The HLR (High Level Review of UN Sanctions), sponsored by the Governments of Australia, Finland, Germany, Greece, and Sweden, and organized by CCSI and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (Brown University) is a collective effort of many UN Member States, representatives of the Secretariat, UN agencies and organizations, as well as external stakeholders of the UN sanctions system. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson inaugurated the HLR in May 2014.

The concept for the system-wide inquiry was to identify and promote synergetic effects among the disparate bodies, instruments and mechanisms that over the years have evolved from the mostly ad-hoc relationships mandated in Security Council sanctions resolutions.

Pertinent documents including the Compendium of the High-Level Review are available in six official UN languages on the project specific website.

The project was proposed  by CCSI in a chapter on sanctions implementation contained in Understanding United Nations Targeted Sanctions, a volume edited by the principals of the Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC), Thomas Biersteker of The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Sue E. Eckert (Watson Institute), and Marcos Tourinho (The Graduate Institute). Noting the massive growth of sanctions regimes, measures, and implementation actors, as well as challenges arising from ineffective implementation procedures, the chapter concluded by recommending:

“To address these challenges and ensure the effective implementation of UN sanctions, we believe that a systematic review of current sanctions policies and implementation practices is necessary. The UN’s institutional structure and staffing responsible for sanctions should be assessed, as well as needs for greater coordination, capacity assistance, training, and new initiatives focused on enforcement.”