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The United Nations and the Rationale for Collective Intelligence By Bassey Ekpe ...

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The United Nations and the Rationale for Collective Intelligence

Introduction

The idea of collective intelligence has grown in importance within the UN reform programmes, intergovernmental agencies, and governmental and nongovernmental organisations, and is gradually gaining ground in scholarly research.1 This notwithstanding, the idea of such a concept with regard to UN intelligence system is widely misunderstood, and debates about it have, so far and in general terms, been both misplaced and anecdotal. This is partly because there is no known detailed study of such a concept. The association of strategic intelligence with high politics, the view that intelligence serves the exclusive interests of governments, and the lack of a consistent theory on intelligence, as well as the important question about the exact role of intelligence organisations, also combine to foster the widely held view that such a system is infeasible and incompatible with the UN system. This study examines the rationale for a UN intelligence capability and explores the question of whether a strategic intelligence is both desirable and feasible within the UN structure. By exploring both existing and potential barriers, it is shown that with suitable refinements an intelligence structure need not be incompatible with the UN system.

A study of this kind not only raises questions of both practical and academic importance but also presents multifaceted issues that need