ICM Briefs UN Delegates from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Others

ICM Chair Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Hardeep Puri briefed delegates from the Eastern European and Western European and Others groups on February 17th and 19th, respectively.

The two briefings followed two earlier meetings with representatives from the GRULAC and Asia-Pacific Groups as part of an effort by the ICM to inform UN member states about the newly launched initiative and its objectives.

“The current global order is under genuine systemic challenges on multiple levels, and it is important for us not to assume that it will function indefinitely,” Mr. Rudd said. This means that the multilateral system, with the UN at its core, needs to be under constant review, with a look at maintaining its relevance and effectiveness over time.

Non-state actors, fast urbanization, climate change, humanitarian and health crises are threatening the global system in a way that could not be predicted 70 years ago when the UN system was established, the chair and the secretary-general said. Through its work, which will culminate in a final report to be published by the end of 2016, the ICM will assess these threats, understand their causes, and offer practical recommendations aimed at alleviating them.

One of the ICM’s key strengths is its independence, Mr. Rudd said, as the Commission is not affiliated with the UN or any of its agencies. That said, Mr. Rudd noted that when the initiative was first presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he was “delighted” that such an independent review was being conducted, thus underscoring the organization’s support for it.

A review of the system does not necessarily mean a complete redesign of it, Mr. Rudd said. “We have no intention of trying to construct a multilateral paradise or a perfect system,” he said. “The whole point is to ensure we can bring together the most practical reform proposals.”

The ICM will analyze the multilateral system through the lens of 15 issue areas intended to be the constituent parts of the final report. Instead of focusing on specific institutions and how they can respond to a given challenge, the issue areas identify the threats themselves first. “It’s better to think clearly about what the substantial global challenges in these issue areas are,” Mr. Rudd said. “That way we can think openly and clearly about the threats.”

In the upcoming weeks, the ICM will host a series of retreats that will gather experts, academics, and member state representatives to review the first issue papers currently being drafted.