Summary: Experts Consultation at the International Peace Institute, 25 February 2015
On February 25, the International Peace Institute, together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, The Hague Institute for Global Justice, and the Stimson Center, hosted an experts consultation of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. Approximately 35 leading experts from a range of non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and the UN system attended the consultation, which was led by Commission Co-Chair Professor Ibrahim Gambari (former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs) and moderated by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri (Vice President of the International Peace Institute).
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Puri underscored the importance of sequencing the findings of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance with those of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism, which is a two-year project based at IPI, so that the recommendations of the two commissions might be mutually reinforcing. Executive Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (New York Office), Michèle Auga, reiterated FES’ support for the Commission during her welcome remarks and quoted Willy Brandt – “politics is too important to be left to the politicians” – to highlight the importance of engaging non-state actors through this expert consultation. Welcome remarks were also offered by Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov, Distinguished Fellow at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, and Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of The Stimson Center.
Overview of the Commission
After further emphasizing the importance of partnership with the Independent Commission on Multilateralism and the International Peace Institute, Professor Gambari provided an introduction to the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, its scope, and its goals. As distinguishing features of the project, he highlighted:
(1) The Commission’s focus on areas where security and justice intersect, reflecting the diversity and urgency of global governance problems;
(2) The Commission’s broad-based consultations in, for example, Lima, New Delhi, The Hague, and, earlier that month, at the Munich Security Conference, where he participated along with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Commission Co-Chair) and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy (former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs).
(3) The project’s commitment to establish a dynamic global coalition to advance the discussion, adoption, and implementation of the Commission’s reform proposals between 2015 and the UN’s 75th anniversary year in 2020.
(4) How the Commission’s work aims to complement the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the UN Climate Conference in Paris, and other major global policy initiatives in 2015.
Professor Gambari then described the intersection of security and justice, or “just security”, as an essential point of departure for any global governance enterprise, and he stressed the need to skilfully bring together security and justice to rally broad-based international support for a progressive reform agenda that promotes “fit for purpose” policies and global institutions.
The expert consultation was organized around four themes: fragile and conflict-affected states; climate and people; the global e-conomy; and UN institutional reform. Among the contributions from scholars, NGO and foundation representatives, and UN officials included:
Fragile and Conflict-affected States
Introducing the segment on Fragile and Conflict-Affected Environments, Professor Gambari noted that much more is needed from the United Nations and other international actors at the levels of strategy, policy, and field operations – including in the areas of criminal justice and democratic security sector reform – to help countries avoid, and transition from, protracted violence. To tap the ideas, resources, networks, and political support of global and regional organizations, Professor Gambari further recommended that, for example, all future peace operations in Africa should be hybrid UN-African Union peace operations.
Craig Charney (Charney Research/IPI) kicked-off the discussion on fragile and conflict-affected states by urging the Commission to consider carefully the role of policing in securing the rule of law in fragile states, as well as the challenges posed by non-state extremist groups like ISIS to the Westphalian system.
Several experts, including Lydia Swart (Center for UN Reform Education), Don Kraus (World Federalist Movement), and Sumie Nakaya (UN Security Council Affairs), then reflected on the urgent need for UNSC reform, particularly the Elders’ call for extending the terms of non-permanent members; the responsibility not to veto; and how to avoid an exclusive or narrow focus on the technical aspects of peace operations, and instead account for wider, political factors that impact the success of operations and the protection of civilians.
Experts Martin Edwards (Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy), Massimo Tommasoli (International IDEA), Melissa Powell (UN Global Compact), Henk-Jan Brinkman (UN Peacebuilding Support Office), Jennifer Smyser (The Stanley Foundation), and others also discussed the linkages between economic and political fragility in fragile and conflict-affected states, and in this regard, they highlighted the importance of addressing the corrosive effects of transnational crime on governance in these states. The need to better understand and encourage the role of businesses in supporting peacebuilding efforts, for instance through the Global Compact, was also emphasized during this discussion.
Several experts also cautioned against viewing all issues in fragile states through a security lens, and thus “securitizing” the debate, which may detract attention from other causes of fragility. In particular, experts cautioned against conflating counter-terrorism measures with peacebuilding and peacekeeping efforts.
Finally, Jelena Pia (Coalition for the International Criminal Court) also urged learning from successful global multistakeholder efforts, such as the coalitions for the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), as well as the 1 for 7 Billion Campaign for a transparent election of the next UN-Secretary-General.
Climate and People
Setting out the Commission’s focus on Climate & People, Ellen Laipson noted that perhaps more than any other global governance challenge today, the global climate is far beyond the reach of any single state to manage. But while there is no chance of an individual state providing either justice or security in connection with climate change on its own, there still remain limits on what all states acting together can do in this area. Hence, intergovernmental decision-making needs to begin operating at a pace commensurate with the accelerated speed of climate change.
The discussion began with Professor Harris Gleckman (University of Massachusetts-Boston) noting that climate issues should be mainstreamed in global institutions, including international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank. It was suggested that it may be necessary to move away from “volunteerism” by states when it comes to meeting certain climate-related goals and consider binding commitments. In a similar vein, the importance of focusing on the development of consensus-building mechanisms was discussed.
Shazia Rafi (Managing Director of Global Parliamentary Services and former Secretary-General of Parliamentarians for Global Action) also highlighted the leadership role of cities in combatting climate change, and identified the building of “sustainable cities” as a key focus area of future efforts in this regard.
Many experts agreed that the effects of climate change, such as water shortages, are a source of insecurity in many parts of the world. The Commission was urged to consider the role of the business community and civil society in climate mitigation/adaptation strategies.
The Global E-conomy
Introducing the Global E-conomy, Ellen Laipson highlighted that due to modern information technology and Big Data, wealth and knowledge can act and interact at distances and speeds that far exceed human ability. While the Commission certainly recognizes the tremendous opportunities for growth and broad-based development for billions of people from the dynamism and creativity found in what the Commission terms the “Global E-economy”, she acknowledged the very real downside risks and the urgent need for new global governance approaches to mitigate the risk of another global financial meltdown and other measures to ensure sustained, broad-based economic growth.
The focus of this discussion was on global economic interdependence and the vulnerabilities and opportunities for global security and justice that follow from the rise of cyberspace and modern means of communication. Sara Burke (Friederich-Ebert-Stiftung) noted how economic globalization can exacerbate global inequality, which is not only a fundamental justice concern, but also an international security challenge. Democratic dialogues were suggested as a means of working through these inter-related justice and security challenges. The need for greater transparency / monitoring of licit and illicit financial flows, better regulation of financial institutions, as well as coherence and coordination among global economic actors were also discussed in this regard. Jelena Pia (Coalition for the International Criminal Court) also raised the possibility of fees on international financial transactions to finance international peace and security activities.
Adam Lupel (Director of Research, IPI) raised concerns about the rise of informal arrangements in global economic governance, while Ambassador Puri acknowledged that it is important to learn from the informal, flexible governance arrangements that have worked in cyberspace. Charity Kagwi-Ndungu (UNODC) also observed that it is important to redouble international efforts to confront cybercrime, including by building increased capabilities in the Global South.
UN Institutional Reforms
Outlining the Commission’s focus on UN Institutional Reforms, Professor Gambari noted that, increasingly, the UN’s relevance and efficacy must be judged by its ability to engage and mobilize a broad range of other transnational actors, from regional bodies, such as the African and European Unions, to business and civil society groups. The analysis for this project is rooted in this basic assumption, and the reform ideas the Commission intends to advance will seek to exploit the inherent capabilities of both traditional and relatively new but essential players in global governance.
The need for innovative approaches to perennial UN reform challenges, such as UNSC reform, was further discussed, with Ambassador Puri observing that UN reform, in the end, will come from UN Member States. Professor Martin Edwards (Seton Hall University School of Diplomacy) urged the Commission to look at successful reform efforts, such as the transformation of the Human Rights Commission into a Council a decade ago, for guidance, and he emphasized the importance of engaging non-state actors.
Other issues raised by experts Jelena Pia (Coalition for the International Criminal Court) and Massimo Tommasoli (International IDEA) in connection with UN institutional reform included: focusing on the role of women in international peace and security; strengthening relations between the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council; the UN’s role in democratization worldwide and the promotion of new norms on electoral observation. 5
Multiple comments in all four segments of the discussion focused on “Governance on Multiple Levels,” including the role of global institutions, regional organizations, local/municipal authorities, as well as the role of civil society and business in global governance. The Global Compact and current approaches to Internet Governance represent some of the latest innovations in global governance. The Commission should lend voice to recent innovations and coalitions in support of global governance reform and strengthening, as well as serve as an incubator of new ideas and a catalyst for new reform coalitions comprised of both state and non-state actors.
Dr. Richard Ponzio (The Hague Institute for Global Justice) and Dr. William Durch (The Stimson Center) summarized the main points of the discussion and thanked the participants for their substantive contributions. They welcomed their continued collaboration in the work of the Commission, including by contributing to on-going “e-consultations” on fragile states and global economic governance as well as supporting the promotion of the Commission’s recommendations at the time of its final report release this June in The Hague.