Nearly 20 years into the post-cold war era, the existing multilateral architecture of international organizations, treaties, and alliances shows signs of acute distress. Built for a different age, different threats, and different structure of world power, many of its institutions cannot meet today's challenges. The United Nations and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are two such institutions, designed for a different world. For some threats, such as global climate change or the potential spread of biological weapons, there is no framework of international institutions dedicated to their defeat.
Stephen Stedman, Bruce Jones and Carlos Pascual led the research effort, consulting with and eliciting contributions from two advisory groups, one focused on international policy and the other on U.S. policy. The project, which in 2009 was transferred in whole to the Brookings Institution, addressed the following key challenges to the existing multilateral architecture:
The project proceeded in three phases: Fact-gathering and analysis (November 2006-April 2007).; development of policy recommendations (May 2007-December 2007); and publication and dissemination of recommendations (February 2008-May 2009).