This responds to Weiss' article in the March issue. The efforts of UN Secretary-General Annan at reform may have been disappointing, but reform efforts must be continued. Positive change in how the UN operates can come through a capacity to understand and communicate across diverse individuals and organizations. Coordination remains the key, both through a 'super' agency and in the very different operational activities in the field. Responding to 'humanitarian' emergencies has become more complex as the lines are blurred between those that are man-made and others caused by nature. The separation between humanitarian and military action is sensitively tricky. Humanitarian affairs need to be taken seriously again by the 'big players' if there is to be progress on reform. Ideally, there would be formal and informal mechanisms for allowing a broad range of interested parties, including NGOs, to contribute to reform - not least through open debate.
Lee, Kelley (1998) Finding a Better Way for Humanitarian Action - Creating a Global Institutional Framework. A Rejoinder, Security Dialogue 29 (2): 151–155.