The United Nations marks its 70th birthday today with the world facing severe, concurrent and interconnected crises. A resurgence in armed conflicts and terrorism is taking root in places with weak, exclusionary, and corrupt governance. Climate change is melting ice caps and altering critical weather patterns, affecting rich and poor alike. And while globalisation, accelerated by the internet, has connected us closer than ever before, it has also opened doors to boundless illegal trade, espionage and theft.
Meeting these challenges requires an approach to global governance that promotes sustainable peace and safeguards human rights. In other words, we need to focus on both security and justice. The United Nations and other global institutions established in the mid-20th century must be brought into the 21st century if they are to help address these modern, evolving threats. A failure to reform these institutions risks prolonging these global crises. This is a critical moment for action.
In June we led a team of 14 commissioners from all major regions in issuing the report Confronting the Crisis of Governance. Among our major reform recommendations are establishing a UN Global Partnership to harness the talents and networks of civil society and the business community; expanding the United Nations Security Council’s membership while curbing the use of vetoes by its five permanent members; building bridges between G20 nations and the UN’s other 173 member states on global economic decision-making; transforming the UN peacebuilding commission into a peacebuilding council with real authorities to coordinate action and mobilise resources for conflict-affected states; and creating a United Nations parliamentary network to raise greater citizen awareness and participation in UN governance. Equally important is the attention the commission on global security, justice and governance gives to advancing its ambitious reform agenda.
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