September 28, 2015 – New York

As the U.N. General Assembly convenes this week for its 70th session, the Co-Chairs of the Commission on Global Security Justice & Governance – former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Dr. Ibrahim Gambari – called for pragmatic U.N. reforms today at Columbia University President Lee Bollinger’s World Leaders Forum in New York. Along with Columbia University Professor and fellow Commissioner Dr. José Antonio Ocampo and Commission Director of Research Dr. William Durch, and in front of more than 400 participants, Secretary Albright and Dr. Gambari argued that the U.N. and global governance institutions are ill-suited to address many modern, evolving threats and must reform or risk prolonging and deepening global crises.

Commission co-chairs Madeleine K. Albright and Ibrahim Gambari
Commission co-chairs Madeleine K. Albright and Ibrahim Gambari

Following introductory remarks by Columbia President Bollinger, session one, with the participation of Secretary Albright, Dr. Gambari, Dr. Ocampo, Dr. John Henry Coatsworth (Columbia Provost), Professor Michael Doyle (Columbia University and former UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to Kofi Annan) and Dr. Matthes Buhbe (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), focused on “Justice and Security challenges to UN and broader Global Economic Governance Reforms.”

“The Commission’s report represents the beginning of a process, not the end,” said Secretary Albright. “It serves as a roadmap to overhaul and strengthen global governance before the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in 2020.”

Session two, with the participation of Dr. Gambari, Dr. Durch, Professor Lori Damrosch, (Columbia Law School and President, American Society of International Law), Professor Sarah Cleveland (Columbia Law School and Co-Director, Human Rights Institute), and Professor Sean Solomon (Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University), addressed the theme “Strengthening Peacebuilding and Climate Governance: Security and Justice as Two Ships Passing in the Night?”

“To better support countries affected by violent conflict, international partners must focus on building just institutions and creating economic and social empowerment opportunities, not only peacekeeping,” argued Dr. Gambari. “The Commission hopes to change mentalities toward greater investments too in both prevention and peacebuilding after conflict.”

The Commission issued its landmark report Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance in June from the Peace Palace in The Hague (followed by public events at the United Nations in New York, as well as in Abuja, Berlin, and Washington) to address challenges posed by conflict–affected states, climate change, and the hyper-connected global economy. The report reflects the global perspective of commissioners who have served in leading government and non-governmental posts in Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Nigeria, Tanzania, the United Nations, and the United States.
Commission Members include:
Madeleine Albright—Former U.S. Secretary of State and Ambassador to the U.N.; Haifa Al Kaylani — Founding Chair of The Arab International Women’s Forum; Celso Amorim — Former Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil; Lloyd Axworthy — Former Foreign Minister of Canada; Ibrahim Gambari —Former Nigerian Foreign Minister and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Yoriko Kawaguchi— Former Foreign and Environment Minister of Japan; Jane Holl Lute — Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support; Asha-Rose Migiro — Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Tanzania and former U.N. Deputy Secretary-General; José Antonio Ocampo— Former Finance Minister of Colombia and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Shyam Saran — Former Foreign Secretary and Chief Climate Change Negotiator of India; Michael Schaefer —Chairman of the BMW Foundation and former Ambassador of Germany to China; Jozias van Aartsen — Mayor of The Hague and former Foreign Minister of The Netherlands; Erna Witoelar — Founder of the Indonesian Environmental Forum and former Minister of Human Settlements and Regional Development; and Wu Jianmin— Former Ambassador of China to the United Nations and France.


Commission recommendations include:

 – Create next-generation U.N. conflict mediation and peace operations capacity: build responsive capacity to provide experienced mediators, including a greater proportion of women, for crisis and conflict prevention and peacebuilding; build capacity to deploy civilian, police, and military personnel to meet urgent peacekeeping requirements; build a new cadre of experienced personnel to serve as Heads of Mission and members of mission senior management teams; beyond transitional justice, invest in transformational justice; and coordinate activities closely with regional actors and local civil society, with particular attention to inclusion of women in peace processes.

– Strengthen the Responsibility to Prevent, Protect, and Rebuild: invest in early-warning capabilities and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) action plans for an approach to atrocities prevention that involves all U.N. agencies and programs; embed U.N. mission monitors in all forces participating in R2P implementation; and set concrete, achievable goals for all international actors seeking to prevent, react to, and rebuild after mass atrocities.

– Innovate climate governance: facilitate new kinds of engagement between the UNFCCC and other international regimes, subnational authorities, and civil society and business groups; establish an International Carbon Monitoring Entity, a Global Climate Action Clearinghouse, and a Climate Engineering Advisory Board to review all experiments involving atmospheric modification; and define a global goal for climate adaption comparable to the 2 degrees Centigrade atmospheric warming target set for climate change mitigation.

– Develop a green technology licensing facility within the Green Climate Fund: harness private-sector innovation for climate mitigation and adaptation, especially in support of vulnerable populations in developing countries.

– Establish a G20+ within a new framework for global economic cooperation to avert financial shocks and deliver on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: enhance G20-U.N.-Bretton Woods institutional coordination to prevent the spread of cross-border financial shocks, promote inclusive economic reform, and foster the equitable growth necessary for achieving the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

– Develop a global network of cybercrime centers and increase Internet access in the Global South through enhanced capacity-building: bolster the global response to cyber attacks through INTERPOL and national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), and increase Internet access and cybersecurity in the Global South through multiple initiatives, including the International Telecommunications Union’s Connect 2020 Agenda and the promotion of cyber hygiene.

– Establish the U.N. Global Partnership: give a greater voice to underrepresented policy issues, such as women’s rights, migration, and training a modern workforce, through new social compacts and a new hub and online platform whereby the entire UN system can tap into the expertise of civil society and the business community.

– Expand U.N. Security Council membership and nontraditional engagement: create more opportunities for countries, regional organizations, local authorities, and non-state actors to contribute to peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, while increasing the Council’s representative legitimacy and restraint in the use of the veto.

– Establish a U.N. Peacebuilding Council: transform the Peacebuilding Commission into a Council—similar to the Human Rights Commission’s transformation in 2005—with new coordination authorities, new financial and knowledge resources, and a new focus on prevention, including through “peacebuilding audits.”

– Strengthen and more fully use the International Court of Justice: expand acceptance of the World Court’s jurisdiction and make us of its authoritative advisory opinions in innovative ways.

– Launch the UN Parliamentary Network: establish a parliamentary advisory body for the UN General Assembly to raise greater awareness and participation in UN governance, consistent with other networks in place for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and regional organizations.

Watch the World Leader’s Forum Discussion below: