UN Reform - Peacebuilding: Fixing Failure

The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes, which reported to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in March on strengthening the collective security system, recommended the creation of a new UN body, the Peacebuilding Commission. This is one of the few reform proposals which has had almost universal approval, and looks set to be implemented. Many issues still need to be addressed, like the lack of an early warning capability, how to improve faltering UN coordination and where the funds would come from.

The World Today Published 1 August 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 3 minute READ

Giovanni Bassu

UN office of legal affairs

There is a growing consensus that cases of state failure and collapse have to be avoided if global security is to be increased. As the Acting United States Representative to the UN, Anne Patterson, put it, ‘failing or failed States… pose great challenges to international security… these States can become breeding grounds for terrorism, crime, trafficking in persons and other human catastrophes. And the problems in such countries are infectious. They spread to neighbouring regions like a virulent disease, bringing chaos, misery, and despair to the lives of millions of innocent civilians.’

States that have recently come out of conflict, but where peace has not yet been consolidated, are most likely to fall into this category. Haiti and Liberia are recent examples. Part of the blame for the failure to build peace must lie with the international community.

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