Thursday, June 26, 2008

Global governance for sustainable development

The first plenary session which took place during the EADI General Annual Conference (24-28 June, Geneva) was dedicated to

"Global Governance for Sustainable Development: the Challenge of Policy Coherence among International Organizations"

Chaired by Desmond McNeill (EADI) the panel was composed by Kermal Dervis (UNDP), Juan Somavia (ILO), Bertrand Ramcharan (Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva) and Ngaire Woods (Global Economic Governance Programme, Oxford).

Kemal Dervis described the world economy being in a state of crisis with rapid growth rates and a power shift towards emerging economies. He predicted that the raise of global commodity prices including food and energy will set back the global fight against poverty. However, this could have been avoided with an attempt towards global policy coordination, which would be more useful for developing countries than increased aid funds.

Juan Somavia focused on the social dimension of a sustainable economic development. He underlined that it is necessary to replace the neo-liberal discours by a vision focusing on sustainable development. Somavia was convinced that political leadership towards such an economic model will not appear without a strong civil society movement pushing governments into the right direction.

Listen to Mr. Somavias plea in his own words:

Complementing Mr. Somavias remarks, Bertrand Ramcharan, former Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressed the importance of a global human rights protection system to achieve global justice and equality. Nevertheless most nations are very reluctant since such an institution directly concerns internal aspects of governance. Furthermore he called on the UN to enforce crimes against humanity also in peace situations, which would apply for countries like Zimbabwe or Myanmar.

Ngaire Wood presented some lessons learned from the earlier global economic crisis in the 1980s in order to draw conclusions for the current situation. She promoted the concept of subsidiarity to face future challenges. However there is a tendency to either see all solutions on a national level or to overcharge global institutions by trying to solve everything internationally.

Ms Woods concluded that the global economy has become more unequal, more insecure and less governed than some years before. Former world powers do no longer have the right to sit at the top table but need to share the control of the leadership and decision-making.

Desmond McNeill reflected on the discussions after the presentations of the keynote speakers. Listen to his words:

by Martin Behrens

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