USIP was directed by Congress in December 2004 to create a Task Force on the United Nations. The task force assessed the extent to which the United Nations is fulfilling the purposes stated in its Charter and recommended an actionable agenda for the United States on the UN. While not an official U.S. government effort, the Task Force was obligated to provide its report to Congress.

Task Force Members, Senior Advisors, and Partners

The members of the task force were a diverse and bipartisan group of distinguished Americans from a variety of professions and backgrounds. It was co-chaired by Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Mitchell, former majority leader of the Senate.

Other members included: Wesley K. Clark, Wesley K. Clark and Associates; Edwin Feulner, The Heritage Foundation; Roderick Hills, Hills and Stern; Donald McHenry, Georgetown University; Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute; Thomas R. Pickering, The Boeing Company; Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University; A. Michael Spence, Oak Hill Capital Partners; Malcolm Wallop, Asian Studies Center; and R. James Woolsey, Booz Allen Hamilton. The senior advisors to the task force were Charles Boyd, Business Executives for National Security, and J. Robinson West, PFC Energy.

As directed by Congress, the U.S. Institute of Peace organized the Task Force with the support and participation of leading public policy organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institution. These institutions provided experts to support the members of the Task Force.

Task Force Activities

The Task Force organized its work in five thematic areas. In addition to conducting research and taking testimony, members of the Task Force and experts undertook fact-finding missions to United Nations headquarters and to missions in the field. The five thematic areas were as follows:

  1. Preventing and ending conflicts and building stable societies.
  2. Preventing and responding to genocide and gross human rights violations.
  3. Preventing catastrophic terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  4. Ensuring the effectiveness, integrity, transparency, and accountability of the UN system.
  5. Fostering economic development and reducing poverty.

Background

To provide additional information on the background of the Task Force, relevant excerpts from the consolidated appropriations bill and accompanying report are included below. For additional information on the FY 2005 consolidated appropriations bill please visit the Library of Congress Legislative Information on the Internet System (THOMAS).


Language From the FY 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Bill:

United States Institute of Peace

OPERATING EXPENSES

For necessary expenses of the United States Institute of Peace as authorized in the United States Institute of Peace Act, $23,000,000: Provided, That $1,500,000 is for necessary expenses for the Task Force on the United Nations: Provided further, That the Task Force on the United Nations shall submit a report on its findings to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and Senate not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.


Language from the Nonbinding Report Accompanying the FY 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Bill:

. . . [T]he conferees direct the Institute to create a task force to study the United Nations efforts to meet the goals of its charter as signed in June of 1945. This study should address obstacles to achieving such goals, especially the goal of maintaining international peace and security and the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The conferees are deeply troubled by the inaction of the United Nations on many fronts, especially in regard to the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and the allegations of corruption regarding the United Nations Oil-For-Food program.

The task force should consist of experts from the following public policy forums: American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Hoover Institution, and Heritage Foundation.

The conferees anticipate the task force would not include more than 12 members. The conferees expect the results of the study to be presented to the Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of the enactment of this Act.

Latest Publications

Don’t Leave Fragile States Behind in the Fight Against Coronavirus

Don’t Leave Fragile States Behind in the Fight Against Coronavirus

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

By: Corinne Graff

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the virus has demonstrated it can infect anyone, anywhere. The disease has affected 179 countries and regions and has spread to all 50 U.S. states. Yet if the pandemic has spread far and wide, its impacts have not been the same everywhere. The disease may be taking radically different trajectories, even among wealthy countries. While it may be too early to tell how the disease’s spread will play out in specific countries, one thing is certain: the world’s fragile states—where the social contract between citizens and the state is severed or weak—are likely to be the hardest hit, and that could pose a significant risk to the global pandemic response.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

By: William Byrd

In Afghanistan, where corruption and ineffective government have hampered efforts to build a functioning state, the Ministry of Finance has been a standout performer. Competently run since as early as 2002, the ministry collects substantial revenue, manages aid inflows, pays public employees, funds key public services and has won the confidence of donors. Now, all that is threatened. The Afghan government is eviscerating the ministry—carving out key constituent parts, putting them directly under the presidential palace, and gravely weakening one of the country’s most effective institutions. It’s a move that’s bad for Afghanistan’s governance and financial viability. It will harm the country’s development and jeopardizes the sustainability of peace if an agreement is reached with the Taliban.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

The Coronavirus Requires Global Cooperation—Now

The Coronavirus Requires Global Cooperation—Now

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Tyler Beckelman

As the world’s privileged cope with the COVID pandemic through telework and sheltering at home, millions of people face grim struggles for survival, packed into informal settlements or camps for people already displaced in war-torn or fragile states. Governments have missed opportunities for a stronger international response, partly because of great-power rivalries. The economically powerful Group of 20 nations and international financial institutions have made a start at buoying the world’s economy—but other multilateral forums are mired in stasis. The U.N. Security Council should act to get ahead of the pandemic in fragile states and seize the moment to advance peace in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Fragility & Resilience

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and new behavioral practices—from social distancing to avoiding handshakes and hugs—become expected norms overnight, there are crucial policy lessons to be learned from struggles against previous outbreaks of disease in Africa. Despite widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, and relatively few health professionals, there is an encouraging, long record of African countries—often with significant international assistance and cooperation—eventually managing to overcome dire health challenges. For non-African countries already facing large numbers of COVID-19 infections, as well as for African countries where the epidemic is now at an early stage, policymakers would do well to recall these four lessons of past epidemics—of both what to do and, perhaps almost as importantly, what not to do to confront this global threat.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Dr. William J. Long

The spread of infectious diseases can foster opportunities for international cooperation, even between rivals. During the Cold War, for example, American and Soviet scientists collaborated to develop and improve a polio vaccine. The unprecedented challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic put in stark relief the need for enhanced international cooperation. What role can the United States play in building such cooperation? In his 2011 book “Pandemics and Peace,” published in 2011 by USIP Press, Dr. William Long contended that infectious disease control presents an unparalleled opportunity for American leadership in global public health. Long looks back at the recommendations he made for U.S. global health policy and how they are relevant today and at how other outbreaks in recent years have led to increased cooperation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications