Econometrik Plus contributes, since at least three (3) years, to the implantation of the Global Governance Group (Triple G). Ronald J. Carré, acts as Secretary General for Canada in this New Very Important World Organisation. It is a common iniative of Canada, France and Greece.
The first main activity of this World Organisation has been held in Athens in October 2004 (Athens I).
The main purpose of the second World Event of the Triple G is to officialize the start up of the New School of Athens by a Dedicated World Conference (Athens II) wich will be held in Athens March 9-11, 2006.

To know all about the World Athens II Conference.
Last news
Final Program of the Conference
Photos Galery, Athens II (In Preparation)

Here is the Basic Document of the Athens II Conference:
Rethinking the Multilateral System

Birth of the New School of Athens

 

Kimon Valaskakis, Ph.D

Former Ambassador of Canada to the OECD. Founding President of the Global Governance Group

Thursday, March 02, 2006 Is the World’s “present management system” capable of meeting today’s global challenges let alone tomorrow’s, including security threats, climate change, bird flu, economic inequality etc.? Increasing evidence suggests it is not. Much ink has been expended on Security Council reform which so far has yielded very little. But even if it had we would not necessarily be out of the woods. The UN itself is one of many IGOs (intergovernmental organizations) which were created after the Second World War and which together are known as the “Multilateral System”. Designed to meet the challenges of 1945 the MS is in danger of serious obsolescence in 2006 and beyond.

How is the world presently managed? Its foundations is the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia which could arguably be considered the implicit constitution of the world. This European Treaty ended the Thirty Years War by elevating national sovereignty (at that time the sovereignty of princes) to the highest level of legal authority. An act of sovereignty cannot be legally opposed. It is absolute. The Treaty weakened the power of the supranational authority of the time, the Holy Roman Emperor and laid the basis for the present international system. Today final authority resides in 191 national governments members of the UN who delegate some authority to the IGOs which number in the hundreds but, with few exceptions have no supranational powers.

The UN itself, seems to be “half-westphalian” in that it reaffirms the principle of national sovereignty in its charter, yet grants the Security Council extraordinary post westphalian prerogatives in some cases (unfortunately ill defined and ambiguous). The European Union is also “half-westphalian” because although it does not abandon sovereignty, it considers European Law as having precedence over national law. This is an important innovation. The United States although giving lip-service to the sovereignty system, seems to consider its own sovereignty as above everyone else’s thus endowing itself with extra-territorial pre-emptive powers (example the Iraq War). Somehow illogically, the US considers the UN as subordinate to the US Constitution which goes against core American value of authority being based on democratic representation. The US Congress does not represent the world and therefore cannot trump the UN in any legal sense.

In addition to its weakening modus operandi, the present MS suffers from three further weaknesses. First, while sovereignty (and therefore authority) is legally confined to national territory (with the exception of US extra-territorial exceptionalism) most challenges are now global and cannot be resolved by individual national governments. This ranges from financial crises, to countering the terrorist threat, climate change, internet hackers and bird flu

The chasm between challenges and authority systems ability to meet them is further exacerbated by the growth of a “no man’s land” legally under no one’s control which includes air and space, the Earth’s core, the high seas and the virtual world of electronic communication. There is no consensus on how the 191 sovereign governments should manage this no man’s law.

Third, real power has shifted, willy nilly from the nominal sovereignty holders, the national governments to non-state actors. The latter include multinational corporations with much stronger spending power than most governments, special interest groups acting behind the scenes, terrorist organizations, religious sects and a growing number of NGOs representing “Civil Society” and exerting their influence through the Internet and well attended protest meetings. The non-state actors assume governance functions although not mandated to do so and upstage national governments.

The net result of all this is a sort of hybrid system, a kind of Westphalia I.5 full of pitfalls and dangers. The breakdown of the MS is creating a world without borders which is becoming a world without rules, with no one in charge of this planet.

What can be done about this ?

An emerging initiative to help deal with this problem was born in Athens on March 9 th 2006 . Known as the New School of Athens it derives its inspiration from Plato’s ancient academy which was the first university in the Western World. Its objective is to achieve, in a metaphorical sense a “Global Athens” a city-state at the planetary level with a political structure reflecting the legitimate and effective organization of power in the best Periclean tradition. Its motto is “exploring better ways of managing our world” but it resists the temptation of idle utopian thinking. Instead it sees itself as a “pre-negotiating forum” whose ultimate clients are the government negotiators in the IGOs and beyond who have the authority to improve the global institutions.

To be credible, this forum will be supported by a global think tank and be tripartite in composition, bringing together government leaders, business executives and civil society representatives. It will also favor inter-ideological debate. For instance in its inaugural conference it featured a direct “Olympic style debate” opposing the Davos ideology (World Economic Forum) and the Porto Allegre alternative (The World Social Forum) in a healthy clash of ideas.

Well aware of the existence of many other international forums, NSOA purports to be a clearing house of the best ideas emanating from them and transforming them into action plans which could be implemented in the medium run of the next five years.

A joint initiative of the Global Governance Group and the former mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyanis now Greek Foreign Affairs Minister, the NSOA has the support of about 300 world personalities including present and former world leaders and sees itself as a long-term project going beyond discussion clubs to become a source of implementable action plans whose objective is to explore better ways of managing our world.

The Westphalia I took thirty years to negotiate. The march to a metaphorical “Westphalia II” may take as long, but a fundamental rethink of the MS is now both inevitable and urgent.

 

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