Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Ingredients of Prevention

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Ingredients of Prevention

Article excerpt

The call for prevention of violence by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is both timely and essential for harmonious societies leading to a harmonious world. The reality is that the world is moving headlong in exactly the opposite direction. Before venturing into remedial pathways for giving teeth to the urgent appeal, a survey of realities on the ground indicates not only the extent and depth of atrocities, despoliation and deprivation, but tends to confirm that these have crossed all humanitarian limits. This paper is focused on measures that allow for a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

By the second decade of the twenty-first century, threats to the planet have been magnified to an extent that could not have been imagined. The most pressing concerns can be tabulated in order of priority as nuclear proliferation, the catastrophic decline in remaining pristine tracts around the world, demographic growth to levels well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet, pandemics, global warming, and last but not least, the technological and genetic breakthroughs that could alter the very nature and independent existence our our species. The time for despondency and throwing up one's hands is not yet upon us. In fact, answers--doable initiatives in reckonable time frames--are at hand to make a mighty effort to reverse the planetary decline and give future generations some hope for an existence that does not proximate a hell on Earth.

THE ROOT CAUSES OF GLOBAL TURMOIL

While there are several direct and associated causes for the planetary decline, the two most significant factors are market capitalism in full cry and lack of fair global governance mechanisms that can be respected by all countries and peoples. For the foreseeable future, market capitalism is here to stay. Around the world, in countries rich and poor, the Gini coefficient, the most commonly used measure of inequality, remains for a vast majority of populations closer towards zero for the have-nots. Inclusive growth is hardly taking place in the majority of the countries, leading to a breakdown of the social cohesion of society.

At the height of the cold war the hands of the doomsday clock had come very close to midnight denoting how close humanity was to the brink. A similar condition has developed with the proliferation of nuclear powers and nuclear weapons. Going by current trends the world has taken the slow route to ultimate extinction for humankind and the vast majority of species that cohabit the earth with humans. Corrective measures that should have been in place several decades ago are still being endlessly debated in global forums without meaningful implementation.

WHAT THEN IS THE PARADIGM SHIFT?

While the world may have put in place mechanisms for mitigating the effects of natural calamities visited on humankind, it has yet to find ways to deal with the disasters brought on by the policies of powerful individuals, be they at the helm of affairs in some of the most powerful countries or shadowy non-State actors. The present great power policies are not conducive to peace in the world. A continuance of these policies threatens to dismantle the existing global order and plunge the world into deepening distress--for human beings as well as for the health of the planet. That being the case, the most important issue before the world is to put in place mechanisms that could act as a check on the untrammeled freedom enjoyed by world leaders, more so, where they are not in consonance with the wishes of the vast majority of the people of the planet, including, in many cases, the opinion of people within the countries that flaunt world opinion.

The starting point would be to examine as to why pressing global concerns are in limbo, many for several decades, when there is an ineluctable need for their immediate resolution. Conceivably, the most glaring lack is the lopsided, inequitable and non-representative power structure in the United Nations Security Council. …

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