Our Global Neighborhood

Report of the Commission on Global Governance

Chapter Three -- Promoting Security

Our alternative is common security. There can be no hope of victory in a nuclear war, the two sides would be united in suffering and destruction. They can survive only together. They must achieve security not against the adversary but together with him. International security must rest on a commitment to joint survival rather than on a threat of mutual destruction.

Olof Palme
Common Security: A Programme for Disarmament
Report of the Independent Commission
on Disarmament and Security Issues

Promoting Security

The end of the cold war provides a new opportunity to make the world's collective security system effective and to adapt it to the broader needs of the security of people and of the planet.

Fifty years after San Francisco, the world needs to consider whether the UN Charter's provisions for maintaining peace should be revised, or if the need for change lies less in the mechanisms and procedures and more in the attitude of nations--not mending the machinery but minding how it is used. And what must the world community do to preserve peace not only among states but also within them?

There are no simple answers to these questions, but the Commission believes it is time to re- examine prevailing ideas of how to preserve peace and ensure the security of people, and of how to develop more effective means of preserving peaceful relations among states.

The task of ensuring peace and security is every bit as challenging today as it was in 1945. The alternative to a civilized international system, to a global neighbourhood living peacefully under common neighbourhood values with the help of effective collective mechanisms for common security, is too terrifying to contemplate. A second post- war failure to build an effective system of collective security would call into question our claim to be a humane society and an effective trustee for future generations.

The Changed Nature of Global Security

Global security must be broadened from its traditional focus on the security of states to include the security of people and the planet.

Rivalry has always been inherent among sovereign states. In the past, states' efforts to increase their own security by expanding their military capabilities and forming alliances with other military powers invariably threatened the security of other states. The struggle for national security was a perpetual zero- sum game in which some states won and others lost. To continue on this path is to court disaster.

In the twenty- first century, war between states is even less likely to produce winners. The world has become too small and too crowded, its people too intermingled and too interdependent, its weapons too lethal. Ballistic missiles, long- range aircraft, and weapons of mass destruction have made the security offered by national boundaries even more illusory. Efforts by great powers to preserve their military dominance will stimulate emerging powers to acquire more military strength. At the same time, emerging powers' attempts to redress the military imbalance can only prompt traditional powers to reinforce their capabilities. The results of such a vicious circle will be rising political tensions, wasted resources, or worse--war by accident or inadvertence.

Since the seventeenth century, international security has been defined almost entirely in terms of national survival needs. Security has meant the protection of the state--its boundaries, people, institutions, and values--from external attack. This concept is deeply embedded in international tradition. It is the reason the United Nations and other international institutions emphasized the inviolability of territorial boundaries and the prohibition of external interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.

While these norms may have reduced the frequency of interstate aggression, they have also had other, less benign, consequences. The concept of state sovereignty in security matters has often provided the rationale for creating powerful national military systems, justified budgetary policies that emphasize defence over domestic welfare, and encouraged measures that severely restrict citizens' rights and freedoms.

Protection against external aggression remains, of course, an essential objective for national governments and therefore for the international community. But that is only one of the challenges that must be met to ensure global security. Despite the growing safety of most of the world's states, people in many areas now feel more insecure than ever. The source of this is rarely the threat of attack from the outside. Other equally important security challenges arise from threats to the earth's life- support systems, extreme economic deprivation, the proliferation of conventional small arms, the terrorizing of civilian populations by domestic factions, and gross violations of human rights. These factors challenge the security of people far more than the threat of external aggression.

As the face of global society has changed, so too has the nature of global security. Among the various concepts of security frequently used are common security, collective security, and comprehensive security. Common security was first spelled out by the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues, chaired by the late Olof Palme. The concept articulated by that Commission recognizes that lasting security will not be achieved until it can be shared by all, and that it can only be achieved through co- operation, based on the principles of equity, justice, and reciprocity.

Collective security, as envisaged in the UN Charter, is based on the idea of members in a particular group renouncing the use of force among themselves while pledging to defend any member of the group attacked by external forces. It is inherently military focused. Comprehensive security, on the other hand, emphasizes changing the present military- based notion of security. Among its dominant ideas are co- operation, confidence- building, transparency, gradual disarmament, conversion, demobilization, and demilitarization. Recently, a new concept--human security--has received attention. This is a people- centred approach that is concerned not so much with weapons as with basic human dignity. As explained in the Human Development Report 1994, human security includes safety from chronic threats such as hunger, disease, and repression, as well as protection from sudden and harmful disruptions in the patterns of daily life.

While sympathetic to all these concepts and their implications, we have felt it appropriate to focus on the security of people and the planet, as defined in this chapter. We believe that the concept of global security must be broadened from its traditional focus on the security of states to include these other dimensions that are more relevant today.

The Security of People

The security of people recognizes that global security extends beyond the protection of borders, ruling elites, and exclusive state interests to include the protection of people. It does not exclude military threats from the security agenda. Instead, it proposes a broader definition of threats in the light of pressing post-cold war humanitarian concerns.

The Commission believes that the security of people must be regarded as a goal as important as the security of states. Ultimately, the two objectives are not in conflict: states cannot be secure for long unless their citizens are secure. Too often in the past, however, preserving the security of the state has been used as an excuse for policies that undermined the security of people.

Although Iraq's aggression against Kuwait reminds us that war between states is not extinct, in the years ahead the world is likely to be troubled primarily by eruptions of violence within countries. Civil wars, some of long standing, continue in such places as Afghanistan, Sudan, and Sri Lanka. The examples of El Salvador and Cambodia, of Somalia and Rwanda, and of Bosnia and Angola show how these conflicts can impose enormous hardships on massive populations for a long time.

As these examples show, in many countries the security of people has been violated on a horrendous scale without any external aggression or external threat to territorial integrity or state sovereignty. To confine the concept of security exclusively to the protection of states is to ignore the interests of people who form the citizens of a state and in whose name sovereignty is exercised. It can produce situations in which regimes in power feel they have the unfettered freedom to abuse the right to security of their people. There have also been civil conflicts in which the security of people has been extensively violated, with the parties in conflict showing scant respect for the lives of civilians.

Although it is necessary to continue to uphold the right of states to security, so that they may be protected against external threats, the international community needs to make the protection of people and their security an aim of global security policy.

The Security of the Planet

The unprecedented increases in the scale and intensity of human activity since the Industrial Revolution, combined with equally unprecedented increases in human numbers, have reached the point where human impacts are impinging on the planet's basic life- support systems. Reductions in the ozone layer of the atmosphere are exposing humans and other forms of life to increased ultraviolet radiation. Vast increases in the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being emitted to the atmosphere from human sources are affecting the atmospheric processes that determine the world's climate, giving rise to the prospect of climate change that could drastically reduce the habitability of the planet.

Species of plant and animal life are becoming extinct at rates far greater than experienced in the normal processes of evolution. Losses of forest cover and of biological diversity are changing some of the fundamental balances and resource systems essential to human life and well- being, including the carbon cycle, the capacity for photosynthesis, the water cycle, food production systems, and genetic resources.

The growing quantities of chemicals produced for human use, many of them not found in nature, ultimately reach the environment on a scale that is altering the chemical composition of the earth's waters, soils, and biological systems as well as its atmosphere. And the still huge arsenal of nuclear weapons as well as nuclear reactors built to produce power for peaceful purposes have a potential for release of radiation that could be pervasive and life- threatening.

Although scientific opinion is far from unanimous about the extent or the urgency of these and other risks, the consensus is that they are of an unprecedented nature and may threaten the continued capacity of the planet to support its human population. What is new about these hazards is that they pose a danger to the very survival, not just the well- being, of whole societies. In this sense, together with nuclear war, they constitute the ultimate security risk.

In confronting these risks, the only acceptable path is to apply the 'precautionary principle': even in the face of uncertainty about the extent or timing of environmental damage, prudent action is required when the outcome of continuing along the same path could be severe or irreversible damage. Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks so as to keep them within acceptable limits. In this, governments and citizens must be guided by the best available scientific opinion, but cannot afford to wait until the scientific evidence is complete.

One sobering fact is that all the deterioration and the risks perceived to date in respect of the planet's environment and life- support systems have occurred at levels of population and human activity much lower than they will be in the period ahead. World population is expected to double towards the middle of the twenty- first century before it stabilizes, and economic activity is likely to increase by a factor of four to five. Thus the measures required to avert risks must be put in place immediately and those already in place--the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity, and the protocol on ozone depletion and its amendments, to name a few--must be rapidly and substantially strengthened.

Fortunately, some of the most important steps that could be taken to ensure planetary security are those of a 'no regrets' nature--those justified as much on economic as on environmental grounds. A prime example is the need to become more efficient in the use of energy. The Electric Power Research Institute in the United States estimates that all that country's energy needs could be met without significant changes in life- style or quality of life with a 55 per cent reduction from current levels of energy use. Others believe that the reduction could be even greater. And the same would be true of virtually all industrial countries.

Energy efficiency is an economic imperative for developing countries faced with capital expenditures to satisfy growing energy needs that they simply cannot meet. And it is clearly in the interest of the industrial world to ensure that these countries have the financial and technological support required to meet these needs on the most environmentally as well as economically sound and sustainable basis.

Principles of Security for a New Era

All people, no less than all states, have a right to a secure existence, and all states have an obligation to protect those rights.

The world needs to translate these concepts of security into principles for the post-cold war era that can be embedded in international agreements. We propose that the following be used as norms for security policies in the new era:

  • All people, no less than all states, have a right to a secure existence, and all states have an obligation to protect those rights.

  • The primary goals of global security policy should be to prevent conflict and war and to maintain the integrity of the planet's life- support systems by eliminating the economic, social, environmental, political, and military conditions that generate threats to the security of people and the planet, and by anticipating and managing crises before they escalate into armed conflicts.

  • Military force is not a legitimate political instrument, except in self- defence or under UN auspices.

  • The development of military capabilities beyond that required for national defence and support of UN action is a potential threat to the security of people.

  • Weapons of mass destruction are not legitimate instruments of national defence.

  • The production and trade in arms should be controlled by the international community.

Embracing these norms would go a long way towards responding to the most pressing security challenge of the twenty- first century: preserving and extending the progress made in securing states against the threat of war while finding ways to safeguard people against domestic threats of brutalization and gross deprivation and ensuring the integrity and viability of the life- support systems on which all life depends.

The Obligation to Take Action

The line separating a domestic affair from a global one cannot be drawn in the sand, but all will know when it has been crossed.

We believe the international community has an obligation to take action in situations where the security of people is imperilled. In this respect, it is important to distinguish between humanitarian action at the level of the Security Council addressing the security of people, and action at the level of other UN bodies and specialized agencies as well as numerous organizations of global civil society.

The increasing resort to various types of humanitarian action in the post-cold war era has not always followed Security Council decisions or been primarily of a military nature. Several other bodies and institutions, both within and outside the UN, play a crucial part in providing security through their humanitarian and other activities. They do not necessarily rely on the Security Council for the right to take action.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, for example, have specific mandates, based on clear humanitarian and legal norms, to protect people in situations where their security is extensively imperilled. In recent years, UNHCR has become increasingly involved in providing assistance and protection not only to refugees but also to internally displaced persons. Requests for such UNHCR activity have come from the Security Council, from the Secretary- General, and from other UN organs. In addition, various human rights organizations play, or have the potential to play, an important role in promoting the security of people. In particular, the activities of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights constitute an innovative contribution to the security of people.

The security of people is enhanced when humanitarian agencies carry out action not only to provide relief but also to ensure the basic human rights and security of all victims of conflict or other human- caused and natural disasters. The need for such action will increase if ethnic conflicts continue to proliferate.

A trend in the last few years has been a rise in the number of Security Council resolutions that link peacekeeping or enforcement action to the provision of humanitarian assistance. The numerous resolutions on the former Yugoslavia with respect to the creation of safe areas, the delivery of relief assistance, and the unhindered access of humanitarian agencies are a case in point. Security Council resolutions on Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, and Georgia underscore the increasing linkage between military and political objectives and humanitarian ones. Within this context, there is a need to examine the complex and evolving relationship between humanitarian action supported by military force and under military command, on the one hand, and humanitarian action under civilian command. Military support, mostly in the field of heavy logistics, has been given to humanitarian operations to provide relief--for example, to Sarajevo and to refugee camps in Zaire. The miltary forces in these cases, while operating under UN auspices, remained under national command.

In most instances, humanitarian activities precede peacekeeping or enforcement action, and invariably continue thereafter. However, in order to carry out their tasks effectively, humanitarian agencies such as UNHCR must remain strictly neutral and impartial. In practice, it may often be difficult to draw a clear line between peacekeeping operations carried out by military forces and humanitarian activities. For instance, military force may be needed to open or secure an airport or land route for the transport of relief supplies used by humanitarian agencies. In conflict situations, military resources may be needed to augment the capacity of relief agencies. But if military involvement takes a partisan turn, or is perceived to be partisan, warring parties may consider or treat humanitarian assistance agencies also as parties to the conflict. Such developments raise fundamental questions for humanitarian agencies, which must maintain their commitment to the victims of conflict with impartiality and neutrality.

With respect to Security Council-based actions, we believe that a reformed Security Council (see Chapter Five) must develop a set of principles on UN responsibility for preserving global security and must work out means to respond to threats to peace, however they arise.

In interstate conflict, clear- cut aggression is relatively easy to define. But such situations are rare. In many cases, the identity of the aggressor is not obvious, and even the basic facts of the situation may be disputed.

A more difficult question is the right--and, even more, the obligation--of the United Nations to act in a purely internal context. Clearly, the international community should not meddle in countries' domestic affairs. We do not believe that Article 2.7 of the UN Charter, on non- intervention in domestic matters, should be treated lightly, or that the principle enshrined there should be overridden. We do think, however, that it is necessary to assert as well the rights and interests of the international community in situations within individual states in which the security of people is violated extensively.

It is possible, of course, for a domestic dispute in the global neighbourhood to assume such proportions that it endangers the peace of the neighbourhood itself. These cease to be matters 'essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state'. When the Security Council has determined the existence of a 'threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression', Article 2.7 does not prevent the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter. This determination can follow the Security Council's recognition that, in a particular case, the situation is not, or has ceased to be, an essentially domestic affair.

Quite often, however, threats to the security of people that justify international action may not constitute threats to international peace and security. In some cases, the international community acts in response to humanitarian needs--as in Somalia, where there was no government to exercise sovereign functions, or in Rwanda, which was itself a member of the Security Council and wanted UN intervention. But this can put the practice of 'humanitarian intervention' on tenuous grounds. There will be situations when the international community will be hard put to stretch to purely intra- state situations Charter provisions designed for responding to interstate disputes and conflicts.

The Security Council is already empowered under international law to take appropriate action in certain extreme situations that imperil the security of people but do not involve an external threat. A provision for implicit reference to the Security Council is contained in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (which as of September 1994 had been accepted by 114 states), under which any party can request competent organs of the UN to take action against acts of genocide.

We are all for enlarging the capacity of the Charter by enlightened interpretation, but when that reading strains credulity, it may be unsustainable. There is an even more serious consideration, however. When the international community is dealing with an issue this sensitive, clarity is needed on both the nature and the limits of the authority to act. We believe a global consensus exists today for a UN response on humanitarian grounds in cases of gross abuse of the security of people. But if we seek to find a foothold for intervention on the basis of Security Council interpretation, what will limit such intervention save a self- denying ordinance of the Security Council itself? What, then, if it decides--under pressure from powerful members, for example--that there should be intervention in cases of human rights abuses or undemocratic practices or for other reasons but without there being a clear and generally acknowledged threat to the security of people?

If the Security Council is to disregard the prohibition against intervention in internal affairs that is enshrined in Article 2.7, it must do so in circumstances clearly defined by the Charter. It will, of course, always require a case- by- case judgement, but the judgement itself must be exercised within a circumscribed framework to which all have agreed. Thus we propose an appropriate Charter amendment permitting such intervention but restricting it to cases that constitute a violation of the security of people so gross and extreme that it requires an international response on humanitarian grounds. This would both strengthen the world- wide acceptance of the concept of the security of people and keep the evolution of humanitarian response to its violation within strictly observable limits.

Intervention is, of course, fraught with dangers. Outsiders may not fully understand the situation that necessitated the action; objectivity may not always be possible for long on the part of intervening forces; and intervention always has the potential to aggravate the problem. It is the danger of abuse of the right of intervention that has caused the world community to act only slowly on matters within the domestic jurisdiction of states. Any new step to legitimize intervention must be sensitive to the need to limit action strictly to cases in which the international consensus deems the violation of the security of people too gross to be tolerated. The principle of non- interference must be respected until such a consensus is reflected in the judgement of a Security Council reformed along the lines discussed in Chapter Five.

The line separating a domestic affair from a global one cannot be drawn in the sand, but we are convinced that in practice virtually all will know when it has been crossed. Amin's Uganda, apartheid South Africa, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, and the more recent situations in Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda are all examples of this. Few would dissent. Each case, none the less, calls for a specific judgement to be made.

We suggest that the following key question be considered: Given the sustained importance of the principles of sovereignty and non- interference in internal affairs, has the situation deteriorated to the point where the security of people has been violated so severely that it requires an international response on humanitarian grounds? If the Security Council answers affirmatively--as it could have in each of the cases just mentioned--then the Charter as amended would be no impediment to UN action, properly authorized and implemented under Security Council control.

Action, of course, does not necessarily mean an immediate resort to force. Authorization of action in the first instance would give legitimacy to a range of measures, most of them short of force.

We realize that this approach will allow UN intervention in domestic matters only when the situation has reached extreme proportions. This limitation is not only unavoidable, but also desirable. There are, moreover, factors that would mitigate the risk that this recommendation is too modest. First, the realization that sovereignty can no longer be used to shield gross violations of the security of people from international action should itself deter such violations. Second, non- governmental organizations (NGOs) would be able to help draw attention to situations within a country that threaten the security of people.

In Chapter Five, we recommend an institutional reform that would provide new global machinery through which warnings could be articulated: the creation of a Council for Petitions in which a new 'right of petition' could be exercised by non- state actors. In this way, situations endangering security within states could be brought to the attention of the United Nations and its member- states. The body entertaining the petition would determine if the situation poses or is likely to pose a threat of such proportions that it should be addressed by the Security Council.

We further recommend that the Charter amendment establishing the right of petition should also authorize the Security Council, if it determines that the situation endangers the security of people, to call on the parties to use one of the several means mentioned in Article 33 of the Charter for the pacific settlement of disputes. This article was intended for the settlement of disputes between states, but the methods are just as relevant for domestic disagreements.

The use of force would be authorized only if these means of peacefully resolving disputes failed and the Security Council determined that under the Charter amendment just proposed, such intervention was justified on the basis of the violation of the security of people. But even then the use of force would be a matter of last resort.

It is absolutely essential to cultivate an international environment in which the use of force remains the last possible means of resolving disputes, particularly when that action is being authorized on the basis of humanitarian considerations. Both ethical and practical considerations dictate an approach that elevates persuasion, conciliation, and arbitration above coercion, and non- violent coercion above the use of force. The international community must come to grips with this fundamental issue. The challenge is to find an acceptable basis for humanitarian action that respects the dignity and independence of states without sanctioning the misuse of sovereign rights to violate the security of people within a nation's borders.

The question we have proposed as the litmus test for Security Council action might have to be asked frequently in the future. If the global neighbourhood is to be a tolerable home for all its people, it has to be kept peaceful. And keeping the peace has to be a collective responsibility. The common security of its people depends on that responsibility being shouldered.

Anticipating and Preventing Crises

The international community should improve its capacity to identify, anticipate, and resolve conflicts before they become armed confrontations.

A comprehensive preventive strategy must first focus on the underlying political, social, economic, and environmental causes of conflict. Over the long run, easing these is the most effective way to prevent conflict. Such a basic approach is also likely to cost less than action taken after conflicts have erupted. Preventing conflict in such strife- torn places as Angola and Somalia would have cost far less than dealing with the results now. Our recommendations in Chapter Four on economic and social issues and our observations in Chapter Two on the importance of shared values are an integral part of a comprehensive approach to creating a more secure world. Indeed, a declared objective of the United Nations at its founding was to establish social and economic conditions under which peace and security could flourish.

The many civil wars in different parts of the world, some of them of long duration, are evidence of the inability of the existing international security system to prevent conflict within states. If, as we propose, planetary security and the security of people are to become touchstones of security policy, mechanisms to relieve environmental degradation and prevent armed conflict within states must be developed and implemented. These should stress the prevention of civil conflicts as well as the resolution of those that have begun. Preventive action has so far received far less priority than efforts to stop civil wars.

One fundamental reason for the failure of the world community to prevent war is the unwillingness and inability of governments to respond to every crisis or threat of a crisis. To conserve resources, or to avoid difficult decisions about intervention, governments will often ignore the existence of a conflict that could threaten peace and security--until it has escalated into a deadly struggle.

The difficulty that most governments face in persuading people to support potentially risky operations before compelling evidence of a humanitarian disaster also stands in the way of preventive, early action. People throughout the world tend to be guided by the media--and they are predominantly Western media--in determining when a problem warrants international action. Television coverage of a situation has become, for many, a precondition for action. Yet for most commercial networks, the precondition for coverage is crisis. There has to be large- scale violence, destruction, or death before the media takes notice. Until that happens, governments are not under serious internal pressure to act. And by then, the international community's options have usually been narrowed, and made more difficult to implement effectively.

The media also have inordinate influence in shaping peoples' perceptions of the success or failure of international action. For example, television reports of the deaths of US soldiers in Somalia led Americans to see the mission as a failure and a mistake, and President Clinton, acceding to congressional pressure, decided to withdraw US forces over the next six months.

These problems make preventive action by the United Nations difficult. The world relies on an ad hoc system of international security that is driven by political considerations as they are perceived by the major powers. The results are erratic international security concerns and action.

Environmental deterioration, particularly in areas of pervasive poverty and recurrent drought, is a growing source of potential conflict. Natural cycles of drought rapidly turn into the human tragedy of famine when they occur in areas in which growing human and animal populations have already led to widespread destruction of tree and vegetable cover and deterioration of soils. This contributes, as it did in the famine in many parts of Africa of 1984-86, to large- scale movements of people within nations and across boundaries. Social breakdown and internal conflict in Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti were undoubtedly exacerbated by environmental deterioration accompanied by mounting population pressures. These phenomena will, if unchecked, create on a much broader scale the underlying conditions that set the stage for future conflicts. And they can, by their very nature, only be addressed through preventive strategies.

The international community has an overriding interest in surmounting obstacles to preventive action. Over the long run, the success of efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and to demilitarize nations will depend on the international system's ability to prevent armed conflict--both among and within states. As long as there are significant threats of war, both civil and interstate, countries will be reluctant to limit their military options. Equally important, they will be predisposed to define their defence needs in maximum terms. As a result, it will be difficult to reduce the level of military preparedness and the threat of war.

As recent experience has demonstrated, it is increasingly difficult to obtain support for international intervention when there is a risk of casualties or major expenditures. Despite many examples of dedicated commitment on the part of service personnel who do become involved, this raises the possibility that the international community may stand aside as millions of people are brutalized by armed conflicts. Such a pattern is already beginning to be established, as was demonstrated by months of inaction over Rwanda. If this pattern continues, the world will become a cold and forbidding place, dispelling visions of a global community united in human solidarity.

Although preventive strategies must first focus on the underlying causes of conflict, it would be naive to believe that greater and better- balanced economic and social progress would be sufficient to ensure international security. There will still be a need to prevent and respond to armed conflicts. We therefore believe the international community should improve its capacity to identify, anticipate, and resolve conflicts before they become armed confrontations, and should develop criteria and capabilities for early intervention when armed conflicts arise. The preventive approach proposed here thus has two strategic objectives--anticipating crises before they erupt, and responding to crises early and rapidly. We have found it helpful to identify the possibilities available as steps on a ladder, ranging from early warning and fact- finding missions through dispute settlement and peacekeeping to coercive, peace enforcement actions.

The uneven and often inequitable impact of political, economic, and environmental change on different segments of a population often gives rise to violent conflicts. A root cause of many conflicts is poverty and underdevelopment. But not all development failures create security crises. A distinction must be made between the general conditions of poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation that may generate instability in the long term (and that must be addressed as part of a larger effort to promote sustainable development) and the specific developments, policies, or abuses that may precipitate conflict and lead to sporadic or sustained violence.

Clearly, the best solution to security crises is to remove or alleviate the factors that cause people, groups, and governments to resort to violence. Once violence breaks out, the international community's ability to act is limited. Only rarely, in circumstances of extreme humanitarian concern, is there likely to be a consensus for intervention. And even when such a consensus forms, insufficient resources can constrain action.

To remedy this situation, international and bilateral assistance policies, as well as those of civil society in general, should aim to address the alleviation of these root causes of violence. As noted earlier, we suggest in Chapter Five the creation of UN machinery for considering petitions from citizens or organizations that wish to draw attention to manifest injustices in certain fields. This would provide a mechanism to alert the world community to situations that could lead to humanitarian tragedies unless timely preventive action is taken. Public exposure will not guarantee that problems are resolved without resort to violence, but it could be a restraining influence. And it would formally raise the possibility of action by the international community through the United Nations.

Early Warning

Early signs of impending crises may be seen in political and military developments as well as socioeconomic and environmental factors. If such signs are to be spotted, and warnings given soon enough to be useful, the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information take on special importance. We propose that the UN develop a system to collect information on trends and situations that may lead to violent conflict or humanitarian tragedies.

For this to be effective, the United Nations must be able to benefit from information available to governments with extensive information- gathering capacities. All nations should share with the United Nations information on trends that may cause conflicts or tragedies.

Because of their work in the field and their close contact with local communities, some non- governmental organizations are often in a good position to alert the international community to potential conflicts. They should be encouraged to share their knowledge and insights with the United Nations. The regional and country representatives of UN agencies can also be monitors. We support the proposal for an NGO Early Warning Service, in which the United Nations would work with relevant NGOs to develop early- warning consultative and operational mechanisms.

Although the need for collection, analysis, and dissemination of information cannot be overemphasized, an even more important task is to initiate action on the basis of information providing early warning of possible conflicts.

Fact- Finding Missions

Article 99 of the UN Charter empowers the Secretary- General to bring to the attention of the Security Council 'any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security'.

The discharge of this responsibility clearly requires access to a regular supply of information, complemented by the capacity, when necessary, for on- the- ground verification. Fact- finding missions can help sift and assess information received; their presence in a country can also serve as a catalyst for conflicting parties, or potentially conflicting parties, to look for peaceful solutions. These missions are often welcome, as neutral third parties, in situations in which positions are getting rigid and political constraints make flexibility difficult.

We welcome the greater degree of freedom the Secretary- General now has in deciding to dispatch fact- finding missions, and hope that he will not be constrained. It is imperative that adequate resources should be available for deploying such missions. In some cases, these would need to set about their work with discretion, without drawing public attention. Their reports to the Secretary- General may be the basis for informal consultations in the Security Council. In other instances, open discussion in the Council may serve a useful purpose by giving the situation public exposure. Any ensuing action, of course, would be for the Council to decide.

Responding to Crises

Military, political, development, and humanitarian work should be seen as complementary and mutually supportive.

The breakdown of the bipolar cold war system means that responses to security crises--both with preventive efforts and beyond them--have to come from a wider group of nations and organizations than before. The United Nations, particularly the Security Council, has the principal responsibility. But regional bodies and a wide range of civil society organizations are now in a position to play useful roles. Involving these groups can achieve a sensible division of labour and avoid overburdening the UN system.

Organizations of civil society have been responding to conflicts in several ways, undertaking humanitarian relief, mediation, refugee protection, and peace- building. Their activities now often extend beyond the mere provision of relief. For example, in Operation Lifeline in Sudan, some non- governmental organizations worked with UNICEF to persuade both government and insurgent forces to respect the right of the civilian population to receive humanitarian assistance.

It is often noted, however, that organizations of civil society are less active in the security and conflict area than in such fields as environment and development. This may often be because they are denied necessary access, or are offered no security guarantees for their personnel. The world community should recognize the important role--beyond humanitarian relief--that NGOs can play in situations of conflict. Access to conflict areas and international protection for humanitarian workers would be essential steps to promote the vital contributions of these organizations.

Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

Chapter VI of the UN Charter calls on those involved in a dispute to try to settle it peacefully, using a wide variety of methods. Too many disputes lead to violence, which is ultimately counter- productive and harms the interests of all parties and of ordinary people. The rule of law and the principle that aggression should not be rewarded need to be upheld. Along with the International Court of Justice (the World Court) at the Hague, the many other mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes listed in the Charter represent an inadequately tapped resource. Both the Security Council and the Secretary- General should make more use of these. (See also Chapter Six.)

In some instances, when parties to disputes are locked in frozen positions and movement is restricted by domestic political considerations, a move by the international community may be welcome. It could let the parties shift position without losing face. In other cases, international initiatives may be less welcome, particularly to a government that fears UN involvement could imply interference by other governments in what it regards as a purely domestic dispute. An NGO or even a highly regarded private individual may in those cases be able to help the parties agree to look for a peaceful solution.

There has been an increase in the number of organizations willing to offer their good offices in bringing together parties to disputes, or to work with others to look for solutions. There is a need now to take a pragmatic view of how positive efforts at peaceful conflict resolution are encouraged, and who brings them about. The problem, not the institutions or their mandates, should be the prime concern, and consideration of turf should not stand in the way of conflict resolution.

New Roles for Peacekeepers

The United Nations has become more active and its role more comprehensive as it deals increasingly with conflicts within states. It is also more exposed to scrutiny and to criticism. The UN is now commonly asked to reduce tensions between warring parties, encourage political reconciliation, and supply humanitarian assistance to affected civilian populations.

These roles are much more demanding than classical peacekeeping. This is obvious from a financial perspective--expenditures on peacekeeping have skyrocketed in the last four years.

The new role has also placed the UN in a more exposed position, both physically and politically. In the past, the UN was often not a relevant actor in difficult conflicts, particularly those that affected the major powers. Today, it is involved in many of the most complex conflicts, most of which are primarily internal in nature.

The new type of complex peacekeeping operations, with elements of the use of force, has also created new problems for the United Nations. We believe that two particular measures are needed to improve the situation.

First, the integrity of the UN command has to be respected. To increase the confidence of those who supply troops in the way an operation is carried out, much better mechanisms for sharing information and for consultations have to be worked out. UN resources for command and control of peacekeeping operations need to be strengthened. For each operation, a consultative committee should be set up, as was originally the case, including representatives of the countries that contribute troops. This committee, which could be set up as a subsidiary organ under Article 29 of the Charter, should be consulted every time the Security Council considers a renewal or a change of mandate.

Second, the principle that countries with special interests in or historical relations to a conflict do not contribute troops to a peacekeeping operation should be upheld as far as possible. However, we recognize the need to discard the earlier view that the five permanent members of the Security Council should not play an active part in peacekeeping. Indeed, logistical support by major powers for UN operations (air transport, satellite communications, and so on) is not only appropriate, it will often be essential for effectiveness and the UN's own command- and- control.

The demands for UN peacekeeping have become so numerous that the capacity of the organization to respond has been hampered by the unwillingness of the member- states to provide needed resources. One way to deal with certain conflicts could be to delegate the actual implementation of an operation to a regional organization or arrangement, but to maintain Security Council control over enforcement action and its overall political leadership. This has already been done in some cases, but it could be developed further. Political authority must be maintained at the global level, to ensure international control over any given situation.

The Charter of the United Nations, in Chapter VIII, has several specific clauses about regional security arrangements. Its first article makes clear that nothing in the Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with matters on the maintenance of international peace and security. For several decades, cold war rivalry hindered cooperation between regional organizations and the UN under Chapter VIII.

Alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Warsaw Pact, and the South- East Asia Treaty Organization were then unsuitable for a relationship with the UN. Other regional organizations, such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of African Unity, and the Arab League, although modestly successful on a few occasions, were too loose and spread over too large an area to become forceful actors and to prevent or contain conflicts often dominated by competition between the superpowers. Even so, the role of some regional arrangements was by no means negligible in easing cold war tensions, as demonstrated by the Conference on Security and Co- operation in Europe (CSCE).

The end of the cold war opened up new possibilities for the involvement of regional organizations in responding to local conflicts in conjunction with the UN. We support the plea made by the UN Secretary- General in An Agenda for Peace for more active use of regional organizations under Chapter VIII, especially since the UN has become overstretched and overburdened. The contributions of the Association of South- East Asian Nations in Cambodia, the OAS and the Contadora Group in Central America, and the European Union (EU), CSCE, NATO, and the Western European Union (WEU) in the former Yugoslavia have pointed to a tremendous potential.

The relationship between the UN and regional organizations needs to be clarified in the light of recent experience. The conflict in the former Yugoslavia has led to a number of Security Council resolutions with explicit references to Chapter VIII and the active involvement of the EU, NATO, and the WEU. But there have been problems of co- ordination between the UN and regional organizations. Although some flexibility must be maintained, more structured mechanisms of co- operation are needed. For instance, standing arrangements between the UN and regional organizations, frequent high- level contacts, and common workshops, as well as harmonization of command procedures, should be initiated or further strengthened. In addition, co- operation should aim at a better exploitation of the potential of economic instruments, ranging from positive measures such as financial aid to sanctions.

For the United Nations to be effective in complex emergencies, its different roles must be played simultaneously as much as possible. Military, political, humanitarian, and development work should be seen as complementary and mutually supportive. Activities should not be put on a time axis starting with the role of the military and ending with development programmes.

Action Under Chapter VII

During the last four years, the United Nations Security Council has gone through a hectic period. It has met almost continuously, and the veto has been used only once, on a marginal issue. The Council is now at last being used as a forum for dealing with situations that jeopardize international peace and security.

The importance of the Security Council's special powers is seen not least in the frequent references to Chapter VII in its resolutions in recent years. This chapter deals with enforcement action--or, as its title reads, 'action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression'.

The Security Council has taken an unprecedented number of decisions on enforcement action involving sanctions or the use of force during the past few years. In its new activist phase, the Council has also moved the UN in the direction of peace enforcement, placing the organization in a more vulnerable position, at risk of becoming a part of the conflict. One result has been a higher level of UN casualties than in previous peacekeeping operations. Negative reactions to casualties within countries contributing troops have made some governments reluctant to participate in UN operations.

The withdrawal of US troops from Somalia, together with those of several other nations, as a result of casualties in October 1993 demonstrates the difficulties of securing sufficient support for interventions that require large- scale troop and financial commitments, and that also carry the risk of casualties.

Sanctions Comprehensive sanctions against a country are a legitimate tool to bring about change, but they have many consequences. The effects of sanctions need to be thoroughly analysed by the relevant international organizations as well as independent institutions.

We recommend that the Security Council adopts a more precise and targeted approach to sanctions. An arms embargo is normally an early step in the Council's efforts to deal with a conflict. It can be a strong political signal to the parties to the conflict that the international community is watching developments carefully. Until now, the second step has normally been comprehensive economic sanctions. These often entail great risks for vulnerable groups. The political leaders or groups whom sanctions seek to influence are very often immune from their effects. Others, less culpable or wholly innocent, are invariably affected more severely. Also, sanctions tend to have an adverse impact on neighbouring countries. A more suitable second step, therefore, would be measures that are better focused on target groups. These could include action to stop certain types of economic transactions, to freeze assets abroad, and to suspend air links and other means of communications.

If these measures do not lead to the desired result, the Security Council could turn to comprehensive economic sanctions of the type in place in mid- 1994 for Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. When doing so, the Security Council should consider also the following points.

  • The Security Council should make provision, when sanctions are introduced, to ensure that humanitarian programmes are launched to help the most vulnerable groups.

  • The present arrangements under Article 50 of the Charter for other countries to seek special assistance if they suffer from the effects of sanctions are clearly inadequate. The Security Council should be able to recommend to the World Bank and other multilateral financial institutions that they give preferential treatment to such countries. The Sanctions Committee, which regularly is set up to decide on individual sanctions matters, should be given an additional mandate to follow this issue.

  • When comprehensive economic sanctions are being decided on, the Security Council should define, as clearly as possible, under what circumstances the sanctions would be lifted. This would make it possible to use sanctions to greater effect, allowing the lifting of particular sanctions to be presented as an incentive in negotiations.

Sanctions may prove less effective in certain situations than in others. Despite this drawback, however, we are convinced that sanctions are a legitimate and useful tool for inducing change.

The Use of Force The threat to use force is neither credible nor effective if there is no ability or preparedness to actually use it, as demonstrated by developments in Bosnia. The events in Somalia in 1993 contributed to a loss of faith in UN- led operations among some member- states, not least of which was the United States.

Obviously, plans for peace enforcement operations should be scrutinized more carefully in the future than was done in the Somalia case. Yet it is vital that the UN retains a capacity to act against aggression and to protect the security of people, as it tried to do in Somalia and Bosnia. All nations should be ready to make armed forces available to the Security Council, as envisaged under the Charter. It is commendable that some countries are taking steps in this direction, training special forces for UN service.

Although the command of large enforcement operations such as Desert Storm is likely to be delegated to one country or organization, it is also important that the UN Secretariat develop adequate facilities for command and control of smaller peace enforcement actions.

The Military Staff Committee was established under Article 47 of the Charter to 'advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council's military requirements for the maintenance of international peace and security, the employment and command of forces placed at its disposal, the regulation of armaments, and possible disarmament'. A revitalized and strengthened Military Staff Committee could help by providing military information and expert advice to ensure that the Council's decisions on military intervention are based on authoritative, professional assessments.

Even if the United Nations enhances its capacity to enforce Security Council resolutions, 'coalitions' of countries may be formed to conduct certain UN enforcement operations. Groups such as those set up for the Gulf War in 1991 and for Somalia in late 1992 ensure that military capabilities, political support, and financial resources are mobilized in a way the UN cannot do at present. That inability of the United Nations is a matter for regret. It is a handicap that prevents the UN from living up to its full potential as outlined in the Charter.

But the establishment of coalitions also has a basis in the UN Charter. Article 48 states that '[t]he action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine'. What is essential is that the overall UN control be respected, even when a coalition command is set up, and that the Security Council determine whether any specific action should be entrusted to a coalition of countries.

A United Nations Volunteer Force

The United Nations has, at present, no capacity to deploy immediately a well- trained force to carry out the mandate of the Security Council in the early stages of a crisis, before a situation gets completely out of control. Governments are understandably reluctant to commit troops rapidly for UN action, particularly in civil wars and internal conflicts, where the risk of loss of personnel is higher than in traditional peacekeeping operations. This has renewed interest in an idea originally raised in 1948 by Trygve Lie, the first UN Secretary- General. He called for the establishment of a small United Nations 'guard force' that would be recruited by the Secretary- General and placed at the disposal of the Security Council.

Lie's idea attracted no support at the time from the governments of the member- states. But today, when the Security Council is much more ready to agree on what should be done in a given crisis, this idea may be developed into an instrument that can help define how the Council's decisions can be implemented more rapidly and effectively.

In many of today's crises, it is clear that an early intervention could have prevented later negative developments, and might have saved many lives. The problem has been to find the capacity to deploy credible and effective peace enforcement units at an early stage in a crisis and at short notice. This underlines the need for a highly trained UN Volunteer Force that is willing, if necessary, to take combat risks to break the cycle of violence at an early stage. This would be particularly useful in low- level but dangerous conflicts.

Such an international Volunteer Force would be under the exclusive authority of the Security Council and, like peacekeeping forces, under the day- to- day directions of the Secretary- General. It would not take the place of preventive action, of traditional peacekeeping forces, or of large- scale enforcement action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Rather, it would fill a gap by giving the Security Council the ability to back up preventive diplomacy with a measure of immediate and convincing deployment on the ground. It would provide the immediate spearhead and reconnaissance element for a later, much larger, operation, should that prove necessary.

Some objections have been raised to this proposal. It has been argued that such a force would give the Security Council or the Secretary- General too much power, that the idea raises the spectre of supranationality, that the volunteers would be viewed as mercenaries, and that it would be an expensive undertaking.

Maintaining a UN Volunteer Force--we envisage a strictly limited force with a maximum of 10,000 personnel--will involve expenditure probably beyond the UN's present system of government assessments. If so, this would rank high among the activities qualifying for financing under the system of automatic resources proposed in Chapter Four. Just as the UN cannot discharge its responsibilities if it is held hostage--as in Rwanda--to the hesitations of member- countries to provide forces even for fully authorized peacekeeping operations, so a UN Volunteer Force needed for rapid deployment would be hamstrung if it were subject to the uncertainties of national contributions, including the perennial problem of arrears. Outstanding leadership, high standards of recruitment and training, and dedication to the principles and objectives of the United Nations should help allay some of the other objections to establishing a Volunteer Force.

The words that President Roosevelt used in 1944 in presenting to the American public the case for an international organization with the capacity to enforce peace in the world are an effective argument for a UN Volunteer Force: 'A policeman would not be a very effective policeman if, when he saw a felon break into a house, he had to go to the town hall and call a meeting to issue a warrant before the felon could be arrested.'

The Force would not, of course, be a substitute for peacekeeping forces contributed by member- countries; indeed, peacekeeping forces will be crucial in the larger international role we envisage for the UN in preserving peace and security. Nor would it take the place of the understanding at San Francisco (although never implemented) that under Article 43 of the Charter, member- states would agree with the Security Council to hold national contingents on call for international duties authorized by the Security Council.

There are certain to be more than enough volunteers for an elite peace force of this kind. The problem would be to select, organize, and train the best of them, and then to develop a suitable command and support structure, along with valid rules of engagement and methods of operation. It will take awhile for such a force to become a working reality. At the same time, as its skill, experience, and reputation grew, its need to use force would probably decrease.

The very existence of an immediately available and effective UN Volunteer Force could be a deterrent in itself. It could also give important support for negotiation and peaceful settlement of disputes. It is high time that this idea--a United Nations Volunteer Force--was made a reality.

Paying for Peace

In mid- 1994, the United Nations was running seventeen peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations around the world. More than 70,000 soldiers were involved, and the cost of peacekeeping in 1993 was estimated at $3.2 billion. The peacekeeping budget of the United Nations showed a deficit of $1.6 billion in October 1994. Although peacekeeping expenditures have risen, an authoritative report on UN finances in 1993 reckoned that for every $1,000 that member- states spent on their own armed forces, they only spent $1.40, on average, on peacekeeping.

The demands on the United Nations to undertake peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations are steadily increasing. Several operations--in Namibia, in El Salvador, in Cambodia, on the Golan Heights--have been among the success stories of the United Nations. The UN's capacity to mount peacekeeping operations, as well as all forms of early, preventive action, is of the most fundamental importance to the future of the global neighbourhood. But the UN has not been given the resources needed to do the job--far from it.

Expenditures on peacekeeping activities are a very inexpensive investment in human life, for their purpose is to prevent death and destruction. But finding the resources for peacekeeping operations is increasingly a problem. We propose that the international community prepare to make significantly increased funds available for peacekeeping in the next few years. This should be possible by using some of the resources that can be made available through a reduction of defence expenditures.

One way of dealing with these financial problems may be to integrate the costs of all peacekeeping operations into one single budget, shared by all governments. We therefore propose that the cost of peacekeeping operations, and of the facilities necessary to support them, such as command and control units, be progressively integrated into a single annual budget and be financed by assessments on all UN members.

To facilitate the rapid deployment of peacekeeping forces, a substantial peacekeeping reserve fund should be established.

Ending the Threat of Mass Destruction

The citizens of nuclear- weapon and threshold states would be immeasurably more secure in a world without nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.

For three decades, the world has made substantial progress towards controlling the spread and use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Relevant international agreements now include the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (the Treaty of Tlatelolco), the 1968 Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the 1979 SALT II Treaty, and the 1985 South Pacific Nuclear- Free Zone Treaty.

In recent years, progress has been accelerated by the decisions of Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa to halt and reverse nuclear weapon development programmes; by the decisions of China, France, and South Africa to sign the Non- Proliferation Treaty; by the achievement in 1993, after decades of effort, of a global convention banning the development, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons; by moratoria on nuclear- explosive testing being observed by four of the declared nuclear- weapon states; and by reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the former Soviet Union under the 1991 and 1993 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START I and START II).

There are, however, several worrisome signs. They include the mid- 1994 controversy about the inspection of North Korean nuclear sites, evidence that some scientists from the former Soviet Union are prepared to sell nuclear expertise on the open market, and the controversy about the conditions for and duration of extension of the NPT when it expires in 1995. In addition, some countries on the threshold of becoming nuclear powers, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan, are still not parties to the NPT.

Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

The international community should reaffirm its commitment to progressively eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction from all nations, and should initiate a programme to make that goal a reality in ten to fifteen years. In the meantime, the processes of surveillance, monitoring, and reducing the use of weapons should be significantly strengthened.

The end of the cold war provides a new opportunity to confirm this international commitment and begin to live up to it. As long as some states continue to retain nuclear weapons, and to insist that they are legitimate instruments of national defence, it will not be possible to establish effective, long- term controls on nuclear proliferation. As new global powers emerge, they are likely to insist on having the same rights of self- defence as others.

It is therefore imperative that all nations, especially existing nuclear powers, accept the principle of eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. More important, to build an equitable and universal nuclear non- proliferation regime, both the nuclear- weapon states and the threshold states must contribute to building a climate of confidence and openness. They should be prepared to take this step, since their citizens would be immeasurably more secure in a world without nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.

The achievement of a nuclear capability--or steps taken towards it--need not be irreversible. Actions by Sweden in the 1950s, by Taiwan and South Korea in the 1970s, and by Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa since then demonstrate conclusively that nuclear weapon programmes can be reversed. A new commitment by the nuclear powers and other states to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, combined with a concrete programme of action, could begin a process of negotiations and unilateral actions that could eventually bring about real nuclear disarmament. To work towards this goal, the international community should take four steps:

  • the earliest possible ratification and implementation of existing agreements governing weapons of mass destruction (including the Chemical Weapons Convention; the START II Treaty, which would reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals drastically; and the commitments by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to eliminate nuclear weapons and adhere to the NPT);

  • the indefinite extension of the Non- Proliferation Treaty;

  • the conclusion of a treaty to end all nuclear testing; and

  • the initiation of talks among all declared nuclear powers to establish a process to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear arsenals.

It is now also necessary to begin thinking about the safeguards and disposal arrangements that would make the elimination of existing weapons in national arsenals possible. During the cold war, it was assumed that it was possible to build up excessive quantities of weapons and maintain control over them. Because of the eroding power of the state, however, control over weapons stockpiles is now more difficult. There are alarming possibilities if control is lost over nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Independent organizations and scholars could take a lead in suggesting arrangements for the safe disposal of weapons, as in the recent report of the US National Academy of Sciences on disposition of plutonium from nuclear weapons. Gradual measures are no longer sufficient. With the radical changes in world politics of the past few years, there is an opportunity to realize the ultimate goal of a nuclear- free world.

The Non- Proliferation Treaty

The NPT is the cornerstone of the world's non- proliferation regime. In April 1995, a conference will be convened to decide on the length of its extension. No treaty is more important for continued progress towards the containment and reversal of nuclear proliferation than the NPT. All nations, whether or not they possess nuclear arms, stand to gain from its indefinite extension.

Indeed, failure to extend the NPT indefinitely could have three serious risks. First, the credibility of the non- proliferation regime could be seriously compromised. Second, it could lead to a rapid and uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons that would greatly increase both the short- run risk of a nuclear accident and the long- run risk of a nuclear war. Third, it could cause the United States and other nuclear powers to undertake unilateral action to prevent proliferation.

Many non- nuclear- weapon states in the developing world are concerned that the NPT discriminates between states with and without nuclear weapons. In their view, nuclear powers have not fulfilled their part of the bargain that was struck in Article VI of the NPT that most nations would forgo nuclear weapons in exchange for the nuclear powers' pledge to pursue nuclear disarmament and provide peaceful nuclear technology.

The nuclear powers need to take additional steps to make the NPT more attractive to the non- nuclear countries in the developing world. All reasonable objections to extending the NPT without conditions or qualifications can be met through the adoption of a comprehensive programme to eliminate nuclear weapons from all nations on a specific time schedule, together with the conclusion of a comprehensive test ban. Additional reassurance would be a ban on the production of fissile materials for weapons use, an agreement on no first use of nuclear weapons, and a prohibition on deploying nuclear weapons on foreign soil.

A Ban on Nuclear Testing

The establishment of a comprehensive nuclear test ban has long been seen as the premier symbol of a serious commitment by the nuclear powers to eliminate all such weapons. We hope that negotiations on such a ban will be concluded soon, ideally in conjunction with the 1995 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Review Conference. This international agreement is necessary if efforts to eventually eliminate these weapons are to succeed.

Indeed, a comprehensive ban on testing is perhaps the most important arms control measure. No single act would symbolize more clearly the commitment of the international community to eliminate nuclear weapons. It would enhance the credibility of a commitment to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons and remove a major impediment to the extension and strengthening of the NPT. In the long run, a ban on testing could also prevent the development of more sophisticated nuclear weapons or new military applications of sophisticated nuclear technologies. It would also make it more difficult for non- nuclear powers to develop these weapons.

A commitment to achieving such a ban is incorporated in the NPT, and this pledge provides an important part of the quid pro quo for the non- nuclear- weapon states to refrain from developing these weapons. For decades, the nuclear powers have danced around a comprehensive test ban, but they always stepped back when an agreement seemed feasible. With the end of the cold war, they no longer have an excuse.

Multilateral negotiations began in January 1994 at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. But there is no agreed time frame for concluding them. A failure to conclude a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty soon could be a major setback for the effort to contain nuclear proliferation. Prospects for a successful negotiation of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by April 1995 appear promising. We see three basic elements in any effective and comprehensive test ban.

  • The international community must decide on institutional arrangements to ensure the safety of remaining nuclear explosives. For example, they should pursue comprehensive, reciprocal, and effective arrangements for monitoring warheads and fissile material that could protect them from the threat of 'loose nukes' and prevent the loss or theft of explosive materials from nuclear sites.

  • Nations must establish a comprehensive and effective system of verification to monitor the ban on testing.

  • The Treaty should have universal membership. It should thus include nuclear- weapon states, states with advanced nuclear capabilities, and all other states. In the short term, however, all actual and potential nuclear- weapon states should declare an immediate and unconditional moratorium on nuclear testing and refrain from using their existing stockpiles of weapons.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

Regional agreements such as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established a nuclear- weapon- free zone in Latin America, represent effective, interim steps towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Similar agreements in other regions could contribute to the goal of a nuclear- free world.

In view of the practical difficulties involved in reconciling the vast differences in circumstances and interests that exist between regions, an approach that combines a global declaration with region- by- region negotiations offers the best hope of creating a nuclear- free world. An agreement to create a nuclear- weapon- free zone already exists for the Southwest Pacific, but its implementation has been delayed by the objections of the nuclear powers, especially France, which has done tests in the region. All nations, particularly the nuclear- weapon states, should sign the protocols to the South Pacific Nuclear- Free Zone Treaty.

By working for agreement in other easy areas--such as Africa, where interstate rivalries are limited and no nuclear states now exist--it should be possible to develop precedents and pressures that make it easier to negotiate agreements in more difficult regions. Africa set a good precedent in April 1993 by convening a group of experts to draw up a draft treaty on the continent's denuclearization. The draft treaty is being drawn up with the aim of banning nuclear weapons and promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Similar action should be encouraged in other regions.

Another area that could in particular benefit from such a zone is the Baltic Sea and adjoining region. An agreement for this region has long been proposed, but its conclusion was impossible during the cold war. Under General Secretary Gorbachev, the Soviet Union announced that it would no longer deploy new nuclear- armed submarines in the region. And with the withdrawal of the former Soviet forces from Eastern Europe, a nuclear- free region is in fact being created. This could provide favourable circumstances for negotiating a permanent ban on nuclear weapons in this region.

Chemical and Biological Weapons

The threat of proliferation is not limited to nuclear weapons. The potential use and spread of chemical and biological weapons are also a major security concern.

Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Kurdish people reminded the world of the horrors of these weapons. In January 1993, more than 130 nations signed an agreement that prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. This is a momentous achievement. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction provides a means of ridding the world of one particularly abhorrent means of warfare by unconditionally outlawing an entire category of weapons of mass destruction and establishing an intrusive and highly complex implementation mechanism.

But the Convention still needs to be implemented. By its own terms, it will not enter into force until 180 days after ratification by the sixty- fifth state. As of November 1994, only sixteen states had ratified the Convention. Its procedures will be difficult to put into effect, and will require the co- operation of all nations. Although the Convention's implementation will be expensive in financial terms, the alternative is even costlier in both financial and human terms.

We hope that countries that have not yet signed the Convention will see the merit of doing so immediately, and we call on all nations to ratify the agreement before the end of 1995. The world should enter the twenty- first century free of chemical weapons.

The spectre of germ warfare that haunted hostilities in the Gulf conflict also sharpened the determination of the international community to tighten controls on the possibility of using biological and toxin weapons. The principal legal regime governing biological weapons is the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Together with the 1925 Geneva Protocol, this prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, possession, and use of biological and toxin weapons.

Unfortunately, neither the Convention nor the Protocol includes any verification procedures or sanctions. Under Article 10 of the 1972 Convention, however, parties undertake to facilitate, and have 'the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the use of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins for peaceful purposes'. If this article is taken seriously, particularly by the scientific community, it would be an effective way to monitor both legal and illicit activity. Among other measures, the widest exchange of biotechnology is needed. States that have not yet ratified the 1972 Convention also should be induced to do so.

Chemical and biological weapons are directly linked in the public mind. We are convinced that, with the necessary political will, the world community can be rid of these weapons of mass destruction.

Demilitarizing International Society

All governments must jointly adopt a concrete goal for lower levels of defence spending.

When the cold war ended in 1989, it appeared reasonable to contemplate a serious, new look at prospects for demilitarizing international relations. Cold war rivalry--which had fuelled military budgets, powered the search for new weapons technologies, and fostered a reliance on military solutions to conflicts--was over, and it seemed that a new era of global harmony might be possible. That moment of euphoria was short- lived, however. Although the tide of democracy was rising, it could not stem the subsequent outbreak of a host of cruel and devastating civil conflicts. In 1991 and 1992, eleven major wars broke out and the human death toll in all twenty- nine of the ongoing wars reached 6 million, according to Ruth Leger Sivard.

None the less, despite continuing conflict and the emergence of new sources of global tension, the international security situation is changing in fundamental ways. As we have noted, security is no longer conceived solely in military terms; rather, it is a complex interweaving of economic, social, political, and military elements. Addressing interrelated, underlying issues in each of these realms is essential to lessening global tensions and, ultimately, to achieving significant arms reductions. At the level of the United States and Russia, a new focus on co- operation exists that must be encouraged for its own sake and for the context it provides for global co- operation. These governments are cutting back on weapons purchases and inventories; international agreements have been signed that will reduce arms, not merely control them; and, although the pace is slow, world military expenditures are declining and have been for several years. All these trends are encouraging and suggest that, despite current levels of conflict, there is a unique opportunity to make substantial progress in the demilitarization of global politics.

We call on the international community to redouble efforts to pursue demilitarization policies and programmes that are realistic, practical, well organized, and collaborative. Only then, and over time, will global security be significantly enhanced. We have already discussed issues related to reductions in strategic nuclear forces; military spending and arms transfers are the other essential aspects of demilitarization.

Military Spending

Statistical evidence for the last several years indicates that an overall global military contraction is under way. World military expenditures, which peaked in 1987 at about $995 billion (US dollars at 1991 prices and exchange rates), are declining. (See Table 3-1.) The drop that began with the end of the cold war was largely a result of budget cuts in the former Soviet Union; similar declines occurred in the West, although they were comparatively smaller. Nevertheless, although the pace is slow, there is a continuing decline.

There are important exceptions to the general trend. Nations in the Middle East, along the Persian Gulf, and in South Asia continue to emphasize the need for large, modern armed forces and to spend at relatively high levels, even if current financial realities are causing some cut- backs of their plans. Nations in East Asia, where there has been very little fighting for many decades, are engaged in a major arms buildup. Almost every state in this region has been spending more on arms since the late 1970s, and many are building impressive defence industries that will create additional incentives for high military spending.

Recruiting, training, and equipping modern armed forces constitute very expensive burdens for nations all over the world. Most nations would like to see their resources used for more productive purposes. However, the long- term maintenance of military forces and defence industries during the cold war resulted in entrenched political, social, and economic systems. The reduction of armed forces and weapons production has adverse effects on these systems, resulting in unemployment and unrest. Many governments in developing and industrial countries are under pressure to slow or reverse decreases in military spending.

To counter these pressures, attention must be given to initiatives that offer incentives for reduced military spending and that support activities focused on the conversion of existing military resources. We advocate the design of a long- term global plan of action that would address the economic and social as well as the military aspects of demilitarization. Among the areas requiring attention are reallocation of financial resources, reorientation of military research and development, restructuring of industry, reintegration of military personnel into non- military jobs, reallocation of military installations, and alternative use or scrapping of surplus weapons.

To build on and accelerate current trends, we propose that all governments jointly adopt a concrete goal for lower levels of global defence spending. For example, we believe it would be feasible for governments to reduce their collective military spending to $500 billion by the end of the 1990s, compared with the $640 billion towards which they are now heading (again in 1991 prices and exchange rates), if an annual reduction rate of 3 per cent is maintained. In fact, we strongly advocate negotiations leading to an agreed percentage reduction over a defined period of time. A specific, detailed agenda must be developed to address the interrelated issues of disarmament and conversion and to illuminate the economic and social benefits to people and nations of a redirection in resources both human and financial.

The greatest levers on military spending are financial constraints. We propose that multilateral lending institutions and governments providing development assistance evaluate a country's military spending when considering assistance to it. Excessive military spending detracts from a nation's financial health and prospects for economic advancement. National and international aid- granting agencies must therefore use policy mechanisms to discourage defence spending, especially when it is disproportionate to expenditures on health and education. At the same time, the linkages between development assistance and military spending are complex, and require careful examination if policy conditionality is to be effective.

A Demilitarization Fund

To provide positive incentives for reductions in military spending, a Demilitarization Fund should be established to provide assistance to developing countries in reducing their military commitments. Created by agreement among participating governments, the fund could be managed by a multilateral institution, such as the World Bank.

The fund would focus on support of defence conversion activities in developing countries that demonstrate a commitment to reductions in military expenditures or armed forces to the minimum level consistent with their need for self- defence and contributions to peacekeeping. We believe the fund will add momentum to the current demilitarization trend by rewarding the efforts of developing countries to disarm and demobilize their armed forces and to reintegrate military personnel into civilian life through retraining for alternative economic opportunities and re- education for participation in civil society and democratic political life.

In many parts of the world, large standing militaries now serve no useful function. Instead of providing security, they often create serious threats to the security of people in their own countries. Despite this dawning reality, it is very difficult for governments to take unilateral steps to eliminate or even significantly reduce their militaries without positive reinforcement and financial assistance.

Arms Transfers

Arms transfers fell faster than global military expenditures after 1987, going from just over $70 billion to nearly $32 billion in 1993. (See Table 3- 2.) The Gulf War stimulated interest in arms purchases, and the United States, which had been behind the Soviet Union in the weapons trade, became the main recipient of a flood of new orders. By 1992, the United States was by far the leader in arms transfers world- wide, accounting for more than half of the global value of all agreements signed. By 1993, the percentage had risen even further to nearly 70 per cent, primarily as a result of high orders from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The Third World continues to be the primary purchaser of arms. In 1993, the value of arms transfer agreements with the Third World constituted nearly 65 per cent of all such agreements world- wide. The decline in the total value of arms shipments arises from several factors, including limitations on funds to spend, the growth in indigenous arms industries, the loss of concessionary terms available during the cold war, and pressure from international agencies against military spending.

We propose that all arms- exporting countries, particularly the world's major arms suppliers, exercise restraint in weapons sales. In addition, we propose that the major military powers resume negotiations on guidelines for the export of advanced weapons. In 1992, the five permanent members of the Security Council signed an agreement on principles that should govern decisions on arms transfers. This was a positive step, and the signatories quickly began talks to define the constraints on arms sales more distinctly. These talks, unfortunately, came to an end that very year. They should be quickly resumed.

In addition, the reporting requirements of military and disarmament activities should be expanded at the international and national levels. We urge the continued discussion and development of institutions such as the UN Register of Conventional Arms (established in 1993) to increase transparency of arms transfers and nations' accountability for exports and imports of large weapons systems. There is also a need to study how transparency can be achieved in the transfers of dual- use components and technology.

Governments and citizens have grappled with the problem of arms transfers for decades. Currently NGOs in Europe and the United States are urging their governments to adopt a code of conduct that sets out guidelines to govern weapons transfers based on an agreed set of principles of behaviour. Under the code, governments would agree not to supply arms to countries that engage in aggression or violate human rights. The international community should also take steps to prevent the export or smuggling of arms to countries that are convulsed in internal conflicts, such as the former Yugoslavia or Somalia.

All states have a right to acquire arms for national self- defence, but the existing arms flows, by any reasonable standard, greatly exceed the defence needs of governments. Moreover, in many parts of the world, the easy availability of arms is fuelling local wars. It is also well known that the covert arms trade is making advanced weapons easily available to terrorists, drug traffickers, and other unconventional militias around the globe. But the biggest regular suppliers of weapons to the covert arms trade are not free- lancing private dealers, but governments themselves. Moreover, the greatly increased lethality of modern weapons has made the human toll of wars, even when only small arms and artillery are used, horrendous.

Efforts must be made to block those who ship arms into regions in trouble, particularly when they do so in violation of international sanctions. Greater resources could be devoted to enforcing sanctions, and the penalties for sanctions- breakers increased. In many cases, governments are believed to know who the major violators are. Such governments must recognize that weapons exported from or through their countries may ultimately be used for purposes other than those for which they were intended. Those who violate arms embargoes imperil the security of people. They should not enjoy immunity.

To strengthen regulation in this area, we recommend to states the immediate negotiation and eventual introduction of an international convention on curtailment of the arms trade. This convention must build on work already under way in national parliaments, international organizations, and private institutes and NGOs. It should make the voluntary reporting requirements under the existing Arms Register mandatory. It should also prohibit or heavily circumscribe the financing or subsidization of arms exports by governments. The conclusion of a convention on curtailment of the arms trade will go a long way towards demilitarizing international society.

Land- Mines and Small Arms

The talks on arms transfers in 1992 concentrated on weapons incorporating advanced technologies. Exports of advanced aircraft and other high- technology weapons can complicate relations between states, destabilize the military balance in a region, and lead to a greater risk of war. But it is land- mines, small arms, and artillery that cause the most casualties. Given the carnage caused by land- mines in so many parts of the globe in recent years, it is long past time for the international community to curtail sales of these weapons.

A typical anti- personnel mine is a harmless- looking plastic object that fits easily in the palm of a hand. Yet the human and financial cost of their use is almost unimaginable.

Since 1975, it is estimated, land- mines have killed or injured more than 1 million persons, the vast majority of them civilians. An estimated 100 million anti- personnel land- mines lie scattered in more than sixty countries. Another 100 million mines are believed to sit in stockpiles, ready for use. The cost of an anti- personnel land- mine may be very low: less than $3. But cleaning them up costs between $300 and $1,000 per mine, using local deminers. The current annual rate of deployment is at least 1 million mines; during the same period, only 100,000 mines are cleared.

The social and economic consequences of the proliferation of land- mines are thus staggering, and the problem is growing. So much suffering has been inflicted by them in recent years that the world should finally be ready to consider effective means to curtail the production, sale, and use of these weapons. We endorse the proposal for a world- wide ban on the manufacture and export of land- mines.

Inculcating a Culture of Non- Violence

The world can no longer talk merely about the demilitarization of international relations. What is needed is demilitarization of international society. Militarization today not only involves governments spending more than necessary to build up their military arsenals. It has increasingly become a global societal phenomenon, as witnessed by the rampant acquisition and use of increasingly lethal weapons by civilians--whether individuals seeking a means of self- defence, street gangs, criminals, political opposition groups, or terrorist organizations.

An emphasis on the security of people requires the world to address the culture of violence in everyday life, which is a major source of insecurity today for people everywhere around the globe. This culture of violence--as vivid in daily life, particularly against women and children, as it is on television screens--infects industrial and developing countries, and rich and poor alike, even if in different ways. Every effort must be made on the local and community level as well as at the international level to reverse this trend and to sow the seeds of a culture of non- violence.

We strongly endorse community initiatives to protect individual life, to encourage the disarming of civilians, and to foster an atmosphere of security in neighbourhoods. All have a role to play, including television, the cinema, and other media. The task of promoting security in the global neighbourhood will be immeasurably harder if in societies around the world a culture of violence is on the rise and personal insecurity is pervasive.


  • Cover page
  • Chapter 1 A New World
  • Chapter 2 Values for a Global Neighborhood
  • Chapter 3 Promoting Security
  • Chapter 4 Managing Economic Interdependence
  • Chapter 5 Reforming the United Nations
  • Chapter 6 Strengthening the Rule of Law World-Wide
  • Chapter 7 A Call to Action