Formation of the CGG
Terms of Reference
The Commission - an independent group of 28 public figures - was inspired by the belief that the end of the cold war offered opportunities to build a more co-operative, safer and fairer world.
It presented proposals for improving the world's governance and better managing its affairs in a report published in 1995 - the year the United Nations marked its fiftieth anniversary.
Our Global Neighbourhood
The message of the report was encapsulated
in its title: Our Global Neighbourhood. The book-length report was commended
by such world figures as Nelson Mandela, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Vaclav
Havel. Worldwide interest led to its appearance in 15 languages.
The Commission's two Co-Chairmen were Ingvar Carlsson, former Prime Minister
of Sweden, and Shridath (Sonny) Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth,
from Guyana. Members were drawn from all continents, from north and south,
east and west.
In 1999, the Commission issued a further report as the United Nations prepared
to hold a Millennium Assembly and Summit in 2000. The Millennium Year and
the Reform Process addressed two subjects: involving civil society and improving
world economic management.
Reforming the United Nations
The Commission's recommendations centre principally
on the United Nations, the only forum in which governments come together regularly
to tackle world problems. Our Global Neighbourhood suggests how the UN should
be revitalised so it can better respond to the needs of the modern world -
a world that has changed in many ways since the UN was formed in 1945.
The report includes proposals to:
- Reform the Security Council, so that it becomes
more representative and maintains its legitimacy and credibility
- Set up an Economic Security Council to have more effective - and more democratic
- oversight of the world economy
- Establish a United Nations Volunteer Force so that the Security Council
can act more quickly in emergencies
- Vest the custody of the global commons in the Trusteeship Council, which
has completed its original work
- Treat the security of people and of the planet as being as important as
the security of states
- Strengthen the rule of law worldwide
- Give civil society a greater voice in governance.
- Explore ways to raise new funds for global purposes, e.g. a tax on foreign
currency movements, and charges for using flight lanes, sea-lanes and other
common global resources.
*Edward C Luck, (Director,
Center for the Study of International Organization, New York University School
of Law and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University) in "Blue Ribbon Power:
Independent Commissions and UN Reform", International Studies Perspectives (2000)
Core Values for a Global Neighbourhood
The Commission calls for a global neighbourhood
ethic and commitment to core global values that can command respect across
frontiers of race and religion. It also makes a plea for enlightened leadership
that looks beyond the next election.
The report makes clear that in urging action to improve governance, the Commission
is not advocating movement towards world government.
"A Powerful Message"
A commentator* who considered several reports
that addressed issues of international reform had this to say:
"Of the dozen studies reviewed here, arguably the most influential and widely
read happens to be the most ambitious: the 1995 report, Our Global
by the Commission on Global Governance….The implementation track record of
its proposals …has been mixed ….Yet Our Global Neighbourhood had a powerful
message, one that pulled its seemingly disparate parts together and that still
animates much of the internationalist literature. It was neither the first
nor the last report to stress the need to find better ways of handling transnational
problems, but it did an unusually effective job of conceptualising the practice
and challenges of global governance…."
Placing Governance on the Agenda
The Commission has helped to place governance on
the world's political and intellectual agenda. It has helped to widen the ranks
of citizens who want to improve the way the world manages its affairs. Its call
for a greater role for civil society has resonated widely.
The Commission closes its office at the end of June 2001. Its Co-Chairmen, Ingvar
Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal, as well as other members, continue to speak and
write on issues of international co-operation and global governance, encouraging
commitment to our global neighbourhood and efforts to build a fairer, safer
world for all its people.
The text of the Commission's report and other documents may be downloaded from
this website. Copies of Our Global Neighbourhood, published by Oxford University
Press, may be ordered through bookshops, quoting ISBN 0-19-827998-1 (hardback)
or 0-19-827997-3 (paperback).
Updated On 22 August 2001