Keeping Informed No 1

Paddle Now’s civil society group supporters can be categorised under four main headings: peace & conflict resolution; human rights & social justice; environmental protection & climate change; global governance. The success of each of these groups ultimately depends on the successes achieved by others.

A typical such feedback loop would see unresolved environmental failure and climate change; leading to further inequality between nations and increased numbers of refugees; leading to increased international tensions triggering wars and terrorism. Though active on different fronts, such groups need to recognise that they are all allies in a battle against the same foe.

Only considerably improved global governance can mitigate the disasters facing humanity and the planet. The UN needs radical reform. If the UN proves impervious to reform, a similar overarching international institution needs to be established. It needs to operate on the principle of subsidiarity, leaving to itself only powers to control actions by one nation that work to the detriment of the rest of the global community. It needs to be self-financing (a Tobin tax or fees for use of international waters or air space?) It needs to have an equitable democracy (with no individual members having powers of veto.) It needs to have a compulsory mediation and arbitration agency and to outlaw armed interventions, except under its auspices. It needs to have realistic and painful sanctions it can apply to non-compliant nations.

It is a big ask – but a modest start has to be made on expressing and realising those expectations.  The first step has to be for concerned citizens to realise the problem exists!

Every now and then, Paddle Now will post a blog in this format drawing attention to a random and brief selection of significant articles in each category and illustrating the need for urgent reforms in the current ramshackle system of global governance. Most readers will have already read at least some of the articles below – but there will be some they haven’t.

I’m trying to get the content of this occasional (fortnightly: monthly?) blog balanced and would welcome comments for future bulletins.

Peace & Conflict Resolution.

https://www.salon.com/2019/10/05/hypersonic-weapons-and-national-insecurity_partner/   A long article, but worth perseverance. One of the most scary consequences of global anarchy!

https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/subjects/turkey-syria-border.html  A go-to place for the latest on the Turkish invasion of Rojava.

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/07/kurds-syria-turkey-trump-betrayal/ It doesn’t pay to be a slow learner! The Kurds of Rojava could have had autonomy under the Syrian government – instead they chose total Independence under an American ‘guarantee.’

Human Rights & Social Justice.

https://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html  70.8 million displaced people worldwide – and the numbers are growing.

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/06/lets-talk-about-climate-migrants-not-climate-refugees/  “Human rights-based approaches are key for addressing climate migration: states of origin bear the primary responsibility for their citizens’ protection even if indeed their countries have not been the main contributors to global warming; they should therefore apply human rights-based approaches for their citizens moving because of environmental or climatic drivers.”

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/09/findings-released-into-potential-gcsb-and-nzsis-involvement-in-cia-torture.html “The report found that the GCSB did not “adequately support its staff deployed in or otherwise engaged in intelligence activity in respect of Afghanistan. Nor provide them with any policies or procedures relating to GCSB’s human rights obligations, and the role of civilians,…”

Environmental Protection and Climate Change.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/critical-issues-marine-pollution/ A recent summary in layperson’s language, detailing the dangers facing the oceans.

https://www.livescience.com/antarctica-ice-shelf-upside-down-rivers.html What’s up down under the Antarctic.

Global Governance.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-united-nations-has-a-cash-flow-crisis-good An American view of the UN. When you spend more than $1 trillion on defence/offence you have to make savings somewhere! No doubt the UN bureaucracy is unnecessarily feather-bedded, but a disproportionate amount of the UN’s work involves mopping up the chaos caused by US policies.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/10/1048782 Work and reforms of a UN ‘at risk.’ Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis.

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