Saving Global Order

Around the world, personal liberty, human rights, and democracy are at risk, while the international community is deeply divided, blocking progress on challenges ranging from the crises in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine to climate change and trade. Three factors – all likely to persist this year – are driving these unsettling trends.

GENEVA – As 2015 begins, the values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are under threat. Around the world, personal liberty, human rights, and democracy are at risk – even in countries that have embraced democratic ideals. The international community is deeply divided, blocking progress on a host of global challenges, ranging from the crises in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine to climate change and international trade.

Three factors – all likely to persist this year – are driving these unsettling trends.

First, globalization may have delivered many benefits, but it has also eroded the capacity of societies to determine their own destinies. Many modern challenges – including tax avoidance, organized crime, cyber insecurity, terrorism, climate change, international migration, and financial flows, both licit and illicit – have one thing in common: the traditional instruments of a sovereign state have become inadequate to manage them.

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