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

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Curbing Corruption after Conflict: Anticorruption Mobilization in Guatemala

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Walter Flores; Miranda Rivers

This report analyzes the fight against corruption in Guatemala by social movements over the past five years, homing in on their major successes and challenges in working to advance transparency, accountability, and good governance. The lessons drawn from these efforts can be applicable for other movements around the world operating in similar contexts. The work also has a larger bearing for international actors helping states build peace and democratic governance following prolonged violent conflict.

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North Korean Phone Money: Airtime Transfers as a Precursor to Mobile Payment System

North Korean Phone Money: Airtime Transfers as a Precursor to Mobile Payment System

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Yonho Kim

More than one in five North Koreans have cell phones, and increasingly rely on them to conduct financial transactions. Many of these transactions involve trading cell phone airtime, or “phone money,” for goods and services, and even for offering bribes. This report examines the potential for airtime trading to evolve into a formal mobile money system, which could enhance market activity and stability while providing opportunities for the country to engage with the international community.

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Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Patricia M. Kim; Vikram J. Singh

After a deadly skirmish in June and shots fired in September, Sino-Indian tensions have escalated to a level not seen in decades. Both countries’ foreign ministers recently agreed to a five-point framework to manage the situation, showing both sides want tensions to plateau rather than deteriorate further. But the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will not easily go back to a well-managed bilateral irritant—right now, it’s a dangerous flashpoint and likely to stay that way. USIP’s Vikram Singh and Patricia Kim look at the recent discussions, what’s driving the escalation, how the conflict affects the region, and what history can tell us about how it might be resolved.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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Searching for COVID-19 Ceasefires: Conflict Zone Impacts, Needs, and Opportunities

Searching for COVID-19 Ceasefires: Conflict Zone Impacts, Needs, and Opportunities

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

By: Tyler Jess Thompson

On March 23, 2020, as COVID-19 was first appearing in many conflict-affected areas, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a call for warring parties to cease hostilities and instead wage battle against the pandemic. Drawing on an examination of conflicts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cameroon, Israel and Palestine, Libya, the Philippines, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere—this report looks at how COVID-19 has affected conflict parties’ interests, positions, and capacities, and provides recommendation for how the international community leverage the pandemic to promote peace.

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