Local Mandates and Global Problems

World religious leaders in their summit in Winnipeg on June 21-23 adopted a joint statement calling upon the G8/G20 leaders meeting on June 25-27 “to take courageous and concrete actions” in addressing global poverty, environment, peace and security. No doubt these are grave problems facing humanity today. They beg addressing with the utmost urgency. Although calling for bold and inspired leadership in addressing global problems is noble, I wonder about its realism. Why?

The answer may lie in considering who elects political leaders and, more importantly, why: the nature of their mandates.

Today, political leaders are largely elected by their respective voters for local mandates. Local mandates by their very nature are narrow and prevent sweeping global action especially in case of conflict between the two. The very fact that one of the global problems begging to be addressed is peace and conflict suggests that there are conflicts galore.

To hope for bold global actions from local mandates is not merely a contradiction but also naive. One reason for narrow political mandates is electorates with narrow selfish and/or tribal values. Electorate with global values will certainly help. They will then strengthen global governance, create global resources and global visions needed for strong global mandates to which politicians can be held accountable. Otherwise, global actions will merely be a sum of local endeavors comparable to a sum of parts which never equals a whole.

Please refer to a news article entitled "Religious leaders summit call for inspired leadership" at the following link:

For the joint statement “A Time for Inspired Leadership and Action” at the 2010 Interfaith Leaders’ Summit on June 21-23 in Winnipeg, visit: