UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations and other global institutions aren't equipped to tackle today's global challenges ranging from massive violence in fragile states to runaway climate change and global economic shocks, a high-level commission said in a report released Tuesday.
The Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance issued a series of proposals aimed at reforming the U.N., strengthening cooperation at all levels of society to deal with these challenges, and putting greater focus on preventing conflicts and restoring peace to countries emerging from violence.
"World leaders must grapple with new ways to approach 21st century threats posed by climate change, conflict and cross-border economic shocks," said former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who co-chaired the commission. "A failure to adapt effectively risks prolonging and deepening these global crises."
The release of the 158-page report coincides with the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and September's gathering of world leaders to adopt new goals to reduce poverty, promote development and address the root causes of climate change.
"Our small, dense, interconnected world cannot prosper if more than a billion inhabitants fail to cross a basic threshold for a safe, dignified life, or if rising sea levels, extreme drought, powerful floods and storm surges, trafficking gangs, and networks of violent extremists threaten the security, well-being, and survival of millions," the report said.
It said climate change, economic shocks and cyber-attacks are likely to have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, and "the marked and visible increase in mass atrocities in one country after another has reversed the trend of declining political violence that began with the end of the Cold War."
The commission called for the creation of a cadre of experienced U.N. mediators to prevent crises and conflicts, and transformation of the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission to a more powerful and better financed Peacebuilding Council.
To help tackle global warming, it called for "a green technology licensing facility" within the Green Climate Fund, which is intended to become a key channel of money to help poor countries take action to fight climate change and deal with its impacts, and an advisory board to review all experiments involving atmospheric modification.
The commission also called for improved coordination between the Group of 20 major economies and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to prevent the spread of cross-border financial shocks. And it urged increased Internet access in poor countries and development of a global network of cybercrime centers to help deal with cyber-attacks.
As for global institutions, the commission backed an expansion of the U.N. Security Council and restraint in the use of the veto by its five permanent members, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France. It called for expanded acceptance of the World Court's jurisdiction and a new U.N. Global Partnership to give a greater voice to underrepresented policy issues such as women's rights, migration and workforce training.
"These proposals offer a smart path forward for regions, states, and peoples facing challenges of conflict, climate change, and a volatile globalized economy, toward solutions that promote both security and justice," said commission co-chair Ibrahim Gambari, a former Nigerian foreign minister and U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs.
The 14-member commission — including leaders who have served in government and non-government posts — said just presenting their proposals to world leaders isn't enough. It called for action to mobilize global support to implement the reform program by the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in 2020, and said its partners, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Center, a Washington-based global security think tank, will be tracking implementation.