- With the foundation of the United Nations in 1945 came the setting-up of specialist international agencies to tackle worldwide problems: agencies like the World Health Organisation and UNESCO. Today, there are new gaps to be filled in global governance but it is greed rather than need that is setting the pace.
- Through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), multinational companies are able to have hard-won social and environmental safeguards overturned as ‘barriers to trade’. Wessex Regionalists believe there should be no new trade round or attempts to expand the WTO to cover issues such as investment, competition, government procurement, public services and biotechnology. The free market dogmas of the WTO are simply incompatible with the right of countries to choose the form of government that suits them best.
- The WTO’s remit should be limited to matters of genuinely global concern. In the interim, WTO Agreements must not be allowed to undermine the environment, sustainable development or human and animal welfare. Multilateral agreements in these areas should not be challenged at the WTO. The WTO must become democratic, transparent and inclusive. It should consult with civil society and actively encourage parliamentary scrutiny of trade policy.
- Multinational companies should be subject to ‘site here to sell here’ policies, so that local production is a condition of market access. Controls should be imposed on their international transfers of capital and action taken to close tax havens. UK companies should be banned from operating lower environmental or labour standards abroad than are required in Britain. The OECD Convention on Bribery should be fully implemented.
- Import and export controls should be negotiated internationally to reduce international trade to a fairly traded exchange of goods that cannot be produced locally. Developing nations should meet local needs by setting up import substitution schemes, with OECD assistance, based on appropriate technology and sustainable agricultural methods. International agreements are needed to ban trade in waste, protect the genetic diversity of crop seeds, and minimise the disruption to indigenous peoples and environmental damage caused by resource extraction.
- The IMF and World Bank should prioritise conflict prevention, the eradication of poverty and disease, environmental sustainability and the transfer of appropriate technologies to the least developed countries. They should be run on the principle of one-member-one-vote and be accountable to people in developing countries.
- The proposed Tobin Tax on currency speculation should be introduced. A tax of just 0.25% would raise US $250 billion a year. This would help stabilise international financial markets and should be paid into an international fund to promote sustainable development.
- Despite the global nature of many of the environmental challenges we face, there is no UN agency specifically responsible for the global environment. It is a telling indictment of priorities that the world community has established no permanent organisation charged with preserving the world itself. An adequately funded World Environment Organisation would provide a clearing house for information on such matters as global warming and desertification and act as a powerful counterweight to the WTO, particularly while the latter remains unreformed. One of its tasks should be to safeguard wilderness areas such as Antarctica, which should be placed outside national sovereignty.
- British foreign policy has long promoted national self-interest, narrowly defined. Now is the time to build global security by helping people around the world achieve self-determination within sustainable societies. The issue of asylum-seekers illustrates the futility of believing that what happens elsewhere in the world is none of our business. Immigration is expected to account for 10% of the new homes needed in Britain over the next 20 years. Human rights abuses on the other side of the planet can therefore impact in no uncertain terms on the fields around our communities in Wessex.
- While war crimes are indictable under international law, tyrants have for centuries hid behind the defence of ‘national sovereignty’ in their abuse of their own people. The framework of international law needs to be strengthened so that dictators can be tried for human rights abuses wherever in the world they may flee.
- Terrorism is a global threat that requires a global response. Unilateral action is no substitute.
A regionalist government in Wessex will:
- work for reform of the WTO and the creation of a World Environment Organisation
- work for the strengthening of international law against the abuse of human rights
- work for the setting-up of an international tribunal, modelled on the war crimes tribunal, for the trial of crimes of political violence that transcend national frontiers.
Meanwhile, the Wessex Regionalists will:
- promote international co-operation, within the framework of subsidiarity, through friendly contact and political solidarity with other regionalist movements.