To strengthen the intellectual foundations for this project and inform the work of the Platform in crafting its reform agenda, The Stimson Center, along with its former partner The Hague Institute, commissioned more than 20 background papers to be authored by the members of the former Commission’s Research Team.

The papers elaborate on how and where the core concepts of security and justice intersect in a particular policy or institutional context, review progress to date by a range of global (state and non-state) actors on the most pressing global challenges, and discuss where and why their efforts may still be insufficient. They offer supporting arguments for recommendations for reform, paying particular attention to the global security and justice implications. Their added value resides in taking the debate further intellectually, elaborating concepts and reform recommendations for the topic area which are both ambitious yet realistic (i.e. achievable in the next 3-5 years).

Reviving Multilateralism on the Road to 2020

As humanity struggles with mass violence, mass migrations and the widening effect of climate change, the international system inaugurated nearly 75 years ago to manage such global problems seems to be crumbling. Over the last year, the United States has turned its back on the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Paris climate accord. Last month, it openly attacked the International Criminal Court. More recently, Donald Trump publicly stated, during the UN General Assembly, “nations must defend against threats to sovereignty . . . from global governance.”

UN, World Bank Reports: Policy Breakthroughs on Sustaining Peace?

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ much anticipated Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace was released in late January, in the lead-up to the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace to be held this week in New York, in accordance with the General Assembly and Security Council “peacebuilding resolutions.” Breaking new ground conceptually, these resolutions focused on sustaining peace “at all stages of conflict and in all its dimensions” and on the imperative to prevent “the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict,” in response to worrying trends such as the spike in violent conflict worldwide and unparalleled levels of forced displacement.

Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Conflict Prevention

The peaceful settlement of disputes and conflict prevention are closely interconnected. Conflict prevention takes the peaceful settlement of disputes one step farther by attempting to address both the immediate and the deeper causes of conflict. Contemporary approaches to conflict prevention also emphasize the linkage between peaceful societies and the promotion of inclusive governance and equitable development, a salient theme at the September 2015 UN World Summit, which mobilized a universal consensus around the ambitious Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Hitting the Reset on the UN?

The annual General Assembly meetings in New York.  It holds out promise for urgently needed reforms. With the backdrop of Trump administration threats to take a sledgehammer to the U.N. budget and its recent withdrawal from the U.N. climate agreement, however, the gathering also has many concerned about its underlining motivations. The question is then how can the U.S., the Secretary-General, and other participating governments use today’s high-level meeting to launch a sustained effort that achieves previously elusive intergovernmental and system-wide reforms? We recommend world leaders to employ the gathering to launch reform along three parallel tracks.

Mobilizing Smart Coalitions and Negotiating Global Governance Reform

Drawing lessons from three international commissions and two international campaigns since the mid-1990s, Tom Buitelaar and Richard Ponzio, Director of the Just Security 2020 Program, consider the conditions and strategies for successful “smart coalitions” of state and non-state actors working to realize ambitious global governance reforms. Reform strategies that harness the strengths of diverse partners over a sustained period are shown to increase their prospects for success.

A Fool’s Errand? The Next Secretary-General and United Nations Reform

With the recent election of António Guterres as the next United Nations Secretary-General, the focus will soon shift to the next Secretary-General’s reform priorities, with a particular emphasis on how he should spend his first year in office. The view in many policy circles is that the UN urgently needs comprehensive change, and the next Secretary-General is expected to capitalize on the honeymoon to initiate transformation. In this article, Dr. Richard Ponzio (Stimson Center) and Dr. Michael Schroeder (American University) directly challenge this conventional view and put forward an alternative leadership strategy.

Just Security and the Crisis of Global Governance

William Durch, Joris Larik, and Richard Ponzio’s article “Just Security and the Crisis of Global Governance” is published in the August-September 2016 issue of the IISS policy journal Survival. It considers how the intersection of justice and security—or just security—is critical to understanding and tackling today’s global governance threats and challenges. The authors’ companion edited volume to the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance report, Just Security in an Undergoverned World, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Beyond UN 70: Sustaining Momentum for Peacekeeping & Peacebuilding Reform

Peacekeeping is one of the cornerstones of the United Nations and was, is and will be an essential tool for creating lasting peace in war-torn societies. The international system has changed in many ways since the first deployment of peacekeepers in 1948; new actors and challenges have emerged and mandates have evolved. The 21st Century brings enormous challenges to the international community’s peace and security – and peacekeeping will have to address many of these challenges. This series, culminating on International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May, will bring innovative analysis and offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing peacekeeping today.

Beyond Paris: Completing the New Model of Climate Governance

As the world commemorates Earth Day today, April 22, it is useful to take stock of the progress made in tackling the preeminent global environmental challenge of our time: climate change. Remarkably, last December in Paris, 195 world leaders pledged further action to cut carbon emissions with the goal of keeping global warming from exceeding 2ºC. Equally impressive is how a range of new and influential actors — from mayors and corporate executives to indigenous rights groups, religious leaders, and environmental activists — contributed to this outcome.

The Evolution of and Future Prospects for Transnational Environmental Crime Prevention (PDF)

Dr. Peter J. Stoett (Concordia University)

This background paper will pursue the question of whether and how international organizations and criminal law can help us deal effectively with transnational environmental crimes (TEC) and, more broadly, environmental injustice. The paper will also explore the question of whether the climate change justice agenda can benefit from the expanded pursuit of transnational environmental crime. Can international environmental law, refurbished, act as a mitigating factor in climate change? We conclude that while international legal instruments can help spur additional action, in themselves they will do little at this stage. We reach several conclusions: What is needed is a revitalized pursuit of TEC, which will have incidental benefits for the climate justice agenda, and the creation of new norms (de lege fereranda) to cope with the immense challenges posed by TEC. In the long run, a new international environmental court is optimal, but it will need a clear agenda and not a murky mission to stop all ecocide on the planet.


Background Papers

Several background papers will be published on this website as Working Papers from Spring 2015 onwards and compiled subsequently in a companion volume to the Commission’s Report. Select themes and authors include:

Ensuring sustainable peace: Strengthening global security and justice through the UN Peacebuilding Architecture (PDF)

Prof. Necla Tschirgi (University of San Diego)

Cedric de Coning (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs)

While demand for international peacebuilding assistance increases around the world, the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA) remains a largely ineffective and marginal player in the peacebuilding field. There are many reasons for the PBA’s shortcomings, including its original design, the Security Council’s uneasy relations with the Peacebuilding Commission, turf battles within the UN system, and the changing nature of conflicts that require for peacebuilding interventions. In its current incarnation, the likelihood of the PBC becoming a critical player in peacebuilding—even for second or third level conflicts—is very slim. It simply does not have the political clout, the expertise or the resources to assert itself. Yet, for the international community, the opportunity cost of keeping the PBA afloat in its current form is quite high. This is an unsustainable state of affairs. This paper examines various options for making the PBA a more effective instrument of conflict management and peacebuilding.

Preventing the Kinds of Conflicts that are Hardest to Resolve and Most Costly in Lives (PDF)

Prof. Edward Newman (University of Leeds)

Dr. Eamon Aloyo (The Hague Institute for Global Justice)

Progress in conflict prevention depends upon a better understanding of the underlying circumstances that give rise to violent conflict and mass atrocities, as well as the warning signs that a crisis is imminent. In recent decades there has been a substantial amount of empirical research on the causes of violence and the driving forces of conflict. The policy implications of this must be exploited to a greater degree so that the conditions that enable widespread violence can be addressed, before it occurs. The prevention of violent conflict and mass atrocities involves a range of social, economic and institutional factors, and it highlights broad challenges – many of which are international – relating to deprivation, inequality, political access and environmental management. It also involves overcoming a number of acute political obstacles that are currently embedded within the values and institutions of global governance. From this perspective, the paper presents a range of proposals related to structural conflict prevention and crisis response, as well as the prevention of mass atrocities.

Reforming and Innovating the United Nations Security Council (PDF)

Dr. Vesselin Popovski (United Nations University, Tokyo)

There is almost universal recognition that Security Council membership and working methods are obsolete and that there is a need for reform. However, the process of reform has been dragging on with very little achievements since the 1965 expansion of the Council’s membership. This paper undertakes an historical voyage through the previous attempts to reform the Council, and after assessing the current proposals on the table, it ends by summing up some recommendations. These include expanding the membership, allowing members to be re-elected immediately for consecutive terms, and restricting the use of veto.

The Role of the State in Securing Internet Access and Freedom in the Global South

Sunil Abraham (The Centre for Internet & Society, Bangalore)

Sash Jayawardane (The Hague Institute for Global Justice)

The Internet’s positive impact on economic growth and social development in advanced economies has been fuelled by largely unfettered access to online content and the availability of requisite physical and technical infrastructure. Many countries in the Global South lag behind on both these factors, with significant implications for economic growth and socioeconomic, civil and political rights. This paper delineates the appropriate scope of state involvement in facilitating access to Internet content and infrastructure in the Global South, with due regard for the role of the private sector and civil society.

Rule of Law, Security and Transitional Justice in Conflict-Affected Societies (PDF)

Prof. Dr. Anja Mihr (HUMBOLDT VIADRINA Governance Platform, Center on Governance through Human Rights)

Prof. Dr. Chandra L. Sriram (University of East London)

This paper assess how in conflict-affected societies, demands for accountability, often in the form of transitional justice mechanisms, interact with processes and actors seeking to promote rule of law and the reform of the security sector. Outlining the primary actors working in the fields of transitional justice and rule of law, the authors examine whether transitional justice processes have impeded institution building or strengthened it, based on primary and secondary research. They consider the ways in which such processes do or do not support related reforms to the security sector and address the ways that rule of law and transitional justice programming must take into account and engage with informal or non-state processes.

Strengthening Security, Justice, and Democracy Globally: The Case for a Consultative Parliamentary Body at the United Nations (PDF)

Dr. Luis Cabrera (Griffith University)

This background paper aims to identify the strongest current case for democracy at the global level. It shows ways in which security, justice and democratic governance can be seen as tightly interconnected at their foundations, and how popular participation at the global level could play an important role in promoting physical security and more just outcomes within the UN system and beyond. To come to a practical solution, it examines various models proposed for a UN and related parliamentary assemblies.

Gender and Women Inclusion as a Cross-cutting Issue in Global Governance, Security and Justice: Challenges and Opportunities

Sarah L. Bosha (The Stimson Center)

Marie-Laure Poiré (The Hague Institute for Global Justice)

This paper addresses how women experience more adverse and differentiated impact than men in situations of conflict and climate change, and how decision making processes and mechanisms still either include too few women or exclude them altogether despite global support for increased women’s participation in such roles.  It examines the important role women have played in peace and security in fragile and conflict affected states despite significant barriers, with examples from Liberia, Somalia, and Northern Ireland.  The paper also examines women’s role in climate change and post-conflict reconstruction, making the case that in the changing global governance, security and justice apparatus, gender mainstreaming and women’s inclusion are paramount.

Natural Resources, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Global Governance (PDF)

Dr. Volker Lehmann (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, New York)

Focusing on minerals and carbon-based energy resources, this background paper posits the interconnectedness of all types of natural resources. A comprehensive governance regime for natural resources, therefore, has to address the interlocking challenges for environment, security, and justice, in particular as regards the need to avoid the “resource curse” in fragile countries. Beyond current frameworks such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Lehmann argues that more needs to be done to increase the responsiveness of companies to transparency demands, but also to prevent leakage of revenues through tax loopholes.

Intervention and Peace Operations: Dilemmas of Internal Conflicts and Transnational Threats (PDF)

Dr. Sofía Sebastián (The Stimson Center)

The hybrid and fragmented nature of current conflicts represents one of today’s most pressing global security challenges, with crises spanning a broad swath from western Africa to the Himalayas. This paper examines issues of intervention and security as applied to conflicts that feature significant levels of armed fragmentation and are afflicted by varying levels of transnational threats. These include, among others, terrorism, transnational crime networks and cross-border sectarian insurgencies. It evaluates the policies, strategies and mechanisms in place to address these threats and makes recommendations for a strengthened, comprehensive international response. The paper draws from the Malian conflict to reflect on these issues.

Non-State, Regional, and Local Actors at the Intersection of Global Security and Justice

Dr. Jan Wouters (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven)

Dr. Joris Larik (The Hague Institute for Global Justice)

Non-state actors, comprising entities as diverse as Microsoft, Greenpeace, al-Qaida, the African Union and global celebrities and philanthropists, have grown considerably in importance and influence in the global arena. This observation is at the very heart of recasting what was long known as international relations as global governance. With a view to optimizing the clout of non-state actors as a force for good in global governance, this paper aims to carve out the roles that different types of non-state actors play at the intersection of security and justice in addressing global challenges. It further proposes ways in which they can contribute more to a mutually reinforcing relationship between the study’s core concepts of security and Justice.

The UNFCCC and the Future of Climate Governance

Dr. David Michel (The Stimson Center)

Ricky Passarelli (The Stimson Center)

This paper traces the history of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with an eye towards the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, illuminating the policy challenges and choices that established the current governance regime. The authors explore the emerging landscape of regional, multi-sectoral, and non-state institutional structures and consider potential options and practices for advancing more effective climate governance.

Recent

  • The Evolution of and Future Prospects for Transnational Environmental Crime Prevention

    Abstract This background paper will pursue the question of whether and how international organizations and criminal law can help us deal effectively with transnational environmental crimes (TEC) and, more broadly, environmental injustice. The paper will also explore the question of whether the climate change justice agenda can benefit from the expanded pursuit of transnational environmental … Continued

  • Ensuring sustainable peace: Strengthening global security and justice through the UN Peacebuilding Architecture

    While demand for international peacebuilding assistance increases around the world, the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA) remains a largely ineffective and marginal player in the peacebuilding field. There are many reasons for the PBA’s shortcomings, including its original design, the Security Council’s uneasy relations with the Peacebuilding Commission, turf battles within the UN system, and the … Continued

  • Preventing the Kinds of Conflicts that are Hardest to Resolve and Most Costly in Lives

    Progress in conflict prevention depends upon a better understanding of the underlying circumstances that give rise to violent conflict and mass atrocities, as well as the warning signs that a crisis is imminent. In recent decades there has been a substantial amount of empirical research on the causes of violence and the driving forces of conflict. The policy … Continued

  • Reforming and innovating the United Nations Security Council

    There is almost universal recognition that Security Council membership and working methods are obsolete and that there is a need for reform. However, the process of reform has been dragging on with very little achievements since the 1965 expansion of the Council’s membership. This paper undertakes an historical voyage through the previous attempts to reform … Continued

  • Rule of Law, Security and Transitional Justice in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Societies

    Transitional justice and the rule of law are frequently expected, in conflict-affected societies, to be not only intertwined with one another, but to help to promote post-conflict or post-agreement stability. At the same time, a range of actors is engaged in rule of law promotion and the promotion of security sector reform. Over the past … Continued