Governments Without Borders
The misery of a nation is relative to its government’s indigence
Translated from a text by Flavenne de Gué-Riche
In the beginning there was Médecins sans frontières (MSF) (Doctors Without Borders, also known as French Doctors) to compensate for the lack of physicians in the Third World. Then came Reporters Without Borders and even Clowns Without Borders, always for the same reason of filling gaps in skills when people’s safety or morale was at stake. The International Criminal Court itself could be coined Tribunal Without Borders and the U.N. Peacekeepers, Armies without borders.
An event in Haiti, well before the January 2010 earthquake, when a roof collapsed on a crowded school and children again paid dearly for a government’s mismanagement, gave me the idea of Gouvernements sans frontières (Governments Without Borders) or GSF, modeled on Mr Kouchner and his colleagues’ original visionary concept.
An event in Haiti, when children again paid dearly for a government’s mismanagement, gave me the idea of Gouvernements sans frontières (Governments Without Borders) or GSF.
We must recognize that the misery of a nation is relative to its government’s indigence. The state, composed of individuals who work mostly for the good of the community, makes do with the means it has. In the case of countries of the Third and Fourth Worlds, these means are a third or quarter of the required minimum to insure a decent well-being for their constituents.
Even if the United Nations or any other donor country, by way of interest, solidarity or for humanitarian reasons, came to the rescue of an ailing nation, experience would suggest that a vicious circle of widespread incompetence, due to a lack of resources, would quickly overwhelm the goodwill and the efficacy of the rescue funds allocated. There are also no safeguards for preventing this situation from repeating itself.
Even if the United Nations or any other donor country came to the rescue of an ailing nation, experience would suggest that a vicious circle of widespread incompetence would quickly overwhelm the goodwill and the efficacy of the rescue funds allocated.
Meanwhile, the professional skills of retired ministers and high ranking civil servants across the planet quietly vanish along with the hopes of a major portion of the world population. The waste of the cumulative and exceptional experience of all the people having served in parliaments of mostly affluent democratic countries is a shame on the scale of that of the international military industrial budget, or worse, the huge sums promptly aggregated to pull the banking system from the brink of default which it had set itself upon for lack of moral ethics.
The idea is both simple and complex. It involves creating a pool of individuals with governance experience, free from financial constraints, yet available for occasional participation in humanitarian missions when countries in a precarious situation would solicit their assistance. A kind of sponsorship, with an aim not to deprive the officials in place of their power, but to support them when pertinent socio-political decisions or actions need to be taken for the advancement of their citizenry.
It involves creating a pool of individuals with governance experience, available for occasional participation in humanitarian missions…
The moral integrity of these individuals would have to be above suspicion and made certain by the United Nations. Their financial independence and willingness to serve as volunteers, motivated neither by ego nor self-interest, would secure their trustworthiness. Their travel and living expenses would be supported by a GSF fund created for the mission with amounts collected from donor countries.
In a crisis situation requiring international assistance, the sensitivities of governments should be taken into account when it comes to foreigners interfering in their internal affairs. A practical way to address these legitimate susceptibilities would be to link funding to a highly recommended, if not compulsory, sponsorship as a way to avoid embezzlement often observed in situations without appropriate supervision. The GSF Fund would ensure proper distribution of the amounts, leading interested countries to consider with benevolence the presence of its advisors at their side. If a government, legitimate or not, showed indifference to an aid offer, popular pressure, including that from the diaspora, could compel it to recognize the merits of the said offering.
To ensure effectiveness, it is essential that a GSF delegate familiar with the historical, political, cultural and social situation of the country be appointed to each government applying for help. Each sponsor will have previously studied the profiles of the members of its government and made them aware of his or her curriculum. The credibility of Gouvernements sans frontières will be ensured by the member states of the United Nations, of which GSF will be part and to whom it will be accountable.
The credibility of Gouvernements sans frontières will be ensured by the member states of the United Nations, of which GSF will be part and to whom it will be accountable.
Transparency of decisions taken by GSF and the government will be achieved by the relevant public issues being discussed between ministers and senior officials in the presence of representatives of opposition parties, the media and the public.
Once the mission of the GSF members is accomplished and the crisis solved or under control, the ties created between the volunteers and their counterparts in government would likely lead into a prolonged relationship in the domains that initiated their collaboration. Government members could also make the most of the network of political and industrial relationships provided by their GSF counterparts.
Image: Peter Burka, via StockPholio.net
Flavenne of Gué-Rich (pen name) considers himself an idea-incubator whose creations are first expressed by words before becoming scripts, movies, books, inventions or projects on a variety of topics. The idea behind Governments Without Borders is based on a desire to improve the lot of the world.