Essay Humanity Politics

What is needed are laws that provide an incentive to conserve natural resources, such as energy supplies and water, along with technologies that recycle those resources.Concrete time frames and standards must be put into place on a global scale if specific goals are to be achieved at all.

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The choice is between the continuation of present modes of economic growth, with potentially catastrophic results, and the transition to a new development model.

That model would focus on reducing poverty, while enhancing sustainability and social equity. It is nerve-wracking and anything but easy, and the outcome is profoundly uncertain.

As Lydia Powell of the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi points out, “the question that needs to be asked is not whether a new model is needed, but why the models that have been proposed are failing to make even a marginal impact on the current growth model.” Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are indissolubly linked to the question of social justice and equity.

We are living in an era of global “triple unsustainability — economic, social and environmental,” as Andreas Illy, the chairman and CEO of illycaffè, puts it.

In concrete terms, it is important to unveil reasons for the gap between civil society’s disclosed expectations about a new development model and political interests that prevent these changes from being implemented.

Ways and means on how this gap can be addressed have to be further explored and revealed to the public in order to spark desire for action.In the wake of the global financial and economic crisis that commenced in 2008, restoring the global economy to robust growth has again become the key priority in almost all countries, including the eurozone, which is struggling with its sovereign debt crisis.At the same time, the traditional growth paradigm offers false comfort.Consequently, sustainable development — understood as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” — has to address not only environmental concerns, but also issues of social and economic sustain ability.Any call for a switch from a growth-centered mindset to one that focuses on developing in a way that gives greatest priority to combating poverty and promoting education, while ensuring access to clean energy, will require a new approach in the political sphere.Otherwise, the differences in culture and economic development among countries are too large to develop a common agenda for addressing challenges.Existing international institutions and fora have proven unable to produce collective action to effectively address the challenges of sustainable development.At the heart of the problem of global governance, as Seán Cleary, founder of the Future World Foundation, argues, is the fact that political leaders are accountable to national electorates, while many threats are transnational, even global.The “Westphalian system” of international politics, says Pascal Lamy, until recently the director general of the World Trade Organization, “allows all nations to dismiss any requirements coming from the global system to safeguard humanity’s long-term survival as acts of interference in their internal, national affairs.” As a result, the prospects for effective global governance are deteriorating.There is a broad consensus that more effective and inclusive forms of global governance — broadly defined as the collective management of common problems at the international and transnational level — are needed.Yet, diverging interests as well as different perspectives on how to approach these problems have encouraged the pursuit of national interests and led to greater fragmentation in international politics.

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