Is the Reform of the UN Security Council a Good Try in a Lost Cause?

(IPS) – The myriads of proposals for the reform of the much-maligned Security Council have been kicked around the United Nations for more than two decades—with no significant progress.

Speaking at the General Assembly’s (GA) annual debate, GA President Dennis Francis told delegates last November that without structural reform, the Council’s performance and legitimacy will inevitably continue to suffer.

“Violence and war continue to spread in regions across the world, while the United Nations seems paralyzed due largely to the divisions in the Security Council,” he said.

With the world changing quickly, the Council is “dangerously falling short” of its mandate as the primary custodian for the maintenance of international peace and security, he said.

Meanwhile, a proposed new model for reforms, initiated by the Group of Four (G4: Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan), has been doing the rounds.

Not surprisingly, all four countries have been longstanding contenders for permanent seats (P5s) which have remained the privilege of five countries since the creation of the world body 79 years ago: the US, UK, France, China and the Russian Federation (replacing the USSR of a bygone era).

The G4 is calling for a total of 11 permanent members (P11): China, France, The Russian Federation, UK and the US, plus six others.

In the event of possible expansion, and upon the adoption of a comprehensive framework resolution on Security Council reform, interested Member States prepared to assume the functions and responsibilities of permanent members of the Security Council would submit their candidatures in writing to the President of the General Assembly.

The General Assembly will then proceed, as soon as possible, at a date to be determined by the President, to the election of six new permanent members, by a vote of two thirds of the members of the General Assembly. through a secret ballot. The rules of procedure of the General Assembly will be applied to the election of the new permanent members.

Is the Reform of the UN Security Council a Good Try in a Lost CauseThe criteria of Article 23 (1) should also apply to the election of the new permanent members: “due regard shall be paid, in the first instance to their contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution”.

The non-permanent members with a two-year term, currently at 10, will be increased to a total of 14/15 seats – The election process for non-permanent members will follow current practices.

According to the G4 proposal, the six new permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected according to the following pattern: (i) Two from African Member States: (ii) Two from Asia-Pacific Member States, (iii) One from Latin American and Caribbean Member States; (iv) One from Western European and Other Member States.

The four/five new non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected according to the following pattern; (i) One/Two from African Member States: (ii) One from Asia-Pacific Member States: (iii) One from Eastern European Member States; (iv) One from Latin American and Caribbean Member States.

Member States should give due consideration during the nomination and election of non-permanent members to adequate and continuing representation of small and medium size Member States, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders, told IPS any reconfiguration of the Security Council would have to be adopted in line with Article 108 of the Charter, which means it requires the support of two thirds of UN members and the P5.

“Given the fact that Security Council reform has been discussed for decades, I think it is legitimate to pursue such a vote instead of consensus. Whether it is politically wise is a different question.”

In essence, he said, the G4 are not willing to compromise. “If they can mobilize a two thirds majority and the P5, fine. But if not, it’s finally game over for them. I can’t see how a broad agreement is possible without introducing new concepts that go beyond today’s permanent and non-permanent seats.”

Re-electable seats rotating among the membership of certain regions is a good approach, in my mind. New permanent seats vested with a veto will make the Security Council even more unworkable.

This option should be off the table. Delaying a decision for fifteen years does not solve this, he declared.

On the question of the veto, the G4 says Member States should be invited to continue discussions on the use of the veto in certain circumstances.

The new permanent members, would as a principle, have the same responsibilities and obligations as current permanent members.

However, the new permanent members shall not exercise the veto-right until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review, to be held fifteen years after the coming into force of the reform.

Amendments to the charter shall reflect the fact that the extension of the right of veto to the new permanent members will be decided upon in the framework of a review.

The enlarged Security Council would be encouraged to, inter alia, hold regular consultations with the President of the General Assembly; submit an analytical and comprehensive evaluation of the Council’s work in the annual report to the General Assembly; submit more frequently special reports to the General Assembly in accordance with Articles 15 (1) and 24 (3) of the Charter, improve participation of the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and the chairs of the country-specific configurations of the Commission in relevant debates and, in an appropriate format, in informal discussions

Asked for her comments, Barbara Adams, Senior Policy Analyst, Global Policy Forum, told IPS: Surely, now 11 (not 5) veto-wielding powers, will not correct the inability of P5 or P11 to put their chartered responsibility for international peace and security above their national security interests.

She pointed out that the G4 proposal for a 15-year pause on use of the veto acknowledges the tension between expanding the number of permanent members and the veto.

Re the proposal for seats for developing countries, and countries from other regions, they should not need to be justified by the concept of regional representation, she argued.

“The privilege of permanency in the Security Council extends beyond the use of veto. The “chill factor” of this privilege reaches into many parts of the UN system in ways formal and informal such as preferential treatment for senior UN positions,” Adams declared.

Joseph Chamie, a consulting international demographer and a former director of the UN Population Division, told IPS reform of the United Nations Security Council is not a new proposal; it’s been around for decades.

Despite committees, discussions and calls by many Member States for reform of the Council, he pointed out, little progress has been achieved towards equitable representation, inclusiveness and legitimacy.

“Increasing numbers of both governments and people consider the Council to be ineffectual and unjust and require reform, including expanding membership and restricting vetoes”.

While enormous changes have occurred in the world over the past eight decades, he said, the Council continues to have the same five permanent members.

When established, the five permanent members accounted for about 35 percent of the world’s population. Today, they represent 25 percent and by mid-century they are expected to represent 20 percent of the world’s population, said Chamie, author of numerous publications on population and related issues.

In brief, the desire for reform of the Security Council is both understandable and reasonable and despite the geo-political challenges, reform should be undertaken without further delays, he declared.

IPS UN Bureau Report

The Imperative Voice of the Global South: Navigating Challenges and Prioritizing Sustainable Development

In the dynamic landscape of international relations, the voices and concerns of the Global South, representing developing countries in the United Nations (UN), have grown increasingly vital. These nations, collectively forging a narrative of peace, security, and development, underscore the need for a more inclusive and equitable international cooperation framework.

The roots of the Global South’s collective identity trace back to the UN General Assembly in December 1963, when pivotal amendments were introduced to the UN Charter, enhancing representation in key UN organs. The subsequent formation of the Group of 77 developing countries (G-77) in June 1964 marked a significant milestone, advocating structural reforms in the UN to support socio-economic development.

Fast-forward to today, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), established in 1965, stands as a beacon of support for socio-economic activities in 170 countries, predominantly in the Global South. Its collaborative efforts with specialized UN agencies impact various facets of human endeavor on the ground.

The Global South’s pursuit of accelerated development faced challenges during the Charter of Algiers adoption in October 1967, where the call for a New International Economic Order clashed with environmental concerns raised by developed countries. The assertion that “poverty is the biggest polluter” resonated, setting the stage for the 1986 recognition of the “right to development” as an “inalienable human right.”

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted Agenda 2030, embodying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aligning global priorities with those of the Global South. Key to the SDGs’ realization are commitments for financial resource flows and technology transfers to the Global South, essential components of Agenda 2030.

However, the Global South’s concerns have intensified in light of the challenges faced, as articulated during the UN’s SDG Summit in September 2023. The unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a surge in violent conflicts, particularly in the Global South, have jeopardized SDG attainment.

Disturbingly, conflicts on the UN Security Council’s agenda affected 314 million people in 2022, a significant increase from the 60 million in 2015. The World Bank reported that the Covid-19 pandemic pushed an additional 90 million people, predominantly in the Global South, below the poverty line.

Ongoing conflicts across continents, notably in Ukraine and Gaza, underscore the UNSC’s increasing ineffectiveness. Calls for UNSC reforms, including the question of the veto, have fallen on deaf ears, fostering aggressive protectionism and militarism in developed countries. Despite opposition, Global South countries supported initiatives like the Vaccine Waiver in June 2022 and condemned unilateral coercive measures in December 2023.

India, at the forefront of coordinating Global South responses, hosted two Voice of the Global South Summits in 2023, addressing concerns and seeking solutions through multilateral reform. The G-20 Summit in September 2023 witnessed the inclusion of the African Union as its 21st member, expanding the grouping’s focus in favor of the Global South.

Looking ahead, the Global South’s leaders aim to reshape multilateral institutions, with the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024 as a pivotal moment. Their objective is to mandate the convening of a UN General Conference in 2025, fostering dialogue and diplomacy to revitalize the United Nations. Such initiatives are crucial for reinstating the integrity of an integrated international framework that prioritizes the pressing concerns of the Global South.

As Nikki Haley Announces Run For President In 2024, Indian American Community Pledges Support

Indian American Nikki Haley, Former South Carolina Republican Governor and former US ambassador to the United Nations under the Donald Trump administration has announced that she will run for president in 2024, becoming the first major rival to challenge former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

“It’s time for a new generation of leadership — to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose.” Haley said in her video announcement. Haley accused the “socialist left” of seeing “an opportunity to rewrite history.”

“The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again. It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose,” Haley said in the video.

“China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around,” Haley said. “You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels. I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president.”

Per reports, the former president, who announced his bid last year, recently appeared to bless her entrance into the race, telling reporters that she had called to tell him she was considering a campaign launch and that he had said, “You should do it.”

The Indian American community has expressed support to Haley, a second-generation Indian American, who has risen through the rank and file of the Republican Party by her leadership qualities. “I have known Governor Haley personally for decades and we are delighted that she has announced her candidacy on February 15th, 2023 at her home state, and capital Charleston,” Dr. Sampat Shivangi, a Member of the National Advisory Council, SAMHSA, Center for National Mental Health Services, Washington DC told this writer. “On behalf of the large and influential Indian American community, I wish her well and all the success in the coming days, and pray, she will succeed to be a nominee of GOP in 2024. We will assure our community support in every way,” he added.

Pointing to the many leadership roles she has held, Dr. Shivangi said, “Governor Nicky Haley, who has served in multiple roles in the US and on word stage as the US Ambassador to United Nations, makes all of us proud, specifically Indian Americans, who have given a unique identity as part of the diaspora. A rare quality of Governor Nicky is that she has not forgotten her roots and her ancestral homeland India as she visited India and interacted with leadership in India including meeting our beloved leader Prime Minister Modi.  She is a popular and respected leader, not only in her home state, South Carolina, and across US. She has very close ties with President Trump who she may be running against in GOP primaries. I have learned that President Trump has welcomed her candidacy for the highest office of the land, possibly a place on the world stage.”

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, opened the video talking about how she felt “different” growing up in Bamberg, South Carolina. “The railroad tracks divided the town by race. I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black, not White. I was different. But my mom would always say your job is not to focus on the differences but on the similarities. And my parents reminded me and my siblings every day how blessed we were to live in America,” Haley said.  If successful in the primary, Haley would be the first woman and the first Asian American nominated by the Republican Party for president.

Haley will likely face stiff competition from other potential GOP candidates such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who are all said to be weighing 2024 runs. Some strategists say a big Republican primary field would be advantageous to Trump, who still enjoys significant support among the party base, and could splinter the vote — allowing him to walk away with the nomination.

India Surpasses China As The World’s Most Populous Country

India is poised to become the world’s most populous country this year – surpassing China, which has held the distinction since at least 1950, when the United Nations population records begin. The UN expects that India will overtake China in April, though it may have already reached this milestone since the UN estimates are projections.

Here are key facts about India’s population and its projected changes in the coming decades, based on Pew Research Center analyses of data from the UN and other sources.

How we did this

India’s population has grown by more than 1 billion people since 1950, the year the UN population data begins. The exact size of the country’s population is not easily known, given that India has not conducted a census since 2011, but it is estimated to have more than 1.4 billion people – greater than the entire population of Europe (744 million) or the Americas (1.04 billion). China, too, has more than 1.4 billion people, but while China’s population is declining, India’s continues to grow.

Under the UN’s “medium variant” projection, a middle-of-the-road estimate, India’s population will surpass 1.5 billion people by the end of this decade and will continue to slowly increase until 2064, when it will peak at 1.7 billion people. In the UN’s “high variant” scenario – in which the total fertility rate in India is projected to be 0.5 births per woman above that of the medium variant scenario – the country’s population would surpass 2 billion people by 2068. The UN’s “low variant” scenario – in which the total fertility rate is projected to be 0.5 births below that of the medium variant scenario – forecasts that India’s population will decline beginning in 2047 and fall to 1 billion people by 2100.

People under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population. In fact, there are so many Indians in this age group that roughly one-in-five people globally who are under the age of 25 live in India. Looking at India’s age distribution another way, the country’s median age is 28. By comparison, the median age is 38 in the United States and 39 in China.

The other two most populous countries in the world, China and the U.S., have rapidly aging populations – unlike India. Adults ages 65 and older comprise only 7% of India’s population as of this year, compared with 14% in China and 18% in the U.S., according to the UN. The share of Indians who are 65 and older is likely to remain under 20% until 2063 and will not approach 30% until 2100, under the UN’s medium variant projections.

The fertility rate in India is higher than in China and the U.S., but it has declined rapidly in recent decades. Today, the average Indian woman is expected to have 2.0 children in her lifetime, a fertility rate that is higher than China’s (1.2) or the United States’ (1.6), but much lower than India’s in 1992 (3.4) or 1950 (5.9). Every religious group in the country has seen its fertility rate fall, including the majority Hindu population and the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain minority groups. Among Indian Muslims, for example, the total fertility rate has declined dramatically from 4.4 children per woman in 1992 to 2.4 children in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available from India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS). Muslims still have the highest fertility rate among India’s major religious groups, but the gaps in childbearing among India’s religious groups are generally much smaller than they used to be.

Fertility rates vary widely by community type and state in India. On average, women in rural areas have 2.1 children in their lifetimes, while women in urban areas have 1.6 children, according to the 2019-21 NFHS. Both numbers are lower than they were 20 years ago, when rural and urban women had an average of 3.7 and 2.7 children, respectively.

Total fertility rates also vary greatly by state in India, from as high as 2.98 in Bihar and 2.91 in Meghalaya to as low as 1.05 in Sikkim and 1.3 in Goa.

Likewise, population growth varies across states. The populations of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh both increased by 25% or more between 2001 and 2011, when the last Indian census was conducted. By comparison, the populations of Goa and Kerala increased by less than 10% during that span, while the population in Nagaland shrank by 0.6%. These differences may be linked to uneven economic opportunities and quality of life.

On average, Indian women in urban areas have their first child 1.5 years later than women in rural areas. Among Indian women ages 25 to 49 who live in urban areas, the median age at first birth is 22.3. Among similarly aged women in rural areas, it is 20.8, according to the 2019 NFHS.

Women with more education and more wealth also generally have children at later ages. The median age at first birth is 24.9 among Indian women with 12 or more years of schooling, compared with 19.9 among women with no schooling. Similarly, the median age at first birth is 23.2 for Indian women in the highest wealth quintile, compared with 20.3 among women in the lowest quintile.

Among India’s major religious groups, the median age of first birth is highest among Jains at 24.9 and lowest among Muslims at 20.8.

India’s artificially wide ratio of baby boys to baby girls – which arose in the 1970s from the use of prenatal diagnostic technology to facilitate sex-selective abortions – is narrowing. From a large imbalance of about 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census, the sex ratio at birth appears to have normalized slightly over the last decade. It narrowed to about 109 boys per 100 girls in the 2015-16 NFHS and to 108 boys per 100 girls in the 2019-21 NFHS.

To put this recent decline into perspective, the average annual number of baby girls “missing” in India fell from about 480,000 in 2010 to 410,000 in 2019, according to a Pew Research Center study published in 2022. (Read more about how this “missing” population share is defined and calculated in the “How did we count ‘missing’ girls?” box of the report.) And while India’s major religious groups once varied widely in their sex ratios at birth, today there are indications that these differences are shrinking.

Infant mortality in India has decreased 70% in the past three decades but remains high by regional and international standards. There were 89 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, a figure that fell to 27 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020. Since 1960, when the UN Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation began compiling this data, the rate of infant deaths in India has dropped between 0.1% and 0.5% each year.

Still, India’s infant mortality rate is higher than those of neighboring Bangladesh (24 deaths per 1,000 live births), Nepal (24), Bhutan (23) and Sri Lanka (6) – and much higher than those of its closest peers in population size, China (6) and the U.S. (5).

Typically, more people migrate out of India each year than into it, resulting in negative net migration. India lost about 300,000 people due to migration in 2021, according to the UN Population Division. The UN’s medium variant projections suggest India will continue to experience net negative migration through at least 2100.

But India’s net migration has not always been negative. As recently as 2016, India gained an estimated 68,000 people due to migration (likely to be a result of an increase in asylum-seeking Rohingya fleeing Myanmar). India also recorded increases in net migration on several occasions in the second half of the 20th century.

UN Special Session on COVID-19 To Begin This Week

The UN General Assembly is holding a Special Session on the Covid-19 pandemic at the level of Heads of State and Government on 3 and 4 December.. It took more than a year of discussions to overcome the opposition of certain states, notably the United States and President Donald Trump.

BRUSSELS, Nov 30 2020 (IPS) – The holding of this Special Session (the 37th in the history of the UN) is of considerable importance. It is a unique opportunity to define and implement joint actions at the global level to fight the pandemic in order to ensure the right to life and health for all the inhabitants of the Earth. As the President of the UN General Assembly wrote in his letter of convocation: “Let us not forget that none of us are safe until we are all safe”.

This is a historic moment. The future of the UN is at stake, and above all the capacity of our societies to give life a universal value free from any subordination to market, economic and power “reasons”.

Health, life, is not a question of business, profits, national power, domination or survival of the strongest. The right to health for all is not only a question of access to care (medicines, vaccines….).

This special session is also very important because it represents a great opportunity for us citizens. It encourages us to express our priorities and wishes, to put pressure on our elected leaders so that their decisions comply with the constitutional principles of our States and with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of Peoples.

As the Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth, we have already intervened in September with the UN Secretary General in defense of a health policy without private patents for profit and free of charge (under collective financial responsibility.

On 23 October, at the WTO (World Trade Organisation) level, the “rich” countries of the “North” (United States, European Union, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan…) rejected the request made by South Africa and India, supported by the WHO (World Health Organisation) and other countries of the South, to temporarily suspend the application of patent rules in the fight against Covid-19.

The suspension was intended to allow people in impoverished countries fair and effective access to coronavirus treatment. We deeply deplore it. With this rejection, the aforementioned countries have flouted the political and legal primacy of the right to health according to the rules and objectives set at the international level by WHO over the “logics” and market interests promoted by WTO. This is unacceptable.

Is humanity at the beginning of the end of any global common health policy inspired by justice, responsibility and solidarity?

Inequalities in the right to health have worsened as part of a general increase in impoverishment. According to the biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report of the World Bank the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.1

The vaccine market is valued at about $29.64 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $43.79 billion at a CAGR of 10.3% through 2020. The sector is marked by a high degree of concentration: four major pharmaceutical groups dominated in 2019 in terms of turnover generated by the marketing of vaccines.

Leading the way is the British company GlaxoSmithKline, followed by the American Merck and Pfizer, with 7.3 and 5.9 billion euros respectively, and then the French company Sanofi with over 5.8 billion euros last year.

The concentration of vaccine production is also impressive. Europe currently accounts for three-quarters of global vaccine production. The rest of the production is divided mainly between North America (13%) and Asia (8%). In Europe, there are pharmaceutical giants such as Roche, Novartis and Bayer.

The resulting social fractures from above-mentioned trends make it more difficult to implement measures and actions in line with common, shared objectives, in the interest of all, especially the weakest who are at risk.

The spirit of survival and nationalist, racist and class divisions have been reinforced. With a few exceptions, the commodification and privatisation of health systems have contributed to the transfer of decision-making powers to private global industrial, commercial and financial subjects.

National political powers, which are responsible for the processes of commodification and privatisation, are less and less able to design and impose a global and public health policy in the interest of the world’s population.

Mainstream narratives, values, choices and regulation practices must change

The world situation is dramatic. This does not mean that it’s impossible to reverse to-day’s trends. Here below we mention the solutions that Agora of the Inhabitants has submitted to the attention of the president of the UN General Assembly in view of the Special Session on Covid-19.

Our proposals were the subject of a consultation with associations, groups, movements and citizen networks during the month of November. We have received 1,285 signed personal emails of support from 53 countries.

First, the Special Session must strongly reaffirm the principle that the health of all the inhabitants of the Earth is the greatest wealth we possess. Health matters, health is a universal right. It should not belong only to those who have the power to purchase the goods and services necessary and indispensable for life. Our States must stop spending almost 2 trillion dollars a year on armaments and wars.

The health of 8 billion human beings and other living species is more important than the power of conquest and extermination. To this end, it is necessary to change the priorities of global finance by investing in the economy of global public goods (health, water, knowledge/education.

The Special Session should: – propose the creation of a public cooperative financial fund for health, as an integral part of a Global Deposits and Consignments Fund for Global Public Goods; – commission UNIDIR or a commission of independent experts to submit a study report on immediate reductions in military expenditure and the reconversion of its allocation to the development, production and distribution of public goods and services in the health and related fields of water, agro-food and knowledge.

Second, universal rights to life imply that the goods and services indispensable for life should no longer be subject to private appropriation nor to exclusive collective appropriation. Therefore it is necessary to build the common future of all the inhabitants of the Earth by promoting and safeguarding the common public goods and services indispensable for life.

Water, health, seeds, housing and knowledge and education, are the most obvious common public goods. They cannot be dissociated from universal rights. Patents on life (and artificial intelligence) are a strong example of the dissociation between goods that are indispensable for life, such as medical care goods (infrastructure, medicines, and so on) and the right to life.

Hence, we propose:

  • to recognise that health (goods and services) is a global common public good that must be safeguarded, protected and valued by the community, under the responsibility of democratically elected public authority institutions, at the different levels of societal organisation of human communities, from the local to the global community of life on Earth;
    • approve the abandonment for the period 2021-2023 of application of the rules concerning patents on living organisms, in particular on all the tools for combating the Covid-19 pandemic (diagnostics, treatment, vaccines). The monopolies left to patent holders have no relevant social, ethical, economic and political value. To this end, the Member States of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, representatives of all the peoples and citizens of the Earth, commit themselves, for want of anything better, to use as of now existing instruments of international law such as compulsory licensing;
    • decide to set up a global Task Force, under the aegis of the UN, to revise the legal-institutional regime of intellectual property in the Anthropocene, the aim of which would be to abandon the principle of the patentability of living organisms for private and profit-making purposes and to define a new global regime on intellectual property in the light also of the experience accumulated in recent years in the field of artificial intelligence.

Third, it is of fundamental importance to abandon submission to the dictates of “In the name of money”. “You are not profitable? You are not indispensable. In any case, your life is not a priority”. It is not because a person is not profitable for the capital invested that he or she is no longer indispensable. Being without purchasing power does not mean becoming without rights. Life is not money. Living beings are not commodities, resources for profit.

To this end, the Special Session should:

  • highlight the need for the re-publicization of scientific research (basic and applied) and technological development. The pooling of knowledge and health protocols, medicines and vaccines must be part of the immediate measures to be taken. In this perspective;
    • propose the approval of a Global Compact on Science for Life and Security for all the inhabitants of the Earth;
    • to convey in 2022 a UN world conference on the global common public goods and services. The current mystifying use of the concept of ‘global public goods’ in relation to Covid-19 vaccines underlines the urgency and importance of the proposal.

Fourth, a global health policy requires a global political architecture capable, above all, of outlawing predatory finance. The “global security” of the global public goods in the interests of life for all the inhabitants of the Earth can be achieved by creating global institutions with corresponding competences and powers.

The Earth inhabitants do not need new winners, new global conquerors. They need world leaders and citizens who are convinced that the future of life on Earth requires a new and urgent Global Social Pact for Life. In 25 years’ time, the UN will celebrate the centenary of its founding.

The Special Session must make it clear that there can no longer be a debate on small adjustments to the global regulatory model known as “multilateralism”.

The Special Session should:

  • recognise Humanity as an institutional subject and key actor in the global politics of life. The opening of a Global Common House of Knowledge, based on the existing pooling of knowledge, experiences, technical tools (case of Costa Rica concerning health…) will be a significant concrete step forward;
    • propose the urgent creation of a Global Public Goods and Services Security Council, starting with health, water and knowledge.

It is time for governments and citizens to get or regain common control of health policy. The Special Session must set the record straight. The right to health for all is not only a question of (economic) access to care (medicines, vaccines…) but, more, a question of building the human, social, economic (such as employment…), environmental and political conditions that shape an individual and collective healthy state.

(By Riccardo Petrella from IPS, an Italian national living in Belgium is Emeritus Professor, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), with Honorary Degrees (Honoris Causa) from eight universities in Sweden, Denmark, France, Canada, Argentina and Belgium. His research and teaching fields have been regional development, poverty, science and technology policy and globalization.)

TheUNN WhatsApp Group

Join and follow our WhatsApp group for daily news and updates. It's completely free!

-+=