If I ruled the world: Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei in Prospect:

185_ruled_august Every person ought to spend an afternoon writing an essay with this title. It is stimulating to dream about how we could change our world.

Putting daydreams aside, a re-engineering of global governance is long overdue. Communicable diseases spread as rapidly as viral videos, multinational corporations are more powerful than many governments, and climate change does not respect borders. Arms sales, agricultural subsidies and energy strategies are agreed with little thought of the repercussions, which can include refugee migrations, famine, pandemics, environmental degradation and civil wars.

If I could, I would overhaul the United Nations system. In six-and-a-half decades, the UN has worked hard to bring about greater international co-operation in managing and overcoming common challenges. Its organisations have often been successful in redressing societal ills. But the system is in dire need of a serious rethink.

My highest priority would be to transform the UN security council: to revamp the council’s modus operandi for responding to longstanding tensions, armed conflicts, and other threats; to ensure representative membership; and to re-examine selective veto power. A humanitarian force, chartered with the “responsibility to protect” against war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other conflicts in which innocent civilians are the primary victims, would stand ready to intervene, to prevent the kind of slaughter taking place in Libya and elsewhere. The International Court of Justice would be granted compulsory global jurisdiction. A global energy agency would be launched to help nations achieve energy security and develop environmentally responsible strategies.

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