In a letter sent this morning to Assembly President Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia, Mr. Annan says former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun of Thailand will chair the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

The Secretary-General says the Panel is “tasked with examining the major threats and challenges the world faces in the broad field of peace and security, including economic and social issues insofar as they relate to peace and security, and making recommendations for the elements of a collective response.”

The other 15 members of the Panel include Robert Badinter of France, Member of the French Senate and former Minister of Justice; João Clemente Baena Soares of Brazil, former Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS); former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); and Mary Chinery-Hesse of Ghana, Vice-Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission and former Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Gareth Evans of Australia, President of the International Crisis Group and former Minister of Foreign Affairs; David Hannay of the United Kingdom, former UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and UK Special Envoy to Cyprus; Enrique Iglesias of Uruguay, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; Amre Moussa of Egypt, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; and Satish Nambiar of India, former Lt. General in the Indian Army and Force Commander of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR); are also on the panel.

The remaining members are Sadako Ogata of Japan, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees; former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov of the Russian Federation; former Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Qian Qichen of China; Nafis Sadik of Pakistan, former Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA); Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania, former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU); and Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft (ret.) of the United States, former US National Security Adviser.

In his letter to Mr. Hunte, the Secretary-General notes, “The past year has shaken the foundations of collective security and undermined confidence in the possibility of collective responses to our common problems and challenges. It has also brought to the fore deep divergences of opinion on the range and nature of the challenges we face, and are likely to face in the future.

“The aim of the High-Level Panel is to recommend clear and practical measures for ensuring effective collective action, based upon a rigorous analysis of future threats to peace and security, an appraisal of the contribution collection action can make, and a thorough assessment of existing approaches, instruments and mechanisms, including the principal organs of the United Nations.”

The Secretary-General stresses that the Panel is not being asked to formulate policies on specific issues, nor on the UN’s role in specific places. “Rather, it is being asked to provide a new assessment of the challenges ahead, and to recommend the changes which will be required if these challenges are to be met effectively through collective action,” he says.

Specifically, the Panel is charged with examining today’s global threats and providing an analysis of future challenges to international peace and security, the Secretary-General adds. “Whilst there may continue to exist a diversity of perception on the relative importance of the various threats facing particular Member States on an individual basis, it is important to find an appropriate balance at a global level. It is also important to understand the connections between different threats,” he says.

The Panel will also identify clearly the contribution that collective action can make in addressing these challenges and recommend the changes necessary to ensure effective collective action, including but not limited to a review of the principal organs of the United Nations, the letter says.”The Panel’s work is confined to the field of peace and security, broadly interpreted,” Mr. Annan concludes. “That is, it should extend its analysis and recommendations to other issues and institutions, including economic and social, to the extent that they have a direct bearing on future threats to peace and security.”

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