By Buyile Matiwane
The world over has been gripped by the stealthy hand of uncertainty and this perilous position is itself enveloping and exposing our very fragile global economic material conditions. This uncertainty is, among other things, around economic recovery, health and safety and the very tenuous conflict situations playing themselves out in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
The escalation of some of these tensions and the global uncertainty that comes with conflict, has sparked the launch of the Global Security Initiative, an initiative which will be headed and driven by China in the interest of peace and stability. The initiative will primarily be targeted at ensuring the creation of a global environment of peace and stability and ultimately easing the global uncertainty shackling us from seeing the boundless opportunities that lie ahead if we can all work together for a future of common prosperity.
The first step will be to create conditions that are permissible for sustainable global economic growth. Addressing this will ensure that we are able to redirect global recovery towards addressing the widening development gap which not only increases global tensions but creates conditions for domestic ills to thrive in local economies. If we don’t address the issues that envelope from a widening development gap we can never guarantee safety and security for our people.
As President Xi Jinping put it in his speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, “the hardships and challenges are yet another reminder that humanity is a community with a shared future where all people rise and fall together, and that all countries need to follow the trend of the times featuring peace, development and win- win co-operation, move in the direction of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and rise to challenges and build a bright future through co-operation”.
We should follow a people-centred approach, place development and people’s well- being high on the agenda and, when policies are implemented, measures adopted and actions taken, always give top priority to bettering people's lives. We should pay due attention to the pressing needs of developing countries and advance practical co-operation in such key areas as poverty reduction, food security, development financing and industrialisation, in a bid to address uneven and inadequate development.
The Forum affirmed that security is the precondition for development. We can never create conditions for growth if we do not address the stifling effect of perceived and real security concerns around the globe. We need to address the very debilitating effects of fear mongering reminiscent of the Cold War and resist all efforts to undermine inclusivity, collaboration, communication and mutual appreciation for values that underpin the peace of mind necessary to stimulate innovation and progressive economic and social participation. Hegemonism and power politics undermine the building of the environment necessary for the above-mentioned precondition.
It is important that we stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security; stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation; stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one's own security at the cost of others’ security; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction; stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.
The Global Security Initiative underscores 5 main points for the attainment of its
• The maintenance of peace and stability in the world.
• Working together to tackle global governance challenges.
• Safeguarding of regional peace.
• Advancement of regional co-operation.
• Promotion of regional unity.
All of these need deliberate and conscious action. The emphasis has been on the collaborative efforts that will be essential for us to see this initiative through and carry out its noble endeavour to fruition. We need to safeguard respect, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, follow a policy of good-neighbourliness and friendship, and make sure that we always keep our future in our own hands.
In today's world, unilateralism and excessive pursuit of self-interest are doomed to fail; so are the practices of decoupling, supply disruption and maximum pressure; so are the attempts to forge “small circles” or to stoke conflict and confrontation along ideological lines. Instead, we need to embrace a global governance philosophy that emphasises extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, promote the common values of humanity, and advocate exchanges and mutual learning between civilisations. We need to uphold true multilateralism, and firmly safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. It is particularly important for major countries to lead by example in honouring equality, co-operation, good faith and the rule of law, and act in a way befitting their status.
* Matiwane is the deputy president of the South African Students Congress