Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - Page 9 News List

New leaders have to push a binding global rule of law

By Michel Rocard

The principle that international cooperation is required to protect fishery resources, which are dwindling everywhere, was adopted at last year’s CCAMLR meeting. At this year’s CCAMLR meeting, which concluded at the beginning of last month in Hobart, Australia, three proposals (from the US, New Zealand and France/Australia) to establish marine reserves in three different areas were discussed. They were compatible and would reinforce one another. Yet the discussion foundered and no decision was taken. Russia and Ukraine — and, to a lesser extent, China — blocked efforts to reach an agreement.

This failure reflects the same dynamic at work in the breakdown of global climate change conferences in recent years: A few cynical countries, whose cooperation is needed to save the planet, fuel the madness of those bent on destroying it. That will not change until a new consciousness emerges worldwide to persuade states to support binding international law.

The US has now re-elected a president who understands this. France has a president who understands the need for bold, far-reaching actions as well. Their active leadership, and that of others, is needed now more than ever to turn the tide.

Michel Rocard is a former French prime minister and former leader of the French Socialist Party.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

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