More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, A

More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, A

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan created the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change in September 2003 with SIIS and CISAC senior fellow Stephen J. Stedman as its research director to identify the major global threats and generate new ideas about policies and institutions to enable the U.N. to be effective in the 21st century.

The panel issued a four-part report, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, in December 2004.

PART ONE: The panel identifies six types of threats of greatest global concern: war between states; violence within states; poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation; nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological weapons; terrorism; and transnational crime. A collective security system must take all member states' threats seriously and deal with them equitably.

PART TWO: In prescribing policies to prevent threats from spreading or worsening, the report emphasizes development as the first line of defense. Combating poverty and infectious disease, the panel argues, will save millions of lives and strengthen states' capacity to deter terrorism, crime, and proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons. The report also urges the U.N. to improve its capacity for preventive diplomacy and mediation and to forge a counterterrorism strategy.

PART THREE: The report reiterates the U.N.'s recognition of states' right to self-defense, but also suggests that the Security Council should consider stepping in more often to exercise its preventive authority. Peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and peace building are vital to global security, and developed nations should do more to transform their armies into units suitable for peace operations. Post-conflict peace building should be a core function of the U.N.

PART FOUR: The report prescribes revitalization of the Security Council and the General Assembly, and creation of a new Peacebuilding Commission. On the Security Council, the report provides two options for achieving reforms: one would appoint new permanent members, and the other would establish new long-term, renewable seats. Neither option creates any new vetoes.