All posts by Mireille Olivo

Economic World Order

Efficiency in international organizations would require every nation to uphold the same values. As this is not any where from true, efficiency would only give voice to the majority leaders/ largest donors producing short-term solutions. This is such in the case of Bretton Woods where the international community hesitantly approved an international economic organization based off the U.S. dollar as the global unit and backed by the gold standard. The Bretton Woods System later became a model for the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Less than 30 years after the ratification of Bretton Wood, President Nixon announced the “closing of the American ‘gold window.”

Debate over topics can ultimately lead to projects that stick around long term. However, finally coming to an agreement would take even longer than the program would be around. Environmental issues specifically rising sea levels are issues that almost all nations agree with. With the exceptions of China and India that are hesitant, the majority of the world is on board with environmental change. This is rare phenomenon that countries all understand that the environment is a priority. For countries such as Tuvalu that are quickly going under water, it has become their only issue. The best way to change global governance would be by ensuring in a committee to uphold select values that are nonnegotiable. Every nation would have the ability to select the very specific values that make up the committee or international organization. Though there would be much debate over the selected values, it would reduce debate further down the line. The US’ efficiency stems from the constitution where all of the values are listed and is a document citizens and lawmakers point back to. International Organizations need the same.

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Global Action

Environmental change was always a concept too far off for any diplomat to think was an impending issue especially in the midst of economic fluctuations and war-torn chaos. For the first time, political leaders are realizing that global warming might be something they experience in their lifetime. Controlling the climate is an international issue that has been delegated on a domestic basis. Not even country-to-country, but politician-to-politician due to the rising fears of reelections. Temperatures are rising internationally not domestically.

The UN’s annual climate conference in Copenhagen 2008 ultimately failed in creating global international change. At this conference, nations could dictate their level of commitment to environmental change. This resulted in multiple nations such as the US showing complete apathy towards measurable change. International change will not take place unless it is forced up on them. It is understandable that nations that set their own rules, end up following through however, priorities need to be set on climate change. There is overall extremely low overall commitment to international climate change. If the economy continues to trump the environment as a priority, there won’t be an economy to upkeep for very much longer.

Though nations such as the US are extremely hesitant to collective and multilateral action, this is one instance where the international community needs to pressure US, Chinese, and Indian retaliation. The most ideal situation would be for emission experts to dictate how much each nation would need to lower their carbon dioxide emissions for a livable atmosphere and have each nation negotiate around that figure. However, this is likely to result in change, as many politicians of countries such as China and India are more concerned about the economic implications of these treaties.

Climate Refugees are on the Move

People are going to move regardless of climate change. If the land cannot provide for their needs or climate takes everything they own, people will move. As mentioned in Jeremie Labbe’s article, States and International Organization’s (IOs) need to prepare for the increasingly large numbers of migrants as it is already happening. Therefore it is in the best interest of UNHCR and states to change the mandate to encompass refugees of climate change.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) mandate has experienced multiple expansions and changes over the past 60 years.

The largest change in the mandate will state interests and agenda versus the international organizations themselves. As states are usually the main donors for mandates, especially UNHCR, their interests are elevated. According to Betts, 77% of funding comes from 10 donors. For example, the inception of UNHCR was focused towards US interests in protecting Europeans and their stance on the Cold War. Though Betts defends UNHCR by saying that the US was only helping UNHCR further the mission they were already on; UNHCR could not have gone far without ensuring the interest of the US. Therefore, the changes in mandates are state led rather than from the IO.

UNHCR is in an understandable situation. They are keeping a vertical relationship with states (interacting with multiple levels of government), while keeping a horizontal relationship with other international organizations (cooperation). However, it is possible to expand the mandate to aid all climate refugees through the interests of states. Just as the mandate gained US support through action, it can also gain the funding of states with significant climate change.

What does protection mean to government?

How do we promote sovereignty and stability in the developing world? The answer, according to Charles Tilly in the article War Making and State Making Organized Crime, relies in the value of the word protection. Security has historically in Western Europe determined the system of government for example, the sense of comfort in a country versus the amount of military aid to feel protected. For developing nations, protecting citizens creates a group identity and from group identity, citizens are more likely to engage in conflict in the name of sovereignty. Continue reading What does protection mean to government?