3-4/2005 Content

80 (2005) 3-4: Reform Initiatives by the United Nations

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Christian Tomuschat

The Report “Towards A More Secure World”: Insights and Consequences
Johannes Varwick

This article analyses the latest reform proposals in the field of international security based on a review of security policy changes. The chances for the realization of the proposed measures are likewise evaluated. It is argued that there is no lack of perception but rather a lacking awareness of the numerous expedient proposals. Beyond non-binding universal rhetoric, it does not seem to have been possible to come to a general consensus on how to address security challenges. Nevertheless, the debates which have taken place in connection with reform reports could contribute to better chances for a consensus in security matters; at the very least, they will sensitize the political elite to the necessity of a new security policy consensus in the middle-term.

The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping: Unfinished Business
Ian Johnstone / Benjamin Cary Tortolani / Richard Gowan

This article sets out to chart the evolution of debate within and about the UN since the end of the Cold War, when the principles of consent, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defense were thrown into question by a changing security environment. The central argument is that, taken together, the reports chart a politically feasible and useful path to reform, but we have a long way to go before achieving even the modest vision they contain. The development of UN doctrine for contemporary operations remains unfinished business and significant growth in capacity is needed to counter the acute strain under which they are operating. The article concludes by highlighting a number of priority reforms that need to be taken now.

The Report of the “UN Millennium Project”: How to Halve Global Poverty
Dirk Messner

United Nations representatives see the „Sachs Report“ and the UN Millennium Project as political successes for the world organization, claiming, rightly, that these two projects, because of their focus on poverty reduction and some rudimentary „pro-poor growth“ strategies, have played a crucial role in shaping the international debate over implementation of the Millennium Goals. Whether the Sachs Report will be viewed as one of the „great world reports“ remains to be seen. What has to be noted is that the report addresses global poverty as one of the central world problems, and that it has so far met with broad resonance throughout the world. However, the report‘s core thesis, that a massive increase by the donor countries of their international development investments (the „big push“) could serve to spark sustainable development in the word‘s poor societies, fails to do justice to the complex causes of poverty and underdevelopment.

Business as (un)usual – The Cardoso Report in the Context of Current UN Reform
Julia Leininger

This article explores the relevance, impact, and consequences of the so-called Cardoso report „We the peoples: Civil Society, the United Nations and Global Governance.“ While civil society organizations contribute significantly to the implementation of UN activities on the local level, they dispose of few formal possibilities of representation on the global level of UN-policy formulation. The article investigates what influence the Cardoso report had on the current UN reform process and on the formal as well as de facto participation of civil society organizations in the UN system. Adopting an ex post-analysis, the article argues that the Cardoso report a) had only marginal relevance throughout the reform process due to certain trends and basic settings of international politics; b) had a small, but possibly sustainable impact on the reform of civil society participation, especially in the UN General Assembly and, c) did not operate as a successful reform instrument.

Further Articles

Security Council Reform – The Current Debate and Perspectives
Volker Rittberger / Heiko Baumgärtner

The article shows how the process of “securitization” in international relations and subsequently the new role of the Security Council as both an emerging “world executive” and “world legislator” have led to an increasing need for Security Council reform. Secondly, based on the model of “institutional bargaining” the question is asked as to why the international community has not been able to reach a consensus on increasing the Council’s membership. Finally, the article argues that future steps in the reform process should be directed towards changing the Council’s working methods, strengthening informal procedures and finding solutions that offer a higher degree of flexibility. Future measures taken in the reform process should be primarly oriented towards the strengthening of existing and the introduction of new institutionalized forms of participation for both governmental and nongovernmental actors.

The United Nations at Sixty: Getting Serious with Conflict Prevention?
Detlef Wolter / Jörn Müller

The article analyses recent achievements in the field of conflict prevention, human security and the advancement of the security-development nexus. The results of the 2005 UN reform summit in this field fall behind the high expectations raised, but they are better than what has been voiced in first assessments. Many conceptional improvements are reflected in the Summit Outcome Document and the Peacebuilding Commission can play an important preventive role. But further UN action is needed to implement the shift from reaction to prevention. To that end, the call for a special summit in 2010 is to be welcomed. While supporting the idea of a “responsibility to protect,” the authors oppose a doctrine of humanitarian intervention outside the UN system.


In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All Extracts from the Report of the Secretary-General, U.N. Doc. A/59/2005 (21 March 2005), in German

Literature Review

Review of German-language introductions in peace and conflict research
Thomas Nielebock