All desiring to be challenged to thlnk creatively about potential for coping with a growing array of global problems will find this volume to be stimulating reading. Penetrating analyses of past and present experience in a broad array of “laboratories” in the UN system are pointed toward illuminating future potential.
Twenty-two scholars from all continents contribute twelve chapters that encompass prevention of violence, creating economic and social structures that sustain human fulfilment, sharing and protecting the commons and peace education. The search for future potential, based on experience in these twelve “laboratories”, leads to sixty-six recommendations for new institutions and programmes on issues that include controlling weapons, humanitarian intervention, collaboration between UN peacekeepers and NGos, human rights, economic policies, advancement of women, refugees, ecological security, communications, and peace education. These recommendations are brought together in a concluding chapter and summarized in an appendix.
The recommendations include proposals for the Bretton Woods institutions, IAEA, ILO, ITU, the Trusteeship Council, UN Centre for Human Rights, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNlDO, UNU, and WlPO. Suggested new institutions include a UN Institute for Mediation and Dispute Resolution, NGO Rapid Response Teams, an Early Warning Information Service, a UN Peace Education Fund, a World Court for the Environment, enhancement of UN capacity for institutional memory, continuing education for UN staff, and wider participation of local governments and organizations.
Most of these recommendations do not require amendments to the UN Charter or to the treaties establishing the UN Specialized Agencies. Instead, their implementation would require creative efforts of Member States, secretariats, NGOs and dedicated individuals that are pointed toward attainment of multilateral capacity for coping with an array of global problems that increasingly threaten the quality of human life throughout the globe.
Chadwick F. Alger is Mershon Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, The Ohio State University, USA.