On April 2, 2015, the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, hosted a consultation with representatives of 29 UN Member States in New York at the German Mission to the United Nations. Co-chaired by the Permanent Representatives of Germany and Brazil, the consultation was the second of a two-part Commission dialogue with UN Missions. The first exchange, co-chaired by the Permanent Representatives of Nigeria and Japan on February 24, 2015 at the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations, provided an overview of the Commission’s goals and encouraged dialogue on four major themes: Coping with State Fragility and Violent Conflict, Climate & People, the Hyperconnected Global Economy, and UN Institutional Reforms. The second exchange focused on specific Commission draft reform proposals grouped around these themes.
The representatives were welcomed by H.E. Ambassaor Harald Braun, UN Permanent Representative of Germany, and H.E. Ambassador Antonio Patriota, UN Permanent Representative of Brazil, as well as by Dr. Abiodun Williams, President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, and Ms. Ellen Laipson, President of The Stimson Center.
Introduction by the Commission Co-Chairs
Secretary Albright began by noting the Commission’s focus on international policy issues at the intersection of security and justice in global governance. She stressed the importance of “connecting the dots” between the Commission’s thematic priority areas and getting basic assumptions right, as the Commission seeks for its recommendations to remain valid in responding to new threats and challenges that could emerge in another five to ten years. Secretary Albright also emphasized the Commission’s intention to complement related initiatives, such as High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Independent Commission on Multilateralism. Dr. Gambari outlined other unique features of the project, including the Commission’s commitment to sustain a new kind of global governance reform dialogue until at least the UN’s 75th Anniversary in 2020—the minimum time required necessary to bring about meaningful and lasting structural reforms.
In moderating the discussion between the Commission and UN Member State Representatives, Ambassador Patriota then welcomed Dr. William Durch, Director of Research for the Commission (The Stimson Center), and Dr. Richard Ponzio, Project Director (The Hague Institute for Global Justice), to introduce preliminary Commission reform ideas grouped by thematic area.
Summary of dialogue on Coping with State Fragility and Violent Conflict: Member State representatives raised concerns about the causes of international and local terrorist activities and the need for multiple kinds of response (e.g., political, judicial, economic, social, and military). Their comments highlighted the urgency of providing better training and equipment for peacekeeping, fostering greater local ownership of peacebuilding by the host country, investing more in conflict prevention, and using innovative technologies to meet peacekeeping and peacebuilding goals. Some stressed the value of disaggregating UN mandates into peacekeeping and peacebuilding, while others stressed the importance of fully leveraging the conflict management potential of international bodies such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the UN Human Rights Council.
Summary of dialogue on Climate & People: Several participants stressed the urgency of confronting today’s climate crisis and recommended that the Commission focus on renewable energy technologies, the technical capacities for employing them, and the need for an appropriate global price on carbon to undergird emissions trading as well as regulatory and risk assessment frameworks. One participant also stressed the importance of governments and global institutions engaging non-state actors, whether in the business sector or civil society, as key partners in forging common solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation.
Summary of dialogue on the Hyperconnected Global Economy: Member State representatives acknowledged the need to view the global economic and social governance architecture in connection with the world’s peace and security governance mechanisms. One participant recommended the need for a new global framework to curb illicit financial flows, while another pondered whether improved governance of cyberspace—including the protection of basic freedoms on the Internet—required a comprehensive instrument similar to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Others felt that a new framework on global economic cooperation must extend far beyond Official Development Assistance and encompass private financial services for the poor, as well as steps to curb abuse and corruption in the international financial system.
Summary of dialogue on UN Institutional Reforms: Participants acknowledged continued differences in perspective on proposals to reform and strengthen key UN bodies, including the UN Security Council (e.g., on expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members), General Assembly, and the Secretariat. In efforts to revitalize the UN system, including the idea of a new Peacebuilding Council (building on the current Peacebuilding Commission) that could also focus on prevention, participants also stressed the importance of engaging civil society and business groups, as well as customary (traditional) leaders who are sometimes overlooked as key peacebuilding actors within civil society.
In summing up, Dr. Gambari stressed the Commission’s commitment to advancing “doable recommendations” by 2020, and Secretary Albright emphasized the need for the UN to show flexibility in responding to new global challenges. Ambassadors Braun and Patriota also offered concluding remarks and thanked the participants. The Report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance will be launched on June 16, 2015 in The Hague.