By Richard Ponzio and Tom Buitelaar

Drawing lessons from three international commissions and two international campaigns since the mid-1990s, Tom Buitelaar and Richard Ponzio, Director of the Just Security 2020 Program, consider the conditions and strategies for successful “smart coalitions” of state and non-state actors working to realize ambitious global governance reforms. Reform strategies that harness the strengths of diverse partners over a sustained period are shown to increase their prospects for success.

This new background paper, prepared originally for the Albright-Gambari Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, concludes by advocating for two distinct reform vehicles for channeling the ideas, resources, networks, and political support of smart coalitions: Reform through Parallel Tracks and the convening of a World Summit on Global Security, Justice & Governance in 2020.

Policy Implications

  • The main players, ideally both state and non-state representatives, should engage in a constructive policy dialogue as early as possible in the formation of a smart coalition.
  • Bottlenecks to reform can be avoided by changing narratives and reframing issues.
  • The articulation and mobilization of political support within a smart coalition for clear, near-term interim milestones can generate an irreversible snowball effect toward the realization of broader and more ambitious global governance reform objectives.

In addition, Richard Ponzio recently co-authored with Rama Mani the chapter “Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Conflict Prevention” for the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations (2nd edition), edited by Thomas G. Weiss and Sam Daws. Dr. Ponzio also presented a paper on “Exploring the Linkages between the Responsibility to Protect and Countering Violent Extremism” at an international meeting, held 22-24 January 2017 in Doha, Qatar, on The Responsibility to Protect and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Response to Mass Atrocities, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He further participated in a United Nations University moderated panel conversation titled “Operation Peace: Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century” at the Future Force Conference, organized from 9-10 February 2017 in The Hague by the Ministry of Defence of the Government of The Netherlands.