Two developments which are somewhat related took place recently which could have far reaching implications for humanity as a whole if implemented by policy-makers, and for which the Guyana Government is deserving of some credit.
The first had to do with the unanimous approval by the United Nations General Assembly at its 65th Session of a resolution in support of the concept of a New Global Human Order. The resolution, initiated by Guyana, was co-sponsored by some 54 countries.
It will be recalled that the concept of a New Global Human Order was the brainchild of the late Dr Cheddi Jagan who not only conceptualized the need for such an order but advocated strongly for its adoption by the international community at every conceivable forum. Dr Jagan was convinced that the current architecture of trade and commerce militated strongly against countries of the developing world and only served to exacerbate global poverty and inequity. The people of Guyana, and for that matter the region as a whole, must be proud of the fact that the resolution finally got the nod of the United Nations General Assembly. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon in his report on the implementation of the 2007 Resolution stated as follows:
“That the proposal for a New Global Human Order which had been first introduced by the Guyana government at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, and had since been supported at many international fora inclusive of CARICOM, the Non-Aligned Movement, the South Summit, the Organization of the Islamic Summit and the Group of 77 is intended to further multilateral approaches to global problems via adopting a holistic framework that will focus on the integration of the economic, environmental, social, cultural and political aspects of development in a multi-dimensional manner.
“Further, the many ideas embodied in the concept are found in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Summit for Social Development and establishes a consensus that places people at the centre of sustainable development and promotes productive employment.
“The New Global Human Order that emphasizes the reversal of the growing disparities between rich and poor countries also highlights the main vision of the Millennium Development Goals. This includes equitable growth, poverty eradication, expansion of productive employment, promotion of gender equality, social integration and a long term approach that is people-centered promoting the social and economic welfare of people. This is in addition to the emphasis on human development and closing the gap between the rich and the poor.”
The Government of Guyana, more particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deserves commendation for the good work they have done in order to have the resolution placed on the agenda of the UN General Assembly which eventually received that body’s endorsement. Guyana, despite being relatively small in terms of geography and population size has over the years been playing a significant role in shaping global thinking on issues affecting the international community, such as the strong advocacy role of President Jagdeo in the promotion of a Low Carbon Development Strategy and the UN adoption of a New Global Human Order, a brainchild of the late President Cheddi Jagan.
Dr Jagan was also passionate on the need for greater democracy at the level of the international financial institutions, more particularly at the level of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Similar sentiments were echoed by former President Bharrat Jagdeo from time to time. It is therefore good news that the International Monetary Fund recently took a decision to shift more voting power to emerging market economies such as China. According to a media release, the Fund agreed to “shift more than six percent of quota shares to dynamic emerging market and developing countries and more than six percent from over-represented to under-represented countries.”
According to the IMF, the ten IMF countries with the largest voting share in future will be the United States, Japan, the key emerging market powers of China, Brazil, India and Russia as well as France, Germany, Italy and Britain.
The IMF, no doubt conscious of the fact that its credibility is at stake, admitted that the measures, modest as they are, would strengthen the lending agencies “legitimacy and effectiveness” and that the reforms “will result in a Fund that better reflects realities.”
It is time for policy-makers at the international level to move beyond rhetoric and take concrete measures to implement decisions taken. Too many decisions and resolutions, because of their non-binding nature are not being implemented and have only archival value. The time for change is now.