Waseda University

“Peacebuilding and Democratic Governance in an Era of Uncertainty”

KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO

on

The Role of the ‘g7+’ for Peacebuilding

24 November 2021

Tokyo, Japan2

 

H.E. Prof. Hori Yoshie, School of Social Science
H.E. Prof. Yamada Mitsuru, International Relations, School of Social Science
H.E. Ambassador Kitahara Iwao
H.H. Mr. Morihiro Yoshimitsu, Senior Operations Coordinator, Joint Staff
Office, Ministry of Defense
H.E. Mr. Mori Takuro, Deputy Director, Indo-Pacific Regional Policy Division,
Bureau of Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense

Ladies and Gentlemen
Excellencies
Dear Students,

I am humbled to be here again, in this prestigious University that, 5 years ago, on the 4th October 2016, had bestowed upon me with an Honorary Award.

I would like to start by thanking you for inviting me to talk about ‘Peacebuilding and Democratic Governance in an Era of Uncertainty’ and about the Role of the ‘g7+’, an intergovernmental Organization, established by fragile, in-conflict and post-conflict countries.

The ‘g7+’ was established in 2010, initially by 7 countries and now this intergovernmental Organization has 20 members States, from the Pacific to the Caribbean and from Africa to Middle East.

When we say ‘fragility’, we are meaning about the absence or weakness of the State Institutions and the lack of democratic environment and, on the situation of ‘postconflict’, where is vital a good process of reconciliation in order to achieve peace.

Not less, there is also a situation of ‘in-conflict’, when the opposite sides must try a better approach and do everything to stop the violence and suffering of civilians, by choosing the right path to put an end to the conflict.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Students,

While democratisation and peacebuilding are core aspects of a State, that wants to govern itself by the principles of transparency, freedom, justice, human rights and solidarity, it is no less true that upholding these ideals is an ongoing challenge for any society, particularly in times of crisis.

This challenge has never been greater than in today’s multipolar and ever changing world. So complex and uncertain is this 21st century, that the polarisation of opinions, interests and power entails substantial new threats against the survival of 3 democracy and even humankind itself.

If Western societies are having difficulty finding solutions to the challenges of today’s changing world, in which the economy has become globalised and where economic and political decisions have an increasing international impact, leading to destabilisation or even loss of trust in democracy, then one might wonder about the situation of fragile and transitioning democracies, in which democratic agencies and procedures are still young.

Trends that were lingering in some societies in the world, such as xenophobia, nationalism and populism, the temptation to curb individual freedoms, and even ethnical and religious rivalries, are now being fuelled by the global pandemic crisis.

The only certainty we can have is that no nation, no matter how powerful, is able to understand and to respond by itself to the changes affecting our planet. If a threat can cross a border, then it can also dilute that border. Such a threat requires a collective response.

The recent pandemic highlighted, even more, the need for the International Community to act as one – in order to overcome not just the global public health crisis, but also its consequences and negative impacts on the social and economic structures of every country in the world, particularly developing countries.

The pandemic contributed to the weakening of democracies around the globe. This virus, which has already killed over 5 million people, is an enemy of freedom and a strong ally of inequality.

Despite the optimistic vaccination rates in many parts of the world, the virus continues to be active. We are still far from being able to claim victory over COVID-19, particularly if we take the time to look at the bottom of the global vaccination tables.

As long as the vaccination rates in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Sudan, Yemen and Haiti – just to mention a few from the ‘g7+’ group – remain below 1%, these countries continue to be helpless.

In fact, we all continue to be helpless, since it is possible that the virus might change into new, more resistant variants. This, in turn, may render useless the high vaccination rates achieved in more fortunate countries.

Vaccines in South Sudan must be dropped by parachute, as there is no road infrastructure enabling the distribution of vaccines in time. Yemen is still dealing with one of the worst humanitarian crises ever. Haiti is facing instability, hunger and the dramatic fury of nature. READ MORE.....

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