Introduction: The theme for the 21st International Conference of the Chief Justices of the World, organized by the City Montessori School, Lucknow in November 2020 is ‘Global Governance: A Post-COVID Imperative’, and it will seek to prepare a road map for the world’s leadership for establishing, reforming and further developing the global governance structures needed for guaranteeing a safe and secure future for the people of the world and the generations yet-to-be born.
The most powerful common denominator for all the nations is their children and it is our duty to bequeath to our children a better inheritance than that bequeathed to us. Having appointed itself as the custodian of the welfare of world’s children, City Montessori School believes that any discussion about the future of the world must also involve the generality of humankind. This discussion is so important that it cannot be confined to leaders—be they in government, business, the academic community, religion, or organizations of civil society. It, therefore, decided to approach the world judiciary and solicit their support in favour of the children’s cause...
Sub theme 1: Reforms of the Global Governance Structure
The COVID pandemic has exposed a number of shortcomings in terms of global governance. Fragmentation, lack of cooperation and coordination among international organizations and governments, lack of implementation, enforcement and effectiveness, inefficient use of resources have resulted in an incoherent global governance structure. This has severely limited an effective global response to the crisis as is hugely evident from the inward looking retracted policies of governments and their increase in unilateral rhetoric.
It is apparent that the global governance system today does not reflect the realities of the world and is woefully inadequate to respond effectively to the new challenges of the 21st century.
The session will look at ways of reforming of the global governance structure so that the world can effectively respond to new global challenges that in the future.
Sub theme 2: Global Citizenship Education
Global citizenship was initially considered an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. It has always been a contested area. Countries typically take pride in nationalism and see the inculcation of loyalty to one’s nation as being in conflict with a possible wider loyalty to the world or global community as a whole. However, more lately, there has been a growing awareness of the earth as one common homeland, and of increased interdependence, and a realization that our destinies are inextricably bound together. The COVID-19 crisis has underlined that we are only as strong as the weakest link. There is now an unmistakable and inexorable movement towards global citizenship education, as seen for example, by the creation of university courses in Development Education, the inclusion of Global Citizenship Education in the UN’s SDG Goal 4 for Education, and even in national documents such as India’s National Education Policy 2020. This session will explore the role that global citizenship education of young people and of adults, can play in bringing about effective global governance.
Sub-theme 3: A New Definition of Security: From Military Security to Health, Work & Social Security
‘Security’ today has a new meaning – moving away from the purely military context to encompass secure access to health and education, work and livelihood, protection against environmental degradation, democracy and human rights, and the proliferation of deadly weapons. "Security" may also be referred to as the concept of “freedom from want and fear”. Our interconnected and interdependent world has made it imperative that an integrated multilateral response be made by the global governance system at the international level to guarantee a secure and safe present and future for all the people of the world and which is then reflected in national policies that ensure security of social and economic needs of each and every person on the planet.
The session will try to seek and find ways of creating greater coordination and synergy of efforts needed to be made at global, national and local levels to ensure health, work and social security for all people.
Sub-theme 4: Tackling Race, Religion & Gender Prejudices
Racism originates not in the skin but in the human mind. Remedies to racial prejudice, xenophobia and intolerance must accordingly address first and foremost those mental illusions that have for so many thousands of years given rise to false concepts of superiority and inferiority among human populations. At the root of all forms of discrimination and intolerance is the erroneous idea that humankind is somehow composed of separate and distinct races, peoples or castes, and that those sub-groups innately possess varying intellectual, moral, and/or physical capacities, which in turn justify different forms of treatment.
The reality is that there is only the one human race. We are a single people, inhabiting the planet Earth, one human family bound together in a common destiny, a single entity created from one same substance, obligated to "be even as one soul. "Recognition of this reality is the antidote to racism, xenophobia and intolerance in all its forms.”
The session will seek to explore the guiding principle of oneness of the human race which lies at the foundation of the discussions, deliberations and ultimate output of the Conference.
Sub-theme 5: Environment Protection & Climate Justice
It has been widely acknowledged that economic prosperity has come at a tremendous cost to our natural environment. In fact, no country has emerged as a major industrial power without a legacy of significant environmental damage, affecting the security and well-being of its own populations and, equally significantly, those of developing nations. The growth-driven economic paradigm rooted in national interests at the expense of social and environmental variables and international well-being is under increasing scrutiny. Challenging ethical questions of resource distribution and responsibility for damages force governments to develop institutional mechanisms and implement policies that consider the prosperity and health of the global community and that of future generations.
On an institutional level, a global entity with a strong scientific advisory capacity is needed to streamline reporting and decision-making processes, including the voices of non-state actors. It must coherently link environmental issues to social and economic priorities, for none of these can advance in isolation. At the educational level, curricula must seek to develop a sense of responsibility towards the natural environment as well as foster a spirit of inquiry and innovation so that the diversity of human experience can be brought to bear on the challenge of creating an environmentally sustainable development pathway.
It is expected that the session will see participants engage in finding solutions that are acceptable to all nations of the world underlining their commitments to environment protection and climate justice. It could also include a on the ‘Right of Children to a Safe Future.’
Sub-theme 6: Creation of a World Parliamentary Assembly for UN Accountability and Legitimacy
The United Nations is the world’s platform to discuss issues and risks of global significance in an increasingly interdependent world and should be considered to be democratically legitimate in order to be effective, credible and competent enough to solve the problems of the world. For this to happen, the establishment of a significantly reformed General Assembly becomes absolutely essential. Until such significant reforms are realized, an interim “World Parliamentary Assembly” that serves as an advisory body to the General Assembly, acting as a type of “second chamber,” and greatly enhancing the legitimacy of the UN as a global decision maker, should be created as soon as possible.
The World Parliamentary Assembly would help bridge the democratic legitimacy gap that arises when an organization, through its actions (e.g., the drafting of Conventions, decisions to intervene or not on behalf of the international community in various conflicts, the actions of its various specialized agencies and related organizations) can affect in tangible ways people’s welfare, but those affected by these decisions have little input in how they are formulated, arrived at, and implemented, thereby creating a disconnection between citizens and the United Nations.
The session will discuss how the creation of a World Parliamentary Assembly will result in a more democratic and more effective global order.
Sub-theme 7: Role of Judiciary in Building a More Secure and Equitable World
As a value and as a principle, the international rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes has been widely and repeatedly affirmed at the highest levels of international governance. However, in the absence of a body having jurisdiction over national governments with corresponding legal enforcement authority, the international community has, de facto, no mandate or authority to giving binding legal effect to any international law. Therefore, there is no compulsion or obligation for the judiciary to hold states accountable for non-adherence to principles associated with international relations. There, building a new capacity to enforce international law, and the reform of legal institutions and current mechanisms of international cooperation, is of great importance.
Today there are viable models seen in the European Union like the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, which may point the way for further developments at the international level.
The session will search for legal (judicial) solutions that can lead to a rule-based world order, systematic mechanisms for the implementation and enforcement of international (and world) laws and rules.
Sub-theme 8: Role of the Media in Creating a Climate of Tolerance
The media has a responsibility to present a fair and balanced perspective on what is going on in the world. Over the last few years, the media has somehow managed to fragment and polarize populations by fanning the flames on either end, with a heavy preference for negativity. Media reporting influences public opinion which in turn affects the success or failure of social programmes and initiatives and accordingly they share in the responsibility for prevailing social condition. For them to discharge their share of responsibility, effective governance requires the media to be active, free from undue influence, vibrant, above all truthful in the reporting of news. It also requires media exponents to recognise in their range of functions a social responsibility to cultivate, educate and uplift the better side of human nature.
The media must deliver the news, but we hope that they deliver hope and positivity as well. The world’s current situation warrants a more responsible role for the media as they are also the conscience keepers of society.
The session will explore the importance of unbiased, honest reporting by the media which can serve to influence public opinion in positive ways, thereby becoming an important channel of global change.
Dr Jagdish Gandhi,
Founder-Manager CMS & Convener
Adv. Sandeep Srivastava