Trade and Globalisation

Setting a progressive United Nations peace and security agenda
10 Nov 2014 09:00

Setting a progressive United Nations peace and security agenda: searching for new narratives.

Conference information

On Monday, November 10 and Tuesday, November 11, The Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in cooperation with the Brazilian thinktank Igarapé organises a thought-provoking Conference on reform of the United Nations (UN), in particular the UN Security Council (UNSC).

There have been literally hundreds of events over the past decade focused on reforming the UN and the UNSC. The UN reform agenda typically focuses on an array of topics, ranging from system-wide coherence to the strengthening of political autonomy of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Secretariat. Meanwhile, debates on UNSC reform have concentrated on expanding permanent and non-permanent membership, the voting system and working methods. It is true that the Council has had, since its inception, some structural reforms, but it still represents the main powers of 1945, and not the reality of the 21st century. To become more legitimate, the UNSC needs expansion and reforms.

Notwithstanding early enthusiasm, concrete progress in reform on both fronts has stalled. There is an urgent need for new and innovative thinking to move the agenda forward. Questions that take central stage during this conference, will therefore be: What are the underlying values and principles that the international community finds worthy of protection? What are the trends and developments in the international arena with regard to upcoming powers, the role of civil society or private sector? What ideas spur from the next generation of policy makers when challenged to think about reform? And how can we translate these new narratives in a road map for UN reform?

In other words, this is not a conference where you will hear old narratives been repeated, but where panellists and audience will be challenged to think out of the box and search for new narratives. This conference will offer a platform for debate for all those who take an interest in the world of tomorrow and who will not settle for a deadlock in the reform agenda, because too much is at stake! 

Full programme of the conferenceBackground information on UNSC reform debateBiographies of all conference speakers 

Winning #UNSCReform essays 

The winners of the #UNSCReform essay contest are:

1. “Security Council Reform: Towards Ad Hoc Security Councils” (Richard Clements) - Essay
2. “Being Different Together” (Wendy Hendriks) - Essay
3. “The Reform of the United Nation Security Council: why, to whom and for what? – A critical perspective to get the Security Council we need” (Gabriel Almeida Ferreira) - Essay
4. "What makes a just war just? Towards more inclusive norms on the authorization of force at the UN Security Council” (Rik Moors) - Essay
The Clingendael Institute congratulates the four price winners: Wendy Hendriks, Rik Moors, Gabriel Almeida Ferreira and Richard Clements. In particular, congrats go to Richard Clements, the author of the winning essays. We are honoured that you participated during the UNSC Reform conference and shared your innovative and out-of-the-box ideas on UNSC reforms with us. Clingendael wishes you all the best in your future careers.
Twitter feed and conference report
The 10 key points of Day 1 of Conference can be found here.
During the conference there was a live Twitter feed. The full timeline can be found on the Storify Conference report
The concluding observations by Bibi van Ginkel can be found here.