Meeting of World Transforming Movements

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                                   ANOTHER GLOBAL WARMING IS POSSIBLE:
         (RE)IMAGINING MULTILATERALISM, (EN)GENDERING CIVIC ACTION, (RE)LOCATING
               TRANSFORMATION, AND (RE)CONSTITUTING A HUMANITARIAN PLANET


                                          By Liberato C. Bautista1
                       President, Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in
                        Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)

    1. The burden assigned to us, as far as I read it, includes a look beyond our unitary actions and unilateral
       predispositions so that we can figure out how multilateralism can work, reimagining it, and then making it
       respond more efficiently to the global challenges we face in the world today. The other burden has to do with
       the reexamination, which we must, of the values we hold, personally and socially. How do we see them in light
       of their demands upon ourselves and our communities? Might it be that in the process of wrestling with these
       questions, we find ways of engendering civic values that will mobilize us for civic engagement and civic action
       in ways beyond the parochial and insular, into ways that are both global and planetary. And the other equally
       important burden is to see from beyond ourselves and our immediate locales to seeing ourselves as part of the
       common cosmos where, what we do individually and collectively, affect the health and wellbeing of peoples
       and the planet.

    2. In dealing with these multiple burdens, the challenge I pose is this: might it be that we can fashion a world, if
       not for ourselves soon, for the generations ahead of us, which is multilateral in governance, planetary in
       orientation and humanitarian in action. Allow me to attempt a few themes around these burdensome tasks that
       we must address. How do we actually (re)engage communities and nations in action that will transform our
       world in ways and means that are just, peaceable and sustainable? What institutions, movements and agents will
       play the role of change agents for this transformation to happen? What models are already available in such
       work of transformation? What roles are there for civil society and non-governmental organizations to play?

    3. Crucial issues and critical problems needful of our undivided attention. Addressing the burdens I identified
       entails a (re)defining of civic values where obligations generated by the multiplicity of relations between and
       among peoples and nations go beyond traditional notions of national security into one that fosters people‘s
       security, human rights and global peace. It also entails (en)gendering civic engagement where citizenry goes
       beyond national allegiances and sovereign assertions. In a global world and humanitarian planet we need global
       citizenry and human solidarity where human welfare and cosmological wellbeing are made primordial over wars
       and other death-dealing activities, natural catastrophes, and human-induced vulnerabilities, including climate
       change. Even more, it entails civic action which is oriented towards social justice, so that every activity—from
       local, national, regional, to international—by peoples and governments, and their institutions and associations—
       redound to the improvement of the relations of peoples and nations, thus providing the possibility of
       (re)constituting a humanitarian planet. Are there not available agents and institutions of transformation that are
       already poised, if not already working, on these global issues? Sure there are. But surely, we need to (re)imagine
       and (re)constitute them so that they are adapted to the ever-changing natural ―cosmoscapes,‖ economic
       situation, and the political climate.

    4. In his last major formulation of the reform agenda at the United Nations, Kofi Annan, the UN‘s former
       Secretary General, urged Member States to not treat the reform proposals he was making in an a la carte fashion
       but rather as a package. He was referring of course to one of his penultimate and exemplary reports to the UN
       General Assembly, entitled ―In Larger Freedom.‖ In his reform package, Annan propounded the idea ―that
       development, security and human rights go hand in hand.‖ He asserted that ―In a world of inter-connected
       threats and opportunities, it is in each country's self-interest that all of these challenges are addressed effectively.


1Liberato C. Bautista is President of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative
Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) as well as Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and
International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society lf The United Methodist Church. He is based in
New York. Sections of this paper uses material from previous presentations prepared together with Lester Edwin
Ruiz.


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    The cause of larger freedom can only be advanced if nations work together; and the United Nations can only
    help if it is remoulded as an effective instrument of their common purpose.‖ And so today, the United Nations is
    tackling these three propositions in a manner that takes into account the reality of 192 sovereign member states
    that bring before this world body the diversity, indeed dissonance, which their social, economic, political and
    cultural conditions present. Just the same, this larger conception of what might make for a better, more secure
    and more sustainable world—far larger than conceptions offered or possible within the restrictions of
    sovereignty as defined by governments—truly embodies an exercise in international imagination. The current
    UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, continued the UN commitment to the achievement of the Millennium
    Development Goals, and reinforced it even more. But with the warning that the triad of crises that we have seen
    and experienced lately—the food crisis, the energy crisis, and the financial crisis—have unraveled to reach what
    Mr. Ban Ki Moon called a ―development emergency.‖ It is an emergency that imperils already vulnerable poor
    people and the already fragile cosmos endangered by unprecedented climatic changes.

5. And so our imagination of how peoples and nations musts respond to these burdens and crises are necessarily
   vexed. International affairs as we know it are the handiwork of imagination, and the United Nations is the
   genius that comes out of that imagination. It is imagination that is mediated by memory of the past as well as
   hopes for the future. Indeed, memory and imagination inform, if not direct, the idiom, text, language, and praxis
   of international relations. Lest we forget, the United Nations was forged in the crucible of slaveries,
   colonialisms, world wars, and genocides. To put in check fascism, unilateralism, and hegemony, the visionaries
   of international affairs forged a multilateral platform that now proves essential in the relations of nations and
   peoples, and the organizations and entities they form, including private entities. Such platform has become
   increasingly accessible to people‘s organizations, civil society groups, and NGOs.

6. Discourses like what we are doing today allow us to remember distant pasts and the ongoing present. In the
   exercise of memory, great architects of international relations remembered the horrors of wars and colonialism
   past, and educated their imagination in the art of peacebuilding, tolerance and harmonious co-existence, and
   then out of these they built the foundation and infrastructure of what we now call the United Nations. From that
   time on, and 64 years hence, our conception of international affairs, international relations, and international
   order have never been the same again. In memory, they said: ―We the peoples of the United Nations, determined
   to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, […] to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in
   the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and
   small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and
   other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life
   in larger freedom, and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good
   neighbors, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the
   acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common
   interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all
   peoples have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.‖

7. In the exercise of imagination, the architects of the United Nations walked the fine line between the restrictions
   of its sovereign member states and the aspirations of their peoples, singly and collectively, to achieve common
   global and public goods such as peace, human rights, sustainable development, and indeed, the evolution of a
   body of what we now call international law. Against fascism, unilateralism and hegemony, these visionaries put
   a check upon the penchant of governments to go their own unilateral way, and on groupings of state or non-state
   actors trying to undermine the interests of a just and durable peace in the world. So where did their
   (re)imagining brought us to? In place of a memory of the horrors of war – a memory that numbs if not destroys
   human creativity and human infrastructures – we have the affirmation in the Universal Declaration of Human
   Rights of human dignity being foundational to human rights. We have the affirmation of human rights being
   foundational to the achievement of peace. We have the affirmation of peace being foundational to the attainment
   of sustainability. We have the affirmation of sustainable development being foundational to the achievement of
   security of all sorts: national security, people‘s security, food security, human security. Indeed, international
   ethics demand of us that both our discourse and praxis of security must point to nothing else but the security of
   peoples – not just of one sovereign country‘s citizens, but the UN Charter Preamble‘s ―We the peoples‖ of the
   whole world. In this regard, this thing called World Civic Forum, under the auspices of KHU and UNDESA, is
   an effort of crucial proportions. To discuss civic values, civic engagement and civic action so that the ―We the
   Peoples‖ become truer is a noble thing to do. The arrangements and agreements we transact and forge to govern
   and manage our relations as nations and peoples make each one of us bound up to each other and our cosmos.
   The global and the local intertwine at more points and instances than we can ever imagine.




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8. Wars – which the United Nations is sworn to stop, but continues to struggle to do so, albeit doing its level best –
   must no longer be thought of as simply a form of diplomacy by other means. There is no good diplomacy that
   alienates nations from one another, kills people, destroys neighborhoods and livelihoods, and irreversibly
   damages the environment, and wounds and forever scars cultures. Our international relations—the geographic
   infrastructures we set up to tie us to nations and groups, be they bilateral or multilateral – must make us realize
   that resorting to and waging wars are a failure of the human imagination. Indeed, wars and conflicts, and the
   situations they spawn—refugees and displaced peoples, child soldiers, destroyed economies, maimed and
   broken lives—cannot and must not inhabit our imagination any longer if we are to truly embody the United
   Nations ideals of peace, harmony and tolerance.

9. Our international affairs—the thematic issues we identify to generate the necessary relationships we forge so we
   can collaborate and work together—must dictate the imagination of human rights in ways that encompass
   beyond 60 years of a declaration that must include all human rights for all human beings. Human rights talk
   cannot result in human rights walk when it ignores the victim for whom human rights have the greatest salience
   and meaning. But if human rights are for all, they must point always to human rights realization. Such is the
   focus and bent of the UN General Assembly resolution on human rights learning (A/Res/63/173) which
   acknowledged ―that civil society, academia, the private sector, where appropriate, and parliamentarians can play
   an important role at the national, regional and international levels in the promotion and protection of human
   rights, including in the development of ways and means to promote and implement learning about human rights
   as a way of life at the community level.‖

10. Still, our international affairs can and must be more than just securing human rights. People need to eat. People
    must have roofs over their heads. People need medication, education and recreation all at once. To reimagine
    international affairs means to make sure that we implement the internationally agreed development goals and
    commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals. It also includes ending impunity through the work
    of the International Criminal Court. Even more, it must help realize gender equality and justice so that the
    patriarchal vestiges of our relations do not impede the imagination of better human relations between men and
    women. Indeed, women‘s rights are human rights and all we do must reflect such. After all, human rights are the
    imagination of the fullness of human dignity. We struggle for human rights so that each time we encode in new
    treaties and declarations our feeble approximations of the wholeness of human rights, we are truly emanating a
    fuller, more holistic humanity with all the potentials that each human being can muster. That is what
    development is about—development of the human and the social potential in ways that are sustainable.
    Development is the imagination of earth, humanity, and the entire cosmos in such a way that our common
    patrimony—the global commons if you will—can truly be common: commonly clean, commonly sustainable,
    commonly livable for all, without pockets and ghettos of fear and want. Our care for the global commons must
    develop and nurture global public goods that engender multilateral values.

11. From our initiation into the intractable work of disarmament, international relations and international affairs
    continue to be vexed by challenges of ever increasing stockpiles of weapons—be they the small firearms or the
    nuclear arms—that forebode ever more lethal wars and conflicts. We must now imagine and educate ourselves
    in deweaponizing our world. Dr. Swadesh Rana, the first woman to hold the position of chief of the
    Conventional Arms Branch at the United Nations, considers deweaponization symbolic of civil society‘s primal
    instinct for self-preservation against acts of random or organized violence. She would say, ―No to war—with or
    without weapons.‖ The occurrences of impunity in many parts of the world are a testament to the failure of our
    ethical and moral compasses to point to restorative justice – a justice that forgives and restores both the offender
    and the offended. Much of national affairs are about the infliction of capital punishment. International affairs
    may yet show the way to the better treatment—without torture, cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment.

12. Civic engagement and civic action is about all these and more. It is important that we revisit both our theorizing
    on what we do on the basis of the multiple engagements and practices we do within and without the UN. In so
    doing, my work as an NGO activist and practitioner informs how I look at the United Nations, multilateralism
    and international relations. In such conception and praxis, I refer to the normative practice to which international
    relations and international affairs must point to, which is, the re-imagination of the challenges that vex much of
    our theory and praxis of multilateralism today: not just the repairing of the breaches of peace but the realizing of
    human rights, the living out of peace, and the embodiment of justice in our lives and relations, so that truly we
    can bequeath a world better than when we inherited it. Re-imagination requires re-membering the institutions
    and movements that prosper possibilities of a new world. This means re-membering the body-politic so that
    everyone counts and everyone participates in the crafting of a humanity and world made anew. CONGO and its
    more than 600 members around the world are in a time and place – a kairos moment, if you will – where we
    must reflect the diversity of longings, struggles if you will, of peoples from around the world, where our



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    members also come. To be an organization of note—a worthy interlocutor for NGOs with governments and the
    UN system, we cannot and must not frustrate the longing of humankind for politics educated by empowerment;
    for economics educated by sustainability, and for culture educated by the ennobling values of tolerance and
    human rights that truly make us whole and dignified human beings. We can do this by enlisting as many NGOs
    with varied thematic foci and from a more geographically widespread representation.

13. Let me backtrack a bit. Let us look at some of the theoretical presuppositions we bring to bear in our discourse.
    It was Michel Foucault who pointed out that the human condition of ―fallibility‖ not only requires self-critical
    accountability, but also that this critique is ―peculiar to the life of human beings and indispensable to the
    duration [temps] of the species.‖ Put differently, the materiality of thought, or what Karl Marx understood as the
    ―material force of theory,‖ is assured by the weaving of the location and positionality of the intellectual and his
    or her work. Foucault notes: ―I can‘t help but dream about a kind of criticism that would try not to judge but to
    bring an ouvre, a book, a sentence, an idea to life; it would light fires, watch the grass grow, listen to the wind,
    and catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. It would multiply not judgments but signs of existence; it
    would summon them from their sleep. Perhaps, it would invent them sometimes—all the better. All the better.
    Criticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep; I‘d like a criticism of scintillating leaps of the
    imagination. It would not be sovereign or dressed in red. It would bear the lightning of possible storms.‖

14. Multilateralism itself, understood especially as a creature of modernity and the modern system of states arising
    from the so-called ―Transformation of Westphalia‖ in 1648, and its various mutations and permutations in the
    past three hundred and fifty five years, is not new. What is interesting, moreover, is that the articulations of
    transformation have often been done on the surface of multilateralism itself. Indeed, one might suggest that the
    destiny of transformation is almost co-terminus with the destiny of multilateralism—that both are at least
    mutually-reinforcing, if not co-constitutive—and that therefore, the struggles for multilateralist practice are also
    struggles for transformation. The history of the West, if not world history itself, is testimony to a number of
    political, economic, and cultural experiments to establish ―multi-sided,‖ pluralist, and hopefully transformative
    relationships at various levels of local, national, regional, international, transnational, and, global life. Early in
    the 20th century, the West had its League of Nations; and in the post World War II era, the United Nations
    itself—perhaps, the most successful multilateral experiment of our time. Indeed, contemporary discourses on
    transformation at the international level cannot be extricated from these multilateral experiments.

15. At the same time, these state-oriented experiments do not exhaust the idea of multilateralism and transformation,
    broadly defined. From the ―Communist International‖ of the 19th century, to the Non-Aligned Movement of the
    1960s, indeed, even Davos and the IMF/WB in the 1990s, and, the myriad political and social formations in
    ―global civil society‖ exemplified, for example, by the World Social Forums from Porto Alegre in 2001 to
    Nairobi in 2007, multilateralism and transformation, both as a normative aspiration and a pragmatic practice,
    have cast their long shadows on human life. To be sure, multilateralism and transformation are contested notions
    not only because of the complexity of their practices, or their political and ideological uses and misuses, but also
    because of the enormous appetite that they have for human and non-human capital. The demands of a genuinely
    global multilateral practice of transformation require all kinds of resources, which the world, particularly the
    states and peoples of the global North, may not yet be prepared to offer (or to surrender). In fact, if the past
    twenty years is to be our star witness, then, we might conclude that despite the clarity of the human aspiration
    for a multilaterally-mediated transformation, evidenced in the ground swells of global civil society:
    transformation/antiwar movements, human rights movements, ecological movements, labor movements, the
    ―best‖ that the post-, post-Cold War victors can and have offered, has been a post-9/11, unilateralist leadership,
    sanitized by a multilateralist sophistry that, when challenged, gives way to what some public intellectuals have
    called an unapologetic, not to mention unrepentant, ―global fascism‖ masquerading as transformation.

16. The argument for multilateralism, as both a strategy and as a way of life—and of transformation as one of the
    realities it signifies—is a very straightforward one. It goes simply, but exquisitely, to the fundamental question
    about the nature and character of life, at least in the 21st century. Science, religion, and faith today lead us down
    the pathway of pluralism, complexity, and contingency. Each proclaims that life is always and already more than
    what one can define through reason. One does not need to understand these claims normatively; practice itself
    demonstrates without a doubt that in politics, economics, and culture, indeed, at the level of ecology, plenitude
    is the defining character of normative, if not experienced, reality. Therefore, transformation itself is defined as
    plenitude. The refusal to articulate one‘s present and future within this context and framework leads to a
    fundamental denial of human life. To deny life is to enter premature death.

17. To assert that multilateralism and transformation are forms of practice, is to suggest that, by definition,
    multilateralism and transformation are more than relationships among sovereign (and therefore, formally equal)



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    states. No doubt, this has been the meaning ascribed to multilateralism in international relations. Still, to
    understand multilateralism and transformation as creatures of human life and not simply of the system of states,
    is to immediately place them in the realm of ―politics‖ and ―ethics,‖ that is, not only ―what we ought to do,‖ but
    also, ―the pursuit of the ‗good, the true, and the beautiful.‖ Throughout this essay, we understand ―politics‖ to be
    ―all that we can and need to do together.‖ Of course, the struggle between unilateralism and multilateralism of
    the system of states will not easily wither away; neither will the aspirations for transformation of states,
    thoroughly implicated in the identification of states with the primacy of their monopolies of violence and
    legitimacy. In fact, the US and Britain have in the post-9/11 era opened up a ―Pandora‘s Box‖ that, ironically,
    gave a lease, once again, to multilateralism understood as a contest among sovereign states, of multilateralism as
    mere discursive strategy to legitimize unilateralist ideology—and therefore, of transformation as the
    transformation of the powerful. Such strategy is neither principled nor democratic—if by democracy we mean
    the ―power of the people‖ to create and re-create themselves. Any kind of ―transformative‖ multilateralism,
    therefore, must seek to make a distinction between the multilateralism of the system of states and a
    multilateralism that is principled (i.e., it submits to a reality beyond its own interest) and democratic/populist
    (i.e., it positions itself within the life of particular communities).

18. When understood in this way, (principled and democratic/populist) multilateralism as a practice raises a number
    of issues to which a theory of transformation must attend because they are elements not only of transformation,
    but of its theorizing: i) the character and location of the political, i.e., the nature of the social totality, ii) whose
    ―multilateralism‖ (or transformation) is being assumed and under what conditions, i.e., the question of the
    subject and of subjectivity, and, iii) the languages (or discourses) of multilateralism (and transformation) itself.
    The first area of practice asserts that multilateralism, and therefore, of transformation, is tied to the location of
    the ―political‖; and, that precisely because this is so, it is today no longer possible to simply assume that the
    state (or the system of states) is the primary if not the exclusive, locus of politics, and, therefore, that the
    ―political‖—which has always been more than government or the state—needs to be re-thought in order that the
    question of multilateralism, and any transformation arising from it, can be re-thought as well. The restructuring
    of labor on a global scale (of migration and immigration), does, in fact, raise the question not only of the nature
    of the social totality, but, of the character and location of the ―political.‖ As well, the discourses around, for
    example, the revitalization of civil societies, of ecological and environmental politics, as well as matters of
    gender, race, and class—are significant also for this reason.

19. Today it is no longer possible to simply assume that multilateralism, indeed, even unilateralism, and the
    transformation theorizing that arises out of them, is mainly either about the identities of particular individuals or
    specific states, but, rather, about the demands for recognition by those who have been historically mis-
    recognized, indeed, excluded; and that, any notion of political identity or formation must include these demands
    as part of its self-understanding. This is the significance of discourses that raise questions about the
    marginalization and proletarianization of peoples of color, the pauperization and feminization of poverty, the
    sexual division of labor, not to mention sexual slavery, the commodification of sex, domestic violence, and
    enforced prostitution and trafficking of women and children, for the understanding and definition of
    multilateralism. These peoples are the ones excluded, or mis-recognized, and made to pay for the costly
    obsessions and rituals of repetition of capitalist-led globalization, best exemplified, perhaps, in the ―iron-fisted‖
    US-led global war on terrorism and in the ―velvet glove‖ of the often unrecognized ―homeland (in) security.‖ It
    remains to be seen how both overture and recent-turn arounds in foreign policy by the now 100-year old Obama
    administration in the US can help reestablish multilateralism where the most powerful country is a decisive but
    fair player.

20. The third area of practice insists that it is no longer possible to make facile assertions, as modern epistemologies
    and ontologies do, about the separation, say of knowledge and power, reason and desire, fact and value,
    language and institutions; that, in fact, what appears to be abstract, in reality, are articulations of actual relations
    of ruling—beyond the fact that they may also be mere ideological legitimations of certain ruling elites. This
    warning is particularly relevant to the aspirations of theories of transformation. Thus, there is a need to attend
    today to the very language, that is, the discursive formations and strategies, of multilateralism and
    transformation itself—as part of the task of re-thinking the identity of states, nations, and peoples, not to
    mention aspirations towards theories of transformation. The point, of course, is not only that language is not
    innocent, nor that who speaks, and whose language is spoken, shapes the political agenda; but also, that
    language, as many have amply demonstrated, is productive—it produces an effect.

21. The future of transformation as a discursive formation and strategy may require at least, three tasks. First,
    transformative practice needs to continue to recognize, affirm, and articulate different ways of producing and
    reproducing knowledge (epistemology): here, not only is this about situated knowledges and partial



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    perspectives, but also of subjugated and insurrectionary knowledges and agents of knowledges—and the ways in
    which they are related. I see WCF as having the potential to be a fulcrum for such knowledges. Even more
    important, however, is the need to consistently focus, among other things, on the fundamental situatedness and
    partial character of our ways of organizing thinking, feeling and acting; and, on the necessity, if not desirability,
    of rethinking the relationship between reason and desire, knowledge and politics, in the construction of
    conceptual models of transformation that demonstrate the mutually constitutive rather than oppositional
    relationship between them. On face value, this may be a straightforward, even simplistic, if not obvious,
    statement about the nature of knowledge. However, when one understands that these claims are set in the
    context of the historical pretensions about the universality of (masculinist) reason as opposed to say, feminist
    desire, and of the reality that the latter is associated with subordinate groups—particularly women—and
    deployed to discount and silence those realities deemed to be irrational, then one begins to realize how these
    new epistemologies actually explode patriarchal myths about knowledge on which much of political thinking,
    including multilateralist thought and transformation rests.

22. Transformation needs to continue to recognize, affirm, and articulate different modes of being (ontology): here,
    not only is this about thinking, feeling, and acting—as relational practices, but also about ―volatile bodies,‖ i.e.,
    of re-figuring and re-inscribing bodies, of moving through and beyond the conventional divide of gender as
    socially-contructed, on the one hand, and of sex as biologically-given, on the other hand, to ―our bodies our
    selves.‖ Feminists have suggested that the ―male (or female) body can no longer be regarded as a fixed, concrete
    substance, a pre-cultural given. The significance of such an understanding cannot be underestimated. For, this
    means, not only that communities of transformation, for example, are about ―imagined communities‖ or
    ―community sentiments of solidarity,‖ but that their ―what, when, where, and how‖ are inscribed—written on,
    embodied—in our very bodies. Transformation needs to continue to recognize, affirm, and articulate different
    empowering practices (politics): here, not only is this about the importance and power of self-definition, self-
    valuation, nor of self-reliance and autonomy, but also about transformation and transgression, of finding safe
    places and voices in the midst of difference, and of making the connections. Civic values of common belonging
    and global solidarity come to mind when I think of the situation of migrant workers in their places of work and
    labor, and that of refugees in their places of temporary abode.

23. One most recent area of activity that the United Nations has invited civic action on is about the role of religions
    and cultures in the pursuit of peace and social development. Several relevant UN General Assembly resolutions
    speak to the issue of culture, religions and civilizations. In particular the “Promotion of interreligious dialogue”
    (A/RES/59/23), the “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation”
    (A/RES/59/142), the “Global Agenda for Dialogue Among Civilizations” (A/RES/56/6), the “International
    Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (GA/RES/53/25), the
    “International Day of Peace” (GA/RES/55/282), and the UNESCO Director-General‘s report to the 59th
    Session of the UN General Assembly “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and
    cooperation” (A/RES/58/128). UNESCO‘s work in promoting and strengthening the ―Dialogue Among
    Civilizations and Cultures‖ and the ―Culture of Peace‖ and various religious programs promoting the same,
    including the World Council of Churches ―Decade to Overcome Violence‖ are examples of work within the
    multilateral field contributing to the dialogue among cultures, civilizations and peoples. These are works that
    recognize the role of the sciences, communication and information, and the academic community in sharpening
    both the discourse and the praxis.

24. There is no equivocation on the part of religious NGOs that religions seek to affirm peace, sustainability,
    development, and human rights as normative values embodying a compassionately ordered and justly governed
    world community. At the core of religious understandings and beliefs are precepts that enlarge freedoms, secure
    rights, promote development and sustain peace. Religions, along with indigenous, faith, ethical and cultural
    traditions, are a primary source of normative values that inspire peace, sustainability, human rights and
    development. They play important roles in shaping local, national, regional, and international norms and
    conduct, including and especially those that evolve through the United Nations system. Such norms and
    standards affirm the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights, including the freedom of
    religion or belief. Religions and other systems of belief offer from their core teachings fundamental
    understandings of life and society. From these understandings, religions, beliefs, and ethical cultures participate
    and support international and multilateral mechanisms, including the United Nations that pursue just,
    participatory and sustainable development and peace. One such mechanism that can be mutually advanced by
    religions, governments and the United Nations is the Millennium Development Goals. Non-governmental
    organizations representing religious, faith-based groups, and ethical cultures, including indigenous spirituality,
    see themselves as a visible presence, and hence partners, in shaping the international community. Religious
    NGOs have been and continue to be interlocutors for religious, ethical and spiritual understandings that inform



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    and influence the evolution of international law and ethics. Active participation of civil society, notably
    religious NGOs at the UN, allows mutual advancement of the charter mandates of the UN, including a
    recognizable place at the UN for religious, spiritual, moral, and ethical perspectives concerning the many
    activities that define our common humanity and the ways and means we structure and govern them.

25. The engagement of religions and diverse faith and cultural traditions by the UN, governments and civil society
    places them in a common setting for examining shared burdens, vulnerabilities and aspirations. Fanaticism and
    adherence to exclusive ideologies, both religious and secular, have straddled and challenged religious
    communities, governments and international relations for centuries. Oppression, exploitation, violence and
    colonialism have troubled the witness of religions and the relations of nations and societies throughout the
    world. The quest for sustainable peace and justice, and the need to overcome violence, binds religions,
    governments and the UN together. Their partnerships—interreligious, intergovernmental, and multilateral--
    make them stakeholders in the achievement of a diverse and plural world where there is a regime of rights and
    freedoms, an economics of sustainability, a politics of inclusion and empowerment, a civilization of tolerance,
    and a culture of peace. As I address you today, a group of religious, faith and value based NGOs and entities are
    meeting in New York to craft what they foresee can be a ―United Nations Decade of Interreligious and
    Intercultural Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation for Peace.‖

26. Civic action requires civic values. What are some of these values? What ethical imperatives must we prosper
    and engender? Let me discuss a few. Justice, kindness and humility are ethical imperatives that can serve as
    criterion in assessing the social impacts of development. Globalization, especially the unbridled and
    unrestrained growth of capital as seen in the practice of many transnational corporations that are now sweeping
    and reshaping the world‘s economic, social, political and cultural landscape, run counter to this criteria of
    justice, kindness and humility. A justice criterion addresses issues of power, power relations, and especially
    power inequities. Kindness, and a kind society, ensure and provide safety nets and establish rights for vulnerable
    and marginalized peoples, especially the rights of children, women, youth, indigenous peoples, minorities,
    elderly, and people with disabilities. Humility reminds us of life‘s finitude, not only of its physical environment,
    but of human capacities and the organizations and communities that people found and form. The work of UN-
    related NGOs around this area must be and is about building and empowering communities that engender a
    culture of a just peace, a peace that is rooted in justice. The work on sustainable and social development at
    every multilateral platform must be about upliftment of peoples and their communities from their vulnerabilities
    and marginalization‘s. Multilateral institutions must tap and enhance peoples‘ capabilities and equip them with
    the necessary skills, knowledge and know-how to participate in decision-making and in shaping their own lives
    and communities.

27. Global citizenry is not so much about transgressing traditional categories of the sovereign state; it is more about
    the world‘s peoples embracing agendas that are common to them and realizing that solving the challenges they
    pose is better done collectively and multilaterally than unilaterally and in isolation. Peoples and nations must
    bear responsibility for one another and share in the burden of protecting the global commons and prospering
    global public goods. In the words of Kofi Annan, ―It is not beyond the powers of political volition to tip the
    scales towards a more secure peace, greater economic well-being, social justice and environmental
    sustainability. But no country can achieve these global public goods on its own, and neither can the global
    marketplace. Thus our efforts must now focus on the missing term of the equation: global public goods.‖
    Addressing cultural structures that breed gender inequity and redressing discriminations based on race, gender,
    class, age, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation, form part of the reduction of people‘s vulnerabilities.
    Resolving these vulnerabilities could pave the way to their democratic and informed participation. The work of
    UN-related NGOs must be about building communities that engender a meaningful and sustainable culture of
    life.

28. If there is one singular area of activity that must animate international relations, and for that matter, multilateral
    civic action, it is human rights. In this year of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
    Rights, our affirmation, protection and promotion of all human rights for all is ever more crucial. Human rights -
    - civil, political, economic, social, and cultural -- are universal and indivisible. Human rights are the protections
    given to that foundation core of rights called human dignity. But human rights do not affect humanity alone. A
    just ecological order enhances and sustains human rights. Human rights can be enjoyed more in a healthy and
    clean environment. Human dignity is the sum total of all human rights. The violation and denial of human rights
    of any person, individually or collectively, are an affront to human dignity. The UN-related work of NGOs must
    be about constructing inclusive, integrative and responsible communities that promote a culture of human
    rights. As the international community seek ways to make visible the progress toward achieving the Millennium
    Development Goals, the elimination of hunger and the eradication of poverty become ever more urgent. Today,



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    poor and hungry people have grown to daunting numbers. Hunger and poverty is ever more extensive even as
    the technology, knowledge and know-how to prevent them are already available. The unequal sharing of
    resources and the lack of political will among leaders, continue to stymie efforts to eliminate hunger, eradicate
    poverty, and diminish unemployment. Indeed, there is a need decent work as enunciated by the International
    Labor Organization as the organizing principle for the generation of employment and of employment practices.
    A globalization process that consigns poverty as the inability to take advantage of global and market
    opportunities, and that deifies the market, commodifies the earth and its resources, and concentrates more power
    in the hands of the economic elite, must be challenged. The UN-related work of NGOs must all at once be about
    food and freedom, jobs and justice, land and liberty. To this end, there is the crucial task to cultivate a culture of
    empowerment and sustainability where people develop just, participatory and sustainable communities. And this
    happens not just in the framework of human rights and sustainable development, but even more so in the field of
    humanitarian action. The nexus of these three will be developed in a presentation tomorrow by Mr. Werner
    Schleiffer, at the CoNGO-led panel discussion.

29. If there is anything that vexes our imagination, or rather lack of it, in international relations, it is the many wars
    that tear countries apart and destroy peoples‘ lives and livelihoods. It is important to realize that the resolution of
    conflicts and the establishment of a just and durable peace proceed from a just and liberating practice of
    governance on all levels of life–local and global. Just governance thrives, not on wars and rumors of wars, but
    in the advancement of a world order that protects human rights, organizes sustainable communities, cultivates a
    culture of peace, empowers people and their associations, and promotes a just and participatory democracy.
    Resolving conflicts entails the institution of justice so that peace prevails. International legal mechanisms and
    instruments as found in international treaties, conventions, covenants, agreements and declarations, must be
    supported through signature, accession and ratification. The UN-related work of NGOs must be about building
    communities and alliances of hope–for in such communities, humanity will have triumphed not only over
    poverty and hunger, but over wars, conflicts, ignorance, diseases, and enmities as well. Indeed, the peace we
    build must be just and durable. The presentation tomorrow by Dr. Magdalena Molina-Riofrio, at the same
    CoNGO-sponsored panel discussion mentioned above, will give more insights into this (re)imagined concept
    that joins peace, security, human rights and development in a nexus that makes each as constitutive and
    complementary elements rather than opposite aims in governance.

30. Today, I lead an international non-governmental organization that counts more than 600 member NGOs whose
    aims, mission and objectives are as varied, if not more, as the work of the United Nations, and spread across
    continents. KHU is one such member. There are at least 6 more NGOs in Korea that are members, and some of
    their representatives are registered in this conference. During my term as president of CoNGO, I have put great
    importance to diversity and inclusion, geographically as well as by other considerations, including youth and
    gender. And so, early this year, in a first for CoNGO, a Board meeting was held outside of New York, Geneva
    or Vienna. It was held in Pathumthani, Thailand, at the sprawling campus of the Asian Institute of Technology.
    At this meeting, we inaugurated our first ever regional committee—the CoNGO Regional Committee for Asia
    and Pacific. We have set our sights to the next regional committee which is in Africa. Given the global issues
    we face, we can no longer decide matters from the confines of political and economic capitals. Every village and
    city counts in finding solution to the problems we face today. Organizational devolution brought CoNGO closer
    to the grassroots, and to the many victims and struggling people who are in need of platforms to speak the truths
    of their oppression and exploitation, but also of their joys and accomplishments as people of equal worth and
    value. That is what the 60-year old Universal Declaration of Human Rights has taught us. That these human
    rights, if they are to be meaningful, must be lived-out realities and not just aspirations we all profess to believe
    in but end up living out so poorly. CoNGO turned 60 years old last year at the same time as the UDHR. The
    history of CoNGO is in fact very much intertwined with the history of this great Magna Charta of human rights.

31. CoNGO meets once every three years in a General Assembly. Among many agenda items, it deliberates on and
    approves a Call to Action which its member organizations and substantive committees are asked to implement.
    At the last General Assembly in 2007, it adopted a strong call to action in the area of climate change. It called
    for action in three key areas—mitigation, adaptation and access to energy. On mitigation, the General Assembly
    called for agreement to be ―reached on a comprehensive, equitable, binding and quota-based framework for the
    post-Kyoto Protocol period. Mitigation strategies must be based on a legally binding and enforceable cap on
    emissions, with allocations of emission quotas based on the principles of equity and justice. The follow-up
    agreement must provide developing countries with access to financial resources and technology so that these
    countries can disconnect constraints on their economic growth from constraints due to rising carbon emissions.
    Environmental and social values and gains can be strengthened as a result of the creation of jobs in the
    sustainable energy sector.‖ On adaptation, CoNGO asserted that ―Developed countries must provide, on a
    compensatory basis, the funding (in addition to the existing target commitment of 0.7 percent of gross national



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    income) and technology needed to enable the poorest countries to adapt to the effects of climate change,
    especially to such effects in the areas of agriculture, water and disaster preparedness. Sustainable animal care
    must form part of adaptation strategies to avoid endangering human cultures. Civil society, in particular
    women's groups, must play leading roles in the design and implementation of mitigation policies and adaptation
    strategies. These must include an agreed framework for action to create jobs and new commercial
    opportunities.‖ On access to energy, CoNGO called on high-income countries to ―support the efforts of
    developing countries to provide sufficient and efficient energy to everyone. Such energy should be generated by
    clean and sustainable sources, in which governments must urgently invest. High-income countries have a
    particular responsibility to help develop and transfer alternative technologies to poorer countries to enable them
    to pursue low-carbon development strategies.‖ Within CoNGO, the understanding is that ―climate change
    threatens to reinforce existing inequalities, especially between women and men, and between North and South.
    It is critical, therefore, that civil society is guided in its work on climate change by the principles of justice and
    equality. Civil society's dialogues with governments and industry must be continued, by ensuring that the right
    players are present at negotiations. Specifically, entities such as social movements, women's organizations,
    farmers' movements and animal welfare organizations should work with a wide range of key stakeholders
    including UN agencies, industries, employers, governments, investors and trade unions. The impact of climate
    change needs to remain on the agenda of a number of UN agencies. NGOs working in areas in which climate
    change will have an impact (e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, migration, employment, food security, housing,
    clothing) should integrate their work and advocacy on climate change issues into their overall advocacy work
    with the UN.

32. CoNGO is of the belief that NGOs need to enhance their roles and capacities to carry out effective political
    advocacy and effect change by targeting tailored messages at the varied actors involved. Civil society must
    understand the importance of strategic planning and focus on the whole range of international/UN meetings that
    are making decisions relating to climate change. We must continue to help find effective ways to mainstream
    the issue of climate change, within CoNGO, among NGOs, at the UN and in all levels of decision making.
    NGOs and scientists should collaborate to find equitable solutions with a view to ensuring quality of life in the
    community and the peoples of this world. For that purpose, civil society should (i) develop cooperation
    mechanisms between civil society and science to guarantee that vital innovations in science and technology
    (ultimately paid by taxpayers and through other funding arrangements) serve in priority the peoples of the
    world; and (ii) help refine and enhance the human rights framework to allow access and implementation to all.

33. CoNGO, for more than 17 years now, has used different civil society forums as means to bring NGOs together
    to weigh in on the many crucial issues, but always conscious of the nexus between human rights and sustainable
    development. CoNGO, for instance, convenes a Civil Society Development Forum (CSDF) to precede the
    Annual Ministerial Review and High Level Segment meetings of the UN Economic and Social Council. At the
    last CSDF in New York in 2008, CoNGO issued a strong statement, via an Outcome Document, saying that:
    ―the achievement of sustainable development goes with the realization of human rights‖ It then urged
    Governments and intergovernmental entities ―to include the realization of human rights in their development
    strategies. They must act in accordance with the mutually reinforcing relationship of human rights and
    sustainable development and the interdependence and equal importance of civil, political, economic, social and
    cultural rights.‖ CoNGO made clear its support for ―a holistic approach to human rights and call on multilateral
    and bilateral donors to reinvigorate and not renege on this approach.‖ CoNGO, in expressing regrets on the
    absence of consensus with regard to the concept of development as a human right, then urged Governments ―to
    accept the mutual obligations implied by the human right to development, which is part of the Internationally
    Agreed Development Goals (IADGs) that include sustainability of development.‖ The link of human rights with
    climate change was very clear to CoNGO. The CSDF asserted ―that the realization of human rights be
    introduced as a guideline for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty
    Reduction Strategies (PRS), as well as in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, especially
    ensuring that the most vulnerable and marginalized populations receive priority attention. CoNGO‘s call was
    clear on all of these. ―We call on Governments to ensure the genuine participation of people experiencing
    extreme poverty in the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes for sustainable
    development and poverty eradication.‖

34. As you can see, another world is possible indeed if we act upon this world in ways that make it more just, more
    peaceable, and more sustainable than when we found it. NGO‘s have a considerable stake in making this
    happen. Joint work by all stakeholders is a must—working together, collaborating together, cooperating
    together, and coordinating together in bettering this world. It will be another world that is made possible by our
    advocacies for the wellbeing of humanity and of the entire planet and cosmos. Not only is another world




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possible. Another global warming is also possible—a warming of hearts and minds impassioned for global
peace, social justice, and peoples‘ security.




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