Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Putting Democracy Above the Bottom Line

Democracy advocates in civil society and government have managed to push back against global corporations that influence public policy. But much of their progress hangs in the balance this month, when parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change convene.

BOSTON – This month, we will have a chance to chart a course toward a stronger, safer global society, where power belongs to the many, not to the few, and where those who have run roughshod over our environment, human rights, and public health will be held accountable. I am not talking about the United States’ presidential election.

To be sure, the US election will be immensely consequential; but endless punditry and horserace politics have obscured two groundbreaking events that begin on November 7: meetings of the parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Superficially, international law lacks the drama of a presidential race, and can undoubtedly seem stuffy at best, and irrelevant at worst. But if one digs a little deeper, one finds an almost Shakespearean struggle between democracy and unbridled greed. At each conference this month, the international community will make decisions that will affect the outcome of this struggle, and which could begin to solve some of today’s most vexing global issues.

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