by Prem Misir (March 2006)
The late President Cheddi Jagan died on March 6, 1997 at 12:23 a.m. at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in the United States of America. Dr. Jagan bequeathed several legacies for the Guyanese people, but a significant birthright, among others, was his lifelong concern to bring happiness to the working class.
Today, this enduring concern has become the foundation for his globally- recognized legacy, the New Global Human Order (NGHO); Dr. Jagan boldly initiated this legacy in 1996. Jagan, for the first time since 1992, clearly, outlined his philosophic vision for Guyana in a speech in 1996 to the International Conference on the Global Human Order. What he presented was quite provocative for the squeamish, but practical, and required endorsement and implementation; endorsement he got in abundance. The view of the NGHO is remarkable, aimed at revitalizing poor developing nations through a just and fair partnership with the developed world.
Jagan’s vision of a developmental strategy incorporating NGHO’s principles would focus on the relationship of the worker to the products of his labour and on the process of producing that product; a reality only if there is a blending of the market economy with governmental interventions for nation building purposes; The U.S. does this quite well.
In the Epilogue to the last edition of The West On Trial, Jagan explained why a new global human order was necessary and where anything less was insufficient, thus: “Market-driven economic globalization and unbridled modernization...are leading to a spiral of marginalization and exclusion...”
The social and economic divisions between the advantaged and the disadvantaged in the industrialized nations of the North, in the developing and underprivileged countries of the South, and differences in accomplishments between North and South, are expanding. Clearly, the fight to eliminate poverty and restore human dignity has to be waged across national borders. Dr. Jagan knew all along that the fight for Guyana’s freedom was intertwined in the fight for world freedom, and so he took his battle against poverty and hunger to the international fora; not the North against the South, or the South against the North, but a North and South working together as partners.
The following developments attest to Jagan’s resilience and fortitude in his aggressive promotion of the NGHO: appeal to world leaders in 1994 arguing the case for a new order where the predominance of human development becomes the guideline for action; paper presented for the UN-sponsored World Hearings on Development, 1994; paper presented to the European Commission, 1994; paper presented to the Inter-Sessional CARICOM Heads of Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1994; address to the Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Zealand, 1995; letter to the President of the World Bank, 1996; paper presented at the Global Development Initiative Advisory Group at the Carter Centre, 1996; address to the World Food Summit in Rome, 1996; Memorandum disseminated at the hemispheric Summit on Sustainable Development in Bolivia, 1996.
The Guyana Parliament in 1994 approved a resolution on the NGHO. In 1996, an international conference on the NGHO took place, culminating in its participants endorsing the NGHO. Then in 1997, CARICOM, The Group of 77 and China (G 77), and the UN General Assembly, endorsed it. The UN General Assembly has now debated Dr. Jagan’s NGHO.
The late President explained the complexion and nature of the NGHO, thus: “To attain a new Global Human Order, it is necessary to establish a sound and just system of global governance based on: a genuine North/South partnership and interdependence for mutual benefit; a democratic culture of representative, consultative and participatory democracy and a lean and clean administration; a people-centered development strategy free from external domination; application of science and technology for increased production and productivity; and the creation of a Global Development Fund.”
To squander the opportunity to put the NGHO in place is to condemn humanity to a lifetime of despair, alienation, and hopelessness; in short, a lifetime of poverty and hunger; a lifetime of nothingness; there is no need for this wastage.
by Janet Jagan - (January 2008)
My warmest congratulations to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Rudy Insanally and his Ministry and delegation to the United Nations (UN) for their splendid efforts in promoting the resolution in the United Nations for a New Global Human Order (NGHO).
The United Nations General Assembly on December 17, by consensus, adopted this resolution which was proposed by Guyana and supported by the Caribbean Community and the Rio Group. The number of co-sponsors of the resolution has now grown to 75, an indication of the growing, broader support.
According to the Ministry’s press release, the NGHO “is concerned with the human development dilemma of persistent poverty and under-development amidst unprecedented global prosperity seeks to promote partnership and cooperation among all nations for greater and more balanced economic and social progress.” It calls for primacy to be given to people in the development process in order to create an environment where human beings can develop their potential and contribute meaningfully to their societies.
In the debate on the item at the UN, speakers alluded to the fact that while new and expanded opportunities and greater prosperity had been realized for many states, the contemporary order was increasingly marked by uneven levels of progress. The NGHO offers a qualitatively different approach to development that addresses these realities.
The consensus text also recognizes that inequality within and among countries is a concern for all countries regardless of their level of development – with multiple implications for the realization of the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals. Accordingly, the consensus calls on the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit to the General Assembly, at its 65th Session, a report on the implementation of the resolution including an assessment of the implications of inequality for development. It is expected that the report will provide a stronger basis for building over time a just and equitable system of international economic and social relations.
The resolution on a New Global Human Order was first introduced in the UN in the year 2000. However, preparation for that resolution began years before. One might say that the beginning was in the year 1993 when the late President Cheddi Jagan introduced his concept of a way to alleviate world poverty through a “consensus on development” and an agenda for peace, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government helped in Cyprus.
Only a few months after that “firing of the first salvo” which Foreign Minister Clement Rohee described in his introduction to the 1999 book “A New Global Human Order” by Cheddi Jagan. This first publication containing President Jagan’s thoughts on the subject was issued in pamphlet form and sent to every Head of State and Government the world over.
President Jagan, some months later, published his ideas on a NGHO in a booklet entitled “Pushing for a New Global Human Order” which he distributed at the first Summit of the Americas held in Miami in December 1994. I happened to be with him in Cyprus and in Miami on those two occasions. The intensity of his drive to push for a NGHO was remarkable to witness!
Dr Jagan in 1996, at the 7th Inter-Sessional meeting of Caricom Heads of Government held in Guyana took the opportunity to introduce the concept to regional leaders. The meeting expressed general support for his call.
At the same time, Dr Jagan asked Foreign Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to meet with Ambassadors Rudy Insanally, Havelock Brewster and Rudy Collins to further examine and discuss the NGHO.
A motion endorsing the concept of the NGHO to the Guyana Parliament was unanimously adopted in October, 1966. Before that, in August 1966, President Jagan called for a Conference of intellectuals and academics from both the developed and developing world, from trade unions and religious and political organizations to examine all aspects of a NGHO. This conference adopted what is known as the Georgetown Declaration on the New Global Human Order.
At the Georgetown Conference, Dr Jagan expressed the view that developing countries because of their huge foreign debt burden could not embark on the road to prosperity and that handouts and mendicancy were not the solution, nor was aid with strings attached. What was needed, he argued, was a totally new approach which would address the debt problems and find new and innovative ways of mobilizing fresh resources to overcome under-development so as to enable the developing countries, in partnership with the developed countries, to play a more important and meaningful role in the global market place, currently characterized by rapid globalization and trade liberalization.
On the day before he suffered the heart attack that would lead to his untimely death, President Cheddi Jagan addressed the Sixth Meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Working Group on Smaller Economies at the Pegasus Hotel on February 13, 1997. Fortunately, I was witness to this important address, which I can never forget.
In the last speech of his life he said: “Many of our countries are experiencing onerous debt problems, grinding poverty, high unemployment and increasing social disintegration. New countries are seeking debt relief from commercial creditors and other multilateral financial institutions in order to advance the development process for the benefit of our peoples.” He called for a definite solution to the third world’s crushing debt problems and urged that debt relief must be seen as an investment not only in the development of poor countries, but also in the security of rich nations.
In the year 2000, the Foreign Affairs Ministry through the country’s UN office put forward a resolution on the concepts proposed by the late Guyana President for a New Global Human Order and it was accepted. A few days ago, the United Nations renewed the call for a NGHO.
Note: For best reading on the subject is a book published by our daughter Nadira Jagan-Brancier with a brilliant foreword by former Foreign Affairs Minister Clement Rohee entitled “A New Global Human Order” by Cheddi Jagan, available at the Michael Forde Bookshop, Robb Street, Georgetown and at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, Red House, Georgetown.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009
By Odeen Ishmael
Guyana’s multilateralism achieved a signal honour in December 2007 when its resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting the New Global Human Order (NGHO) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. This resolution follows two others on the same subject approved in 2000 and 2002.
It is clear from the adoption of this latest resolution that many ideas proposed by the New Global Human Order have taken deeper roots in the international community, especially among developing countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. This is evidenced by the widespread support the resolution attracted, with more than 75 countries adding their names as co-sponsors. These included 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations making up the combined membership of Caricom and the Rio Group, and at least 30 from Africa. Significantly, the two most populous nations, China and India, as well as a number of other Asian and Pacific island states were among those that co-sponsored the resolution.
No doubt, the overwhelming co-sponsorship by the developing states of the South is significant since they feel that the NGHO initiatives promote in practical terms their fight against poverty and inequality and can help reduce the burdens of debt and dependency which suffocate their economic and social development.
The NGHO proposal was first enunciated in 1993 by the late Guyanese President Cheddi Jagan (1917-1997) in a letter to world leaders. Initially, some political and academic “experts” felt that the ideas promulgated in the proposal were utopian; that they would not gain support and would never engender serious discussions. Some even doubted that any government or multilateral institution would ever seriously try to implement the ideas for a long, long time.
But as President Jagan rightly pointed out, many ideas, which initially seemed utopian, eventually became accepted as realistic and practicable. As such, the Government of Guyana, since 1993, consistently propagated the proposal at all international forums, especially at the UN, OAS and other multilateral organisations. At first, it took some time for world leaders and governments to appreciate this fresh proposal coming from a Third World leader, but gradually – most likely because of Guyana’s persistence – many governments became interested, and over the years regional and international bodies such as Caricom, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Rio Group expressed their total support.
As the NGHO initiatives were refined and expanded over the past decade, some leaders from richer nations introduced their own parallel proposals with many of the same objectives. These include “Global Partnerships”, “Action Against Hunger and Poverty Initiative”, “Dialogue of Civilisations”, “World Solidarity Fund”, “Human Security”, and the “International Humanitarian Fund”. Even though these have not acquired international prominence as the NGHO, these initiatives have assisted in identifying and providing new resources to foster development cooperation, and in all respect, they can be seen as complementing the NGHO.
Basically, the NGHO calls for the mobilisation of concerted long-term global actions, within a holistic framework, to address development challenges and improve the well-being of people. These actions, aimed overall at the alleviation of poverty, include a commitment to sound policies; good governance at all levels and the rule of law; mobilising domestic resources and attracting international flows; assuring long-term investment in human capital and infrastructure; promoting international trade as an engine for economic growth and development; increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development; sustainable debt financing and external debt relief; and enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and equitable trading systems.
They also demand a review of the role of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the WTO to focus more on human development; the reduction of military expenditures in favour of greater development spending and aid; the application of sound, sustainable environmental policies; creation of a Global Development Trust Fund; and the introduction of the “Tobin tax” of 0.05 percent on speculative transfer of currency.
All of these actions intend, in the final analysis, to promote partnership and cooperation among all nations for greater and more balanced economic and social progress, aimed at alleviating persistent poverty and under-development. Emphasising this, the UN resolution insists that primacy must be given to people in the development process to create an environment which encourages them to develop their potential and contribute meaningfully to their societies. It also recognises the disparities between rich and poor, both within and among countries, amidst current unprecedented global prosperity and notes that these have implications for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
As a result, the resolution calls on the UN Secretary General to submit to the 65th session of the General Assembly (i.e., in 2010) a report on the implementation of the resolution including an assessment of the implications of inequality for development. It is expected that by that time, many plans will be operational, and the report should eventually establish a framework for a fair and equitable system of international social and economic relations.
For the Latin American and Caribbean countries, it is important that they work together to implement the NGHO initiatives to combat inequality and boost their human capital. In this respect, Guyana’s proposal for the establishment of a “corps of development volunteers”, first mooted by President Jagan in 1994 at the Summit of the Americas, should be revisited. This proposal was aimed at supplementing the work of the volunteer group known as the White Helmets (which is now managed by the UN) to assist in emergency situations in various countries. Jagan envisaged that the corps of specialist volunteers – teachers, health workers, engineers, scientists, etc. – would assist in special social and economic programmes throughout the Americas. While this proposal won unanimous support at the summit, it was never implemented. But, today, as new integration initiatives and cooperation expand across Latin America and the Caribbean, this proposal for the of development corps of volunteers may prove to be very useful for battling poverty, ignorance and disease in many of the countries of the region.
Already, some initiatives pertaining to debt relief and the provision of improved social infrastructure, improved trade regimes, as well as growing representative democracy, are being implemented in many countries, but much more still has to be done to improve the human situation in various parts of the planet. While the poorer nations must pool ideas and resources to assist each other, the UN must also assert its influence on the larger economies and multilateral financial institutions to provide tangible resources and other forms of assistance to ensure the implementation of at least some of the NGHO initiatives. The increased participation of the larger economies in this project will, no doubt, go a long way to reduce inequality and poverty for vast sections of the world’s population.
But since building the NGHO is an incremental process, the poorer countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, which all stand to earn greater benefits, must place their own houses in order by taking actions which, in a large part, do not require substantial forms of external assistance. For a start, many of them must improve on democratic governance, make greater efforts to curb corruption, improve their justice system and enforce the rule of law. Surely, such actions will definitely set these nations on the road to realising at least some of the accrued benefits defined by the NGHO.
Caracas, 22 January 2008
(The writer is Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela. The views expressed are solely those of the writer.)
by Eddi Rodney
Intensified and more extra-regionalised efforts to establish an adequate framework alternative that would sustain a global restructuring of economic and technological power, are more pronounced than these were in the immediately post Cold War situation.
In fact the crises of colonialist laissez-faire and statist capitalism in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as in parts of political Europe reveal a world-wide trend. This in turn reflects firstly, that unilateralism of the George Bush II Administration is fuelling these crises by undermining international co-operation. And secondly social, political and ethnic based conflicts rooted in wide income disparities and resultant impoverishment, are becoming increasingly, direct threats to democracy and the implementation of anti-poverty programmes in Third World countries, in particular. Prominent economist such as Professor Paul Stiglita and others, some associated with the World Trade & Economic Forum at Davos have also concentrated more on the anti-poverty agenda and debate.
The recognition of Dr Cheddi Jagan’s ‘new partnership’ strategy - A New Global Human Order or NGHO - by the United Nations during the course of its program of activities, on December 17, 2007, is therefore a confirmation in the most concrete way, that the NGHO is a most advanced set of proposals.
Dr Jagan, it should be noted, identified globalisation as a historical paradigm; he viewed the development of the super - power concept in the post Cold War world, as one that signified amongst other things, a less influential role for the poor masses. I doubt that he was over-optimistic, or expectant that his reform package and ideas could be considered as “moderate” by the imperialist forces.
The dominant factors of a shift in balance of forces were evident. The results of rapid trans-national expansion into sectors of the Russian economy under Mr Boris Yeltsin, coupled with U.S. monopoly capital into Mexico, Canada and Latin America through the Enterprise of the Americas, meant that historically defined instruments of intervention available to the countries of the South were themselves becoming subject to more diffuse global practices and abuses. These could not work as during the period of Non-Aligned collaboration often with Soviet Union solidarity, to bring more or less variable terms of capital aid. That example was often stressed by Dr Jagan.
He gave examples such as Peru under the “Economic Miracle” associated Alberto Fujimori and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also analysed how the Clinton Administration’s support for the big US corporations in terms of tax breaks had negative consequences inside the decision making centres and American government action and health care management for high density poor neighbourhoods in America. The decline of anti-poverty reforms coincided Dr Jagan argued, with the enrichment of elites in Latin America who had adopted the initial market strategies of the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA). The reality was that the FTAA opened new job and capital markets that created adverse conditions for indigenous manufacturing sectors and tended to de-stabilise national currency movements against the US dollar. The result was dramatic outflows of capital (profit repatriation) and super salaries for swarms of foreign managers and other top level staff on risk investments – so called because of the uncertainty of both the market for relatively high -wage labour and the non existence of reform legislation that could act as a brake on US (and Canadian) trans-national take-overs.
U.N Consensus and the proliferation of NGHO co-sponsors
As a specific set of principles and broad guidelines the NGHO as Janet Jagan correctly observed recently, posed the necessity for:
“a totally new approach which would address the debt problems and find new way of mobilising fresh resources to overcome underdevelopment, so as to enable the developing countries, in partnership with the developed countries, to play a more important and meaningful role in the global market place, currently characterised by rapid globalisation and trade liberalisation.” (Mirror 566/January, 2008).
The United Nations consensus text, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘recognises that inequality within and among countries is a concern for all countries regardless of their level of development - with multiple implications for the realisation of the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The ministry also stated that the number of co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution has increased to seventy-five. The resolution was adopted following intense negotiations among member states of the UN.
Dr Jagan’s NGHO, I have said previously, requires deep reflection and analysis. Proceeding from the initiatives taken at the time and previous to the Georgetown Conference in 1996, as well as the series of symposia discussions held during 2006 to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Georgetown NGHO international event. Perhaps the Foreign Affairs Ministry may want to co-sponsor in collaboration with the University of Guyana and even the University of the West Indies, a number of continuing consultations on the UN consensus. It is this most recent development that requires some focus by Guyanese diplomats and trainee diplomats. Business leaders including those in the Chambers of Commerce across the country should become au fait with relevant sections of the NGHO UN consensus. Trade Union and Human Rights groups, farmers’ organisations and collegiate students all can learn and gain immensely from both the NGHO itself and the UN resolution adopted last December in New York.
We publish here a draft resolution A/57/L 10 on the Role of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human Order, and which was adopted on November 14, 2002:
The Role of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human Order. The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 55/43 of 29 November, 2000.
Committed to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration and in the outcome of the major United Nations conferences held and international agreements reached since 1992. Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the role of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human Order,
1. Stresses the need for a broad-based consensus for action within a comprehensive and holistic framework towards the achievement of the goals of development and poverty eradication involving all actors, namely Governments, the United Nations system and other international organizations and relevant actors of civil society, including the private sector and non-governmental organizations;
2. Notes with interest the proposal regarding a new global human order;
3. Calls for further elaboration of the proposal and in this regard invites Member States and other stakeholders to submit proposals for consideration at the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly;
4. Decides to include in the agenda of its fifty-ninth session the item entitled, "The Role of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human Order."
It will be noted that the call for a New Global Human Order was first made at the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1995 by then President of Guyana Dr Cheddi Jagan. Since then, it has found echo in a number of international fora, including the Caribbean Community, the Movement of Non-Aligned countries and most recently, the Group of 77. At the Sixteenth Meeting of the conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) held in Georgetown, Guyana in July 1995, Caricom Heads expressed their support for the call for a New Global Human Order. In the Declaration of the South Summit held in Havana in April 2000, Heads of State and Government of the Group of the 77 and China stressed, inter alia, "the need for a New Global Human Order aimed at reversing the growing disparities between rich and poor, both among and within countries, through the promotion of growth with equity, the eradication of poverty, the expansion of productive employment and the promotion of gender equality and social integration."
The deepening interdependence of nations and peoples, the consolidation of democracy in many countries across the globe, accelerated technological innovation, and the end of the Cold war, offer potentially enhanced prospects for the achievement of these aims. However, the growing inequities and disparities that have accompanied the globalisation of the world economy manifested by the increasing income and technological divide between developed and developing countries strongly militate against economic and social progress for the majority of humanity.