(Elementos para a intervenção do Ministro de Estado das Relações Exteriores)
No one questions, today, the idea that the world is undergoing an important redistribution of economic and political power. As a matter of fact, not only has this process been going on for quite some time now, but also it has been developing much faster than expected, making experts’ predictions seem too timid shortly after they are uttered.
The speed of change seems to be systematically underestimated. Perhaps one of the best examples of reality superseding expectations is the growth of the BRICS economies. When Mr. Jim O’Neill first presented his thesis about BRICs countries overtaking G7 countries, in 2001, some thought it was exaggerated. Ten years after, in 2011, when he wrote a book about the same subject, he started by scolding the skeptics. The aggregate BRICs GDP had quadrupled in a decade and the relevance of the BRICs had been proven far beyond his expectations.
Politically, the changes undergone by the international system the change are also uncontroversial. More than twenty years have passed since the publication of Mr. Krauthammer`s famous piece in the “Foreign Affairs” magazine and the “unipolar” moment, if ever there really was one, is clearly over. All over the world, Governments, think tanks and analysts are increasingly aware of the shift towards a “multipolar” configuration in international relations.
It is hard to make predictions, but when future historians write the narrative of the changes taking place in the beginning of the 21st century, two events will probably stand out.
In the economic and financial field, the 2008 crisis in the US and the current problems in Europe, which have caused world-wide effects we are still having to deal with to this day. Perhaps the sub-prime crisis is now behind us, but the loss of faith it produced will linger on.
At the political level, the 2003 invasion of Iraq – based on allegations that later came under severe criticism – has set in motion a decade of violence and instability, with great human losses and hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The common thread in those two major events is the erosion of credibility they have brought upon. If global recession and a decade of war are the results, we must conclude that international governance – either in collective security or in financial regulation – was not working as it should.
So, we are now living a moment of critical assessment of the recent past.
We are heading for new models of global governance, in which participation will necessarily be larger. New actors – the so-called “rising powers” – are participating more fully.
On trade, finance and sustainable development, this has already been taking place for some years now.
In the WTO, multilateral negotiations have acquired a new quality, since the 2003 Cancún ministerial meeting, when the commercial G-20 has established itself as an indispensable partner in the process, thus creating a new dynamics that ended up replacing the old “Quad”. The recent election of Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo to head the WTO also constitutes a victory of multilateralism.
Similarly, the 2008 crisis has made the financial G-20 the foremost international mechanism for macroeconomic coordination and for dealing with the challenges of economic growth and employment. At the same time, in the IMF, the “quota and voice” reform is moving forward, although with fits and starts.
Also regarding the environment, global governance has already included wide-ranging participation by developing countries. No one would dream of discussing climate change or biodiversity without the participation of all the stakeholder countries, including civil society and Academia.
In all these cases, it is clear that the enlarged participation has brought a positive contribution to global governance.
From time to time, we hear the argument that the decline of US or “Western” leadership could make global governance more difficult, because new participants in international decisions would not necessarily share the same world-view. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite. Participation by new actors is necessary precisely because it can make governance more effective, by ensuring legitimacy and greater credibility.
We also hear the "concern" that new actors may not follow the rules and principles of global governance. We must recognize however that it is the "established powers" that most times do not respect the present rules and principles of our collective security, as seen in Iraq. For a country like Brazil that does not have nuclear weapons and believes in diplomacy and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, it is important that multilateral rules are fully observed by all.
Unfortunately, in the field of international peace and security, progress has been much slower.
But it is no less necessary, because global governance in this area is very much in need of reform. It lacks legitimacy, because the main forum of discussion and deliberation – the UN Security Council – has a membership that reflects what the world was in 1945, not what it is today. And it lacks credibility, because it has failed to act and to produce results in some of the most serious challenges affecting international peace and security, the most evident failure being the Israel-Palestine question, and the civil war in Syria.
An enlarged participation, with the incorporation of new actors from the South – like India, South Africa and Brazil - can no doubt contribute to strengthen governance also in matters of peace and security.
What these new actors can bring to the discussion is a strong emphasis on diplomacy, negotiation, dialogue and consensus-building. Also, as developing countries they should bring a sharper focus on the relation between international security and development.
We are now starting to see signs that the belief in the effectiveness of military action to solve international problems is diminishing.
We hear more and more leaders recognizing that there cannot be a military solution to the problem.
The phrase “there is no military solution to” is being increasingly used and may reflect the recognition that we may be entering a phase of greater openness to dialogue, negotiation, diplomacy – certainly a tendency which Brazil would favor. We were inspired by the State of Union address by President Obama, when he said that a "decade of war is over".
A more representative and legitimate Security Council can, and in my opinion will, help lead to decisions and strategies that contribute to avoid conflict and protect a greater number of civilians.
The protection of civilians is of utmost importance to Brazil. Civilians continue to be injured, displaced and killed in great numbers and submitted to all kinds of hardship in many parts of the world.
It is our collective moral and political responsibility to confront this situation and offer civilians under actual or potential risk improved prospects.
The use of force in the protection of civilians stands out as an issue that divides opinions, compromises efforts towards the peaceful settlement of disputes, and distances us from dealing with the multifaceted issues surrounding protection.
As regards the use of force, a Brazilian concept paper on the “responsibility while protecting” was shared with the Security Council in 2011.
In our view, resort to military action should always be an exceptional measure, after all peaceful means have been exhausted and only upon the authorization of this Council.
And if force is authorized, it must be judicious, proportionate and limited to the objectives established by the Council. One must be careful not to worsen a situation that puts civilians at risk and involuntarily contribute to further violence and instability.
Furthermore, the Council should ensure before the wider membership that military action is monitored and resolutions are interpreted and implemented in a way that guarantees the observance of responsibility while protecting.
Events in the recent past make us ponder whether direct military intervention or support to armed groups has led to improved circumstances for civilians or to further instability and violence.
However, even as we ponder on past experience, we could easily agree on the notion that the most effective way to protect civilians is to prevent armed conflict and, should it arise, display a real commitment to its resolution by peaceful means.
It is possible to argue that the promotion of sustainable development, poverty eradication and food security contributes to the promotion of peace and security by creating a more stable environment for civilians.
The Charter provides a basis for associating the maintenance of peace and security with the promotion of socioeconomic and institutional development, as well as respect for human rights.
It is regrettable that the world should spend astronomical resources on the development of weapons and military budgets, while we are still short of meeting ODA targets, as agreed in the 2002 Monterey Consensus.
This disturbing situation was described by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a powerful article published last August. As he said, the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded.
If we are seriously to commit to the protection of civilians – and if we all agree this should be done first by avoiding the emergence of conflict – we must seek to revert this trend.
On the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation front, consistent and balanced progress needs to be made. We cannot afford to leave this agenda unfinished.
In the same vein of approaching the protection of civilians as a means to avoid conflict, this Council should fully assume its responsibility regarding the plight of those who are victimized on a daily basis in protracted conflicts, such as the one between Israel and Palestine.
The protection of civilians must be implemented in a universal and non-selective manner.
Civilians ought to be equally protected against threats of violence, be it in Homs or in Gaza; in Khandahar or in Timbuktu. And multilateral efforts should comply with International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, including in the context of the fight against terrorism.
Under this heading, Brazil welcomes the announcement by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights concerning the launch of an inquiry into the civilian impact, and human rights implications of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing for the purpose of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.
The complexity of the challenges requires inclusiveness in decision-making and in the implementation of decisions. In this respect, a word on the long overdue Security Council reform is also justified.
Negotiating and building common ground is the fundamental task of this Council. And in this regard, diplomacy is of the essence and should not be equated, as it sometimes is, with lack of resolve.
In conclusion, the experience of the recent past has made it clear that the present global governance has not provided the answers to the challenges posed by the economic and peace and security agendas.
Global governance needs to be more inclusive, if it is to be effective.
Inaction and failure to improve the workings of global governance will bring nothing but the growing discredit of international institutions, including the United Nations.
When it comes to building peace and security, there are no shortcuts, and there are no real substitutes for the patient work of diplomacy.