J L Koul Jalali
Amidst ever increasing dangers and threats facing mankind,time appears to have come to initiate steps at governance level to make world safe place for mankind to live in. Pandemic COVID-19 has provided impetus to the idea of global democratic government and underlined necessity of a world organisation to tackle the dangers facing mankind more effectively. These include the pandemics,stockpiles of nuclear weapons,deadly biological weapons,natural disasters,climate change,loss of control over artificial intelligence,terrorism, serious imbalances in international trade,influence,intelligence, greed for power and a host of other threats.
It is obvious that these threats cannot be tackled by any one country alone and a united action at local,regional and international levels alone can rid the world of these dangers. Presently a world body already exists known as United Nations Organisation(UNO). Formed after world war II in 1945 to prevent and eliminate recurrence of wars and to maintain peace all over the world,it was also mandated in broader terms to look after some aspects of areas like economic,social and cultural development.
The Organisation has been beneficial to mankind in many ways,but looking back at its record during last over seventy five years of its existence ,there is not much to feel proud about. Soon after its formation in 1945,it had to face cold war between the western Block and the Soviet Block headed by former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR) which lasted till collapse of Soviet Block in 1991. It could not prevent local and regional wars in Korean peninsula,Asia,Africa and even in Europe and Latin America. It could not stop Chinese aggression against India in 1962 and Cuban missile crisis between the then Soviet Union and USA. Mostly because of cold war politics and its attitude, it failed to take bold united action. Its response to natural disasters and epidemics at national or international level also fell far short of its expectations.
Apart from cold war politics,other main causes responsible for its failure to meet expectations have been lack of its full representative character and its failure to reform itself. Also,it has not restructured itself to keep up with needs of changing world. Under these circumstances its attitude towards enormous problems and threats and deviant forces facing mankind has been almost inflexible.
Despite repeated calls by many countries it has more or less continued with its inequitable representative character. A glaring example of this has been that India with over 1.38 billion population which constitutes about eighteen per cent of total world population has no permanent representation on its most important decision making organ UN Security Council. While more basic structural changes in the Organisation will take years and years if not decades,it has to reform itself urgently to make itself fully representative to tackle the pressing problems. Urgency of such a step can also be gauged by the fact that last year in June out of 192 votes cast in UN General Assembly,184 countries voted in favour of India for two year non-permanent membership of UNSC which started from January this year. The world body has also to change its responses so that threats facing the mankind are attended to promptly.
Regarding deeper structural changes to turn the United Nations Organisation ,as it is now, into a democratic world government,the idea will take all the more time to come somewhat into shape. Moreover In a world full of diversities and ideological differences, such an institution will have to be free from biases and prejudices and will have to transcend the diversities and differences to acquire a truly representative and independent profile. During recent past with advance of human civilisation and human thought, necessity for such a global institution has been felt Immensely at various stages. Even establishment of present world body UNO over seventy five years ago was in itself a feeble response to a similar feeling.
Once ,after deeper restructuring of the present world body UNO, contours for a democratic world Government are established,the parliament of the world body could be elected directly by proportional representation based on population of each member nation or nation state. Challenges facing mankind as also matters of economic and financial governance can be dealt with in a far better way by a global parliament. Such an institution will strengthen democracy,justice and equity throughout world and help in curbing fundamentalist and radical ideologies. Proper attention to all threats facing mankind could ensure safety and survival of intelligent life on earth.
But to enable this to happen, member countries will have to shed few shades of their sovereignty which could democratically authorise and enable such a world government to prevent deadly nuclear and biological wars at local,regional or at international level. The member countries may also be required to shed and/or share few more shades of their sovereignty,as may be needed, to tackle the specified threats and urgencies to make the world safer place.
At present, there are already scores of organisations in Africa,America, Europe and elsewhere some of which are popularly elected. Despite Brexit,European Union continues to be a best example of such institutions even though at regional level only. Initially established as an advisory body long back, It evolved through decades as an elected representative institution. European parliament has even veto powers over most of European Union legislation and its members are elected directly. To begin with the proposed democratic world Parliament could also draw inspiration and get benefitted by such an experience.
Just some time before his death,world renowned Physicist Stephen Hawking pleaded for establishment of some form of world government as he apprehended that aggressive instincts of humans could lead to destruction of humankind and hoped that such a government could prevent impending doom. He emphasised the need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.Though hopeful about future of humanity he apprehended that humans might not have skills as species to stay alive. He wanted humans to identify threats and act before they get out of control.
J L Koul Jalali