Featured Image: Photo by Juliana Kozoski on Unsplash.
(Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020, 147pp.)
Thomas Nordstrom has written a useful book which more accurately should have been calles:
“The Need for a World Government in Action”.
He outlines many of the challenges facing the world society and stresses that the United Nations does not have the authority or the power to deal with these challenges adequately. The challenges are interrelated and thus must be faced in an interrelated way. Thus climate change has an impact on land use which has an impact on food production. To improve food production, there must be better education on food issues as well as greater equality among women and men, as in many countries women play a major role in food production, food preperation and food conservation.
Logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization. By FAO, original uploader: w:en:User:Cptnemo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Today, within the halls of the U.N. there are negotiations for a Global Pact on the Environment and for the creation of a World Environment Organization which would be stronger than the existing U.N. Environment Programme. Such a Global Pact for the Environment would clarify important environmental principles and relations between the existing treaties on the environment which have been negotiated separately.
In the United Nations, the international agenda reflects the growing influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the scientific community in shaping policy. We see this vividly in the discussions on the impact of climate change. The distinction that used to be made between national and international questions has almost entirely vanished. NGOs must be able to provide possible avenues of action based on an effective theoretical analysis that acknowledges the complexity of the international environment.
United Nations Environment Programme Logo. By UNEP FI, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Militarization and The Complex Emergencies.
Governments can not at the same time boost expenditures on armaments and deal effectively with ecological deterioration and the consequences of climate change. Militarization has contributed to the neglect of other pressing issues, such as shrinking forests, erosion of soils and falling water tables. Militarization draws energy and efforts away from constructive action to deal with common problems. Militarization creates rigidity at the center of world politics as well as brittleness which leads to regional conflicts and civil wars. This political paralysis is both a cause and a result of the rigidity and the brittleness of current internatinal politics. Opportunities are missed for building upon the more positive elements of a particular situation.
What is often called “complex emergencies” – a combination of political and social disintegration that includes armed conflicts, ethnic violence, state collapse, warlordism, refugee flows and famine – have become one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time. Today’s violent conflicts are often rooted in a mix of exclusion, inequality, mismanagement of natural resources, corruption, and the frustrations that accompany a lack of jobs and opportunitiues. Lack of opportunities sows the seeds of instability and violence.
As Nordstrom points out, behind all the current armed conflicts, there is the presence in a small number of countries of nuclear weapons. If they were used, the level of destruction would be great. Although nuclear disarmament was on the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly from its start, there has been little progress on nuclear disarmament issues.
As world citizen and former President of India S. Radhakrishnan has written:
“To survive we need a revolution in our thoughts and outlook. From the alter of the past we should take the living fire and not the dead ashes. Let us remember the past, be alive to the present and create the future with courage in our hearts and faith in ourselves.”
The great challenge which humanity faces today is to leave behind the culture of violence in which we find ourselves and move rapidly to a culture of peace and solidarity. We can achieve this historic task by casting aside our ancient nationalistic and social prejudices and begin to think and act as responsible Citizens of the World. Nordstrom sets out some of the guideposts.
Rene Wadlow, President Association of World Citizens.