The Withering of UN Humanitarian Reform. A Rejoinder

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Pugh, Michael (1998) The Withering of UN Humanitarian Reform. A Rejoinder , Security Dialogue 29(2): 157–161.

The momentum for reform of the UN has not dissipated, as Weiss suggests. If reform had not recurred throughout its history, the UN might not have survived. Nevertheless, Annan's reform package conveyed a sense of déja vu. It focused on institutional structures rather than on operational requirements or major fluctuations in relief funding. The failure of the United States to pay its debts to the UN contributed to this, raising doubts about whether the US government and Republican Congress are interested in reform. In dealing with the response to humanitarian emergencies, there is one view, sidelined in the 1997 reforms, in support of a high-profile unitary agency with a single chain of command. Against this is the lead-agency solution, reflecting a neorealist view of humanitarian response and coordination. The UN has to come to terms with the invasive impact of transnational, non-state actors in humanitarian crises.

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