The UN in Crisis Response – Stress Testing the UN’s National and Regional Prevention Capacities

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    Project Manager :
    Adam Day

    The 2018-2020 reform of the UN system was meant to position the Organization better to fulfil its prevention mandate. Specifically, the reforms of the UN Development System were meant to empower the Resident Coordinator system to better prepare and respond to risks, and also build a more regionally-focused, cross-pillar approach to peace and security. The 2020 proposal by the SG for Regional Cooperation Platforms exemplifies this push for regional responses. Together, these reforms should position the UN to develop effective national prevention engagements that are linked to regional analysis, structures, and resources, allowing the UN to meaningfully address a range of stresses and shocks including climate-driven changes, transnational organized crime, large-scale population movements, uneven economic growth, and the global pandemic.

    While there have been many improvements in how the UN addresses these risks, thus far the reforms have not yet delivered on the promise of coherent national and regional engagements. Instead, independent experts have pointed to continued siloes, disjointed responses between national and regional entities, and fairly superficial engagement with regional economic actors (see, e.g.

    The present project is designed to address this shortcoming in the multilateral system, offering empirically-based models for improving the strategic and operational links between national and regional actors. As such, it would help to advance a major objective of the reforms: a stronger, more coherent multilateral system that is able to prepare for and respond to major crises in an effective manner.