By Mahbub ul-Haq


Editor's Note: When he passed away on July 16, 1998, Mahbub ul-Haq, "Loved by God" as the name means in Arabic, was a world-renowned pioneer of human development and security studies. He is best remembered as a scholar-administrator who moved easily between the worlds of government and academe. He had the extraordinary gift to put complex ideas into simple but eloquent words. I came to appreciate this gift when he led a small group of us at the Toda Institute conference of June 1997 to draft the text of the Universal Declaration of World Citizens. Most of us signed the Declaration, a few refused on the grounds that Mahbub had served as Finance Minister in General Zia ul-Haq's (no relation) cabinet in Pakistan. Despite this reservation, there was universal respect for the focus on the urgent problems of world poverty he brought to the World Bank, as Vice-President, and at the United Nations Development Program, as the Director of World Development Reports. His lasting legacy is the publication of the UNDP reports since 1990, which have provided the counterpoint to the World Bank's World Development Reports. While the latter have focused on the physical aspects of development, the former have developed a "human development index" that takes life expectancy, adult literacy, and educational enrollments into account, producing a ranking of countries significantly different from the World Bank's per capita income rankings. Following his retirement from the UNDP, he inaugurated a new series of Human Development Reports in South Asia published by his Human Development Center in Islamabad. All his life, he fought valiantly for the transfer of resources from military to human development projects.

His equally gifted wife and lifetime partner Khadija Haq, Chair of the North-South Roundtable, survives Mahbub. She wrote to me of her Mahbub: "He was an extremely caring and loving husband and a father. He was always there for his family and friends. I do not know how I am going to cope with this great personal and professional loss, as we were lifelong professional partners. It will be impossible to fill the vacuum created by his absence, but I am striving to pursue his causes as far as I can. The Human Development Center to which he devoted the last three years of his life will continue its operations with the same conviction and intellectual rigor. He was working on many projects, including the forthcoming Report of the Human Development Center on the theme of "Crisis of Governance in South Asia."

Toda Institute has lost a great friend and collaborator to whom this issue is dedicated. The following essay by Dr. Haq will also appear as Chapter 4 of a forthcoming volume, Worlds Apart: Human Security and Global Governance (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999).

Photo of the late Dr. Haq and his family.

Both the concept of human security and the institutions of global governance are going to change dramatically in the 21st century. The conceptual framework for this change must address these three issues: (1) What is the new concept of human security? (2) What policy implications does it have for the global framework of development cooperation between rich and poor nations? (3) What change does it require in the existing institutions of global governance, particularly in the United Nations?

A New Concept of Security

I firmly believe the concept of security is being transformed. Security is increasingly interpreted as :

  • Security of people, not just territory;
  • Security of individuals, not just nations;
  • Security through development, not through arms;
  • Security of all the people everywhere -- in their homes, in their jobs, in their streets, in their communities, and in their environment.

It is time to recognize that most conflicts are within nations, not between nations. Of the 82 conflicts in the last decade, 79 were within nations and 90 percent of the causalities were civilians, not soldiers. When most conflicts are between people, not between states, and when these conflicts are often over diminishing income and employment opportunities, not over territorial disputes, why is the United Nations still landing peacekeeping forces in these countries? Isn't development today better than troops tomorrow? Unfortunately, we are still fighting the battles of tomorrow with the concepts of yesterday.

Many perceptions about human security are likely to change fairly quickly. To begin with, human security will be regarded as universal, global, and indivisible. The same speed that has brought many modern products and services to our doorsteps has brought much human misery to our backyards. Every drug that quietly kills, every disease that silently travels, every act of terrorism -- if we imagine that they all carry a national label of origin much as traded goods do, we will realize with shock that human security concerns are more global today even than trade. No nation can protect the security of its people without global understanding and agreements.

It will be recognized that poverty cannot be stopped at national borders. Poor people can be stopped, but the tragic consequences of their poverty travel without a passport. Drugs, AIDS, pollution, and terrorism can strike with devastating speed in any corner of the world.

That it is easier, more humane, and less costly to deal with the new issues of human security upstream rather than face their consequences downstream will be recognized. Did the cost of $240 billion in the past decade due to HIV/AIDS make sense when even a small fraction of that amount invested in primary health care and family-planning education in the developing world could have prevented such a fast spread of this deadly disease? Was it a great tribute to international diplomacy to spend $2 billion in a single year on UN soldiers to deliver humanitarian assistance in Somalia a few years ago when such an amount invested a decade earlier in increasing food production might have averted the final tragedy, not for one year but maybe permanently?

It is sometimes argues that military expenditure is vital for national security, that development is useless if a country loses it independence to external aggression. No one will deny genuine needs of national security. The trouble arises when there is a serious imbalance between national and human security. We have recently witnessed the economic and social disintegration of the former USSR which, despite possessing enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world ten times over, could not feed its people or provide them with productive jobs and decent social services. We have seen that, in 1980, the military to social spending ratio was the highest in Iraq (8:1), Somalia (5:1), and Nicaragua (3.5:1), and yet these three countries could not protect their national security or national sovereignty of their people. On the other hand, Costa Rica spent nothing on its military, having abolished its army in 1948, and spend one-third of its national income on education, nutrition, and health; it is the only prosperous democracy in a troubled Central America.

We need a new concept of security today -- reflected in the lives of the people, not in the weapons of their country. We must move away from arms and use the emerging peace divided to finance the social agenda of humankind.

Let us face it. We have only phased out the Cold War in East-West relations, not in the Third World. No leader from the Third World participated in the disarmament talks in Geneva, even though 22 million people in poor lands have died in more than 120 conflicts since the Second World War. The main casualties of the Cold War were in the Third World, yet this 80 percent of humanity was forgotten when peace was finally made between the East and the West. There is no forum today discussing issues of peace and disarmament in the Third World.

Isn't it time to ask the leaders of the Third World:

  • Why do they insist on spending two or three times as much on arms as on education and health of their people?
  • Why do they have 18 times more soldiers than doctors?
  • How can they afford air-conditioned jeeps for the generals when they lack even windowless schoolrooms for their children?

Isn't it time to ask the leaders of the rich nations to fix a concrete timetable -- say, the next three years -- to:

  • Close all foreign military bases in developing countries?
  • Convert all existing military aid into economic aid?
  • Accept a new code of conduct for arms transfers, particularly to trouble spots and to authoritarian regimes?
  • Eliminate subsidies to arms exporters and retrain their workers for jobs in civilian industries?
  • Accept greater transparency in revealing information about arms trade and military debts?

The next major challenge is to reduce the huge arms spending of more than $170 billion a year in poor nations and invest the money instead in the welfare of their people. Nowhere is the imbalance between the imperatives of human security and territorial security more acute than in South Asia. The new concept of human security can be best illustrated in the context of South Asia today where, when military spending is falling all over the world, it continues to rise in South Asia.

A recent report, Human Development in South Asia 1997, has pointed out quite graphically that South Asia (with a population of 1.2 billion people) has emerged as the poorest, the most illiterate, the most malnourished and the least gender-sensitive region of the world. It is home to more than half the world's illiterates and more than 40 percent of the world's absolute poor. South Asia started side by side with East Asia in 1960, but East Asia's per capita income is now 27 times higher than South Asia's. What is more, South Asia had now fallen behind even Sub-Saharan Africa in per capita income, adult literacy, child nutrition, and many other social and human indicators. In south Asia, 830 million people lack elementary sanitation, 340 million have no access to safe drinking water, 400 million people are illiterates with two-thirds of them women, and more than 500 million people survive in absolute poverty. But South Asia's poverty has not inhibited the affluence of its armies. Military spending is currently running $14 billion a year in nominal prices -- or at around $50 billion a year when converted into purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars that provide a better international comparison.

There are three disturbing trends in south Asia military spending. First, military spending in South Asia is largely independent of national poverty. India ranks 142 in the world in terms of real per capita income (PPP dollars), but first in total arms imports. Pakistan's rank is 119 in real per capita income and 10th in arms imports procurement during the 1988-1992 period as did Saudi Arabia even though Saudi Arabia is 25 times richer. Second, South Asia is sailing against the prevailing global winds of reduced military spending. While it went down by 37 percent globally during the 1987-1994 period, military spending in South Asia went up 12 percent. The total number of soldiers was reduced by 16 percent globally during the same period, but increased 8 percent in South Asia. While military holdings of combat aircraft, artillery, ships, and tanks went down by 14 percent in the world, they went up by 43 percent in South Asia. Third, there is a major risk involved when two desperately poor nations, like India and Pakistan, have nuclear arms and remain locked in a bitter confrontation after 50 years. There is a further risk of a social explosion when modern jet fighters are parked on their runways even as poor people sleep on city pavements.

The human cost of military confrontation between India and Pakistan is becoming quite prohibitive. For instance, Pakistan recently spent around $1 billion to acquire three Agosta 90B submarines from France. This sum could have financed a year of primary school education for the 17 million children now out of school, safe drinking water for all 67 million people lacking this facility at present, and family planning services to an additional nine million couples. India's contemplated purchase of $4.5 billion worth of modern military equipment could finance instead primary education for the 45 million children denied such education, safe drinking water for the 226 million people with no access to such facility, and family planning services for an additional 22 million couples.

If South Asia were to reduce its military spending by about 5 percent a year, on a par with what has already happened in the rest of the world in the last 10 years, it could reap a peace dividend of around $125 billion in the next 15 years. This would be enough to provide universal basic education and primary health care, safe drinking water to all, adequate nutrition to the malnourished, family planning services to all willing couples, and credit facilities to the poor and the deprived for obtaining sustainable livelihoods. In other words, a 5 percent annual cut in military spending can finance the entire agenda of South Asia for basic social services and credit to the poor as well as position these nations for accelerated advance in the 21st century.

South Asia's choice between arms and people illustrates the choices that each society needs to make today. Without human security, national security becomes a mere illusion. Human security is a powerful, revolutionary idea that forces a new morality on all of us. Human security is a concept emerging not from the learned writings of scholars but from the daily concerns of people. It is reflected every day in the shriveled faces of innocent children, in the anguished existence of the homeless and the fears of the jobless, in the silent screams of the persecuted, in the giant despair of the victims of drugs, AIDS, terrorism, and in spreading pollution. Human security demands a new pattern of human development -- development that is woven around the aspirations of the people, women and men alike. It requires a new pattern of development cooperation and global governance.

A New Framework of Development Cooperation

The new partnership between the North and the South should be based on justice, not on charity; on an equitable sharing of global market opportunities, not on aid; on two-way compacts, not on one-way transfers; on mutual cooperation, not on unilateral conditionality or confrontation. Consider this telling contrast between national and international safety nets: rich nations channel an average of 15 percent of their gross national product (GNP) to their own 100 million poor -- those below a poverty line of around $5,000 a year. But they earmark only 0.3 percent of their GNP for poor nations, which contain 1.3 billion poor people with incomes of less than $300 a year. Yet a public perception persists in the rich nations that their aid money could be better employed at home. Rich nations do not recognize that even if they stopped all their aid today, their domestic social safety nets would only increase from 15 percent of GNP to 15.3 percent of GNP -- perhaps not the most handsome bargain in history.

Globally, however, it is not just the marginal role of aid that matters but also distribution. Aid today carries all the scars of the Cold War era. Only one-third of ODA is ear-marked for the 10 countries containing two-thirds of the world's absolute poor. Twice as much ODA per capita goes to the wealthiest 40 percent in the developing world as to the poorest 40 percent. Egypt receives $280 a year per poor person; India receives only $7. And less than 7 percent of bilateral ODA is directed toward human priority concerns -- primarily health care, basic education, safe drinking water, nutrition programs, and family planning services.

Aid has been directed toward strategic allies in the Cold War, to authoritarian regimes, to high military spenders. Even today, two and a half times as much per capita ODA goes to high military spenders as to low military spenders, with strategic allies getting preference over poor nations. For example, El Salvador receives 16 times as much ODA per poor person from the United States as does Bangladesh, even though Bangladesh is five times poorer.

Just as there is little link to the oft repeated objective of eliminating global poverty, there is also little discernible link between technical assistance and the sacred mantra of national capacity building. After 40 years of technical assistance, 95 percent of these funds (more than $15 billion a year now) still go to foreign consultants, despite the outstanding national expertise available within the developing countries. Africa receives around $6 billion a year in technical assistance, yet its human development indicators are among the lowest in the world. It has received more bad advice per capita than any other continent. No other form of assistance deserves as much radical surgery as technical assistance does today.

A determined attempt must be made to design a new framework of development cooperation to fit the new imperatives of human security. The following proposals are offered as a contribution toward this objective.

First, let the motivation for development cooperation be based on fighting the growing threat of global poverty rather than the receding threat of Cold War. Security may no longer be threatened by the prospect of a nuclear holocaust, but it is certainly threatened by the travel of global poverty across international frontiers in the form of drugs, AIDS, pollution, illegal migration, and terrorism.

Second, let us demonstrate to skeptical publics that reallocating priorities in existing budgets can finance human development. Consider the new 20:20 vision. The developing countries would commit an average of 20 percent of their budgets to human priority allocation from the present 10 percent -- by reducing military expenditures, by privatizing inefficient public enterprises, and by eliminating low-priority development expenditure. The rich nations would raise their human priority allocation from the present 7 percent of ODA to around 20 percent.

This new global human compact, which was endorsed in principle by the World Social Summit in Copenhagen in March 1995, requires no new resources, but it does require considerable courage and skill. The human payoff? Within ten years, all children could be in school, primary health care and clean drinking water could be available to all people, family planning services could be provided to all willing couples, and severe child malnutrition could be eliminated.

Third, let us redress the growing imbalance between short-term emergency assistance and long-term development support. While the United Nations spent less than $4 billion on peacekeeping missions during the first 48 years of its existence, it spent more than $4 billion on such missions since in 1994 alone. And for every dollar of humanitarian assistance, about 10 dollars go for soldiers -- as in Somalia. It is time to review this strange and disturbing imbalance and to recognize that if there are diminished funds for socioeconomic development, there are likely to be many more emergencies in the future.

This brings up two policy implications. One is that the donors must be convinced that allocations for UN peacekeeping operations should come out of their defense budgets, not out of their limited ODA budgets. Peacekeeping operations are an extension of their security requirements, not a gift to the poor nations. The other is that the development role of the United Nations must be strengthened. This means that the United Nations must be given a clear mandate for sustainable human development, be provided assured sources of development financing, and have a forum for global economic decisions at the highest level in a Human Security Council, as discussed below.

Forth, let us search for an innovative model of development cooperation based on human security, not on outmoded ideas of charity, that would embrace three new mechanisms:

1. A new mechanism to facilitate payments by one country to another for services rendered -- services that are mutually beneficial and by their mature cannot be mediated by markets. Examples include environmental services, the control of narcotic drugs, and the control of contagious diseases (such as AIDS).

2. A new mechanism to facilitate compensation for damages when one country inflicts an economic injury on another. Compensation can be thought of as fines payable by countries that depart from internationally agreed rules of conduct. Some examples of conduct leading to economic injury: encouraging brain drain from poor nations, restricting the migration of low-skilled labor in search of international economic opportunities, and restricting exports from poor countries. Compensations for such injuries would in a sense be voluntary, because they could be avoided by refraining from engaging in objectionable behavior.

3. A new mechanism of automatic resource mobilization for global objectives that embrace common human survival: a shared price for shared human existence, particularly for environmental protection. Hugh sums may need to be raised through tradable permits for carbon emissions, through an international carbon tax, or through other such measures that make attending to matters of common human survival automatic, not subject to national legislative approval.

Fifth, let us broaden development cooperation to include trade, investment, technology, and labor flows. Comprehensive accounts should be prepared to ensure that what is given with one hand is not taken away with the other and that the focus of efforts continues to be on opening up global market opportunities. Recall that startling conclusion of Human Development Report 1992: developing countries are denied $500 billion of global market opportunities every year while receiving a mere $50 billion in aid. To move the North-South dialogue from charity to a more mature partnership is perhaps the most urgently needed policy initiative today.

Sixth, let us link the aid policy dialogue to the new issues of reduced military spending, better national governance and greater emphasis on sustainable human development. Persuasion is better than coercion. Constructive alliances for change with domestic policy makers are better than outside intervention. An enlightened policy dialogue is better than an inflexible conditionality. And a two-way compact is better than one-way pressure.

More important, however, is to introduce much greater transparency into the policy dialogue. Aid has been unpopular at both ends because the policy dialogue is entirely between governments -- not people -- with no discernible objectives defined or served. It is difficult to sell the message of aid to suspicious publics if aid's link with global objectives is not clearly spelled out and regularly monitored.

These issues are controversial, but an honest dialogue must begin around an entirely new framework of development cooperation to satisfy the emerging imperatives of global human security.

A New Architecture for Global Governance

At the same time, human security demands a new framework of global governance. In the search for a human world order, global markets or automatic mechanisms cannot achieve justice for all nations or all people. Global institutions are needed to set rules, to monitor "global goods" and "global bads," and to redress widening disparities.

All sorts of scenarios can be drawn up for the global economic and financial institutions of the 21st century, but one thing is certain: We are likely to witness an evolution at the global level similar to the evolution that we have already seen at the national level in the past century. That is why we should start giving serious thought to possible structures for a world central bank, a global taxation system, a world trading organization, an international investment trust, and even a world treasury. Some of us may not live to see all these global developments, but our grandchildren surely will. So let us at least begin with the rough architecture.

Let me just focus in the remaining paragraphs on a few reforms in the United Nations system to make it more responsive to the new requirements of global human security.

Both pillars of national security and human security were clearly foreseen at the birth of the United Nations 50 years ago. No less an authority than the U.S. Secretary of State, in a 1945 report to the U.S. president on the establishment of the United Nations, stated his conviction that: "The battle for peace has to be fought on two fronts. The first is the security front where victory spells freedom from fear. The second is the economic and social front where victory means freedom from want... No provisions that can be written into the Charter will enable the Security Council to make the world secure from war if men and women have no security in there homes and jobs."

The United Nations developed and perfected many of its peacekeeping techniques during the onset of the Cold War immediately after the birth of the UN. Whenever conflict broke out between nations, the first order of business was to arrange zones of peace, and initiate a dispute-settlement mechanism. Security Council powers were often invoked (under Article VII) to impose embargoes against the aggressor nation, particularly on arms shipments and on some forms of trade. Conventions and treaties covered all phases of war between nations: prohibiting biological warfare, censuring bombardment of civilians, ensuring humane treatment of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

Most of the real action in he past 50 years was in the Security Council. The first pillar of security -- national security -- consumed most of the attention in UN corridors. The second pillar -- human security -- was largely ignored.

The end of the Cold War caught the United Nations off guard. It has not yet recognized that most conflicts are now within nations, not between them. Nor has it accepted that these people-centered conflicts require a new concept of people-centered security. But the secretary-general of the United Nations made an eloquent reference to the issue of human security in a 1994 speech to the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit for Social Development: "The Summit is a time to respond to the new imperatives of human security all over the globe... Human security can no longer be considered as an exclusively national concern. It is a global imperative... The United nations can no longer fight the battles of tomorrow with the weapons of yesterday."

The recent UN interventions in trouble spots around the world -- Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia -- betray this lack of adjustment to the new realities. Soldiers in blue berets are being sent to countries that cry out for socioeconomic reforms. External intervention is being organized, hastily and thoughtlessly, in situations that can be handled only through domestic action. After all, who are the combatants in Somalia and Rwanda? Who are the embargoes meant to punish? Who are the UN soldiers dispatched to separate? When people fight within a nation, it is a radically different situation from that when nations fight. Yet the United Nations is applying to these new situations the same peacekeeping methods it applied to conflicts between nations.

It is time for the United Nations to adjust to the new imperatives of global human security. That requires at least the following steps:

  • An early-warning system to forecast "potential Somalias."
  • A reinterpretation of Article VII to define circumstances and modalities through which the United Nations can intervene in internal crises.
  • A permanent Peace Corps to give assistance to countries in tackling their socioeconomic problems upstream.
  • A significant enlargement of the development role of the UN system.
  • An apex body, such as a Human Security Council, to consider the nature of global human security crises and make prompt decisions to resolve them.
  • A UN General Assembly directly elected by the people, or at least a two-chamber General Assembly.

Let me focus on the last two proposals only.

The threats to global human security come from internal conflicts; they also emerge from what can best be described as "shared global crises." The case for a new Human Security Council rests on the premise that all nations -- North and South -- have a major interest in attending to these crises emerging from narcotics trade, diseases (such as AIDS), global pollution, and international terrorism. These emerging global threats kill no less certainly than do the occasional wars -- and perhaps far more regularly and on a much larger scale. They pose a persistent threat to both rich nations and poor. They demand the establishment of a Human Security Council to defend the new frontiers of global human security and to fill critical gaps in the system of global economic governance.

First, the Human Security Council could provide leadership in tackling the shared global economic crises. This role of the council will be of particular interest to rich nations, because they are a shrinking minority in a fast-expanding global population and can no longer protect their people exclusively through their own efforts. They need the cooperation of the majority of the world's people. The developing countries' incentive to cooperate will be increased global attention to their poverty problem -- attention that a Human Security Council should bring since many of these global crises cannot be resolved without attacking the root causes of deepening poverty in the developing world. The council would be a logical replacement of today's ad hoc and ineffective arrangements, providing continuous attention to these issues, professional analysis of issues taken together, strategic policy options to the global community, adequate financial resources, and follow-up actions and monitoring systems.

Second, a Human Security Council could help establish an early-warning system and the modalities for global assistance in internal conflicts. The present Security Council, wholly inappropriate for this task, should confine its role to peacekeeping operations for conflicts between nations. For conflicts within nations, an entirely different system should be evolved through the Human Security Council.

Preventative diplomacy requires an advance warning system about what is to be prevented and when. Human Development Report 1994 mentions five quantitative indicators for an early-warning system for human security: income and job security, food security, human rights violations, ethnic and other conflicts, and the ratio of military spending to social spending. This is a useful start, but a lot more professional work is required. The Human Security Council secretariat will need to monitor the situation in potential trouble spots around the globe and alert council members about where and when international action is warranted. The United Nations now reaches crisis areas when it is already too late and when its intervention often compromises its own credibility.

New guidelines must be prepared on where the United Nations should intervene, with what objectives, and for how long. UN intervention can be helpful mainly in preventive development before situations deteriorate. What the United Nations needs to send countries is real development rather than soldiers, and it needs to do this far enough upstream to prevent the eruption of an internal explosion. The international community must recognize that it cannot police internal conflicts -- it can hope only to prevent them.

Some developing countries worry that human security might be interpreted as providing a new excuse for UN intervention in domestic crises. This anxiety stems from a misunderstanding, for it is the present system that is needlessly interventionist, with a handful of powerful; nations in the Security Council deciding where to intervene and how, and with soldiers sent to police socioeconomic conflicts between people or between ethnic groups. It would be far less interventionist to send development workers, rather than soldiers, to poor lands according to agreed rules of the game -- in place of the present ad hoc system -- and to make decisions in a Human Security Council that could represent developing countries far more adequately than the present Security Council.

Third, the proposed Human Security Council would be responsible for making structural reforms, each requiring tremendous political courage and continuous dialogue. The existing dispersed, underfinanced, and uncoordinated UN development funds and agencies should be integrated into a single UN development authority commanding significant resources. An adequate resource base must be developed for multilateral initiatives, preferable through international taxes or fees. Many proposals are on the global agenda -- a Tobin tax on speculative movements of international foreign exchange, a tax on fossil fuels, tradable permits for global emissions, a tax on arms shipments -- each requiring continuous dialogue at the highest political level.

The UN development programs should be brought together under a single human-development umbrella. Today's proliferation of field offices, development reports, and turf battles must come to some merciful end in the interest of both recipients and donors. The UN development system must be based more on professionalism and less on political influence, both in the selection of staff and in the analysis of country development issues.

Some argue that it may not be possible to change the UN charter and establish a new Human Security Council along these lines. But it would be a fallacy to seek marginal remedies through a restructured ECOSOC or through changes in the role and composition of the existing Security Council. If political will is weak, none of these marginal devices will work in any case. And if political will is strong, why not accept the challenge of redesigning global governance for human security?

The other related issue is the representation of the people of the world in affairs of the United Nations. It is interesting to recall that the United Nations was created in the name of the people and its preamble starts with the stirring words, "We , the people...." Yet, in practice, it has become only an interstate agency, with the voice of the people only faintly represented through invitations to nongovernmental organisations for periodic UN conferences and summits.

In order to look after human security, representation in the United Nations must be given to people, not governments. One interesting idea is to establish a two-chamber General Assembly, one chamber nominated by the government (as at present) and the other elected directly by the people. This will ensure that the voice of the people is heard on all-important global issues -- constantly, not intermittently.

A great deal is being said about UN reforms these days. The secretary general presented a comprehensive blueprint to the General Assembly on 16 July 1997. Many of these reforms, however, concern downsizing the UN bureaucracy and increasing its operational efficiency. Unfortunately, not enough attention has been given to the new imperatives of global human security for a fundamental restructuring of the role of the United Nations in the 21st century. That continues to be the real challenge that all of us must face with boldness and innovation in the coming years.


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