2021 will be a defining year for global governance
I would like to highlight four areas where world governments have failed.
They include the fight against:
1. Domestic terrorism;
2. COVID Pandemic 19;
3. Climate change;
In the case of failure number one, the attack on the US Capitol, albeit of a national character, must be placed in an international context. The reality is that an attack of that nature is guaranteed to get international echoes. It is emblematic of the long reach that a national security breach in the United States would have for the world at large.
Domestic terrorism is defined by the Rand Corporation as, “Violence against a nation’s civilian population or infrastructure by the citizens of that nation with the intention of intimidating, enforcing, and influencing national policy to achieve broad political goals.”
National security experts in the United States claim that domestic terrorism is the main terrorist threat in America today. In terms of realpolitik, and simplistic as it may seem, countering domestic terrorism in America, is to counter domestic terrorism in any part of the world. Domestic terrorism is largely influenced by international terrorism. The two reinforce each other.
Extremist groups in the US such as the Boogaloos, Antifa, the Proud Boys, Three Percent and QAnon, among others, have recently risen to prominence. Their international connections are of various shades and colors, from the fundamentalists, the religious right, the far right, the ultranationalists, and the xenophobists to the pro-fascists.
According to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index, ‘One of the most worrying trends of the last five years is the surge in far-right political terrorism. In North America, Western Europe and the Southern Isles, attacks on the far right have increased by 250 percent since 2014 with deaths increasing by 709 percent over the same period. 89 deaths were attributed to extreme right terrorism in 2009, 51 of which occurred in the Christ Church mosque attacks in New Zealand. There have been over 35 extremist terrorist incidents in the West each year for the past five years. ‘
The response to threats from these groups has been variable. In most cases, maintaining a balance between a military, para-military or law enforcement approach to address the legitimate concerns of those pursuing the extremists in error by having false narratives based on theories of lies and conspiracy. We in Guyana have had our own experiences during the crime spree between 2002 and 2006.
The failure of number two is reflected in the statement by the UN Secretary-General who stated that on the occasion of the COVID 19 death toll reaching two million, “The pandemic has been exacerbated by the absence of global co-ordination.”
The ‘absence of global coordination’ referred to by Guterres was clearly demonstrated when the US withdrew from the World Health Organization (WHO). Guterres went on to stress, “In memory of those two million souls the world must act with much greater unity”.
“The bigger solidarity” that Guterres called for was because of the wealthy countries scrambling to buy and hoard large quantities of vaccines with little regard for the needs of poorer nations who cannot afford the high cost of the vaccine. It is hoped that the incoming Biden administration will return the United States to its well-deserved place at the World Health Organization.
It was these dire circumstances in which poor countries found themselves that prompted Jeffery Sachs in his book ‘The End of Poverty’ to acknowledge, “Our security and prosperity depend at least on a collective decision to fight disease, advance science and good action in unison to help the poorest of the poor. ”
The third failure is Climate Change – 29 years after the Rio Summit and the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) followed by the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement of December 1997 and December 2015 respectively, governments’ The world is yet to take decisive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to long-term global warming and other threatening climatic changes. World governments are committed to keeping the global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius y (2.7degrees Fahrenheit).
However, with world governments failing to raise their ambitions in relation to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, there is a general view that extremist groups will step in to fill the vacuum. It is widely recognized that militant groups are now feeding off climate-induced crises due to deforestation, rising sea levels, floods and contaminated water among others.
It is hoped that the upcoming 26th UNFCC Conference of Parties (COP) Session planned to be held in Glasgow in the UK in November this year “according to the UNFCC Executive Secretary“… will finish the job that COP25 could not do conclude – setting out the rules for an inter-country carbon market and that countries will achieve their ambitions expressed in better nationally determined contributions. “
The Biden administration’s decision to return to the Paris Agreement will amount to a blow for better global negotiations.
The fourth failure is in the field of poverty. About 1 billion people live in extreme poverty while another 1.5 billion or 40 percent of humanity lives in poverty. In his book ‘The End of Poverty’ Jeffrey Sachs says, ‘The time to
end poverty has arrived, although hard work lies ahead. ‘Sachs identified nine steps required to win the war against poverty, they include; Commit to End Poverty, Adopt an Action Plan, Raise the Poor, Eradicate the US Role in the World, Save the IMF and the World Bank, Strengthen the United Nations, Harness Global Science, Promote Sustainable Development and Make a Personal Commitment . Sachs identified 2025 as the year for ending poverty. ‘He went on to add,’ Joint action through effective government provision for health, education, infrastructure, as well as foreign aid when needed underpins economic success. ‘
And Cheddi Jagan declared in his call for a New Global Human Order;
‘… A development strategy for the eradication of poverty must be global and positive not South versus North and North versus South in terms of interdependence, cooperation and partnership …’
2021 will be a defining year for global governance. The active participation of the people in the process of saving the world will become even more important as they will be affected by the consequences of decisions by world governments.
Clement J. Rohee