The Group 8 and Group 20 Paris Summit 2011: Towards the macroeconomics of humanitarian healthcare diplomacy

Posted by Mark Fernando on 22 April 2011


The Group 8 and Group 20 Paris Summit  2011: Towards the macroeconomics of humanitarian healthcare diplomacy.
As I begin to write this paper regarding macroeconomics, humanitarian healthcare and medical relief diplomacy, it is a particularly poignant moment to make this contribution, especially heightened by the recent exogenous shock events in Japan and the lengthening shadow of a humanitarian disaster erupting in Northern Africa. In considering the economic costs and benefits of the provision by a concert of powerful governments, attempting to assist Japan in the wake of a national tsunami disaster, combined with the dreaded radioactive particle contamination from four sea-side nuclear power plants, juxtaposed together with the growing humanitarian crises in Northern Africa, the interventionist governments are most certainly faced with many choices and problems.  As the world now prepares for the Group 8 & Group 20 Paris Summit 2011, we should perhaps consider and analyse what are the lessons to be gained from understanding these two very different humanitarian crises.
I would like to begin with the a priori  philosophical position that in the modern world, it is actually not advisable nor prudent for governments to adopt a totally, “laissez faire”   attitude towards such humanitarian crises. It is also highly undesirable and inhumane to ‘look the other way’ and not to do anything when fellow human beings are faced with unpredictable calamities, chaos and crises.   Therefore, if the ‘free market’ economic model, even if it did exist in it’s very purest form, at the time of the very earliest and most simplistic economies in history and in pre-history, it is not a relevant modus operandi,   for modern macroeconomic systems,  the modern global economy and for nation states in the world today.
These are some of the reasons that underpin the motivations of collectives of international governments to act in concert, on a non- laissez faire and non-free market,  humanitarian interventionist basis.   The simplistic economic models that utilize only “costs and benefits” of any situation are in reality inadequate to analyse and to explain the reasons as to why it is essential for large regions of countries and sometimes for regions of the globe to be given commensurate levels of humanitarian care, international humanitarian and medical relief, combined with the protection of the international community,  when they are faced with significant adversities and uncertainties. Of course, there is the need to utilize much more sophisticated processes and computerized macroeconomic models that also integrate costs and benefits analyses. These much more highly sophisticated computerized macroeconomic models, which are now available for use by the international community, can significantly enable efficient assessments, evaluations and policy progress to the rapidly mapped, as this is especially vital and essential in regional crises situations. These highly sophisticated macroeconomic and geo- spatial computerized models for humanitarian intervention cannot in quintessence function on the basis of a “free market” strategy that adopts  “beggar my neighbour” policies.    Therefore, this paper is a call for action to support all reasonable forms of humanitarian state intervention to assist the needy, to provide for the weak and vulnerable, that gives an opportunity for humane governments to collaborate together, with the international community and with international non-government organizations, for the general wellbeing and benefit of humanity in general, in different regions of the globe.
This paper wishes to focus upon the policy implications and the policy outcomes in international crisis situations, specifically considering the two contrasting humanitarian diplomacy ‘events’ currently being experienced in Japan, whilst juxtaposing this, with the now rapidly changing theatre of conflict in Northern Africa. These global crises have had specific policy implications for several national, regional and global macroeconomic systems.
The tsunami and the after effects of several seismic episodes affecting the Japanese population have with certainty underlined the need for preparedness on the part of national governments and the international community. The unfolding of a potentially highly violent, brutalizing and possibly drawn out humanitarian, political and macroeconomic scenario in Northern Africa, again has policy implications for national and regional governments, combined with the institutions of the international community. There is a necessity, even in times where there are very significant efforts being made to reduce many governments’ budget deficits, to enable there to be an adequate level of international preparedness to be able to respond to such unfolding events in a commensurate and effective humanitarian manner.
The primary objectives of humanitarian diplomacy and medical relief, whether in Japan, Northern Africa or elsewhere, are to save human lives and to alleviate all forms of suffering. The exact means utilized to achieve these objectives, of saving human lives and to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, need to be proportionate and within International Humanitarian Laws, to accomplish the required humanitarian objectives. Concepts of proportionality and effectiveness, can indeed utilize the highly sophisticated computerized modelling techniques mentioned here, combining macroeconomic computerized models with geospatial military based modelling techniques, also including axioms of ‘costs and benefits’ analysis. However, it does need to be always borne in view, that there are also many longer term socio-economic and political issues for each participating state. This is particularly significant during a time of economic recession and whilst there are attempts to control budget deficits within participating humanitarian governments of the international community.
Given the economic difficulties being experienced in many regions and countries of the world, by large numbers of people, it is probably a well worthwhile paradigm that attempts to make active friendships on a common humanitarian basis with as many nations and regions of the world, as can be possible. For it is by the efforts of those trying to make lasting friendships with people who may be culturally, politically and socially, significantly different from themselves, that a further longer term strand of humanitarian diplomacy can be effectively accomplished and global social, political and economic tensions significantly eased. It is the common humanity of all people that is the key which can unlock even the most guarded fortress doors and resolve the very worst conundrum scenarios, to be enabled to approach even the most hostile conflict situations, that could otherwise be considered as unapproachable. As the primary objective of humanitarian healthcare diplomacy and medical relief, utilizing the congruent international macroeconomic and meta-government support apparatus, is to safeguard the weak and to protect the vulnerable, saving and preserving human lives, even in the face of tragic circumstances or the most hostile of situations, I believe that the Group 8 & Group 20 Paris Summit 2011, has a very significant opportunity to utilize humanitarian healthcare diplomacy and humanitarian medical relief,  as the key to enable the common humanity of all people to be respected.  This can be the starting point towards the most sophisticated of negotiations,  turning even those who considered themselves to be enemies into “friends”. To achieve these macroeconomic and public policy aims,  there would need to be much deeper consideration given regarding the use of the mentioned highly sophisticated macroeconomic and geospatial hybrid computerized modelling systems and techniques, to advance human wellbeing and human security in the modern global context.
Dr Mark Fernando, Adviser & Consultancy in Humanitarian Healthcare Diplomacy.
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