Noting that many of the world’s ills could be eliminated for less than a third of the global annual expenditure on armaments, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency has dismissed the current global approach to security as dysfunctional and called for a new emphasis on universal freedoms to eliminate extremism and terrorism.
“Regardless of differences of nationality, ethnicity, culture or faith, it is high time to understand that we are all part of one human family, with shared core values – and what is more important is that we act accordingly,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei said on being awarded the International Four Freedoms award presented by the Roosevelt Stichting Foundation.
“The current global approach to security is in my view dysfunctional, and cannot endure. We therefore need to work urgently towards the development of a new collective security system,” he said at the week-end ceremony in Middelburg, the Netherlands, calling for an effective and equitable mechanism to address the security needs of all.
Such a system must be based not on nuclear deterrence, but on human security, human solidarity and human interdependence. “This requires a new mindset and reformed institutions,” he asserted
The Four Freedoms Award, named in honour of the United States World War II-era leader, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, highlights the freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
While in Europe and some other parts of the world people take the four freedoms for granted, in many other areas the picture is very different with more than 20,000 people dying “because they are too poor to stay alive,” Mr. ElBaradei said.
Yet, according to experts, “for an additional 65 billion euros per year, we could cut world hunger in half, put programmes in place for clean water worldwide, enable reproductive health care for women everywhere, eradicate illiteracy and provide immunization for every child,” he noted. By comparison, he noted that in 2004, expenditures on armaments increased by more than 200 billion euros.
Intolerance, poverty, repression and fear, he declared, “can lead to despair and humiliation, which in turn breed extremism and terrorism – the very threats that, ultimately, affect the freedoms of every one of us.”