The UN is currently in poor health but the severity of its condition is not yet clear, Richard Gowan argues in this paper commissioned by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the 2014 Oslo Forum for senior mediators. Gowan assesses the impact of events in South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine for the UN, and warns that the organization's operational and political credibility is weakening.
The United Nations Security Council in the Age of Human Rights is the first comprehensive look at the human-rights dimensions of the work of the only body within the United Nations system capable of compelling action by its member states. Edited by Jared Genser and Bruno Stagno Ugarte, this volume contains a chapter co-authored on the Security Council and Syria by CIC's Richard Gowan with Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Chairman of the Independent International Committee of Inquiry for Syria).
As the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nears its conclusion, the question of whether and how to include governance and peace-related goals and targets in the post-2015 framework continues to be debated. This short note briefly analyzes how governance and peace-related objectives are reflected in the first revision of the OWG’s zero draft (dated June 30) and suggests some key considerations as the negotiations enter their final month.
In West Africa, civil wars have receded, democracy has gained ground and economies are growing. But a destructive new threat is jeopardizing this progress: with local collusion, international drug cartels are undermining our countries and communities, and devastating lives.
In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Richard Gowan reviews Australia’s time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Gowan argues that while it has not changed the world, Australia has acquitted itself well, bringing extra rigour and professionalism to the Council’s debates. It has carved out a niche on the issue of humanitarian access in the Syrian conflict, and solidified its reputation as a good international citizen and a serious country.
More than 50% of the world’s poor are projected to live in conflict-affected and fragile states by 2015. Country donors and the UN development system have and will continue to increasingly place an imperative on delivering transformative development results in complex post-conflict and fragile contexts. These are risky development situations, where the cost of implementation is high and the potential for project failure and financial losses is significant.
The five major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) – have gained on the world stage and their presence is being felt in every multilateral institution. Among them India – the world’s largest democracy with a burgeoning economy and a long history of engagement with the multilateral order – is of special significance. For BRICS watchers in general and anyone interested in the future of India in particular, twenty-two scholars of international repute have produced one of the most comprehensive volumes on India’s role in the evolving global order: Shaping the Emerging World.
On March 11-12, 2014, CIC and the Chinese Institute of International Studies (CIIS) co-hosted two trilateral discussions, the US-China-Afghanistan Dialogue and the US-China-Pakistan Dialogue. CIC Director Dr. Barnett Rubin and CIIS's Qu Xing and Dong Manyuan chaired the event, which brought together a group of nearly 30 scholars, US officials, and former officials from the four countries for candid, in-depth discussions on approaches to the upcoming transition in Afghanistan.
The trilateral meetings followed three previous sessions of a US-China bilateral dialogue that began in July 2012.
Member states are increasingly looking to 2015 as a milestone for progress on United Nations Security Council reform. 2015 marks the seventieth anniversary of the UN, fifty years since the implementation of the last (and only) Council enlargement, and ten years since the 2005 World Summit. This paper provides an overview of the current context, an explanation of global perspectives on UNSC reform, and analysis of discussions on UNSC reform in and around the African Union. CIC’s recommendations outline a number of potential practical steps that can be taken to help facilitate tangible progress by 2015.
The UN development system stands at a crossroads. It can either embrace the deep reform required to remain relevant to development in today’s global economy, or face the prospect of continued marginalization. The path chosen at this fork in the road depends on the commitment of all relevant actors – UN agencies and governments – as well as strong leadership: from governments, from within the UN development system, and from the Secretary-General.
Recent months have seen increasing interest in the idea that Rio+20 could be the launch pad for a new set of ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs). But what would SDGs cover, what would a process to define and then implement them look like, and what would some of the key political challenges be? This short briefing sets out a short summary of current thinking on the issue, followed by thoughts about the way forward.