A New Global Human Order
United Nations General Assembly Adopts Guyana’s
Resolution on the Promotion of the New Global Human Order
Dr Cheddi Jagan’s Idea Gaining Attention Worldwide
Resolution A/55/L.15/Rev.2 entitled "The Role of the United Nations in Promotion of a New Global Human Order," which was tabled by Guyana before the United Nations General Assembly on November 24, 2000, has been adopted by consensus.
In introducing the Resolution, Guyana’s Permanent Representative Ambassador S.R Insanally, reminded the Assembly that the concept of a New Global Human Order, the brainchild of the Late, President Dr Cheddi Jagan, is aimed at promoting a new and enlightened partnership for peace and development involving all actors of the world community, based on mutual respect, democratic governance and popular participation to deal with the challenges of development and poverty eradication and to arrest the growing disparities among and within countries.
The proposal, stated the Ambassador, is inspired by a vision of the enormous potential for human development created by the end of the Cold War, the accelerated pace of technological development and the deepening inter-dependence of nations. At the same time, it is dictated by the realization that this potential remains virtually untapped and that instead , over the last two decades, there has been a gradual but definite displacement of development from the international policy agenda.
It is Guyana’s view that the complex issue of development cannot now be addressed by the continued pursuit of old models and strategies that are inappropriate to the post - Cold War era. A new paradigm must be created through a serious dialogue among governments, based not only on political and economic considerations, but also on ethical and moral principles capable of creating a new basis for international cooperation that is both humane and just. Such a dialogue, the Government of Guyana feels should be undertaken at the United Nations which, because of the universality of its Charter, had an obligation to take the lead in resolving these questions.
The draft resolution tabled thus starts from a recognition of the important role which the United Nations must play in the creation of a New Global Human Order.
The preambular paragraphs of the text draw attention to the goals and targets agreed upon in the Millennium Declaration which calls for renewed action by the international community to promote development and poverty eradication. The text also takes note of the Declaration of the South Summit at which leaders of the South, after reviewing the current state of international economic relations, expressed the need for a New Global Human Order.
The operative part of the Resolution stresses the need for a broad-based consensus for action, within a comprehensive and holistic framework, towards the achievement of the goals of development and poverty eradication. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is accordingly requested to seek the views of Member States, as well as agencies and organisations of the United Nations system, on the promotion of a New Global Human Order. On the basis of these submissions, the Assembly will then determine what the essential component of the New Global Human Order should be.
With this development the seed for a New Global Human Order has been further imbedded in the consciousness of the international community. In the interval between now and the fifty-seventh General Assembly when discussion of the item will be resumed, Guyana intends to develop the concept in cooperation with like-minded states and sympathetic non-governmental organisations and to define further the measure which the United Nations must take to translate the proposal into reality.
Analysts the world over have lauded this new dimension of the principles of Social Development, developed by the late President of Guyana, Dr Cheddi Jagan and has been receiving high praises from World Leaders.
at the 55th Session of the United Nations
General Assembly UN Headquarters, New York
September 19, 2000
by H.E. Mr. Clement J. Rohee Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Republic of Guyana
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General
Still fresh in our minds is the strong plea made by the leaders of the world at their historic meeting on the eve of this 55th Assembly for a universal recommitment to multilateralism and to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Their Declaration at the Summit's end was unanimous and unambiguous. Humanity's future lies in the hands of this organisation and its ability to create a new global order for the promotion of peace and development. It is a conclusion which then Assembly must take to heart if it is to fulfill this urgent mandate.
I am confident, Mr. President, that our task will be facilitated by your skilful direction. Coming as you do from Finland, a country that has been forged by history on the anvil of political, economic and social endurance, you will undoubtedly bring to bear on our deliberations, a sense of purpose and urgency. In congratulating you on your election, Guyana pledges a readiness to cooperate with you to make this Assembly abundantly successful.
My delegation also offers its appreciation and thanks to His Excellency Mr. Theo Ben Gurirab for the able leadership which he provided the 54th General Assembly.
Our gratitude is also due to Secretary-General Kofi Annan who continues to manage the Organisation with a sure and steady hand. The report which he has submitted to the Assembly - 'We the peoples - the Role of the United Nations in the Twenty-first Century' -amply addresses the many important challenges which lie ahead of us. It is well worth our study to see what measures the Assembly can take to promote global peace and development through the strengthening of the world organisation.
As the report demonstrates, a high level of tension now exists in the governance of the global economy. While it has been generally acknowledged that markets offer opportunities for growth and development, there is still the caveat against excessive reliance on it. As many developing countries have discovered, the market is often blind to their particular circumstances and needs. Their concerns have raised serious questions about the fairness of the trading system leading to much public protest as was so dramatically expressed in Seattle and almost every city where the Bretton Woods Institutions and the World Trade Organisation have tried to hold meetings. The message is clear: the international community must find a consensus on ways and
means to ensure more democratic governance in international affairs so that the developing countries can have a greater say in shaping their future.
The gap between the richest and poorest countries has widened so dramatically during recent years that strong and urgent action must be taken to avoid a major human disaster. The UNDP 1999 Human Development Report has pointed out that this gap grew from 30:1 in 1960 to 44:1 in 1973 to 60:1 in 1990 and to 74:1 in 1999. The conclusion that must be drawn is that the current international economic system allows the rich countries to get richer while making poor countries rapidly poorer.
Recent statistics coming out of the World Bank estimate that of a world population of some six billion people, nearly 1.3 billion people live on a dollar a day or less, 80 percent live in substandard housing, 70 percent do not know how to read and 50 percent suffer from malnutrition.
When we consider this frightening reality, the situation can only be deemed as perilous. For most developing countries such as my own, a scarcity of financial and human resources place serious constraints on the policy options that they are able to exercise. Despite the fact that many have embraced market-based reforms and democratic governance, they have had limited success in improving the socio-economic conditions of their people. Their efforts to undertake important reforms and to lift themselves up by their boot-straps have been rewarded by a denial
of much needed assistance to sustain the progress achieved. The hostile international environment in which they find themselves not only frustrates their economic and social development, but also renders the strengthening of the democratic process extremely difficult.
Thus, while globalisation has benefited strong economies, it has weakened many developing countries and forced them into the backwaters of development. Severe economic and social dislocation has followed in many cases, accentuating the particular vulnerabilities of small developing countries, many of whom are often dependent on a single agriculture crop for the livelihood of their peoples. While the proponents of economic liberalisation contend that the market offers "a level playing field," they conveniently fail to realise that the players are not equally matched and that the rules of the game are stacked in favour of the strong. The weak can hardly compete and are eventually marginalized. Indeed it is a zero-sum game where both
winners and losers are known in advance.
The majority of developing countries continues to be crippled by weak infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications, and other physical requirements and the inadequacy of skilled labour to take advantage of opportunities in the market. Moreover, they must face not only high production costs, but also low prices and inadequate access to markets. Trade liberalisation has also led to the rapid growth in imports by developing countries while their own exports remain sluggish and their trade deficit widens. In the process, governments lose much needed revenues from duties and taxes which hitherto made an appreciable contribution to the national budget.
Meanwhile, official development assistance has fallen to its lowest since the target of 0.7 per cent of the GNP was established by the United Nations in 1970. Only four countries - Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - have reached the mark. On average, developed countries contribute less than a third of this target figure, with the richest countries contributing even less. Assistance is now apparently seen by some as both wasteful and wasted, a perception which may serve to explain the rapid decline. Yet, for many of the poor developing countries such assistance is indispensable if they are to improve their economic performance. To make matters worse, they find it difficult without the requisite technology and human resource base, to attract FDI which is increasingly concentrated in a small number of emerging economies.
The challenge, therefore, for the international community and for policy makers in the new millennium, is to redress these inequities in the global economy in a comprehensive and sustainable manner so as to ensure the smooth integration of developing countries, in particular the smaller economies, into the globalizing world economy. Developing countries are not asking for charity - merely the opportunity to develop their potential and to take their rightful place in the international community. As they have said, they recognise the primary responsibility which they have for their own development. They ask only for assistance in creating a domestic environment that would enable them to participate fairly in the global economy.
A helpful measure would be to integrate transition periods into current economic models and make provisions for targeted assistance to small economies. Another would be to provide significant debt relief and debt cancellation as necessary, together with development assistance to boost the overall productive capability of developing countries. Developed countries could also assist in promoting regional integration as well as South-South cooperation to allow developing countries to benefit from the many complementarities which they possess. Equally indispensable is the provision of new and additional resources through the establishment of a Global Development Fund - that would help to bridge the gap between the developed and developing worlds.
Only an action-oriented programme - somewhat along the lines of the Marshall plan is necessary to achieve meaningful progress. Policies aimed merely at creating unsustainable social safety nets are hardly lasting solutions. The root causes of the structural and endemic problems of the developing countries, which ultimately lead to global instability, must be addressed. To this end, we must find a way to direct aid and investment into building capital, both human and physical. We cannot speak seriously of closing the digital divide in an environment where many Governments are struggling to meet even the most basic needs of their populations and where degraded infrastructure does not support a "communications revolution."
In this context, we have noted the Secretary-General's initiative to forge a global compact between the United Nations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations in an effort to maximise the development effort. Such a strategic alliance can indeed enhance cooperation on a wide array of global issues, including aid, trade and investment, the protection of the environment as well as satisfy urgent education, health and housing needs. To succeed, however, such a compact must be based on mutual understanding and respect through a clear definition of the respective roles of the partners. There must be common objectives and agendas as well as a clear definition of the roles of each partner.
Finally, Mr. President, the international community, and more particularly the developed North must recognise the close link which exists between freedom from want and freedom from fear - between development, peace and stability. At the national level we know that good governance must be practised to ensure that the population is protected from all forms of oppression and allowed to enjoy their inalienable human rights. Correspondingly, at the international level, the principles of the Charter as well as the laws which we, as civilised nations, have come to accept, must be respected to provide an environment conducive to development. In Chapter IV of his report, the Secretary-General remarks that "economic globalisation has largely eliminated the benefits of territorial acquisition while the destructiveness of modern warfare has increased its costs." This lesson must be learnt by states which, despite their professed commitment to the Charter, often resort to various forms of coercion in international relations. The United Nations - and more particularly the Security Council should not - and indeed, must not tolerate such actions. All disputes must be resolved through peaceful means.
While many of the proposals made by the distinguished Secretary-General in his report will undoubtedly help to contain the threats to peace and development in the twenty-first century, we rather fear that they will be insufficient to our requirements if they are pursued in piece-meal fashion without a more comprehensive and holistic framework. It is for this reason that Guyana has placed an item on this year's agenda entitled "A New Global Human Order." Time does not allow me to provide the details of the initiative. However, so that the concept might be more fully understood and widely supported, I have asked that along with copies of my statement, an explanatory memorandum outlining the aim of our proposal, be circulated. Very shortly, we will also make available a more extensive document that could serve as the basis for a discussion in the plenary. It is our hope that out of this consideration will emerge a resolution that will express the determination of the international community to find a consensus on the way forward to securing global peace and development.
The time is now opportune, I believe, for us to summon up our collective political will to devise a common and cogent strategy for managing the global agenda in the 21st century. Should we fail to heed this imperative, we will continue to plough the sea and reap only disillusionment and despair. This Millennium Assembly affords us a singular opportunity to define the terms and conditions of a new global partnership. Let us not waste it in futile debate, but rather let us use it to give new hope to our peoples for a better future.
I thank you.
(The following presentation was made at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre on January 5, 2001 by Guyana's Ambassador to the United Nations.)
I am both pleased and privileged to speak today to the Cheddi Jagan Research Institute on the Role of the United Nations in the promotion of a New Global Human Order.
2. Adoption of NGHO Resolution at the UN
As many of you will have heard - or read - a Resolution on this subject was tabled on November 29, 2000 before the United Nations General Assembly by the delegation of Guyana and subsequently adopted by consensus. Recalling at the outset the objectives and targets recently agreed upon in the Declaration of the Millennium Summit as well as in the Declaration of the South Summit held last April in Havana, Cuba, the text stresses the need for a broad-based consensus on development within a comprehensive and holistic framework through the creation of a New Global Human Order. To this end the Secretary-General has been requested to seek the views of Member States, as well as agencies and organs of the United Nations system on the promotion of such an Order and to submit a report thereon to the 57th UN General Assembly. On the basis of this submission, the Assembly will then determine how best the initiative may be perused.
3. Essence of Dr. Jagan’s Concept
With the introduction of that resolution, the concept of the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan was finally and fully inserted into the consciousness in the international community. Aimed at promoting a new and enlightened partnership among states and based on mutual respect, democratic governance and popular participation, the proposal seeks to explore the enormous potential for human development created by the end of the Cold War, the accelerated pace of technological development and the deepening inter-dependence of nations. Very much in Dr. Jagan's mind was the realisation that this potential has been virtually untapped and that instead, over the last two decades there has been a gradual but definite displacement of development from the international policy agenda.
4. It was Dr. Jagan's view now shared by many at the United Nations that the complex issue of development cannot now be addressed by the continued pursuit of old models and strategies that are irrelevant to the circumstances of post - Cold War era. A new paradigm must be created through a serious dialogue among Governments, informed not only by political and economic considerations, but also by ethical and moral principles capable of creating a new basis for international cooperation that is both humane and just. Such a dialogue, the Government of Guyana feels should be undertaken ideally at the United Nations which, because of the universality of its Charter, has an obligation to take the lead in resolving these questions. It was for this reason the resolution tabled at the last General Assembly starts from a recognition of the important role which the United Nations must play in the creation of a more equitable and humane system of international relations.
5. Culmination of six-year Campaign:
The passage of this Resolution culminated a six-year effort by the Government of Guyana to place the proposal of the New Global Human Order on the United Nations Agenda. Dr. Jagan began an earnest campaign to fulfill his declared mission of eradicating poverty and promoting human centred development. Once he regained office as President of the Republic in 1992, he missed no opportunity to advocate his cause - first within the CARICOM Community - then at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, other international conferences and, of course the World Organisation – the United Nations. I recall that when he came to New York in 1995, to attend the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and found that he had only five minutes to address the Assembly, he immediately discarded the lengthy peroration which had been prepared for him to be able to deliver a compact statement containing all the important elements of his proposal for a NGHO.
6. At the Symposium which was held in Georgetown on August 2-4, 1996 and which I had the honour to chair, a number of progressive scholars and thinkers sought to fully adumbrate the concept for propagation and adoption by the international community. In his augural address to this gathering, the late Dr. Jagan called for a new people-centred development strategy, increased growth with equity and more specifically, a global development facility funded by levies on pollution, cuts in military expenditure and a tax on speculative capital movements. (The Tobin tax). "I am convinced," he stated, "that with coordinated international effort, poverty and hunger can be eradicated in our lifetime. What is required is the international framework for action." Persuaded by his passionate beliefs, the Conference agreed to a comprehensive action plan to further the concept of a New Global Human Order within the international community. The plan included, as you are aware, the formation of Circles of Friends, in those places where, Guyana has diplomatic relations and/or significant constituencies to discuss and disseminate Dr. Jagan’s ideas with a view to enhancing their currency. This was sustained by a strong diplomatic campaign which sought to ensure that the concept was reflected in the outcomes and several international conferences, including those of CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Non Aligned Movement and more latterly, the G77 South Summit.
7. Six years after this first symposium, a second was held in Guyana as the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with UNDP whose several Human Development Reports had greatly inspired and motivated Dr. Jagan to launch his proposal. The purpose of this forum was to review the results of our campaign and to decide whether the line was now opportune to formally launch the proposal at the United Nations. It was unanimously agreed that this should be done. I therefore left Guyana at the end of August with a clear mandate to seek the inscription of the item on the agenda of the Fifty-fifth General Assembly. With the ready acceptance of our request, the ground was laid for a plenary on the role of the United Nations in the promotion of a New Global Human Order.
Previous initiatives/Proposals at the UN
8. This, of course, was not the first time that an attempt had been made at the United Nations to create a more just and humane international order. Ever since its foundation in 1945, the United Nations has been labouring decade after decade to devise an international strategy for development and decade after decade these painfully negotiated agreements have proved resistant to implementation. One also recalls that, at the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly, we actually managed to forge a Declaration and a Programme of Action for a New International Economic Order. Again, in 1990 we succeeded in elaborating, after seemingly endless negotiation, a Declaration on International Economic Cooperation. It is fair to say that these several documents fully captured at least in their language the aspirations of the developing countries for economic and social progress. Yet, as we know, they have proved disappointing in their results. Development continues to be defiant will o' the wisp, forever dancing before our eyes, but always elusive.
Undaunted by these failures, the United Nations has pursued other initiatives in the hope of better outcomes. Over the decade of the nineties, the international community entered into a round of global summit conferences on most of the issues of major concern viz. Children (1990) the Environment and Development (1992), Human Rights (1993), the Sustainable Development of Small States (1994), Population and Development (1994), Social Development (1995), Women (1995), Human settlements and Food. The United Nations also managed to put together, after much perseverance, a comprehensive and cogent Agenda for Development, to accompany the Agenda for Peace. Regrettably, these many efforts have failed to yield the desired results, leaving us to wonder, as the French would say, 'whether the game was worth the candle' or whether we are engaged in a mere charade. And now, we are about to embark upon the elaboration of yet another development strategy for the first decade of the new century and on the implementation for the Declaration of the Millennium Summit.
9. One may very well wonder what can be achieved and indeed whether the NGHO can be really attained since the reviews of the outcomes of some of these major conferences and all our experience do not allow us to be sanguine about the possibilities. For as we ponder the reasons for our shortcomings, we invariably find that the two elements required for progress - viz. political will and financial resources are always lacking. We then become caught up in a spirit of mutual reproach and recrimination. No one bothers of course to pursue the crucial questions, how do we develop the necessary political will and how can we mobilise the needed resources? We simply move on to another round of negotiations. Yet there is no gainsaying the fact that the core questions of political will and resources must be resolved before we can ever hope to have a breakthrough in development.
Prospects and Possibilities in the era of Globalization
10. The creation of a NGHO has become especially challenging in this new era of globalization The realisation that the new North-South, East-West so called "consensus" which has emerged in respect of development and governance, the roles of the state and the market and sustainable environmentalism, has highlighted the need for such an order since it has generated new social, economic and political problems perhaps of an unintended character, complexity and magnitude. These problems have been produced by the contradictions inherent in the consensus itself and clearly suggest the need for a fresh examination of the premises on which it is based. However, the dialectic which currently divides member states in both the philosophy and practice of development are hardly propitious to finding a common approach to the very complex and difficult challenge that is development. An urgent reconciliation of the widely divergent views of the partners on world economic and social issues is a prerequisite for success in any future negotiations.
Challenges and Responses
11. An important step toward the creation of a new human order would be, I believe the resolution of the many dramatic contradictions that have emerged in modern economic thinking. In the socio economic sphere for example, the ascendancy of economic liberalism has undoubtedly accentuated inequality at all levels - within countries, both developed and developing - as well as among countries - North and South, East and West. Individualism and materialism are extolled at the expense of social and human values. And while the international community says it is committed to the reduction of poverty, national and international policies do not as yet reflect this commitment.
12. As Dr. Jagan asserted in pleading the case for the New Global Human Order, the absolute population living in poverty in both the South and North, is increasing. Economic growth and unprecedented technological progress and efficiency have been ironically, the harbingers of greater unemployment and declining human welfare. Attempts at preserving the physical environment increasingly vitiate efforts to sustain human development, while rhetoric of poverty reduction has not led to any significant commitment to the higher ideal of humanism. The much touted "equality of opportunity" is proving to be no more than a mask for economic Darwinism. At the same time, the freedoms expected form healthy competition under private enterprise are being rapidly restrained by the controlling hand of powerful conglomerates.
The Consequences of Democracy and Liberalisation
13. In the political arena, we cannot help but note that the ascendancy of democracy often means, not greater people participation and consensus, but the rule of the powerful and its manipulation of the majority. Democracy is some places increasingly a cloak for government by oligarchy often going hand in hand with the rise of racism and ethnic conflicts, minority disaffirmation, regional fragmentation and strident nationalism. Though often practised at the national level, the virtues of democracy are still notably absent in the wider community of nations, creating isolationism among the rich, rather than solidarity among humankind. The proponents of globalization and trade liberalisation will of course argue differently since they are convinced that the free market will remedy the imbalance in world economic growth and that as it swells, all boats will rise with the tide.
The Cost of Conflict
14. Another contradiction that must be resolved if a new dispensation is to be achieved is that which persists between the United Nations Agenda for Peace and the Agenda for Development. Instead of the Peace Dividend which Dr. Jagan had expected to accrue from the ending of the Cold War, we are faced with continuing investment in arms and armies. With the rapid proliferation of conflict in various parts of the world and the resulting increase in peace-keeping operations, developing countries must be concerned that with the astronomical costs for implementing the Agenda for Peace, the Agenda for Development will be further starved of resources. Clearly, a sensible balance will have to be struck between these two basic purposes of the organisation. After all, as has been said "Peace is but another name for Development." New approaches must therefore be developed to strengthen the indissoluble link between development and peace so that they are made mutually reinforcing and symbiotic.
Differing Perspectives of North and South
15. Yet another obstacle to change is the wide disparity which continues to prevail, not only in the economic and social conditions of the developed and developing countries but also in their perspectives on development policy. An example of this is seen in the current debate on ODA in which the South continues to argue that aid is necessary to its development while the North sees it as wasteful and wasted. While both the develop and the developing countries may use the same words to refer to these challenges, very often they do not mean the same things. As far as the North is concerned globalization is the prescribed panacea for all economic ills, while the South sees it as a threat of further marginalisation from the global economy. Another buzz-word which evokes different meanings as well as passions depending on - who uses it is governance; coming from the North, the word smacks of conditionality, while the South prefers to see it as good government through capacity-building. Similarly divisive are the fashionable labels of human rights, human security and humanitarian intervention which though seemingly clear at first blush, develop sinister connotations as the exchange continues. The list goes on. Even the word "order" which we have used to describe our initiative has been known in the past to be highly inflammatory. The mere mention of any kind of order was sufficient to produce a severe allergic reaction in some quarters leading them to automatically reject such concepts as the New International Economic Order and the New International Information Order.
Indications of Changing Attitudes and Circumstances
16. Happily, it would seem that at the start of the twenty-first century and this new millennium, there is a greater tolerance for the concept of Order. Witness the many statements heard recently at both the Millennium Summit and in the Millennium Assembly's plenary debate in which some reference was made to the need for enlightened global arrangements. More surprisingly, as I remarked in my introduction to the Resolution, the calls for such an order came not only from developing countries, but also from developed countries. I had at hand the clipping from the International Herald Tribune of September 7, 2000 entitled Progressive Equation: Globalization and Welfare and featuring a letter signed by the distinguished leaders of four important European States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany in which they stated inter alia that
…."we believe that there is an emerging consensus on the right framework to build a global order based on equal worth and social fairness …. ."
…."We are committed to a new international social compact. We recognize that in an increasingly interdependent world the aims of wider prosperity and a strengthening of civil society cannot be pursued within the nation-state alone… ." and finally that
…"the key to development is to establish a virtuous circle between laudable aims and too often are pursued in isolation - debt relief, conflict prevention, trade promotion, educational and health investment, environmental enhancement….."
17. As you will note, these sentiments are not dissimilar form those embodied in Dr. Jagan's proposal for a New Global Human Order. They are indicative, in my view, of a burgeoning sense of enlightened multilateralism which accepts the fact that the new global challenges – whether they be to our security, our development, or health, our environment – and indeed our survival – demand global responses and solution. No state - no matter how strong and powerful – can now hope to address successfully these pervasive problems on its own. All are forced to rely in large measure on international cooperation to resolve their difficulties. However, such is often the arrogance of power, that this truth is not easily accepted, making difficult the search for common solutions to our common problems. Thus while it has become fashionable at the United Nations to speak of interdependence and partnership, this is still more lip service than genuine commitment to these noble ideals.
Recognition of the Role/Limitations of the UN
18. It is important to recognise that the United Nations as an organisation cannot be blamed for these shortcomings. As a former Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold reminded us the organisation is not some abstract painting, but something which we ourselves have drawn. The United Nations can be no more than what the Member States wish it to be. It is still not a supranational body but an intergovernmental one now containing 188 Member States each one, of which may have a different opinion and approach on any given issue. No wonder therefore that any new initiative, no matter how well intentioned is easily advanced. One must therefore take great pains to assure as we have done with the NGHO that the initiative is an honest and serious attempt to find common ground on which future international cooperation can be established for the benefit of all. We have also been careful to explain that it is not intended to conflict with other initiatives and proposals already in existence and currently being pursued. Rather, it should be considered as a complementary device for facilitating consensus.
Scope and Thrust of the Proposal – Reform of the International Status Quo
19. Nor should it be forgotten, as we advance our campaign, that the New Global Human Order is not merely a philosophical concept but a practical agenda for development, which in the eyes of many is so far reaching as to threaten the stakeholders of the prevailing status quo. Among these proposals are, as you may know, a comprehensive and definitive solution to the debt problem; the fashioning of a new ODA policy; the mobilization of new and additional resources for development; the strengthening and - if necessary - the reshaping of global institutions; the development of a more central role for the United Nations in global economic policy making; and a review of the role of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO to focus more on human development. Although, by no means extreme, such measures are essential if the Agenda for Development is to be successfully implemented. Yet, as we are now painfully aware, every effort thus far to go in these directions has been resisted by the powers that be.
20. Given this historical opposition, it was not surprising that despite their adherence to the consensus adoption to the resolution on the NGHO some developed countries have not hesitated to express the view that the Guyana initiative brings no added value to the ongoing development dialogue and that worse yet, could possibly duplicate or even conflict with current processes such as the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. While we cannot be averse to criticism, we find the comments to rather self-serving. In the first place, by agreeing to a resumption of the debate on the item at the 57th UNGA, there is certain no risk of interference with the existing agenda. And in any case, our proposal is more comprehensive and fundamental than the previous enterprises and can be considered a safety valve for a return to dialogue and negotiations if or when present efforts falter or fail. Furthermore the criticism seems to be a case of applying double standards.
21. Take for example, Dr. Jagan’s proposal for the creation of a modern and enhanced version of the Marshall Plan to assist developing countries to reach the threshold of self reliance and to be able to enter the global economy. The Marshall Plan, it may be recalled was motivated not only by strategic considerations but by a sense of morality to provide for the reconstruction of post World War II Europe. If we were to revisit the speech which the then Secretary of State Marshall made at Harvard University in June 1947, we cannot fail to note his declared altruism quote "Our policy is directed not against anyone country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced must not be on a piece-meal basis as various crises develop" end of quote. Well, the NGHO is no different in its purpose which is simply to redress the grave disparities which exist been the North and the South and are the source of poverty and social misery prevailing in most of the developing world and even in some parts of the developing.
The Way Ahead - Propagandisation of the New Global Human Order.
22. In the face of the various difficulties to which I have alluded of one may many legitimately ask: how do we advance the establishment of the New Global Human Order? How do we find the political will to energise our efforts to create a new development paradigm for the twenty-first century? As I stated at the outset, it is our hope, now that the Resolution has been adopted, member states particularly the developing countries, will make their voices heard on the need for a new Order. Such mobilisation will not be automatic and will have to be generated through a well mounted campaign to encourage progressive and like-minded states to unite in the effort to forge a new and more equitable partnership between the developed and developing countries. This will entail continuing work by the various Circles of Friends which have now been formed to promote the New Global Human Order as well as others in civil society, including relevant non-governmental organisations, academia and the private sector, to research and popularise the proposals inherent in the concept. Only by such thorough study and promotion can we hope to persuade the international community of the virtues of a New Global Human Order.
23. In this process, I see a pivotal role for the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre whose raison d' être, I believe, is to keep alive the vision of the man whose name and legacy it was created to honour. Out of this cooperative endeavour should come material with which to resume consideration of the proposal at the 57th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The lineaments of a New Global Human Order already exist in the United Nations Charter. We need only to build on this structure to ensure that the Organisation works in the way that the founders intended. Clearly it would be naïve and even foolish to believe that this proposal can come into existence overnight. Its creation will require not only strong commitment to the principles and purposes of multilateralism, but also dedication and patience in translating them into reality.
24. As the famous statesman – or perhaps I should say infamous – Machiavelli said in his classic work: In Principle – "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things……” One cannot therefore expect the road ahead to be easy. For apart from the vested interests of the rich and powerful in the prevailing order, one must remember that consensus and change do not come easily to the United Nations. Lest we discouraged, however, we must remember when the small nation of Malta put the proposal for Law of the Sea to the international community, many years were spent in seemingly endless negotiations. Yet today we have a legal regime governing one of the most important areas of international cooperation. So with the NGHO, one must be prepared for a lengthy campaign. As our Chinese friends remind us – even the longest journey begins with the first step. And that we have now taken
I thank you.
by Ralph Ramkarran (paper delivered at a Seminar on the New Global Human Order
at Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, August 9, 2006)
The New Global Human Order came at a particular time in developments in Guyana and the rest of the world. Poverty was raging, the debt burden of the developing world was increasing and had become unmanageable, Guyana’s debt of US$2 billion was eating up 94 cents in every dollar earned, the IMF prescriptions had drastically reduced the standard of living of all Guyanese but had impacted most severely on the poor and disadvantaged thereby intensifying poverty and employment. These prescriptions were being increasingly recognised as “palliatives, not a cure.” At the same time the ideology of globalization had become the new panacea for the ills of the world, both developed and developing.
In Guyana the IMF prescriptions had begun to take hold and these included the removal of subsidies, reduced government spending, a balanced budget, wage freeze, high interest rates and privatisation. The devastating consequences were described in the McIntyre Report and the 1991 Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance. McIntyre described Guyana as being the poorest country in the Caribbean next to Haiti and Greenidge described Guyana as bankrupt. In 1992 the Government changed and Cheddi Jagan took the opportunity to present in one document the ideas he had been developing for some years.
As is well known, Cheddi Jagan’s consuming ambition was the elimination of poverty. He rightly saw this scourge as an infliction and an affliction on the developing world which could be eliminated even within the context of the existence of developed capitalist states. He saw poverty as destructive of the “vigour and initiative of the individual and deprives the society of incalculable human resources at a critical time. Its elimination will enrich our community and release a harvest of energy and skills. If left unattended, the expansion of poverty, with hunger, will undermine the fabric and security of the democratic state.” He saw that rational and realistic policies, acceptable to and supported by the developed world, could eliminate poverty. He said that: “Our times call for clear thinking to diagnose the ills of our globe, to ascertain the root cause of society’s growing problems and to formulate what must be done – a set of guiding principles and a programme of action.”
Cheddi Jagan’s vision was expansive and ambitious. He had studied development issues for fifty years and had written volumes on it. He had always recognised and understood that Guyana alone could not obtain the necessary support and resources to influence the developed countries to change course. He knew how important it was to devise a strategy that would gain broad acceptance. He said: “....a development strategy for the eradication of poverty must be global and positive.”
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he said that he saw this as a “crucial time” as characterised by globalization and liberalisation dominated by the transnational corporations with one dominant ideology; unacceptably high unemployment and underemployment; increasing poverty and widening gaps in developed and developing countries; chronic budget and balance of payments deficits; social, including family disintegration; strife and convulsions based on race, ethnicity, tribe, culture and religion; demagogy and confusion leading to a rise in fascism and racism.
He argued that Third World debt which he had been studying and writing about since the 1970s and had been one of the earliest voices arguing that it was unpayable and should be cancelled, was strangling reconstruction and human development efforts.
He calculated the at that time US$500 billion was lost in unfair and non-equivalent international trade, a sum equal to ten times official development assistance from the developed countries.
He concluded that “these factors pose a grave threat to international and individual peace and security. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a New Global Human Order, as an adjunct to the UN Agenda for Development. A New Global Human Order must have as its goal human development: meeting the basic needs of the people, cultural upliftment and a clean and safe environment.”
The New Global Human Order proposes changes leading to :
1. The establishment of global institutions to respond to the global dimension of the existing human society.
2. The United Nations system to play a more central role in global economic management and should have access to large financial resources.
3. The IMF and World Bank to concentrate on human development as distinct from the means of development and return to their original roles.
4. A new Official Development Assistance which would channel to the poorest countries two-thirds of ODA instead of one-quarter.
5. The acceptance of sustainable human development as an attainable goal.
6. A greater role for non-governmental organisations in international institutions.
7. Reduction of military expenditure and the use of the “peace dividend” for debt relief. Introduction of the Tobin Tax of 0.5 percent on speculative transfer of currency.
8. Providing for equitable international trade both in goods and services to accelerate global growth and allow a more equitable distribution of its benefits.
Ten years have gone since the New Global Human Order was launched. It was Cheddi Jagan’s and Guyana’s contribution to the struggle against poverty, a struggle which consumed the entire lifetime of Cheddi Jagan. How have we feared so far?
Despite the tragic international situation which now prevails, we have seen some initiatives during last year but a tremendous amount remains to be done.
The Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September 2005 set a ten year agenda with clear goals which it was hoped would guide the strategies of both developed and developing countries in planning their assault on poverty. The MDG proposes to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development all by the target date of 2015.
While these goals are ambitious and the means to attain them have not been identified, during last year the G8 countries agreed to write off the debt of 18 of the poorest countries in the world, Guyana included, amounting to US$40 billion. Guyana has already been benefitting from this facility. This is a start but its implementation has been severely criticised.
In his book, “The End of Poverty,” Jeffrey Sachs said: “Alas, the international community’s approach remains incoherent in practice. On the one side, it announces bold goals, like the Millennium Development Goals, and even ways that the goals can be achieved, such as the pledge of increased donor assistance made in the Monterey Consensus. Yet when it comes to real practice , where the rubber hits the road, in the poverty reduction plans, the Millennium Development Goals are expressed only in vague aspirations rather than operational targets. Countries are told to go about their business without any hope of meeting the MDGs. The IMF and World Bank reveal split personalities, championing the MGDs in public speeches, approving programmes that will not achieve them, and privately acknowledging, with business as usual that they cannot be met.”
Jeffrey Sachs is a famous economist who specialises in development strategies and is absolutely convinced that the poverty and the problems of development can be resolved with the correct strategies and the commitment of the developed world.
Guyana has prepared Poverty Reduction Strategies at the behest of the donors. This is what Professor Sachs said about these: “Knowing that a certain amount of aid is likely, the recipient country is expected to engage in a broad-based public consultation to prepare the poverty reduction plan, including how the aid will be deployed. The international community’s insistence on broad public participation in the design of these plans is designed to achieve four main goals: (1) better prioritization of investment plans, (2) increased public awareness about poverty reduction programmes, (3) mobilisation of NGOs and community groups in the fight against poverty, and (4) fostering more political ‘antibodies’ against corruption. All of this is fine; indeed, it is reasonably successful in eliciting public participation. What is missing in the process are the practical linkages between the Millennium Development Goals and the poverty reduction plans. In today’s arrangements, the country is presented with a fait accompli – ‘Here is the amount of aid you will receive.’ Instead, the process should be turned around. The first step should be to learn what the country actually needs in foreign assistance. After that, the IMF and World Bank should go out to raise the required amount from the donors.”
Professor Sachs recommends a programme for a poverty reduction strategy based on the MDGs. It should be in five parts, namely, (1) a differential diagnosis, identifying the policies and investments that the country needs to achieve the MDGs, (2) an investment plan, showing the showing the size, timing, and costs of the required investments, (3) a financial plan, to fund the investment plan, (4) a donor plan, which gives the multiyear donor commitments for filling the MDGs Financing Gap, and (5) a public management plan, that outlines the mechanisms of governance and public administration that will help implement the expanded public investment strategy.
There is clearly a growing recognition of the belief that Cheddi Jagan carried his entire life by outstanding and world recognised experts like Professor Sachs and public figures like Bono, the pop star, who wrote the forward to the book, that poverty could be eliminated with the resources that are currently available and with the correct policies.
While there have been minimal successes, there have been serious failures. The failure of the Doha Round of trade talks recently has been a great disappointment to developing countries which had been hoping that the reduction of trade barriers would have gone a long way in contributing to their own economic growth and the development of the world’s economy.
Even though there is much that is discouraging, including the war in Iraq and the continuing hostilities in Israel and Lebanon, we have moved, albeit slowly, from the position where up to recently poverty was considered to be the fate of ‘lesser’ peoples to the situation where it is now recognised that developed countries have a responsibility and a duty to do much more to destroy this scourge. Developing countries have an equal responsibility to put their houses in order and must discharge that responsibility.
The hopes of Cheddi Jagan as envisioned in the New Global Human Order helped to point the way when many were not looking or could not see. Let us hope that his dreams for Guyana are soon achieved.
By Leslie Ramsammy (paper delivered at a Seminar on the New Global Human Order
at Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, August 9, 2006)
This article does not deal with the details of how the proposal came about and it does not seek to provide the in-depth details of the proposal itself. These could be found in the book A New Global Human Order by Cheddi Jagan, one of his many published books. It is also the subject of a UN Resolution (A/55/L.15/Rev.2) which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 24th, 2000.
Rather, I would like to focus on some of the initiatives that have come about throughout the second half of the 1990s and in the early part of the present decade, which are consistent with the views of the New Global Human Order. Since the formal launching of Cheddi Jagan’s call for a New Global Human Order, there have been a plethora of initiatives which are consistent with the proposals for a New Global Human Order. These include:
* The International Finance Facility: This was announced on February 28, 2006, in Paris by President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) Gordon Brown of the UK. The fund essentially ensures the flow of money from the developed countries to developmental programmes in poor countries. In his proposal for the New Global Human Order, Cheddi Jagan had called for the establishment of a Global Development Facility. The establishment of the International Finance Facility is a visible translation of visionary leadership into a tangible flow of funds for the reduction of poverty and misery among the poor and is an excellent example of the New Global Human Order in action.
* The Airline Solidarity Levy Initiative: Cheddi Jagan had proposed that among the ways to fund a development facility might be the institution of a small tax on airline tickets for long-distance travelling. The signing of the agreement by 13 countries on March 1 to establish a global facility with a common pool of funds to purchase generic and other medicines for the poor demonstrates that these proposals are possible.
* The Global Alliance for vaccines and Immunization (GAVI): This initiative has resulted in more than 74 countries being assisted in establishing enhanced programmes for immunization. Bill Gates, together with several developed countries and in collaboration with the World health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, contributed to a pool of funds that goes towards countries to assist them in building strong immunization programmes that reduce morbidity and mortality among children. Guyana was one of the first beneficiaries of this programme. Guyana receives funding to purchase pentavalent (five-in-one) vaccines and also funding to establish its cold chain to store vaccines.
* The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria: Many developed countries and the World Bank and other donor and financial organizations have come together to establish a pool of funds to be used to assist developing countries in their response to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Guyana has received three grants amounting to more than over a five-year period.
* Advance Marketing Commitment (AMC): The G8 countries recently announced that they would be establishing a revolving fund which would be used to pay in advance for certain vaccines in order to ensure that developing countries might gain access to life-saving vaccines. These vaccines include the vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcus, two major killers of children from developing countries. These are two new vaccines that will be mostly utilized in developing countries. However, while the pharmaceutical companies (mainly Merck and GSK) have already established plants for manufacturing of vaccines for the developed world, there is no guarantee that such facilities would have the capacity to manufacture enough drugs for the poorest countries. Basically, the pharmaceutical companies are driven by the ability of poor countries to purchase the vaccines. The AMCs will essentially permit these companies to establish capacity since the common pool of funds within the AMCs is meant to ensure that poor countries will be able to pay for the vaccines.
These five initiatives are concrete examples of the New Global Human Order being put into action to bring relief to the global poor. These are lasting tributes to the vision of men like Cheddi Jagan. Today, we see a growing number of visionary activists around the world pursuing the ideals inherent in the New Global Human Order. These include Bill and Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, Bono, Jeff Sachs and many others. The common thread that binds these activists is that, like Cheddi Jagan, they believe that there is a global responsibility for ensuring an equitable standard of living for people wherever they live, the essence of the goals of the New Global Human Order.
It is the courage of persons like Cheddi Jagan who spent their lifetimes promoting global responsibility for achieving minimum standards of equity and justice and mercy that laid the groundwork for the rich diversity of philanthropy among wealthy individuals that today has emerged among the wealthiest people around the world. Thus, the world today is a little better off because of the philanthropy of some rich people that have led to large international charitable foundations in America and Europe, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Ford Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Lily Endowment, Foundation Cariplo, Foundation Monte del Paschi di Siena, W.K Kellogg Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with assets of between .5B and .8B.
These foundations contribute to reducing poverty in developing countries and in poor communities of developed countries. More and more the world is adding practice to rhetoric.
Thus, as March rolls on once again, I am grateful that I lived in a land that brought forth such a man. I am humbled by the fact that I lived; at least part of the time, while a man such as Cheddi Jagan roamed the land. I am happy to say that I met and worked with Cheddi Jagan. And I will never ever forget his warm embrace and his ability to always greet you with a welcoming, brotherly smile.
And in ending, we all should reflect on the words of Jane Addams about another great statesman, George Washington of the USA: The lessons of great men are lost unless they reinforce upon our minds the highest demands which we make upon ourselves - they are lost unless they drive our sluggish wills forward in the direction of their highest ideals.
by James G. Rose, (paper delivered at a Seminar on the New Global Human Order
at Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, August 9, 2006)
Some ten years ago the leader of a relatively obscure small nation state issued a call to the world for a New Global Human Order. The concept though bold was not entirely new. Indeed after every crisis, national or otherwise, it seems the inevitable preoccupation of rational thinkers to demand a new order replacing the old which precipitated the just concluded crisis.
What was unique about this was the fact that it did not address sectional concerns but global. It was not the usual appeal for a new economic order or the familiar prayer for a rearrangement of world power or the nascent redistribution of global wealth. Dr Jagan was seeking the deliberate re engineering of the human kind. The Creation of A New Global Human Order.
Why the particular moment in time?
Why the urgency?
We know that he was an international thinker and statesman. We know that he was a profound humanist and we know that the international management system was in transition/crisis Bi-polar to Uni-polar with a potential for profound after shocks.
The two other speakers will no doubt attempt to analyse and explain the implication of Dr Jagan’s appeal. I boast no such ambition. What I shall attempt is a cursory tour of the international environment to pinpoint a few of the critical concerns which might have motivated and justified his call for a new global human order. Where my figures differ from those used by Dr Jagan I encourage you to be persuaded by Dr Jagan’s since he has spent much more time and given deeper reflection to the issues than I have done. At no time since the Second World War did the outlook for peace, sustainable prosperity and an end to poverty look bleaker than on the eve of the Third Development Decade (1981-1990). In the shadow of recession, international relations reached an abysmal low point. Continued population growth in the South and over-consumption in the North were pressing harder on land, environment and energy sources. The struggle over the distribution of wealth, income and resources was intensifying both within and between nations and was reflected in the struggle between rival ideological systems. The perennial problems of unemployment and poverty persisted or worsened. These were very troubling times indeed.
A Burgeoning World Population
While there were signs that the world’s population growth rate was beginning to slow down more rapidly than expected, the absolute numbers added each year increased from about 76 million a year (9,000 an hour) in the late seventies to 93 million a year in the last five years of this century. Population pressure was felt most acutely in regions of rapid growth (middle America, East and West African grew at more than 3 per cent a year between 1980 and 1995) and of shortages of good land (Asia and Africa). Coupled with economic growth, it made itself felt worldwide in rising prices of scarce resources.
The Absolute Poor
Shortage of paying employment, including resources for self-employment, was the key factor in determining future levels of poverty. Surveys indicated that the Asian picture of high and increasing levels of absolute poverty were just as relevant to many countries in Africa and Latin America too.
World Bank vice-president Hollis Chenery estimated that in 1975 over 50 per cent of the population fell below a low Indian-based poverty line in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania. For Latin America, Chenery’s estimates were much lower: between 14 per cent and 19 per cent in Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. But another survey using a poverty line more suited to Latin American expectations found an incidence of poverty of 40 per cent, with 19 per cent destitution. ILO surveys put the proportion of Latin America’s rural population in poverty in 1970 at 58 per cent, ranging up to 80 percent in Honduras.
On a global scale, estimates of poverty varied according to the definition of poverty. The World Bank averaged the number of absolute poor in 1980 at 780 million, the ILO, with a higher poverty line, at 1,100 million in 1980. Most projections saw the numbers of absolute poor declining by the end of the century, though few made sufficient allowance for the possibility that the unfavourable economic constellation of 1980 might continue for any length of time. The World Bank in 1980 projected that there would be 800 million poor by 1990 if unsatisfactory trends continued. Given faster economic growth and policies of redistribution, the number could be as low as 590 million. The ILO predicted a depressing 1,083 million poor by 2000 AD. The most pessimistic projection came from ILO economist Keith Marsden, who feared that the number of absolutely poor would rise to 1,500 million by the turn of the century if short-term, self-seeking economic strategies were pursued – or be cut to nil given much greater aid and more liberate trade.
Developing countries grew faster than developed countries in the latter half of the seventies; their GNP growth averaged 4.9 per cent a year between 1975 and 1980, against only 2.8 per cent for the industrialised western countries. Growth was fastest in the middle income countries but much of it was financed by an increasing burden of debt, made necessary by higher oil prices and slower growth of exports to the West. The total debt of developing countries rose from $265 billion in 1977 to a staggering $391 billion by the end of 1979, while debt service payments grew from $41 billion a year to $72 billion. The World Bank projected that by 1990 developing countries’ debts would reach $1,278 billion.
A general debt crisis, serious enough to hit back at western economies, was on the cards for the early eighties. Debt repayments were scheduled to bunch up at a time when developing countries would be facing larger than ever deficits on their balances of payments. The combined deficits of non-oil developing countries rose from the $28 billion of 1977 to $68 billion in 1980. These deficits had to be financed by further debt. In these circumstances many countries approached or passed the limits of their creditworthiness.
The Implications - Confrontation vs Co-operation
In many respects, international negotiations towards a new international economic order grew less productive and more embittered. The developed countries acted in concert to resist meaningful concessions. Major proposals were either scaled down or shelved. The Common Fund for Commodities, for which the developing world had asked $6 billion, got only $750 million. A fund for science and technology for the developing world, proposed at the UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development in August 1979, was allocated $250 million for two years, instead of $2 billion a year suggested by the developing countries. The UN Industrial Development Organisation, at its third general conference in January 1980, advocated a new $75 billion global fund for the stimulation of industry in the developing world, but the conference collapsed without the West accepting this or any other proposal. The Brandt Commission argued cogently for mutual interdependence and a massive new world development fund financed by international taxation. But it did not find an eager audience in the West. Instead, the distant sound of martial music was heard. The world’s military spending topped $400 billion in 1979 - $100 for every human being in the world and nearly $1 million per minute.
The social alternatives were increasingly underlined:
• $15 billion a year could provide clean water and sanitation for all by 1990; less than $200 million a year could immunise all children against the six major childhood killer diseases by 1990;
• the price of one jet fighter could set up 40,000 village pharmacies or classrooms for 600,000 children;
• the agreed mutually-balanced reduction of 10 per cent of super-power military spending could double aid levels, at absolutely no cost in lost security.
But 1979 saw the start of a new arms race. President Carter, wishing to overcome his public image of weakness, would spend $1,000 billion in the five years to 1985.
It became obvious that not only world prosperity but world peace, too, had come to hinge on developments in the developing world. Superpower rivalry was more than ever before focused on control of, or influence over, developing countries, as sources of key resources and potential staging posts in strategic manoeuvrings that had taken over the entire globe as their chessboard.
The crises in two developing countries, Iran and Afghanistan, injected a new hysteria into international relations. It was not these events in themselves that created the inflammable atmosphere in which sparks could ignite a general conflagration; rather it was the conjuncture of economic and political conditions in the West. The failure of most Western governments to devise policies to cope with higher oil costs, continued inflation and rising unemployment, led to intensified social tensions, inclining many individuals and several governments to seek an illusory social cohesion in hostility to foreign bugbears.
In the wake of oil queue riots in 1979, the USA grew more anxious about the security of her oil supplies. Carter pronounced the extremely dangerous doctrine that the USA would intervene militarily to protect its’ oil supplies. This threat amounted to staking world peace on the shaky political stability of developing nations, as well as implicitly denying the right of these peoples to regulate the rate of use of their natural resources, to install left wing governments or to ally themselves with the countries of their own choice.
The dangers of more sparks being generated in the developing world also seemed to be increasing. Western recession and protectionism, plus rising oil prices, made it harder for governments in developing countries to meet the rising aspirations of their subjects. The number of refugees in the world – between 10 and 12 million in early 1980, four times the 1974 level – provided a thermometer reading of the heat levels. Yet the stability of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman or El Salvador was threatened much less by Communists peering over their borders than by poverty and inequality within each country. Far-reaching reform was the only way to disarm revolution but the cold war meant that the West was more ready to arm reactionary governments, making it easier for them to stand firm against reform.
No one could help but be appalled by the continued failure of Western leaders to escape a narrow, short term view of national interests. Where disarmament and co-operation with East and South for development were needed, they lurched instead towards militarism and confrontation. If there was a Third World War, it seemed inevitable that it would almost certainly start – if not by accident – in the developing world.
A co-ordinated assault on poverty and inequality in the developing world, seemed the best way of avoiding such a war.
I respectfully suggest that this was the world scene which confronted Dr Jagan, prompting him to make his appeal for a New Global Human Order.