Why the International Day of Multilateralism Must Start a New World Order

Greenpeace activists in front of the Prime Minister’s office
in Warsaw, Poland. “We need to build a Green Welfare State”.
Credit: Maks Zieliński

By Savio Carvalho
LONDON, Apr 24 2020 (IPS)

In our current COVID 19 context of suffering and fear, that may
sound like a strange and spooky quote. But let’s be clear: what
we have achieved so far in the present is not – and shouldn’t
be – indicative of what we can achieve in the future.

And, as Arundhati Roy reminds us, crisis moments can be portals
to a different world
.

There is enough scientific evidence to show that we have been
living on borrowed time. We have not only inflicted unrestrained
damages to the planet but also crossed planetary boundaries that
shouldn’t be crossed.

Over the past century, as a civilisation, we have focused on
un-sustained growth, power and profits, and in the bargain, we have
meandered from our values, our humanity and our inner longing for
peace and harmony.

We have heard it said multiple times, that we are living in an
“unprecedented” situation. The same was said for the world wars
and the 9/11 attack. What is unprecedented can either become the
new normal or an opportunity to change and create something
new.

And in the situation of COVID 19 which has infiltrated and
impacted the entire planet, the world must now put aside their
differences and come together to work towards the one unified goal
of finding medicines and a vaccine – and giving access to them to
all.

And we must do more than that. We must build a new world order.
We are not at war with the virus. But we are in a situation as
global and as groundbreaking as the two world wars. And there are
lessons we can learn.

World War I led to fundamental changes in politics, economics
and society. Aside from the gravely high human costs, the war
resulted in new territories, where boundaries and political maps
were redrawn, especially in Europe.

The war destroyed empires, created new nation-states and
encouraged independence movements. The power of autocracy and the
upper class was diminished, if not destroyed. It wasn’t all
positive change, for sure. But fundamental change it was.

World War II also resulted in significant changes, and some
called 1945 “the year zero”. The war led to the creation of the
United Nations, thereby resulting in increased collaboration and
peaceful cooperation amongst nations.

Another collaborative achievement that came out of WWII was the
Bretton Woods Conference, a gathering of over 700 delegates from 44
allied nations who agreed to create institutions like the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development to enhance international economic
cooperation.

Again, those institutions were not perfect (and in recent
decades these institutions became avenues in which the developed
world imposed cruel economic conditionalities on poorer countries).
But they were new institutions born out of the zeitgeist and values
of their time.

The COVID 19 crisis is not a world war, but just like the wars,
it has led to a collective, global shock, a shock that is now
urging humankind to live a life based on values and principles
which work for people and the planet.

During this time when we have closely experienced the
unimaginable, we have gained renewed respect and admiration for our
front line essential workers, a greater appreciation for human
kindness towards self and the community, as well as a deeper
appreciation for nature – birds and fish are returning to areas
they have abandoned; cities are seeing a drastic drop in air
pollution and nitrogen levels; there is less dependence on fossil
fuel; the destructive capitalistic economic model of extract and
grow at any price is literally on its knees.

Yet, despite growing global social movements fueled by the
people and citizens – such as Fridays for Future, the
Fight Inequality Alliance
or urban movements for change
worldwide – our world leaders have sadly and continuously let us
down.

But these are all the more reasons why this is the time to push
the reset button – also for multilateralism and global
institutions! This is the time to create something different, based
on our human values of peace, dignity, and harmony with nature
while respecting planetary boundaries.

Taking a leaf from the pages of history, now is the right time
for the people and citizens to call for a world order that reflects
these intrinsic human values. Now is the time to give birth to a
new world order based on the
principles of solidarity
that COVID 19 have surfaced as key
values for all of us all over the world.

As the United Nations marked 24th April as the International
Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace
, this is the
perfect moment to get the ball rolling, and work in close
collaboration and coordination for a global call to action. Such
global call will lay the foundations for the creation of the new
world order.

Citizens must push their leaders to show real statesmanship by
working together, and be bold and forge a new path, no matter how
difficult it may be. This new governance for people and our planet
must be based on human values and not profits.

We need global governance that puts equality, peace, dignity,
democracy, and sustainable economics all at its very core. Public
good should triumph over private profits.

This pathway would involve tackling climate change, developing a
green and just economy via a just transition, ensuring food
sovereignty, as well as investing to promote small localised
agriculture, localised green energy production, and sustainable
transport and cities.

Financial assistance, incentives, technical support and grants
should be provided to emerging economies whilst at the same time
incentivising developed economies to make the necessary shifts
towards this new path for people and the planet. Corporations need
to be
fully accountable to people and plane
t, and
trade needs to serve the public good
.

The new world order can start with new institutions – like
after the last two wars. Or it can be a re-founding of the United
Nations. What is key is that we need global institutions with
teeth. We need for health care, social protection and the
environment
global governance at least as powerful as the World Trade
Organization is on trade
.

We need global institution(s) that have the ability to hold
governments and corporations to account if they fail to deliver on
global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
or the Paris Agreement, able to provide financial support and
incentives to not breach 1.5 degrees of warming threshold and
ensure protection and restoration of biodiversity on land, forest
and oceans.

A clean, sustainable and green economic system should be a
centrifugal force of the new world order – not captured by
corporate greed or entangled by complex bureaucratic procedures –
and move at a lightening speed for the planet and its people.

Let the last day of this pandemic be the first day of the
beginning of a new world many have been dreaming of. Because as
illustrated in The Alchemist, when we really, really want
something, the universe will conspire to help us achieve it.

The time to hit the reset button is NOW.

The post
Why the International Day of Multilateralism Must Start a New World
Order
appeared first on Inter
Press Service
.

Excerpt:

Savio Carvalho is a Global Campaign Leader at
Greenpeace International. Twitter: @savioconnects

 
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in
helping you to achieve it
                                                                                                               â€•
Paulo Coelho, The
Alchemist

The post
Why the International Day of Multilateralism Must Start a New World
Order
appeared first on Inter
Press Service
.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Why the International Day of Multilateralism Must Start a
New World Order