Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

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World Humanitarian Summit: One Small Step in a Long Journey

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) concluded this week in Istanbul with mixed results. Although a few significant initiatives emerged, including on financing and education, the summit made little headway on other urgent priorities. These include mobilizing a new crop of humanitarian donors, ensuring compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, and getting states to uphold international humanitarian law, including the safety of relief workers. Progress on these fronts will await the opening of the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly in September, when world leaders convene for real intergovernmental negotiations. The Istanbul Summit was merely the first step in mobilizing global attention and political will on the need to rescue a world in flight. Read more »

Why the State of the World Is Better Than You Think

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A podium is pictured at the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) is pictured in Paris, France, on November 29, 2015. A podium is pictured at the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) is pictured in Paris, France, on November 29, 2015 (Christian Hartmann/Reuters).

Coauthored with Megan Roberts, associate director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Given global headlines, you might think the world is terribly off course. Geopolitical rivalry threatens stability from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. Jihadi terrorists sow mayhem throughout the Middle East. A scary virus emerges in Latin America, spreading across borders. A Brazilian president is brought down, as the Panama Papers expose corruption in other lands. Publics everywhere, alienated by yawning inequality and anemic growth, vent their frustration at a system rigged for moneyed elites. Populist politicians, sensing the sour mood, promise to reverse globalization by building walls to keep out foreigners and abandoning trade agreements. Read more »

Thy Neighbor’s Keeper: Improving Global Humanitarian Response

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Migrants and refugees sit on a railway track at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 3, 2016. (Marko Djurica/Reuters) Migrants and refugees sit on a railway track at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 3, 2016. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A record-setting sixty-million individuals are currently displaced due to violent conflict. While the world’s attention has been gripped by the million who have reached Europe’s shores over the past year, the global crisis of displacement is vastly greater in scope. In anticipation of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2016, the International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop to diagnose shortcomings of the current humanitarian regime and propose recommendations for its reform. Here are five important takeaways. Read more »

The Peace Imperative: Creating Sustainable Peace through Gender Inclusion

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016. Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016 (Rodi Said/Reuters).

Coauthored with Erin Sielaff, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The United Nations is attempting to restart yet another set of peace talks in Syria and Yemen, two deeply conflicted states. After years of struggling to foster a negotiated peace, hopes are high that these latest rounds will be successful. The more likely scenario is that they end like their numerous predecessors—in failure. Read more »

A Brighter Future for the Planet

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A photo taken by Expedition 46 flight engineer Tim Peake International Space Station shows Italy, the Alps, and the Mediterranean on January, 25, 2016 (Reuters/NASA). A photo taken by Expedition 46 flight engineer Tim Peake International Space Station shows Italy, the Alps, and the Mediterranean on January, 25, 2016 (Reuters/NASA).

Coauthored with Naomi Egel, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations

This year, the global environmental outlook is sunnier than last Earth Day. Read more »

So You Want to Be a Global Power: South Africa’s Ambitions on the World Stage

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
South African President Jacob Zuma addresses attendees during the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 28, 2015. South African President Jacob Zuma addresses attendees during the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 28, 2015 (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Naomi Egelresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

As a member of the BRICS, a leader in African peacekeeping, and an aspiring UN Security Council permanent member, South Africa plays a significant role in global governance and aspires to a greater role. To better understand the factors driving South African foreign policy—including both aspirations and limitations—the International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop in Cape Town on March 1, 2016, in conjunction with the South African Institute of International Affairs. Read more »

This Is Your UN on Drugs: From Prohibition to Flexibility in Counternarcotics Policy

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A Mexican Federal Judicial policeman carries uprooted marijuana plants towards a bonfire as smoke fills a clandestine plantation some four miles east of Santa Cruz de Alaya, in Sinaloa state. (Reuters photographer/Reuters) A Mexican Federal Judicial policeman carries uprooted marijuana plants towards a bonfire as smoke fills a clandestine plantation some four miles east of Santa Cruz de Alaya, in Sinaloa state. (Reuters photographer/Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

World leaders gather at the United Nations this week (April 19-21) for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem. This is the first such event since 1998, when member states committed themselves to policies aimed at eliminating illegal drugs by 2008. Trillions of taxpayer dollars and many destroyed lives later, that goal remains elusive—and illusory. This year’s UNGASS offers an overdue opportunity to rethink the war on drugs, and to appreciate how much attitudes have changed over the last eighteen years. Simply put, the longstanding global consensus behind prohibition is fracturing. Though there is little appetite to overhaul the three main international treaties—the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Expanded Convention, and the 1988 Convention against Drug Trafficking—a growing number of governments are calling for greater national flexibility in interpreting and enforcing these international obligations. Read more »

The Nuclear Security Summits: Welcoming Strangers Bearing Gifts

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama walks onstage for his press conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2016. U.S. President Barack Obama walks onstage for his press conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2016 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Naomi Egelresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The nuclear security summits, one of President Obama’s greatest legacies, have unquestionably made the world safer by reducing global quantities of fissile materials and improving the security of existing nuclear and radioactive materials. When President Obama hosted the first such summit in 2010, there was plenty of skepticism about what an ad hoc gathering of heads of state could accomplish. But that meeting surpassed expectations—as did subsequent ones in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014. World leaders arrived at each summit with meaningful pledges to lock up the world’s most dangerous materials—and they followed through on them. The fourth (and last) summit, held just two weeks ago (March 31-April 1, 2016) in Washington, went even further. It established mechanisms to ensure continued progress on nuclear security without summitry. Read more »

A New Approach to Global Health Governance

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan delivers a speech during a summit on health and sanitary security in Lyon, France, on March 23, 2016. World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan delivers a speech during a summit on health and sanitary security in Lyon, France, on March 23, 2016 (Francois Mori/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by my colleague Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Over the past fifteen years, global health has become increasingly politicized. Development commitments through the Millennium Development Goals, foreign policy interests, and global health security concerns have been primary drivers of global health governance. The security approach has been successful in mobilizing Western governments and leaders—such as the Group of Seven (G7)—to address public health emergencies of international concern. Now this cohort of leaders is seeking to expand efforts to address other global health challenges, such as inequity and universal health coverage. This new political environment requires a novel approach to global health governance. On the one hand, classic development aid is shrinking, and on the other, the global health policy space is expanding rapidly. What’s more, rising powers have discovered that public health aid can serve as a vital element in efforts to build alliances and charm new friends. This occurs at a time when the growing refugee and humanitarian crisis requires new financing models. Read more »

The Race to Be UN Secretary-General: Five Questions for the Candidates

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he arrives at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain,  on February 4, 2016. (Toby Melville/Reuters) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he arrives at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain, on February 4, 2016. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by Megan Roberts, associate director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Next week the United Nations General Assembly will begin a series of informal meetings with candidates for the next secretary-general (SG). The official list of those seeking the United Nations’ top spot is beginning to take shape. Though still far from a truly open and competitive process, this year’s race to succeed current Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is already very different from the past. Read more »