Simon Maxwell

System Failure

System Failure, Developments,

Reform of the international system. Well, that sounds exciting – definitely something to get out of bed and onto the streets for. We’ve campaigned to double aid, drop the debt, unpick trade barriers. We’ve worn white bands to Make Poverty History. We’ve turned the spotlight on slow progress in achieving key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), like cutting maternal mortality and putting more girls into school. Can we persuade the rock stars to line up for system reform? Let’s be honest – can we persuade ourselves? We should. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander (see opposite and page 12) are right to say, as they have recently, that we live in a complicated and interdependent world, and that we need to find better ways of working together. This agenda is about having a United Nations which works, a World Bank which is more accountable to its clients, an international community which acts quickly to prevent genocide, a world which avoids the worst effects of climate change. If “we, the peoples”, as the UN Charter says, care about poverty reduction, the MDGs, the environment, then we care – or should care – about how the international system works.

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