The 75th anniversary of the United Nations offers a special opportunity to assess and reimagine the role of the United Nations worldwide. In recent weeks, the Stimson Center’s Just Security 2020 Program and its partners have organized and produced several events and publications addressing topics ranging from regional-global governance connections in Africa, the Americas, and the Gulf, to strengthening the engagement and role of civil society organizations in global governance.
Below is a selection of that work as we approach the UN’s anniversary and build on this significant milestone to advance dialogue and collective action towards a better future.
The UN75 Regional Dialogue for Africa (30 March–10 May 2020) served as a platform to encourage an Africa-wide conversation on improving the performance of today’s global institutions and African regional institutions in addressing the critical issues of peace and security, climate governance, sustainable development, humanitarian action, and human rights. In response to the postponement of the UN75 Africa Dialogue scheduled for 14-15 April in Abuja due to the coronavirus pandemic, the adopted online format allowed participants the flexibility to contribute to all three thematic segments of the e-consultation at their convenience. The online dialogue was structured in three separate two-weeks segments.
UN75 Regional Dialogue for the Americas: Toward Innovation and Renewal of Regional and Global Governance
The UN75 Regional Dialogue for the Americas (20 March–26 April 2020) was designed to bring diverse, multi-stakeholder, regional perspectives and actionable ideas into the final months of preparing key 2020 global policy milestones, including the UN 75 Leaders Summit and the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. Originally planned for 19–21 March 2020 in Bogota, Colombia, the co-organizers decided to take the in-person conversation online, for the time being, due to the fast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dialogue serves as a platform to open the conversation around key issues and questions on the future of multilateralism and its impact at the global, regional, and national levels in the Americas. The inputs have been synthesized—on a not-for-attribution-basis—and consolidated in this summary report.
Arunabha Ghosh | June 2020
Today’s most serious threats are no longer states or non-state terror groups. The gravest concerns are about tail-end risks, which have low probabilities of occurrence but can be catastrophic. With growing environmental and health stresses, such calamitous events are likely to happen more often and overlap with one another, potentially overwhelming the capacities of communities, governments, and international organizations. As new forms of international cooperation emerge, we must focus on chronic risks outcomes that all countries would want to avoid. We all have an interest in avoiding pandemics, climate change-induced extreme weather events, or a collapse in agricultural output. Renewed drive for collective action can come from the way we organize multilateral institutions to respond to shocks. Assessing the vulnerability and capacity of countries to deal with environmental stresses and shocks is crucial in this context. Hence, multilateralism for chronic risks should rest on two pillars: transparency and risk pooling. Towards that end, this brief recommends a Climate Risk Atlas for developing countries and a Global Risk Pooling Reserve Fund.
Vesselin Popovski | June 2020
The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is an apt moment to reflect on the current status and envisage potential bold reforms to the architecture of the UN system. While political barriers to change are hard to overcome, imagining transformations can spur discussion in helpful ways and identify areas where fresh attention is needed. This paper argues that the UN Security Council’s ineffectiveness in addressing arising complex security challenges, such as conflict re-escalation, climate change and COVID-19, among others, can be solved by establishing three additional Councils: a Peacebuilding Council, a Climate Security Council, and a Health Security Council.
June 5, 2020
In response to global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and violent conflict, the inaugural Doha Forum Report, produced in partnership with the Stimson Center, presents ten fundamental principles for strengthened governance and collective action across borders at the intersection of justice and security. In this seventy-fifth anniversary year of the United Nations’ founding, this virtual forum, co-sponsored with the International Crisis Group, aimed at exploring how principles and new strategies for global and regional cooperation can be pursued to better address major cross-border threats, challenges, and opportunities.
May 13, 2020
The 75th anniversary of the United Nations offers a special opportunity to assess the role of the UN worldwide. In this time of crisis, it further offers an unprecedented occasion to restore faith in the multilateral system and the power of collective action. The UN Permanent Representatives Dialogue, “Perspectives on UN75 from Independent Experts and Global Civil Society,” held via video-conference on 13 May 2020, offered concrete recommendations on how to strengthen the UN, its collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations, and with other actors that engage with the UN system, including means for enhancing the accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of global institutions.