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Editorial
Last Updated: 12/08/2004
UN Reform
Simon Stander

On 2 December 2004, the high-level panel of reform of the UN reported to Kofi Annan. The panel was indeed high-level, but, interestingly, excluded anyone from the academic world:

 

Anand Panyarachun (Chairman), former Prime Minister of Thailand

Robert Badinter (France)

Joao Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil)

Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway)

Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana)

Gareth Evans (Australia)

Lord David Hannay (United Kingdom)

Enrique Iglesias (Uruguay)

Amre Moussa (Egypt)

Satish Nambiar (India)

Sadako Ogata (Japan)

Yevgenii Primakov (Russia)

Qian Qichen (China)

Nafis Sadik (Pakistan)

Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)

Brent Scowcroft (United States)

 

 

Among its primary recommendations are:

 

  • The principle of “responsibility to protect” is proposed which would allow intervention in the internal affairs of countries that might otherwise allow genocide, breed terrorism or be faced with famine.

 

  • The Security Council should be enlarged to 24 members but the current five members (all represented on the panel) would keep their vetoes and no new member would be allowed one.

 

The Report is entitled A more secure world: Our Shared Responsibility. It identifies six clusters of threats Viz:

  • war between States;
  • violence within States, including civil wars, large-scale human rights abuses and genocide;
  • poverty, infectious disease and environmental degradation;
  • nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons;
  • terrorism;
  • and transnational organized crime.

 

 

Development is put first as the major pre-requisite in making the world a safer place:

 

“Development has to be the first line of defence for a collective security system that takes prevention seriously. Combating poverty will not only save millions of lives but also strengthen States’ capacity to combat terrorism, organized crime and proliferation. Development makes everyone more secure. There is an agreed international framework for how to achieve these goals, set out in the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus, but implementation lags.”

 

Of course, defining development is problematic. As far as the high-level Report is concerned”development” is synonymous with the eradication of poverty. That, in itself, is contentious. Massive amelioration of the effects of poverty would create a better world: that it would make the world more secure is a leap of faith, but a worthwhile leap.

 

The Report in five languages can be found at http://www.un.org/secureworld/

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