Tag: <span>the U.N. General Assembly</span>

Thomas Nordstrom Book Reviews

Thomas Nordstrom. A World Government in Action.

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.
   
As governments and U.N. Secretariat members become aware of an issue, the issue is taken up in one or another of the U.N. Specialized Agencies – FAO, WHO, ILO, UNESCO, or a new program is created : the Environment Programme, or different programs on the issue of women. 
 
FAO Logo
 
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
 
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.
 
 
 
   

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Education of World Citizenships.

A Day of Deeper Peace.

Featured Image: Photo by Artem Podrez in Pexels.

21 September is the U.N. sponsored International Day of Peace chosen to mark the annual start of the U.N. General Assembly.  The General Assembly touches upon all the armed conflicts and tension areas. It can highlight the peace missions of the U.N. peacekeeper troops at work in different parts of the world.  Often, there are informal talks behind the scenes among the representatives of States in conflict. 

However, there is little or no avenue for talks with non-State armed groups such as ISIS.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have no direct standing with the General Assembly.  Consultative status is granted by the Economic and Social Council.  However, NGO representatives are active in the hallways and coffee bars during the General Assembly, and government representatives become aware of their suggestions.

Louise Diamond.

However, a deeper approach to peace building is necessary, and the Day of Peace is a moment when these deeper approaches can be expressed. Thus, the Association of World Citizens has stressed the peacebuilding approach of Louise Diamond.

Louise Diamond, a co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC, works in areas of inter-ethnic conflict to empower peacebuilders.

Our power to empower is perhaps the most important role we can play in the 21st century. The more individuals who feel empowered to work in their own systems for peace and conflict transformation, the closer the world comes to that critical mass that will allow for a massive leap of consciousness, allowing new processes for peace that were previously unimaginable to become normative and easy.” She stresses that the Spirit of Peace is a living process, encoded in our hearts, embodied in our words, expressed through our thoughts and empowered through our choices. Peace “is the everyday practical matter of how we can live together harmoniously, dealing creatively and effectively with the inevitable differences, hurts and fears that arise in human relationships… On a larger scale, peace is a political goal of nations and peoples; on a smaller scale, inner peace is a personal goal for those of us who are trying to live more consciously within this frenzied world.” (1)

The world can seem   frenzied  as:

a new cycle is beginning, one that stems from the recognition of the fact that we are one. Favoring a relational, intuitional, opportunity-oriented way of thinking and a community, inter-connective, partnership approach to social relations, this new way of being is built on our emerging understanding of universal truths: matter is energy with meaning and motion. Life is not static; it is flow. We are not broken, we are whole. If we oppress others, we oppress ourselves…Even as the old systems disintegrate and fade away; pioneers among us are creating new ways of living and working together that honor the truth of our oneness. I happen to believe that peacebuilding is at the forefront of this wave, and that its pioneers are and will be among the greatest champions of a new era.”

 

Louise Diamond’s views will be familiar to those who deal with individual therapy .As she writes:

I found that whether I was working with individuals, couples, families or organizations, the work was inevitably about the issues of power and healing. In short, people were struggling to find peace and balance within themselves and to live and work harmoniously with each other.”

Her road map for action is based on four principles based on faith and common sense but that are also the lessons learned from experiences – her own and that of other peacebuilders whose views she shares.

These lessons have to do with our basic unity and wholeness, our interdependence, the power of love for reconciliation, and our ability through conscious thought and action, to shape the world we live in.”

Hers is n inquiry into the practical implications of these spiritual lessons.

Day of Peace

 

How do we heal ancient wounds and restore justice?. How do we ensure healthy communities?

Peace can be envisaged as having three basic aspects – the water, ice, steam analogy. The most fundamental aspect – the water stage – we could call “metaphysical” and has to do with peace as order, harmony, and unity. Then there is the “serenity” aspect, often an inner peace, which is expressed as calm, tranquillity, equanimity. This calm, however, is also a source of energy, a will to action. “For me, peace is literally a powerhouse of strength. I experience peace as a specific vibration of a dynamic state of being, which, like a song, radiates from my heart and soul.” The third aspect is that of “relationship – agreement, accord, rapport. The Spirit of Peace reminds us that these three aspects are really one.

Peace as harmony, order, tranquillity is very close to the Taoist image of the Tao. As in Taoism, there are many avenues to tap into this flow of peace: music, poetry, dance, communing with nature, making love, deep relaxation, prayer and meditation.

When we tap into that energy, we have access to vision, intuition, creativity, synergy, and the power of miracles – resources of mind, body, and spirit far beyond our day-to-day awareness. When we rest there, we are at home; we have found peace. The Spirit of Peace arises from this place. Our work, when confronted with our small-minded sense of separation, our lack of harmony, our experience of conflict, is to center home. (By ‘centering home’, I mean touching the Source within myself.)” 

By touching the Source, we awaken to what we need to carry us to new levels of thought and action.

Louise Diamond deals with the shifts in vision and attitudes necessary for the Spirit of Peace to fill our lives. There are, of course, other aspects of building a peaceful society. There are often needs to build new political and economic institutions and to formulate new policies. Yet attitude change, at a deep level, is essential. Many, I believe, will find Louise Diamond’s book both very clear and profound.

Note:

(1) Louise Diamond. The Courage for Peace (Berkley, CA: Conart Press, 2000).

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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