Thursday, 19 July 2012

Crisis of Governance

 We need to state loudly and clearly that this crisis with all its different facets—climate, environmental, financial, food, values—that is affecting the whole world also has another component: a crisis of governance. This aspect can be seen, on the one hand, in the lack of a structure for world power with more legitimacy than the current version. Multi-lateralism is running out of steam and proving powerless in the face of the permanent threat of armed imperialism and its power of veto. In addition, its scope comes into conflict with states and their ageing national sovereignties. It is important to add to this summary assessment that today’s globalized economy and the health of state public finances depend on the enormous power of the huge economic-financial corporations, which subject the world to their pursuit for profits. Our world governance is led by corporations rather than states.
On the other hand, the governance crisis is also part of the total lack of vision and will to change displayed by political leaders as well as the parliaments that support them, regardless of how limited and contradictory is the political margin they retain in the face of the so-called power of the markets. Even if it seems impossible, the great projects in the history of humankind have always been started off by dreaming and thinking up ideas, then creating the conditions to make them possible. In the light of the prospect presented by today’s world and the pathetic Rio+20 conference, we can see that there is something missing on the world scene: politicians with significant political and ethical reach, generous and committed, who listen to the voices of the nascent global citizenry and pick up on their demand for immediate change, politicians who would promote the definition of strategies and democratic agreements aimed at setting up processes for change, here and now.

The Rio de Janeiro experience has left us with a planet-sized headache. It brought together tens of thousands of people and almost a hundred heads of state to adopt a 50-page, take it or leave it, declaration that repeats commitments made long ago and not kept, taking care to include all the buzz words of a liturgy now emptied of all meaning: the role of women and civil society, rights, the importance of democracy and popular participation, not to mention indigenous people, some of whom were present in feathered attire. In all the senses of the term, it would seem that the die has been cast.
But careful now! Acknowledging our interdependencies is out of the question! One state does not have the right to scrutinize another! A man is master in his own home! The commitments are voluntary and only binding to those who believe in them. Civil society participation? Even the stakeholder forum, meant to represent the different actors but absorbed into UN bureaucracy, publically criticized the masquerade after a month spent striving unsuccessfully to insert its proposals into a programme designed from the outset to exclude any ideas of real significance.