in the Canadian North-South Institute's Newsletter Vol 1 No 1 of 1997:
"Finance Minister Paul Martin says he favours a tax on international currency transactions, but doubts the idea would ever gain widespread support.
Speaking to the North-South Institute's Board of Directors last November, Martin said the tax will never gain the support of other industrialized countries. "The Tobin tax only works if there is a critical mass of industrial countries who are pepared to participate. And while it is not important that Zaire participate, it sure is important that Switzerland does, and that Germany does, and that the UK does," he said.
The Tobin tax was designed to prevent currency speculation, but the finance minister said he became interested in the tax for another reason. "My interest in it really occurred because of the limited ability of the western world to provide the funding for the nuclear mess in the Ukraine." Martin said it was the scramble to raise funds for the clean up after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in 1986 that convinced him new monies needed to be found: the Tobin tax had the capability of raising enormous amounts of money. "You were looking at hundreds of billions of dollars, and the best the industrial world could come up with was hundreds of millions of dollars. It was just clearly inadequate."
Martin said he had raised the idea of implementing a Tobin tax at a meeting of the G7 finance ministers. The idea had the suport of then US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen but not others. "(Bentsen) said 'I will tell you right now, you will never convince the Brits or the Germans.' And that is exactly what happened; it was simply 'not on'."
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