On Global Governance and World Peace
By Lucas Gent
Guest Speaker: Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Global Futures, looking at ways to explore ‘burning questions for global society’, is hosting a seminar series to tackle some of the most difficult issues we face as a global population today. The most recent speaker in this series was the President of Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, who spoke on the topic of global governance and world peace, providing us with his valuable insight and aspirations on this challenging subject. While good governance on a state level is commonly associated with bringing peace and stability to an area it is not necessarily recognised as a suitable method for use at the global level. Here President Khan helps us explore whether global governance is a suitable method to end conflicts around the globe and whether it can improve the lives of global citizens.
President Khan opened his talk looking at the roots of global peacekeeping. The first steps towards global governance and world peace were taken in the 1970s by the alliance of the Universal Postal Union and the Universal Telecommunications Union. In the 20th Century these bodies were replaced by the League of Nations, which survived until the end of World War II. This body served as a predecessor to the United Nations (UN) organisation which, to this day, is still entrusted with protecting global citizens. As a result of many different organisations tackling global issues over the years the UN today is made up from elements of its predecessors and while it is the most successful of all the organisations, it has some elements that could be improved in order to achieve good global governance.
The UN represents a vast number of global peoples, however its structure has raised concerns over proportional representation of all its members, namely the smaller, less powerful nations involved. If the UN were to bring about international governance with the aim of world peace it would require complete cooperation amongst all members, which can only occur if every member has the same level of representation and value. This type of multilateral approach is a favoured idea, with many countries working towards a common goal to benefit the global citizen. However, this assumes that we, the global people, want an entity to be charged with global governance. As it stands the UN is doing a good job of mediating the delicate global political climate, helping to create peace, security and stability. It could even be said that the UN has averted the possibility of another World War.
Aside from the UN, other factors exist that are helping to maintain world peace. Ironically, the nuclear capabilities of countries have created an environment where the action of war could lead to a truly devastating outcome. Mutual fear of a nuclear apocalypse has served as a war deterrent, facilitating a climate in which the global order has had to take on more responsibly. Calls for countries to disarm their nuclear capabilities are rising and while this serves as a good cause, many countries around the world are having to proceed carefully so as not to disadvantage themselves in this fragile nuclear-truce agreement. However, in the situation that a country does not have nuclear capabilities or the needed alliances to provide a response encompassing a nuclear deterrent they would become vulnerable. This is solved by the presence of the UN where countries are allied to help global citizens. Importantly, countries within the UN can still influence global governance regardless of their military power. By providing such an environment this promotes political transparency and justice at a national level, an essential element if international relationships are to ascend to achieve world peace.
The technological revolution, specifically the birth of the internet, has given millions of people the ability to send powerful statements far and wide. This is an excellent tool to help implement good global governance practices as communication and its global reach increases. Now it seems that the major step limiting good global governance is appropriate cooperation and communication between all necessary parties. With the capabilities of the internet this issue should already be solved, thus allowing us to tackle more pressing issues (e.g. global terrorism). However, the issues seem to be political, rather than technological as many governments are wary of steps towards global governance which they feel will interfere with their global presence and goals. These power clashes have traditionally been seen between dominant political powers and newly emerging ones. One method of challenging this long-term struggle is to increase connectivity between nations. It is thought that instead of nations clashing, increased connectivity would provide an opportunity for two powers to benefit from one another’s alliances and geography. Connectivity is more than a solution to the political problems the globe is currently facing. It is effectively a new economic product that people can get behind, invest in and benefit from as global citizens. For example, Pakistan and China have struck up new connections in the transportation, telecommunications, industrial and services sectors. By creating these links, the countries benefit from new economic arteries and beneficial geographic trade corridors. Such an example of international cooperation is a step towards good global governance, bridging the gap between personal political goals and enabling the focus to shift to world peace.
To conclude President Khan reflected on changes that could occur right now. One of the main aims was to reform sections of the UN to give better representation to all nations involved. This would allow the people represented to be both governed in a better way and help bring peace. Without fair representation groups that are not heard in the same light as others can become disgruntled, which can lead to conflict and civil unrest. In this light, an additional method to achieve good governance is to invest in enlightenment. The enlightenment of global citizens can help to avoid and counter many of the acts of violence being produced around the world today which are actively harming the noble journey to good global governance and ultimately world peace.
President Khan also took questions from the audience covering a broad range of topics in relation to global governance and world peace:
Question 1: Does the current situation in Kashmir pose a threat to global governance?
Answer: Yes, the key to solving this trilateral issue is the people need to be allowed to determine their own future through peace talks with India and Pakistan. The situation is improving at the moment, but implementation of new peace talks is required to bring peace and prosperity.
Question 2: What changes do you think need to happen to bring about good global governance and world peace?
Answer: Reformation of sections of the UN is key, but this is difficult as the world is moving at such a fast pace and the UN is still based on systems that were established in the past. By making the UN more contemporary in terms of representation we can hope to resolve this.
Question 3: What is good governance like at a city level? Could it be a way to achieve good global governance?
Answer: All levels of the scale matter, good governance at each are very important for all the people involved. The people are the power here and good governance at the city level can lead to globally influential cities, which in term can help good global governance.
Question 4: How can good governance help us achieve global sustainable development?
Answer: Good governance is important in achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development benefits the world on all levels, from a biological standpoint to a political one. Picture good governance as a connective tissue that can positively influence all aspects of the world. By using good governance, we can steer political influences towards sustainable develop in a very positive way.
We would like to thank President Khan for visiting Lancaster University and ISF to discuss this urgent issue. His insight was truly valuable and has left us with many positive topics to develop in relation to achieving good global governance and world peace.