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|Lloyd Axworthy, since Jan. 1996 Foreign Minister of Canada, was a professor of political science. Over the years he has led several ministries.
Knut Vollebaek, Foreign Minister of Norway from Oct. 1997 to March 2000, is a career diplomat.
NEW DIPLOMACY FOR A HUMANE WORLD
Lloyd Axworthy and Knut Vollebaek,
One of the most fundamental challenges we face is the realization of a humane world. This must be more than a vision. It is a moral imperative. The facts in the world around us speak for themselves.
We need new approaches and new tools. We need a new form of diplomacy. It will have to be based on collective efforts of a variety of actors, inside and outside of government. It will depend upon our ability to raise people’s awareness of fundamental human security needs, and it will require a new and broad-based consensus to address squarely basic human needs and rights affecting the daily lives of millions.
This diplomacy reaches beyond relations between states to engage individuals and organizations from a variety of sectors within civil society. We see the beginning of this new drive toward a humane world in the successful fight to ban anti-personnel mines and to restrict proliferation of small arms and light weapons. In both cases, civil society is playing a crucial role, in addition to efforts among like-minded governments.
The Ottawa convention to ban the production, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines, which was negotiated in Oslo, has broken new ground. It was inspired and carried through by means of the new diplomacy. As Burkina Faso became the 40th country to ratify, the Ottawa process has in less than two years produced a binding international legal instrument, which will enter into force early next year.
The establishment of the International Criminal Court to prosecute crimes against humanity, the crime of genocide and war crimes, is another important event in this regard.
In today’s world there are worrying trends that are disruptive in themselves and that threaten the international order established in the last few decades. One example is the financial disaster that has swept through Asia and demonstrated that while global economic integration brings many benefits, it also produces new kinds of risks. Another example is the nuclear tests in South Asia, which threaten to undermine a generation’s efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Such developments pose serious challenges to existing international organizations and to treaties governing states’ conduct. Unless the present law-based international order is respected in the years to come, the international community will face disintegration and international uncertainty that has not been seen since the 1930s.
We need to make every effort to secure full respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as of the provisions of international organizations whose aim is to ensure respect for human rights in all circumstances and all countries. The development of weapons of mass destruction poses a real and present danger to us all, but most of the casualties resulting from conflict in the last decade or so have resulted from conventional warfare. Recent conflicts, almost regardless of where they have occurred, have shared a number of similarities. They have been driven by ethnic, cultural or religious differences, and have tended to engage combatants within states rather than betwee