Part 7: THE NEXT STEPS (further suggestions)


We have made many recommendations, some of them far-reaching. We would like to go one step further by suggesting a process for the consideration of these as similar recommendations.

During the time the Commission has been at work, we have witnessed the currencies of Europe held hostage by forces of speculation themselvesout of control. Powerfull economies confronted each other on the threshold of trade wars, while marginal ones collapsed. There was ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, a 'failed state' in Somalia, and genocide in Rwanda. Nuclear weapons lay unsecured in the former Soviet Union, and neofascism surfaced in the West.

The United Nations faces much greater demands. Its existence is a continuing reminder that all nations form part of one world, though evidence is not lacking of the world's many divisions. Today's interdependencies are compelling people to recognize the unity of the world. People are forced not just to be neighbours but to be good neighbours.

Our report is issued in the year the UN marks a jubilee. It is not tied to that one event or the UN system alone. It speaks to a longer time and a larger stage, but the UN and its future are a central part of our concerns. It is important that the international community should use the UN's anniversary as an occasion for renewing commitment to the spirit of the Charter and the internationalism it embodied , and establish a process that can take the world to a higher stage of international co-operation. This process must be centred on the UN but not confined to it.

Ours are not the only recommendations that will be considered in the anniversary year. The variety of reports and studies presenting the case for change and proposing the form it should take reflects wide recognition that change is needed. That itself does not guarantee action to bring about change. The will to change does not exists everywhere. It would be easy for all the effort to promote reform to be stalled by a filibuster or simply by inertia. Or, paradoxically, it could be overwhelmed by the onset of the very dangers that some of the changes proposed are meant to guard against.

We are prompted to recall the vision that drove the process of founding the United Nations and the spirit of innovation that ushered in a new era of global governance. We need the spirit again today.

We fear that if reform is left to normal process, only piecemeal and inadequate action will result. We look, therefore, to a more deliberate process. The Charter has been amended on four occasions. But revision of the Charter is the final stage in a process of reform and is not required for many of the changes we propose.

The ultimate process has to be intergovernmental and at a high level, giving political imprimatur to a new world order whose contours are shaped to the designs developed for the anniversary year.

For such a process to have the best prospect of securing agreement on a new system of global governance, there will need to be careful preparation. Civil soety must be involved in the preparatory process, which should reach out to even wider section of society than the process leading up to recent world conferences. Many views must be examined, and many ideas allowed to contend.

Our recommendation is that the General Assembly should agree to hold a World Conference on Governance in 1998, with its decision to be ratified and put into effect by 2000. That will allow more than two years for the preparatory process.

Action on all recommendations does not have to await the final conference. Many of the changes proposed do not need an amendment of the Charter. Some changes are already under way. We encourage action on reform at all levels- provided, of course, that ad hoc decisions do not become a substitute for systematic reform through a fully representative forum.

A special responsibility devolves on the non-governmental sector. If our recommendations and those form other sources are worthy of support, international civil society must prevail on governments to consider them seriously. By doing so they would ensure that 'WE THE PEOPLES' are the instruments of change to a far greater extent than fifty years ago. We call on international civil society, NGOs, the business sector, academia, the professions, and specially young people to join in a drive for change in the international system.

Governments can be made to initiate change if people demand it. That has been the story of major change in our time; the liberation of women and the environmental movement provide examples. If people are to live in a global neighbourhood values, they have to prepare the ground. We believe that they are ready to do so.


QUOTED FROM: A Call To Action, Summary of Our Global Neighbourhood, the report of the Comiision on Global Governance


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