Developing a Strategy for Good Governance


By Ambassador D. Laksiri Mendis


Good governance has entered the Agenda of global politics.  It is gaining importance in an anarchic world.  The emergence of global threats, challenges and changes have further accentuated its importance.  However, it is refreshing to note that the changes proposed to the UN Charter at the 60th General Assembly Summit are designed to establish good governance at international and national levels.


Many models for good governance are advocated by scholars and practitioners with a view to establishing lasting peace.  In one way or another, these models deal with the reform of the United Nations Organization or reform of the constitutional and national legal systems.  A strategy for good governance at international and national levels would require the following basic ingredients:

Firstly, it must adopt universal values enshrined in UN treaties or codes in relation to human rights, rule of law, freedom from fear and freedom from want as specified by the UN Secretary General in his Report “In Larger Freedoms”. 

Secondly, it must be able to deal effectively with threats, challenges and the changes that are necessary for the twenty-first century at the international and national levels.

Thirdly, the states must cooperate fully with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and civil society organizations (CSO’s).

Fourthly, interreligious and ethical values must be taken into account for purposes of good governance with a view to establishing lasting peace.

Fifthly, it must recognize the importance of multilateralism for good governance and states must engage in multilateral diplomacy.


Developing a strategy for the Global Peace Council


In the light of the above, it must be said that UN treaties contain universal values and constitute a tool for good governance.  Hence, in developing a strategy for good governance at the 60th Anniversary of the UN, it is important for the Global Peace Council to fertilize the UN treaties, UN treaty-making and UN treaty-implementation with interreligious values by way of effective participation at international treaty conferences, in order to establish good governance and lasting peace in the 21st century. 


This strategy can convert the UN into a “world peace UN”.  It will not only save the world from the scourge of war, but will contribute to lasting peace.  It is a shared responsibility of all states and NGOs.  It is therefore of paramount importance that the Global Peace Council should propose that the UN Charter be amended to incorporate interreligious values and traditions in the deliberations of the UN and its specialized agencies.


In dealing with good governance, it is axiomatic that the Peace Council should address effectively the global issues raised in the recent Report of the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes with interreligious values.  This Report classified six main clusters of threats, namely: (1) economic and social threats - poverty, infectious diseases and environment degradation, (2) interstate conflict, (3) internal conflict including civil war, genocide and other large-scale atrocities, (4) nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons, (5) terrorism, and (6) transnational organized crime (TOC).  These threats can be better understood by the knowledge of interreligious values.  The recommendations with regard to Charter-reform and the establishment of a Peace Commission are of fundamental importance. 


In executing this strategy, it is necessary for the Global Peace Council to adopt a holistic approach in regard to UN treaties and their implementation to provide justice to workers in the paddy fields of Asia and the grasslands of Africa.  The global issues regulated in these UN treaties are interconnected and require a broad vision to understand and implement them at international and national levels.  It is useful as a preliminary step to undertake a study of UN treaties from the perspective of interreligious values, so that it is possible to identify the manner in which such treaties could be improved or interpreted or implemented by relevant treaty bodies.  In this context, it must said in regard to the laws of war, that many interreligious values could be implemented with the Geneva Conventions.  Hence, it is important for participants at these meetings to acquire knowledge and understanding in regard to treaty making and treaty implementation processes, so that relevant Resolutions can be crafted or amendments proposed to incorporate interreligious values into treaties.


In this context, the General Assembly Resolutions and SC Resolutions constitute an integral part of global policy-making and therefore the Global Peace Council should have an oversight and possibly impact on the making and implementation of such Resolutions.  Although these Resolutions are made under the UN Charter, they differ by way of domestic analogy to subsidiary legislation made under Acts of Parliament/Congress in diverse legal systems.  GA Resolutions are not of a binding nature, but constitute the basis for UN Action Plans.  Good examples are the Resolution relating to the Millennium Declaration (2000) and Resolution relating to the Dialogue among Religions (2004).  SC Resolutions are binding and must be implemented by member states with immediate effect.  Good examples are the Resolutions relating to Financial Contributions to Terrorist Organizations (2001), Trafficking in Nuclear Material (2004) and Recruitment of Child Soldiers (2005). 


Objective of this strategy


The objective of this strategy is to identify the important UN treaties and interreligious values and thereafter selectively participate at treaty making and treaty implementation conferences in a manner in which the Global Peace Council could contribute to its contents from the perspective of interreligious values.


Incorporation of interreligious values and ethics


In regard to this strategy, there is a great need to fertilize international law, especially those universal values incorporated in UN treaties relating to human rights, humanitarian law, environment and human security (terrorism, drug trafficking, corruption, transnational organized crime, etc.) with interreligious values by way of interpretation and implementation of such treaties in conformity with such values, in order to establish good governance and lasting peace in the world. 


Unfortunately, in the formative years of modern international law, interreligious values have not impacted on Euro-centric international law because of the religious wars waged in the European continent.  In his book on Law on War and Peace, the father of international law, Hugo Grotius, avoided extensive reference to religious values.  In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Marxist doctrine proclaimed religion as the opium of the masses and consequently such religious values were discarded, especially in those countries that came under the Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.  In many countries, there are many strange persons that continue to preach the decadent Communist ideology and therefore this strategy might find resistance in some quarters.


In dealing with this strategy, it is also necessary to understand the deficiencies and limitations of UN treaties in regard to socio-economic development of poor and weak states.  The uniform and rigid application of GATT-WTO Agreements can lead to alienation of such states as evidenced by the WTO Ministerial Meetings.  These GATT-WTO Agreements must have compassion for the sufferers of AIDS pandemic, despite any sophisticated arguments relating to patent rights.  By looking at UN treaties and their implementation in a holistic manner, one can understand the value of this strategy and the way in which UN treaties could be amended or developed to bring order and justice to an unsympathetic, unjust, selfish and unfair world.  To this end, it is of paramount importance to fertilize international treaty law and practice with interreligious values and ethics such as compassion, equity, justice, fairness and above all living for the sake of others to avoid a clash of civilizations or a clash of religious in the twenty-first century.


The vision and determination of Rev. Sun Myung Moon as Founder of the Interreligious and International Federation of World Peace (IIFWP) has filled this gap admirably by establishing an Interreligious International Peace Council (IIPC) to propagate and promote principles of good global governance in the twenty-first century by reference to interreligious values.  The contributions made by the IIFWP to enhance interreligious values are enormous and would undoubtedly impact on global governance in the future in a substantial manner if the Global Peace Council can fertilize international legal instruments with interreligious values. 



(The author has served many countries as UN Legal Expert/Draftsman/Adviser.  Until recently, he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna, Austria.  Email: