A Call for Just Security

We are in danger of losing the most pressing global security and justice challenges of our times. That's what motivates a prestigious blue ribbon panel, co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the former Foreign Minister of Nigeria and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Fragile or corrupt governments have allowed conflicts to fester and terrorism to run rampant. Climate change is melting ice caps, raising sea-level and changing weather patterns setting off increased conflicts and a rapidly growing population of climate refugees. Internet accelerated globalization has increased our connectivity, but leaves us open to illicit trade, spying and theft.

In response to these threats, the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance brought together 14 high level statespersons from around the globe to offer comprehensive recommendations. Their goal is to build an accountable and effective international system that can better safeguard international human rights and promote sustainable peace.

The Commission's report, "Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance", offers a broad menu of recommendations to, according to Secretary Albright, develop "more capable tools of global governance, with different kinds of public, private, and mixed institutions designed for 21st Century challenges." Co-chair Gambari said at the report's launch that "much more is needed from the United Nations and, indeed, other global institutions dealing with, for example, security sector reform and the rule of law to economic and social recovery and the promotion of human rights..."

The Commissions' recommendations include:

  • Next-generation U.N. conflict mediation and peace operations capacity, with a greater proportion of women and increased capacity to deploy civilian, police, and military personnel to meet urgent peacekeeping requirements
  • Strengthening the Responsibility to Prevent, Protect, and Rebuild
  • Innovate climate governance through more meaningful engagement between government, civil society and business
  • A green technology licensing facility within the Green Climate Fund
  • Establishing a G20+ within a new framework for global economic cooperation to avert financial shocks and deliver on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
  • A global network of cybercrime centers and increase Internet access in the Global South through enhanced capacity-building
  • Improving the selection procedure for the next Secretary General with a call for nominations by Member States, parliaments, and civil society organizations, a formal list of selection criteria and a clear timetable for selection.
  • Expanding U.N. Security Council membership and nontraditional engagement while restraining the use of the veto.
  • Creating a U.N. Peacebuilding Council (to replace a weak Peacebuilding Commission)
  • Strengthening the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, and the U.N. Human Rights Council
  • A U.N. Parliamentary Network to "develop a transnational democratic culture"

This is an extremely ambitious report that has been launched in advance of the United Nations' 70th Anniversary Summit in September. For the last few decades similar reports have been issued in response to the dramatic global challenges that humanity faces in the 20th and 21st centuries. Our Global Neighborhood, was issued in 1995 in conjunction with the U.N.'s 50th anniversary. In 2004, "A more secure world: Our shared responsibility" was prepared by then Secretary General Kofi Annan's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

While only some of the proposals in these reports came to fruition, each advanced the capacity of an evolving global community to better manage an increasingly interconnected world. For example, the Responsibility to Protect and the Peacebuilding Commission were proposed in Annan's report. ("Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance" actually recommends improvements to both of these proposals.)

The authors of this latest report have also learned from their predecessors and have proposed a number of steps to promote the adoption of their recommendations, including marking the U.N.'s 75th anniversary in 2020 with a "World Conference on Global Institutions" which would be the culmination of a 3 year multilateral negotiation process with every effort made "to engage the voices and ideas of civil society at the most local level, as well as under-represented groups, in the lead-up to the World Conference."

In the Commission's "Call to Action" they correctly note that:

In seeking to forge a mutually supportive system of good democratic governance and sustainable peace globally through the intersection of security and justice, just security offers a unique prism for understanding and responding to some of the most pressing global concerns of our time....we must all refuse to accept mediocre solutions that rely on institutions and mindsets from another era. Only when men and women from diverse places and backgrounds rally around a shared, inherent need for security and justice--always felt locally but created at many levels--can these powerful actors be nudged toward what is needed, as well as what is right.

2015 is a year where many global efforts to secure a more livable future are coming to a head. The Sustainable Development Goals will be considered by U.N. members in September and will shape the future of international development. The U.N. climate conference, to be held in Paris in December is considered by many to be a make or break moment in humanity's ability to address climate change. Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance should be read, analyzed and acted upon by all who are engaged in these efforts and by all who understand that today's global challenges -- mass violence in fragile states, climate change, and the possibility of devastating cyber attacks initiating global economic shocks -- must be addressed by new kinds of tools, networks and institutions.