III. Freedom from fear
74. While, in the development sphere, we suffer from weak implementation, on the security side, despite a heightened sense of threat among many we lack even a basic consensus and implementation, where it occurs, is all too often contested.
75. Unless we can agree on a shared assessment of these threats and a common understanding of our obligations in addressing them, the United Nations will lag in providing security to all of its members and all the world's people. Our ability to assist those who seek freedom from fear will then be partial at best.
A. A vision of collective security
76. In November 2003, alarmed by the lack of agreement among Member States on the proper role of the United Nations in providing collective security — or even on the nature of the most compelling threats that we face — I set up the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. The Panel delivered its report, “A more secure world: our shared responsibility” (A/59/565), in December 2004.
77. I fully embrace the broad vision that the report articulates and its case for a more comprehensive concept of collective security: one that tackles new threats and old and that addresses the security concerns of all States. I believe that this concept can bridge the gap between divergent views of security and give us the guidance we need to face today's dilemmas.
78. The threats to peace and security in the twenty-first century include not just international war and conflict but civil violence, organized crime, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. They also include poverty, deadly infectious disease and environmental degradation since these can have equally catastrophic consequences. All of these threats can cause death or lessen life chances on a large scale. All of them can undermine States as the basic unit of the international system.
79. Depending on wealth, geography and power, we perceive different threats as the most pressing. But the truth is we cannot afford to choose. Collective security today depends on accepting that the threats which each region of the world perceives as most urgent are in fact equally so for all.
80. In our globalized world, the threats we face are interconnected. The rich are vulnerable to the threats that attack the poor and the strong are vulnerable to the weak, as well as vice versa. A nuclear terrorist attack on the United States or Europe would have devastating effects on the whole world. But so would the appearance of a new virulent pandemic disease in a poor country with no effective health-care system.
81. On this interconnectedness of threats we must found a new security consensus, the first article of which must be that all are entitled to freedom from fear, and that whatever threatens one threatens all. Once we understand this, we have no choice but to tackle the whole range of threats. We must respond to HIV/AIDS as robustly as we do to terrorism and to poverty as effectively as we do to proliferation. We must strive just as hard to eliminate the threat of small arms and light weapons as we do to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, we must address all these threats preventively, acting at a sufficiently early stage with the full range of available instruments.
82. We need to ensure that States abide by the security treaties they have signed so that all can continue to reap the benefit. More consistent monitoring, more effective implementation and, where necessary, firmer enforcement are essential if States are to have confidence in multilateral mechanisms and use them to avoid conflict.
83. These are not theoretical issues but issues of deadly urgency. If we do not reach a consensus on them this year and start to act on it, we may not have another chance. This year, if ever, we must transform the United Nations into the effective instrument for preventing conflict that it was always meant to be by acting on several key policy and institutional priorities.
84. We must act to ensure that catastrophic terrorism never becomes a reality. This will require a new global strategy, which begins with Member States agreeing on a definition of terrorism and including it in a comprehensive convention. It will also require all States to sign, ratify, implement and comply with comprehensive conventions against organized crime and corruption. And it will require from them a commitment to take urgent steps to prevent nuclear, chemical and biological weapons getting into the hands of terrorist groups.
85. We must revitalize our multilateral frameworks for handling threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The threat posed by these weapons is not limited to terrorist use. The existence of multilateral instruments to promote disarmament and prevent proliferation among States has been central to the maintenance of international peace and security ever since those instruments were agreed. But they are now in danger of erosion. They must be revitalized to ensure continued progress on disarmament and to address the growing risk of a cascade of proliferation, especially in the nuclear field.
86. We must continue to reduce the prevalence and risk of war. This requires both the emphasis on development outlined in section II above and the strengthening of tools to deliver the military and civilian support needed to prevent and end wars as well as to build a sustainable peace. Investment in prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding can save millions of lives. If only two peace agreements had been successfully implemented in the early 1990s — the Bicesse Accords in Angola and the Arusha Accords in Rwanda — we could have prevented the deaths of almost three million people.
B. Preventing catastrophic terrorism
87. Terrorism is a threat to all that the United Nations stands for: respect for human rights, the rule of law, the protection of civilians, tolerance among peoples and nations, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. It is a threat that has grown more urgent in the last five years. Transnational networks of terrorist groups have global reach and make common cause to pose a universal threat. Such groups profess a desire to acquire nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and to inflict mass casualties. Even one such attack and the chain of events it might set off could change our world forever.
88. Our strategy against terrorism must be comprehensive and should be based on five pillars: it must aim at dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it; it must deny terrorists access to funds and materials; it must deter States from sponsoring terrorism; it must develop State capacity to defeat terrorism; and it must defend human rights. I urge Member States and civil society organizations everywhere to join in that strategy.
89. Several steps are urgently required, as described below.
90. We must convince all those who may be tempted to support terrorism that it is neither an acceptable nor an effective way to advance their cause. But the moral authority of the United Nations and its strength in condemning terrorism have been hampered by the inability of Member States to agree on a comprehensive convention that includes a definition.
91. It is time to set aside debates on so-called “State terrorism”. The use of force by States is already thoroughly regulated under international law. And the right to resist occupation must be understood in its true meaning. It cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians. I endorse fully the High-level Panel's call for a definition of terrorism, which would make it clear that, in addition to actions already proscribed by existing conventions, any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act. I believe this proposal has clear moral force, and I strongly urge world leaders to unite behind it and to conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism before the end of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly.
92. It is vital that we deny terrorists access to nuclear materials. This means consolidating, securing and, when possible, eliminating hazardous materials and implementing effective export controls. While the Group of Eight Major Industrialized Countries (G8) and the Security Council have taken important steps to do this, we need to make sure that these measures are fully enforced and that they reinforce each other. I urge Member States to complete, without delay, an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.
93. The threat of biological terrorism differs from that of nuclear terrorism. There will soon be thousands of laboratories around the world capable of producing designer bugs with awesome lethal potential. Our best defence against this danger lies in strengthening public health, and the recommendations to this end contained in section II above have a double merit: they would both help to address the scourge of naturally occurring infectious disease and contribute to our safety against manmade outbreaks. As we commit ourselves to strengthen local health systems — a task that will take us a generation — we must also ensure that our existing global response is adequate. The World Health Organization Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network has done an impressive job in monitoring and responding to outbreaks of deadly infectious disease, whether natural or suspicious. But it has done so on a shoestring. I urge Member States to give it the resources it needs to do the job thoroughly, in all our interests.
94. Terrorists are accountable to no one. We, on the other hand, must never lose sight of our accountability to citizens all around the world. In our struggle against terrorism, we must never compromise human rights. When we do so we facilitate achievement of one of the terrorist's objectives. By ceding the moral high ground we provoke tension, hatred and mistrust of Governments among precisely those parts of the population where terrorists find recruits.I urge Member States to create a special rapporteur who would report to the Commission on Human Rights on the compatibility of counter-terrorism measures with international human rights laws.
95. The threat of terrorism is closely linked to that of organized crime, which is growing and affects the security of all States. Organized crime contributes to State weakness, impedes economic growth, fuels many civil wars, regularly undermines United Nations peacebuilding efforts and provides financing mechanisms to terrorist groups. Organized criminal groups are also heavily involved in the illegal smuggling of migrants and trafficking in firearms.
96. In recent years, the United Nations has made important progress in building a framework of international standards and norms for the fight against organized crime and corruption, with the adoption or entry into force of several major conventions and protocols. However, many of the States parties to these treaties have not implemented them adequately, sometimes because they genuinely lack the capacity to do so. All States should both ratify and implement these conventions, while helping each other to strengthen their domestic criminal justice and rule-of-law systems. And Member States should give adequate resources to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for its key role in overseeing implementation of the conventions.
C. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons
97. Multilateral efforts to bridle the dangers of nuclear technology while harnessing its promise are nearly as old as the United Nations itself. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 35 years old this month, has proved indispensable: it has not only diminished nuclear peril but has also demonstrated the value of multilateral agreements in safeguarding international peace and security. But today, the Treaty has suffered the first withdrawal of a party to the Treaty and faces a crisis of confidence and compliance born of a growing strain on verification and enforcement. The Conference on Disarmament, for its part, faces a crisis of relevance resulting in part from dysfunctional decision-making procedures and the paralysis that accompanies them.
98. Progress in both disarmament and non-proliferation is essential and neither should be held hostage to the other. Recent moves towards disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States should be recognized. Bilateral agreements, including the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty signed by the United States and the Russian Federation, have led to the dismantlement of thousands of nuclear weapons, accompanied by commitments to further sharp reductions in stockpiles. However, the unique status of nuclear-weapon States also entails a unique responsibility, and they must do more, including but not limited to further reductions in their arsenals of non-strategic nuclear weapons and pursuing arms control agreements that entail not just dismantlement but irreversibility. They should also reaffirm their commitment to negative security assurances. Swift negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty is essential. The moratorium on nuclear test explosions must also be upheld until we can achieve the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. I strongly encourage States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to endorse these measures at the 2005 Review Conference.
99. The spread of nuclear technology has exacerbated a long-standing tension within the nuclear regime, arising from the simple fact that the technology required for civilian nuclear fuel can also be used to develop nuclear weapons. Measures to mitigate this tension must confront the dangers of nuclear proliferation but must also take into account the important environmental, energy, economic and research applications of nuclear technology. First, the verification authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be strengthened through universal adoption of the Model Additional Protocol. Second, while the access of non-nuclear weapon States to the benefits of nuclear technology should not be curtailed, we should focus on creating incentives for States to voluntarily forego the development of domestic uranium enrichment and plutonium separation capacities, while guaranteeing their supply of the fuel necessary to develop peaceful uses. One option is an arrangement in which IAEA would act as a guarantor for the supply of fissile material to civilian nuclear users at market rates.
100. While the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remains the foundation of the non-proliferation regime, we should welcome recent efforts to supplement it. These include Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), designed to prevent non-State actors from gaining access to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, technology and materials, and their means of delivery; and the voluntary Proliferation Security Initiative, under which more and more States are cooperating to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
101. The availability of ballistic missiles with extended range and greater accuracy is of growing concern to many States, as is the spread of shoulder-fired missiles which could be used by terrorists. Member States should adopt effective national export controls covering missiles and other means of delivery for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, rockets and shoulder-fired missiles, as well as a ban on transferring any of them to non-State actors. The Security Council should also consider adopting a resolution aimed at making it harder for terrorists to acquire or use shoulder-fired missiles.
102. Where progress has been made, it should be consolidated. The 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction calls for the complete elimination and destruction of chemical weapons by all States parties, thus offering a historic opportunity to complete a task begun more than a century ago. States parties to the Convention on Chemical Weapons should recommit themselves to achieving the scheduled destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles. I call upon all States to accede immediately to the Convention.
103. The 1975 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction has enjoyed a remarkable degree of support and adherence, and has been strengthened further through recent annual meetings. States parties should consolidate the results of these meetings at the 2006 Review Conference and commit themselves to further measures to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. I also call upon all States to accede immediately to the Convention and to increase the transparency of bio-defence programmes.
104. Further efforts are needed to bolster the biological security regime. The capability of the Secretary-General to investigate suspected use of biological agents, as authorized by the General Assembly in its resolution 42/37, should be strengthened to incorporate the latest technology and expertise; and the Security Council should make use of that capability, consistent with Security Council resolution 620 (1988).
105. Indeed, the Security Council must be better informed on all matters relevant to nuclear, chemical and biological threats. I encourage the Council to regularly invite the Director-General of IAEA and the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to brief the Council on the status of safeguards and verification processes. And I myself stand ready, in consultation with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, to use my powers under Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations to call to the attention of the Security Council any overwhelming outbreak of infectious disease that threatens international peace and security.
D. Reducing the risk and prevalence of war
106. No task is more fundamental to the United Nations than the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. Prevention, in particular, must be central to all our efforts, from combating poverty and promoting sustainable development; through strengthening national capacities to manage conflict, promoting democracy and the rule of law, and curbing the flow of small arms and light weapons; to directing preventive operational activities, such as the use of good offices, Security Council missions and preventive deployments.
107. Member States must ensure that the United Nations has the right structure and sufficient resources to perform these vital tasks.
108. Although it is difficult to demonstrate, the United Nations has almost certainly prevented many wars by using the Secretary-General's “good offices” to help resolve conflicts peacefully. And over the past 15 years, more civil wars have ended through mediation than in the previous two centuries, in large part because the United Nations provided leadership, opportunities for negotiation, strategic coordination and the resources to implement peace agreements. But we could undoubtedly save many more lives if we had the capacity and personnel to do so. I urge Member States to allocate additional resources to the Secretary-General for his good offices function.
109. Sanctions are a vital tool at the disposal of the Security Council for dealing preventively with threats to international peace and security. They constitute a necessary middle ground between war and words. In some cases, sanctions can help to produce agreements. In others, they can be combined with military pressure to weaken and isolate rebel groups or States that are in flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions.
110. The use of financial, diplomatic, arms, aviation, travel and commodity sanctions to target belligerents, in particular the individuals most directly responsible for reprehensible policies, will continue to be a vital tool in the United Nations arsenal. All Security Council sanctions should be effectively implemented and enforced by strengthening State capacity to implement sanctions, establishing well resourced monitoring mechanisms and mitigating humanitarian consequences. Given the difficult environments in which sanctions are often used and the lessons learned in recent years, future sanctions regimes must also be structured carefully so as to minimize the suffering caused to innocent third parties — including the civilian populations of targeted States — and to protect the integrity of the programmes and institutions involved.
111. Over the decades, the United Nations has done a great deal to stabilize zones of conflict, and in the last 15 years or so also to help countries emerge from conflict, by deploying peacekeeping forces. Since the issuance of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (A/55/305-S/2000/809, annex), which led to important reforms in the management of our peacekeeping operations, the renewed confidence of Member States in United Nations peacekeeping has led to a surge in demand, with the result that the United Nations now has more missions on the ground than ever before. The majority of these are in Africa, where — I regret to say — developed countries are increasingly reluctant to contribute troops. As a result, our capacity is severely stretched.
112. I appeal to Member States to do more to ensure that the United Nations has effective capacities for peacekeeping, commensurate with the demands that they place upon it. In particular, I urge them to improve our deployment options by creating strategic reserves that can be deployed rapidly, within the framework of United Nations arrangements. United Nations capacity should not be developed in competition with the admirable efforts now being made by many regional organizations but in cooperation with them. Decisions by the European Union to create standby battle groups, for instance, and by the African Union to create African reserve capacities, are a very valuable complement to our own efforts. Indeed, I believe the time is now ripe for a decisive move forward: the establishment of an interlocking system of peacekeeping capacities that will enable the United Nations to work with relevant regional organizations in predictable and reliable partnerships.
113. Since the rule of law is an essential element of lasting peace, United Nations peacekeepers and peacebuilders have a solemn responsibility to respect the law themselves, and especially to respect the rights of the people whom it is their mission to help. In the light of recent allegations of misconduct by United Nations administrators and peacekeepers, the United Nations system should reaffirm its commitment to respect, adhere to and implement international law, fundamental human rights and the basic standards of due process. I will work to strengthen the internal capacity of the United Nations to exercise oversight of peacekeeping operations, and I remind Member States of their obligation to prosecute any members of their national contingents who commit crimes or offences in the States where they are deployed. I am especially troubled by instances in which United Nations peacekeepers are alleged to have sexually exploited minors and other vulnerable people, and I have enacted a policy of “zero tolerance” towards such offences that applies to all personnel engaged in United Nations operations. I strongly encourage Member States to do the same with respect to their national contingents.
114. Our record of success in mediating and implementing peace agreements is sadly blemished by some devastating failures. Indeed, several of the most violent and tragic episodes of the 1990s occurred after the negotiation of peace agreements — for instance in Angola in 1993 and in Rwanda in 1994. Roughly half of all countries that emerge from war lapse back into violence within five years. These two points drive home the message: if we are going to prevent conflict we must ensure that peace agreements are implemented in a sustained and sustainable manner. Yet at this very point there is a gaping hole in the United Nations institutional machinery: no part of the United Nations system effectively addresses the challenge of helping countries with the transition from war to lasting peace. I therefore propose to Member States that they create an intergovernmental Peacebuilding Commission, as well as a Peacebuilding Support Office within the United Nations Secretariat, to achieve this end.
115. A Peacebuilding Commission could perform the following functions: in the immediate aftermath of war, improve United Nations planning for sustained recovery, focusing on early efforts to establish the necessary institutions; help to ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities, in part by providing an overview of assessed, voluntary and standing funding mechanisms; improve the coordination of the many post-conflict activities of the United Nations funds, programmes and agencies; provide a forum in which the United Nations, major bilateral donors, troop contributors, relevant regional actors and organizations, the international financial institutions and the national or transitional Government of the country concerned can share information about their respective post-conflict recovery strategies, in the interests of greater coherence; periodically review progress towards medium-term recovery goals; and extend the period of political attention to post-conflict recovery. I do not believe that such a body should have an early warning or monitoring function, but it would be valuable if Member States could at any stage make use of the Peacebuilding Commission's advice and could request assistance from a standing fund for peacebuilding to build their domestic institutions for reducing conflict, including through strengthening the rule-of-law institutions.
116. I believe that such a body would best combine efficiency with legitimacy if it were to report to the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council in sequence, depending on the phase of the conflict. Simultaneous reporting lines should be avoided because they will create duplication and confusion.
117. The Peacebuilding Commission would be most effective if its core membership comprised a sub-set of Security Council members, a similar number of Economic and Social Council members, leading troop contributors and the major donors to a standing fund for peacebuilding. In its country-specific operations, the Peacebuilding Commission should involve the national or transitional authorities, relevant regional actors and organizations, troop contributors, where applicable, and the major donors to the specific country.
118. The participation of international financial institutions is vital. I have started discussions with them to determine how best they can be involved, with due respect for their mandates and governing arrangements.
119. Once these discussions are completed, in advance of September 2005, I will present Member States a more fully developed proposal for their consideration.
Small arms, light weapons and landmines
120. The accumulation and proliferation of small arms and light weapons continues to be a serious threat to peace, stability and sustainable development. Since the adoption in 2001 of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, awareness of the problem has grown and there have been various initiatives to tackle it. We must now begin to make a real difference by ensuring better enforcement of arms embargoes, strengthening programmes for the disarmament of ex-combatants and negotiating a legally binding international instrument to regulate the marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons, as well as one to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit brokering. I urge Member States to agree on an instrument to regulate marking and tracing no later than next year's Review Conference on the Programme of Action, and to expedite negotiations on an instrument on illicit brokering.
121. We must also continue our work to remove the scourge of landmines, which — along with other explosive remnants of war — still kill and maim innocent people in nearly half the world's countries and hold back entire communities from working their way out of poverty. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, supplemented by Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, now has 144 States parties and has made a real difference on the ground. Transfers of mines have virtually halted, large tracts of previously mined lands have been cleared and more than 31 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed. Yet not all States parties to the Convention have fully implemented it and there are vast stockpiles of mines in the arsenals of States that remain outside it. I therefore urge States parties to implement their obligations in full, and call on those States that have not yet done so to accede to both the Convention and the Protocol at the earliest possible moment.
E. Use of force
122. Finally, an essential part of the consensus we seek must be agreement on when and how force can be used to defend international peace and security. In recent years, this issue has deeply divided Member States. They have disagreed about whether States have the right to use military force pre-emptively, to defend themselves against imminent threats; whether they have the right to use it preventively to defend themselves against latent or non-imminent threats; and whether they have the right — or perhaps the obligation — to use it protectively to rescue the citizens of other States from genocide or comparable crimes.
123. Agreement must be reached on these questions if the United Nations is to be — as it was intended to be — a forum for resolving differences rather than a mere stage for acting them out. And yet I believe the Charter of our Organization, as it stands, offers a good basis for the understanding that we need.
124. Imminent threats are fully covered by Article 51, which safeguards the inherent right of sovereign States to defend themselves against armed attack. Lawyers have long recognized that this covers an imminent attack as well as one that has already happened.
125. Where threats are not imminent but latent, the Charter gives full authority to the Security Council to use military force, including preventively, to preserve international peace and security. As to genocide, ethnic cleansing and other such crimes against humanity, are they not also threats to international peace and security, against which humanity should be able to look to the Security Council for protection?
126. The task is not to find alternatives to the Security Council as a source of authority but to make it work better. When considering whether to authorize or endorse the use of military force, the Council should come to a common view on how to weigh the seriousness of the threat; the proper purpose of the proposed military action; whether means short of the use of force might plausibly succeed in stopping the threat; whether the military option is proportional to the threat at hand; and whether there is a reasonable chance of success. By undertaking to make the case for military action in this way, the Council would add transparency to its deliberations and make its decisions more likely to be respected, by both Governments and world public opinion. I therefore recommend that the Security Council adopt a resolution setting out these principles and expressing its intention to be guided by them when deciding whether to authorize or mandate the use of force.
12. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 729, No. 10485. [Back to text]
13. See Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 27 (A/47/27), appendix I. [Back to text]
14. General Assembly resolution 2826 (XXVI), annex. [Back to text]
15. See Report of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, New York, 9-20 July 2001 (A/CONF. 192/15), chap. IV. [Back to text]
16. CD/1478. [Back to text]
17. CCW/CONF.I/16 (Part I), annex B. [Back to text]
18. See The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, vol. 5: 1980 (United Nations publications, Sales No. E.81.IX.4), appendix VII. [Back to text]