BARBADOS: ‘Transformation needed to promote ‘new world order’ – PM Mia Mottley

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Presidential Lecture Series

Barbados PM Mia Mottley

Barbados Today- Marlon Madden – March 24, 2022

A more transformative agenda and strong political will are needed to reinvent the way countries and multilateral institutions respond to the needs of the developing world and various crises.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley made the point on Tuesday as she expressed concern that there were still too few groupings and countries determining the fate of others when it came to various issues.

“The ultimate absurdity of what I am saying is amplified when we look at the arrangements that led to the P5 within the context of the (UN) Security Council. How do five countries have the right to veto that which others want to see happen?” said Mottley. The P5 comprises China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.         

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference

Her comments were made as she delivered the inaugural World Trade Organisation (WTO) Presidential Lecture Series on Wednesday, in Geneva, Switzerland under the theme Reinventing the Global Order.

“As suggested by the very theme before us, we know that a transformative agenda is required. Absolutely, but it depends on all of us. The question therefore must be, are we ready to exercise the global moral leadership, the commitment and the political will necessary strategically, that will allow us to pursue the transformative agenda in order for us to be able to reinvent the global order?

“A global order regrettably today, perpetuates the first and second-class countries . . . largely because that is our reality. We have faced a world that has cemented the right of a few to determine the fate of the rest of us,” she argued.

Pointing to the need for there to always be somebody to “guard the guard”, Mottley raised a number of issues relating to debt financing, labour, the war in Ukraine, correspondent banking and de-risking, black-listing and grey-listing, climate change, the digital revolution and data governance, food and nutrition security and renewable energy, which she said were disproportionately affecting the developing world.

In relation to small groups making decisions on behalf of other countries or regions, Mottley asked: “If there is no one looking over those who claim to have that superior voice and superior wisdom, then who protects the rest of us?”

She lamented that the current global order was limiting countries’ ability to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to adequately fight the climate crisis while trying now to battle a health pandemic and impacts from the ongoing Russia invasion of Ukraine.

“Simply put, if we have to service that debt that we have incurred in the last two years then we do not have the position and the capacity to borrow to finance our development with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It will become an illusion regrettably for many,” said Mottley.

Singling out the Russia-Ukraine war, which she referred to as “this European theatre”, Mottley said “It is a shame that it takes this theatre to provide the warm welcome to refugees, a welcome which ought to be our human response all along and not just today.

“It is no wonder that many of our young people globally have lost faith in this global order because of what they view as patent hypocrisy,” she added.

The Barbados Prime Minister said internationalism and multilateralism also have an important role to play in reinventing the global order.

“We cannot therefore retreat from that internationalism even if in some instances it requires us to take difficult decisions that we would not otherwise decide to take,” she said, as she challenged the WTO and other treaty-based organisations to do more to shield developing countries and small island states from unfair trade practices.

“We need to deal with the world of trade in services and the next generation barriers to trade must be confronted. We need the next generation WTO to be the countervailing force to the discriminatory, distortionary and inequitable rules and barriers to the international trading services.

“While small groups of countries set up crusades, rules and standards that others are required to follow, there needs to be a strong representative voice that monitors and values the impact of international trade and speak up in defense of that truly international trade system,” said Mottley, adding, “It requires the political will.”

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  • Georgy Porgy  On 03/25/2022 at 9:30 am

    When she’s ready to step down after achieving her Agenda she will have a big job waiting for her at the UN or maybe at The World Economic Forum.

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