Our Global Neighborhood

Our Global Neighborhood: The Report of The Commission on Global Governance

Our Global Neighborhood was published in the United States by Oxford University Press in 1995. It is a representation of the collaborative effort of twenty eight distinguished world leaders of The Commission on Global Governance in their quest for peace and security. Recommendations and proposals made by the commission are summarized in the following outline.

Values for the Global Neighborhood

  • Cooperation among the global citizens is important now more than ever. Upholding the peace, expanding economic activity and protecting the environment are global issues that all citizens need to address in order for the advancement of the entire community.

  • The respect for life, liberty, justice and equity, mutual respect, caring and integrity of individuals are values that should be upheld in the community.

Promoting Security

  • Security issues have expanded beyond state issues and have come to include the security of the people and the environment as well.

Security for a New Era

1. If the security of people is severely violated as to require an international response on humanitarian grounds, the Security Council should be permitted to authorize action within countries.

2. The United Nations needs to improve its capacity to anticipate and resolve armed conflict.

3. The United Nations should develop a more comprehensive system to collect and share information on trends and situations that may lead to violent conflict or humanitarian tragedies.

4. Adequate resources should be provided to enable the Secretary General to make full use of fact finding missions as part of efforts to promote peace and security.

5. The Military Staff Committee, provided by the UN Charter, should be revitalized to supply military information and expert advice to the Security Council.

6. A United Nations Volunteer Force should be formed and be available for rapid deployment under the authority of the Security Council.

7. The cost of peacekeeping operations should be progressively integrated into a single annual budget, and financed by assessed contributions by all UN members.

8. The international community should initiate a program to eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction from all nations within ten to fifteen years.

10. Negotiations on a comprehensive ban on testing of nuclear weapons should be successfully concluded in conjunction with the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference.

11. Nuclear-weapon-free zones should be created as a means of confining the spread of nuclear weapons.

12. The Biological and the Chemical Weapons Conventions should be signed and ratified immediately by all nations that have not already done so, and their provisions rapidly implemented.

13. A Demilitarization Fund should be established to help developing countries reduce their military commitments.

14. States should undertake early negotiation on a convention for the curtailment of the arms trade. Proposals should include mandatory reporting requirements under the existing Arms Register; meanwhile arms-exporting countries should exercise a restraint in arms sales.

15. There should be a world-wide ban on the manufacture and export of land-mines.

Managing Economic Interdependence

  • Arguably the most complicated challenge for the international community and economic global governance “is the need to incorporate some thirty new countries into global and regional institutions and trading rules,” due to the structural changes from the dissemination of the Soviet Union and the end of the colonial era.

  • Regional organizations can be a very useful asset creating harmonized economic policies; some issues are better addressed through regional cooperation because of the reality of political and economic linkages.

Proposals in Chapter Four

1. An Economic Security Council (ESC) should be established within the United Nations to provide political leadership that promotes consensus on international economic issues and sustainable development. The consistency of policy goals in multilateral economic institutions should be secured:

• The ESC should be a representative body, including the world’s largest economies, and not be larger than a reformed Security Council.
• The ESC should meet once a year at Heads of Government or Ministerial level.
• The IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO should be invited to report regularly to the ESC. Institutions such as the Commission on Sustainable Development should report on specific matters.

2. All governments should quickly enact legislation to implement the Uruguay Round agreement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and to set up the World Trade Organization.

3. Governments should adopt decision making structures that require full public examination of the benefits and costs of trade restrictions for the community at large.

4. The WTO should set out clear guidelines to define and encourage open regionalism in trade.

5. The WTO should establish new rules to strengthen global competition. A Global Competition Office should be set up to provide oversight.

6. The WTO and the UN should establish firmer rules on international investment that facilitate direct investment and establish obligations through a code. The system should accredit and register transnational companies that accept the basic principles of good conduct in that code.

The IMF and Global Economic Stability

7. The ESC should investigate the adequacy of present supervision of banking and securities markets.

8. The role of the International Monetary Fund should be enhanced by enabling it to:

• Enlarge its capacity to provide balance-of payments support
• Oversee policy in major economies as part of a more active policy of seeking policy convergence
• Release a new issue of Special Drawing Rights
• Improve its capacity to support nominal exchange rates

11. The use of GDP figures based on purchasing power parity will help govern the amount of votes distributed to that country. Reforms such as these will allow for a more democratic decision making structure within the Bretton Woods institutions.

12. Governments should redouble their efforts to meet the target of 0.7 percent of GDP for official development assistance.

13. The World Bank should be equipped to play a greater role in development financing through an enhanced IDA and by extending its financial intermediation role through greater use of guarantees and co-financing of big projects.

14. A strategy should be adopted to mobilize international development flows and to demonstrate value for money provided. It should include:

• Greater untying of official aid so that recipients can use funds to buy from the cheapest sources
• Increased co-financing between governments and non-governmental organizations.

15. A more radical debt reduction involving at least the ‘full Trinidad terms’1 is needed for heavily indebted low-income countries. In addition, some countries should have the wiping clean of the slate occur in the equivalent of bankruptcy proceedings.

16. Greater access should be given to labor-intensive services in the services regime of the GATT/World Trade Organization.

17. Strong international support should be mobilized for Agenda 21, and the Global Environment Facility enlarged.

18. Governments should adopt environmental policies that make maximum use of market instruments, including environmental taxes and tradable permits. They should commit themselves to use of ‘polluter pays principle.’

19. The EU’s proposals for carbon tax merits support as a first stop towards a system that taxes resource use rather than employment and savings.

20. An international tax on foreign currency transaction should be explored as one of a series of options that include creating an international corporate tax base for multinational companies.

21. There should be charges imposed for the use of common global resources such as flight lanes, sea lanes for ships, ocean fishing areas, and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Reforming the United Nations

  • The cooperation and approval of member states is needed to ensure effective UN reform.

Summary of Proposals in Chapter Five

The Security Council

The Security Council should be enlarged to make it more representative of the members of the United Nations.

  • A new class of five ‘standing’ members should be created until a further review around 2005.
  • The number of non-permanent (rotating) members should be raised from ten to thirteen.
  • The five permanent members should agree to forgo using the veto except in circumstances they consider to be of an exception and overriding nature.
  • The arrangements should be the subject of further full review around 2005 at which time decisions should be made on the phasing out of the veto, the future basis of membership, and arrangements for regular future reviews.

The General Assembly

  • The General Assembly should protect its members’ authority to approve the UN budget and to allocate contributions.
  • The General Assembly should be revitalized as universal forum of the world’s nations, and its agenda reduced and rationalized.
  • The General Assembly should meet in a theme session in the first half of each year to discuss a selected issue of major importance.

Trusteeship council and Civil Society

  • The Trusteeship council should be given a new mandate: to exercise trusteeship over the global commons.
  • A Forum of civil Society should be convened in the period leading up to the annual session of the General Assembly, with an expanded category of accredited organizations.
  • A new “Right of Petition’ should be made available to international civil society to bring to the UN’s attention situations in which the security of people could be endangered; a Council for Petitions should be formed to receive petitions and make recommendations on them.

Economic and Social Sectors

  • The UN’s economic and social activities need to be more effective and efficient, the specialized agencies need to develop as centers of authority in their fields, and programs and funds need better systems of management and financing.
  • ECOSOC should be liquidated, the Second and Third Committees of the General Assembly merged, and the dialogue and negotiation schedules of all three programmed within the new merged Committee.
  • UNCTAD and UNIDO should be closed down, subject to a review of the impact of such action on the countries concerned and on the credibility of the UN.
  • The UN’s capacity to advance the rights of women should be enhanced; senior advisers on women’s issues should be appointed to the office of the Secretary General and in other parts of the UN system.


  • The UN should examine, in consultation with the respective governments, the continuing usefulness of its Regional Economic Commissions, and should strengthen organizations formed by countries to pursue regional collaboration.

Secretariat and Financing

  • The procedure for appointing the Secretary General needs to be radically improved, and the appointment restricted to a single term of seven years.
  • The provision in the UN Charter for depriving countries that do not fulfill their financial obligations of the right to vote needs to be applied consistently.
  • UN budged assessments should be adjusted so that the organization is not dependent on too large a contribution from any one country.

Strengthening the Rule of Law World-Wide

The post-war era allowed states a renewed commitment to international law, taking an active role in the law making process. As a result states have become more involved in the process; the ethics and customary practices of various states intermeshed through compromise.

Summary of Proposals in Chapter Six

1. The chamber procedure of the World Court should be modified to address its dangers and to increase its appeal to states.

2. World Court judges should be appointed for one ten-year term only, and a system introduced to screen potential members for jurisprudential skills and objectivity.

3. The UN Secretary General should have the right to refer the legal aspects of emerging disputes to a full bench of the World Court for advice at an early stage.

4. A distinguished legal person should be appointed by the Security Council to provide independent advice to international legal propositions to the Council

5. The Security Council should make greater use of the World Court as a source of advisory opinion.

6. An international criminal court should be established with an independent prosecutor or panel of prosecutors of the highest moral character as well as the highest level of competence and experience.

7. International treaties should include provision to help countries that may otherwise face financial hardship in complying with them.

8. An appropriate body should be asked to explore ways in which international law-making can be expedited without calling into question the consensual nature of international law.

A Call to Action

Finally, the Commission on Global Governance emphasizes the necessity of involvement to go beyond the scope of intergovernmental proceedings; extend to civil society and the various actors in the international community.

“If reform is left to normal processes, only piecemeal and inadequate action will result…It needs leadership that is proactive, not simply reactive, that is inspired, not simply functional, that looks to the longer term and future generations for whom the present is held in trust. It needs leaders made strong by vision, sustained by ethics, and revealed by political courage that looks beyond the next election.”

The Commission on Global Governance:
Co Chairman:Ingvar Carlsson (Sweden), Shridath Ramphal (Guyana)}
Members: Ali Alatas (Indonesia), Abdlatif Al-Hamad (Kuwait), Oscar Arias (Costa Rica), Anna Balletbo (Spain), Kurt Biedenkopf (Germany), Allan Boesak (South Africa), Manuel Camacho Solis (Mexico), Bernard Chidzero (Zimbabwe), Barber Conable (United States), Jacques Delors (France), Jiri Dienstbier (Czech Republic), Enrique Iglesias (Uruguay), Frank Judd (United Kingdom), Hongkoo Lee (Republic of Korea), Wangari Maathai (Kenya), Sadako Ogata (Japan), Olara Otunnu (Uganda), I.G. Patel (India), Celina do Amaral Peixoto (Brazil), Jan Pronk (Netherlands), Qian Jiadong (China), Marie-Angelique Savane (Senegal), Adele Simmons (United States), Maurice Strong (Canada), Brian Urquhart (United Kingdom), Yuli Vorontsov (Russia)
Secretary-General: Hans Dahlgren (Sweden)

Prepared by Adrienne Karatoprak and Berivan Tamsen

  • 1. Trinidad Terms
    Trinidad-Terms or Enhanced Toronto-Terms superseded the Toronto-Terms by increasing the level of concessionality from 33 percent to 50 percent. The repayment period for the remaining debts were lengthened from 15 (Toronto-Terms) to 23 years with the grace period depending upon the option chosen: six years of grace under the debt reduction, no grace period under the debt service reduction option; at the request of the United States, the so-called long-term option (see "Toronto-Terms") was retained with the grace period lengthened from 14 to 16 years Considering the grant element inherent in ODA-loans, ODA-debt-servicing obligations are rescheduled over 30 years with 20 years of grace. In addition, creditors agree to consider the matter of the debtor's stock of debt if, after three years following the signing of the Agreed Minute, the debtor has met all payments and successfully implemented the economic programmes supported by the IMF. Like Toronto-Terms, Trinidad-Terms applicable to low-income countries only.