Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action

Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action

Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action

Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action


This volume examines the changing context and meaning of sanctions and security dilemmas that the Security Council now faces.


It gives me great pleasure to introduce this volume on UN Security Council–mandated sanctions.

When the Canadian government gave thought, in the mid-1990s, to how it might best focus its efforts during its next term on the UN Security Council, it concluded that working to improve the effectiveness of UN sanctions regimes would be a fitting and useful priority. Of the very few instruments available to the Council to encourage implementation of its decisions, sanctions are the most frequently used.

It was clear that several of the sanctions regimes mandated by the Council earlier in the 1990s were not working well. Some, indeed, seemed counterproductive. Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which I then chaired, recognized this important factor in its report of April 2000 on sanctions against Iraq and urged the establishment of sanctions regimes that are more targeted at those responsible for the conditions that the UN seeks to change.

On taking its seat in the Council in January 1999, Canada agreed to chair the Council committee on sanctions against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. In carrying out this responsibility, Ambassador Robert Fowler and his colleagues revolutionized the Council's approach to sanctions issues. They showed that greater effectiveness was possible, if a willingness existed to recognize the importance of economic factors in contemporary conflicts and if the Council was prepared to “name and shame” those governments, nonstate actors, and individuals actively undermining sanctions regimes.

Canada provided financial support to the International Peace Academy for the completion in 2000 of the forerunner of the present volume, The Sanctions Decade: Assessing UN Strategies in the 1990s, also by David Cortright and George A. Lopez. In it, the authors carefully analyzed the twelve existing sanctions regimes, documenting their . . .

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