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Largely inadequate to manage the challenges we face
November 2, 2021

How close are we to the apocalypse, human culture, democracy, wisdom, thrown back in time and reduced to the mind of Neanderthals? Remember them, 40 000 years ago? Or back to the days of the dinosaurs, 233 million years gone by, yet unforgotten, thanks to Hollywood.

Gone are the mammoths, the cave men, the pest and cholera and wars, which lasted 30 years. Compared with the devastation of the “black death”, a bubonic plague pandemic (1347 to 1353), which caused the death of up to 200 million people, Covid-19 is a footnote of history.

But is the future of our planet secure? Will global warming drive earth towards destruction, without a chance of recovery? We know the end is near, if we do not reverse action! Are any super-eruptions to be seen as a threat to our civilization on Earth-like planets? Will a comet or asteroid impact earth next decade, or a hundred years from now, and where do we escape to in such a catastrophe? We know the end is near, if we do not revers our follies, ignore environmental devastation, islands will sink, tsunamis will drown cities build near water, arrivederci Venice, Hamburg, Manhattan, Hong Kong, Sydney, Cuba, London.

Will cyber or bioterrorism consume humanity, some deadly chemical weapon, like sarin, choke the world to death, or will our planet face a nuclear winter, civilization reduced to dust and flowers and birds and clean rivers obsolete forever? How will it all end, if at all, a question neither Socrates could answer, nor Albert Einstein. The planet is in agony, traumatized by wars and famine and the scarcity of water, no medicine for the downtrodden, torture for the opposition of dictators, hard labor for students, who demand freedom of speech in St Petersburg or Istanbul. Our planet is destabilized and depressed, or even worse, in a permanent state of schizophrenia, unable to understand, what is real and what is imaginary. Is climate warming more of a threat than 13080 nuclear weapons, 80% ready to be fired by Russia or the US? Are billions of earthlings, supposedly 193 nations united in the New York based UN headquarters, left to stumble through the decades to come, politicians and generals playing with destiny, leaving fundamental challenges to fate?

Who on this planet is controlling sanity, cultivating moral, decency, which even the Catholic Church and its pedophile priests are unable to guarantee anymore? Has Washington been able to halt Israel’s airstrikes on Palestine, or Russia dropping bombs on Syrian rebel targets as schools or hospitals? Has Saudi Arabia, ended diplomatic relations with China, because of Beijing’s torture of rebellious Muslim minorities? Did China pressure its neighbor North Korea to reduce its nuclear armament? Where is the power of the United Nations, their force to implement solutions? We are able to land robots on mars, a roughly nine months journey, an average 140 million miles, we can even fly a mini helicopter on the planet, but can’t deliver urgently needed vaccines to the poorer countries on earth.

Space tourism is en vogue, millionaires are queuing up to ride into space, but the grave diggers in Brazil are running out of caskets and space. It is certainly an understatement to insist, that there is urgent need to understand the “Global governance challenges of the 21st Century”, as Salma Daoudi & Marcus de Freitas, attempted in a Podcast for the ”Policy Center for the New South”, based in Rabat. “With the intensification of globalization dynamics, risks to the stability of the international system”, stated Foreign affairs analyst Salma Daoudi in her opening statement , “have grown to the  extent that formerly  localized threats are no longer locally containable. Ethnic conflicts, infectious diseases, climate change, food insecurity and other pressing threats, are increasingly threatening global security and stability, prompting doubts about the ability of the current global governance order to respond to the challenges plaguing the 21st century.”

Robert Malley, former President and CEO of the “Crisis Group” confirmed the preoccupation of his colleagues in a recent paper: ”If there were a contest for the 2020 event with the most far reaching  implications for global peace and security, the file would be crowded: From the coronavirus pandemic to climate change’s growing  impact, the Trump administration’s scorched earth policies after Joe Biden’s election, the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagorno–Karabakh, and a deadly conflict in Ethopia’s Tigray region, it has been an eventful year.

In 2021, the world will be dealing with the aftermath and shifting though the debris. ”The time has not come yet, the planet is sliding further into a cacophonie, engulfed by confusion and doubt, more bombing in Yemen, the most horrible of all tragedies these days, a drug war in Mexico (in 2020, 34523 killings), naval confrontation in the Southern China Sea terror in the Sahel, repression in Myanmar,  millions trying to escape from warzones worldwide, Venezuela, Southern Sudan, Mali, Afghanistan, searching for peace, qualms about tomorrow tormenting their minds.

“It is clearly necessary to strengthen the capacity to enforce international law, to reform legal institutions and current mechanism of international cooperation, which have turned out to be largely inadequate to manage the challenges we face, “write Maja Groff, Arthur Dahl and Augusto Lopez in their book ”Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century” (Cambridge University Press, 2020). They add “indeed the United Nations itself and the specialized agencies created to attend  to a variety of global problems find themselves increasingly unable to respond to a crisis, partly due to lack of appropriate jurisdiction or mandate to act, sometimes because  they are in adequately endowed with resources or because, within the limits of existing conceptual frameworks, they simply do not know what to do.”

Once the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the US health system, Donald Trump (on May 29, 2020) decided to terminate America’s relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), which he accused of being biased towards China, and announced the US contribution, more than 535 million dollars (2019) annually, would be cancelled. A year prior, the Republican has warned the World Trade Organization (WTO) he was ready to withdraw, since the UN related WTO, the largest multilateral trade organization and the foundation of the global trading system, admitted countries into the WTO, “that violate every single principle on which the organization is based ”- China.” We will no longer tolerate such abuse.”

With Trump in power, Washington withdrew from the Human Rights Council and announced that the US would not recognize the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherland: ”We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy.”

Marcus de Freitas, Senior Fellow of the Policy Center for the New South, briefly attempts in his Podcast a philosophical approach, saying that the “world has always been a problematic place, since the beginning of time”, yet he realizes that ”we have to rethink, searching for innovative solutions.”

For de Freitas, World leaders “did do a lot of talking about the problems, discussing them, but we did not deal with them.” Global cooperation, so it seems is down, egotism up. He adds ” The failure to address issues has led to a growing challenge.”

The authors of the “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century” raise the alarm:” Given the compelling circumstances, with which humanity is currently confronted, a substantial and carefully thought reform is needed to enhance dramatically the basic architecture of our global governance system.”

Worse: Dahl, Groff and Lopez predict that the current trajectory cannot continue “without collapse in one form or another, and the past is not a good guide for the future. The forces of disintegration  are reflected in growing evidence of the failing institutions of governance, with often discredited  leadership, widespread corruption, loss of public confidence and the recent rise of populist, reactionary and autocratic  movements, rejecting  multilateralism and diversity...”

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