Tokyo, Japan
December 1999

First of all, let me express my gratitude for having been invited to the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

Japan, through a group of scholars, has played an important role in the promotion of international law and the study of international affairs. I should like especially to thank both Professor Owada and Judge Oda, two colleagues and friends. I mention them particularly because I have worked with them for a long time. I have read their publications and followed with admiration their careers in international affairs.

Today, my purpose is to speak about the connection between Peace, Development and Democracy in the post-Cold War era.

All three are interlocked and I will try to explain what this means with reference to the three agendas I presented during my mandate as the Secretary-General of the United Nations: Agenda for Peace in 1992, Agenda for Development in 1994 and Agenda for Democratization in 1996.

Peacekeeping, development and democracy are being redefined and extended in the post-Cold War era. The connections between them are beginning to emerge. We will need a new level of understanding, and a new depth of commitment to understand the importance of this connection if we want to make human security a reality.

Let me mention each one in turn. The first concept is Peace:


After the heavy hand of the bipolar system was lifted, violence has erupted in many regions of the world.

The United Nations in the Cold War decades created the concept of peacekeeping. After the Cold War the United Nations peacekeepers took on vast new duties. The United Nations started as many new operations in my term as Secretary-General as in the previous 45 years.

We must realize that today's operations are not "peacekeeping" in the traditional sense. The earlier missions involved United Nations forces which were lightly armed. Firstly, they were interposed between two States in order to maintain a cease-fire. Secondly, they were there with the agreement of all concerned. Thirdly, they were an international presence, not a force expected to take drastic action or to intervene.

First, United Nations operations may take place today where there is no peace to keep. Secondly, they take place where new forms of assertive action may be required. United Nations forces protect relief shipments, provide services for victims, respond to refugee needs, enforce embargoes, remove anti-personnel mines, and try to confiscate arms. Thirdly, United Nations operations now involve a large civilian dimension beyond military-related steps, such as monitoring elections, public safety, information and communication, institution-building, and the restoration of infrastructure and administrative services.

Peacekeeping today is vastly different from the past in both quantity and quality. It is even chronologically different. Peace requires preventive diplomacy, peace-making, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building. The cycle continues through perpetual rounds. Increasingly, we can see that work for peace provides us with no place of rest. It is a continuous process.

Peacekeeping must take place: before, during, and after conflicts.

(1) Before conflict, preventive diplomacy is of vast importance. In matters of peace and security, as in medicine, prevention is self-evidently better than cure. It saves lives and money and it forestalls suffering. This approach has traditionally involved personal contacts, good offices, fact-finding missions and early-warning systems. No other endeavour for peace repays our time, effort and investment so well.

Today, the concept of preventive diplomacy is expanding. It may require, for example, observers as a means of dealing with violence. United Nations observers in South Africa, in Haiti, in Georgia, and in Guatemala have helped reduce tensions, contain demonstrations and stop clashes from getting out of control.

And within this concept has come a step never before taken by the United Nations: preventive deployment. In December 1992, the Security Council decided to put units of United Nations peacekeepers into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in order to prevent a wider Balkan war. This is an example of the new range of actions needed for preventive diplomacy in the future.

(2) During conflicts, expanded forms of peacekeeping are taking place. In a growing number of conflicts, protection of humanitarian relief shipments is required. This need was most dramatically evident in Somalia, in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Similarly, the Security Council authorized United Nations forces to secure the Sarajevo airport and related lines of communication so that vital humanitarian aid could get through in the former Yugoslavia.

Enlarged peacekeeping during conflict also may require sanctions when cease-fire agreements break down. Military measures such as "no-fly" zones may be involved. In Cambodia, in 1992, the Security Council imposed petroleum sanctions against any party not complying with the cease-fire disarmament or national reconciliation requirements of the Paris Agreements.

And when the rules of engagement for peacekeeping operations are not sufficient, United Nations forces may need authorization to react to force. In some cases, they may use force to prevent an escalation in violence. In the former Yugoslavia, for example, in Eastern Slavonia, if territory was not given up in accordance with an agreed peace plan, "peace enforcement" by United Nations troops on the ground was the only solution.

(3) After conflicts must come post-conflict peace-building. This involves sustained efforts to identify and support structures to build trust and well-being among peoples. Such measures include commercial, cultural and educational projects which are necessary to build bridges between parties to a conflict. The goal is to forestall a re-emergence of cultural and national tensions which could spark renewed hostilities. Without such efforts, no peace agreement is likely to last for long. The concept of post-conflict peace-building is the counterpart of preventive diplomacy, which seeks to avoid the breakdown of peaceful conditions. On a deeper level, both are contributions to the second stage of work for world peace: development.


Just as the concept of "peacekeeping" needs a new definition, so it must be for the concept of "development". What was once a matter of economics is now seen to involve many other dimensions.

We are forced to this new perception by the failure of development as it has been known in the past. The Soviet model for development has collapsed. Western policies and programmes of assistance have often proved disappointing. Development, in its traditional meaning, has failed to transform poor countries and countries in post-conflict situations. Achieving a new foundation for development may well be the most difficult intellectual task of our time.

The situation is, however, far from hopeless. There is no excuse for pessimism. It is true that many socio-economic problems have not been solved. But it is also true that many countries have radically transformed their societies and economies. Industrialization and information technology provide a new basis for co-operative international progress. And this has contributed to agreement on some common values and a shared vision of the kind of world we want to see: the global village of tomorrow.

Development cannot guarantee peace; but without development on the widest scale, we know that the young will be restless and resentful. Land will not be productive. People will fight for resources. And creativity will be misdirected and disorder may prevail.

Without a new and workable concept of development, the United Nations will face an endless sequence of the type of conflicts we are confronting at this moment. And new conflicts, with worsening implications, can be expected.

Like peacekeeping, development is best understood as involving stages.

Before conflict, development can help prevent it from breaking out. By engaging people's energies positively, development can absorb the impact of differences, can ease confrontations, and can help avoid economic and social deterioration.

During conflict, development is replaced by humanitarian relief. Under conditions of conflict, development cannot go forward. Out of necessity it is replaced by humanitarian assistance to people made hungry, driven from their homes or otherwise harmed by the fighting. Such relief efforts, even when successful, conclude with a situation that is worse than before conflict began.

After conflict, development takes the form of reconstruction, rehabilitation. When conflict has stopped, true development once again may take root. Post-conflict peace-building can start.

A long-term vision is required at this point. An example is the new concept of "sustainable development". At Rio in 1992, the leaders of the Member States of the United Nations agreed that every nation's domestic economic policy must take into account its impact on the global environment. The Rio Conference thus added to the body of established principles that bind us all. Abuse of the environment for economic gain destroys its very purpose; it kills the goose that lays the golden egg. Sustainable development will be central to development's new definition.

In 1995, which was the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, a Summit on Social Development took place. It has provided a new momentum in favour of the concept of development. It called upon us to produce a comprehensive vision and an integral plan of action. It was the historical moment when all the many dimensions of development were brought together.

The third concept is democracy.


There can be no flowering of development as I have described it without the third great concept I want to emphasize : democratization. Peace is a prerequisite to development. Democracy is essential if development is to succeed over the long term.

Real development of a State must be based on the participation of its population and requires some form of democracy. To ensure such an achievement, democratization must not only take place inside a State, but among States in the international community. Key factors are : (1) international law, (2) human rights and (3) international assistance to democratization.

The present decade, which will end in the next few days, was dedicated to international law. Virtually every aspect of what we call "the international community" is rooted in the great project of international law that began with Grotius over three centuries ago. It is a process to which distinguished lawyers of different parts of the world have contributed a great deal.

The importance of international law in dealing with settlement of conflict is obvious. What is less obvious, but equally important, is that international law is critical to development. A network of uniform commercial codes can speed commerce and link different cultures in common commitments. Economic transactions, from the smallest farmer to vast global corporations, insist on reliability. That requires rules that span borders, as well as mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of commercial disputes.

The cause of human rights has advanced considerably in the last four decades.

Human rights are principles of value by themselves. But they also make practical sense. Development cannot fully succeed where human rights are neglected. This is the age of information and communication. And it is the age of people-centred development. People must be free to think, act, and communicate not only as political but as economic beings. So human rights and human security become a pillar of development.

Human rights. Equal rights. Government under law. Economic opportunities. Freedom of thought and speech. Individual involvement and governmental accountability : all are the attributes of democratization.

Throughout most of this century and the last one, democracy was regarded as something possessed by a few fortunate States and practiced within their borders. The international scene was defined by power politics. A balance of power provided an international system for the nations of the world ; democracy among States, international democracy was not even considered as a possibility.

The United Nations Charter offered a new vision. With its opening words : "We the Peoples of the United Nations ," democratization was built into the world organization. Even States whose internal politics were not democratic joined a representative parliament in which all States, large and small, were equal. The United Nations is taking on a wide array of new responsibilities to assist the progress of democratization within States and among States.

Like peacekeeping and development, the process of democratization is best understood as involving stages.

Before conflict, democracy within a State can help prevent internal confrontations and disputes. By engaging political parties, ethnic groups, minorities or tribes in discussion, debate and negotiation within the framework of national institutions, democracy can help to avoid the use of force.

Democracy among States can perform the same service. Studies based on serious statistics have proved that wars and armed conflicts between two democratic States seldom happen. On the contrary, non-democratic States are more tempted by military adventures.

During armed conflict, democracy hardly exists. Military objectives will prevail, disinformation will prevail, opposition will not be tolerated. In the case of a civil war, the situation will be more complex, and often the basic governmental institutions will cease to function.

After conflict, the transition to democracy in States emerging from war is particularly difficult. The economy is completely destroyed, civil society becomes weaker or disappears. In civil war the leaders are usually the same leaders that were formerly engaged in the armed conflict. Furthermore the potential recurrence of the conflict may threaten the peace process. This is what happened in Angola.

In recent years, the United Nations has ventured into an entirely new field : long-term monitoring of human rights. El Salvador, Mozambique and Cambodia provided the first examples, in the context of the peace agreements which brought an end to the armed conflicts in these countries.

The UN sent missions to study the situation of human rights in Lithuania and Estonia. This was conceived as an effort of preventive diplomacy to defuse tensions between those nations and the Russian Federation.

In the Secretariat in New York a new office was created whose purpose, in essence, is to deal with electoral assistance requested by Member States. This is a part of the efforts to promote democratization. In the short period since 1992, this office has handled dozens and dozens of requests from Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin America and Africa. All these require technical and electoral assistance and sending observers.

In the International Organization of the Francophonie of which I am the Secretary-General, we have given electoral assistance to many countries in co-operation with the UN, the Commonwealth, the O.A.U., the Arab League and the European Union. Our assistance was not limited to the electoral period only, but we were also involved in the preparatory stages of the elections, discussion with the political parties, civic education of the population. Furthermore, we have often taken part in the post-electoral process to ensure a peaceful transition to the new majority.

But democracy within States may only be fully sustained over time if linked to increasing democratization among States and at all levels of the international system.

Among States, the United Nations is providing a framework for democratization. It is a forum where all voices can be heard. It provides a means of consensus-building. Preserving the moral authority of the United Nations requires the fullest participation and engagement of all States. This, in turn, calls for the involvement of all levels of international life : non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, parliamentarians, business and professional communities, the media and the public at large. It also means applying the principles of democratization within the United Nations itself.

The time has come to fulfil the logic of the Charter and pursue not only democratization within States, but throughout the international system.

These then are the three great tasks of the United Nations as set down by the Charter :

Without peace, there can be no development and there can be no democracy.

Without development, there can be no democracy and, without the basic elements of well-being, societies will disintegrate and enter into disputes.

Without democracy, no real development can occur. And without such development, peace cannot long be maintained.

Thus the three great priorities are interlocked.

The heart of this interconnection is the difficult question raised by timing among peace, development and democracy. In some cases, peace, development and democracy have been pursued and achieved simultaneously. Such was the case in El Salvador and Mozambique, where the United Nations' effort in support of democratization served as a link between conflict resolution on the one hand, and reconstruction and development on the other hand. In other cases, however, the joint pursuit of these three goals has proved more difficult at times, contributing to political instability, social disarray, and economic crisis.

Democratization requires as a precondition the achievement within a nation of a certain level of peace and a certain level of development. Both development and peace are essential ; yet the articulation between development and democracy is more complex when development is based on foreign assistance. Can the democratization of a State be a condition for foreign assistance ? Can the interruption of the democratic process be a reason for aid suspension ? What are the criteria regarding what constitutes a regressive situation in the democratic process ?

I do not pretend to provide easy answers to these questions. The discussion which we will have later may help us to find solutions in order to understand the new approach to international assistance.

Let us conclude by trying to understand the complexity of the articulation between peace development and democracy by formulating four basic rules :

(1) The potential recurrence of conflict is a constant threat to the peace process and to human security. Hence any external support for post-conflict peace-building, post-conflict development and post-conflict democracy-building must be consistent and sustained.

(2) International assistance must be phased over time, focusing on development before the conflict, on humanitarian aid during the conflict, rehabilitation after the conflict, and sustainable development aid in order to build peace and promote human security.

(3) There is no one model of democratization or democracy suitable to all societies. Democracy cannot be exported or imported. Each State must be free to decide for itself its priorities for the welfare of its people.

(4) Democratization within States must also be supported by a process of democratization among States. The globalization of the market economy must be controlled by a global democracy.

© Copyright 2001 by the Japan Institute of International Affairs