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Recent Developments and Perspectives of North-South Conflict

After the East-West antagonism broke away in 1989, the North-South relationship changed in several ways. The gap between rich and poor countries has increased despite considerable growth rates in the Third World, whereby a distinction must be made between “less” and “less” developed countries (less developed countries [LDC] and least developed countries ”[LLDC]). The individual economic regions of both the First and Third World have grown differently and will develop at different speeds for the foreseeable future. As a result of increasing globalization and the high share of the financial sector in growth from the second half of the 1990s, economic growth and an increase in jobs, e.g. T. decoupled. Both of these have caused socio-economic relationships to drift apart, both in the countries of the north and the south. This created regions of poverty in the industrialized countries, while the gap between rich and poor has widened in the emerging countries.

Since the 1990s, globalization trends in production, technology and communication have intensified the liberalization of world trade within the framework of the WTO, which emerged from the GATT in 1994and the expansion of international financial markets renewed the dominance of the developed north in the world system. Decisive decisions in the global economy that directly affect the developing countries, such as the international management of the financial and debt crisis, currency stabilization, interest rate policy and the influence on raw material prices continue to be largely in the hands of the leading industrial countries and the international financial and currency institutions they dominate World Bank (with its subdivisions) and IMF and the interest and negotiating communities of public creditors. In addition, the People’s Republic of China’s influence on the world economy and world trade has increased significantly in recent times. China competes with the industrialized countries for dominance in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The perception of inequality in third world countries in connection with the awareness of the chronic development crisis provoked political counter-movements of not to be underestimated militancy. In them, the rejection of “Western” cultural dominance plays a central role. This leads to a return to one’s own culture, religion and tradition, which are used as an instrument for self-assertion and gain in power (“ethno-politicization”). With this legitimation claim, fundamentalist movements are also forming within large religious communities ( fundamentalism). A radical Islamism (Islam), who uses terrorist methods worldwide (terrorism).

In the north, the defense of western cultural patterns in the third world is perceived as a threat and tends to be portrayed as a new »enemy of the third world« that has replaced the old one in the »east«. On the one hand, this is characterized by fears of “Islamic fundamentalism”, which for S. P. Huntington provided the paradigm for the “clash of civilizations”, on the other hand it is nourished by fears of a “population explosion” in the south, leading to “flooding” and “infiltration” of the islands of wealth in the north by “migrations” of hunger Could lead people; In addition, one faces dangers such as a drug flood (accompanied by crime and AIDS), global environmental destruction and finally critical developments in the global periphery, which, due to the growing interdependence of the world, could also threaten the security and prosperity of the OECD countries. On the one hand, however, such generalizing scenarios designed on the basis of individual observations fail to recognize that the North-South conflict is not carried out on the level of an irreconcilable cultural war, but that cultural values ​​are often instrumentalized by claims to power, which in turn are fed by experiences of inequality and massive social frustrations. On the other hand, it is overlooked that the number of internal conflicts (especially in third world countries) of the wars and serious crises after 1945 has continuously increased, while the number of violent conflicts between states has remained at a comparatively low level over this period.

In the context of international relations, the realignment of North-South relations remains a focus with the aim of preventing global instabilities. The World Food Summit (World Food Conference) convened by the FAO in 1996 decided on an action program to eradicate hunger in all countries. It aimed to halve the proportion of the world’s population living in existential poverty by 2015. The UN adopted this goal at its Millennium Summit in September 2000. The stronger pursuit of self-development and personal responsibility resulted, among other things. the initiative (based on previous programs) during the constitutional process of the African Union in 2001 “The New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (abbreviation NEPAD, German New Partnership for Africa’s Development).

At the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey (Mexico) in March 2002, which was attended by numerous representatives from business and non-governmental organizations in addition to delegations from the governments, the World Bank, IMF and WTO, the so-called Monterrey Consensus to be adopted: In it, all countries declared themselves primarily responsible for their own development and committed themselves to good governance, among other things through the fight against corruption, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The industrialized countries made a binding commitment to make more money available for development. They also agreed to take action to relieve the poorest countries.

In general, the industrialized countries undertook to remove trade barriers such as v. a. To reduce agricultural subsidies in order to give developing countries duty-free and quota-free access to their markets. In contrast, the developing countries undertook to implement economic and legal reforms to improve the conditions for foreign direct investment. Negotiations on the agricultural and service sectors had already started in 2000. In addition to the liberalization of the industrial goods sector, the goal of liberalizing these two areas was also included in the negotiating agenda of the trade round that began in Doha (Qatar) in 2001, also in order to increase the participation of developing countries in world trade. Due to irreconcilable conflicts of interest, the implementation of the so-called Doha Development Agenda (Doha Development Agenda, DDA) did not advance in the following period. At the WTO ministerial conferences in Bali in 2013 and Nairobi in 2015, at least slight progress was made with regard to the treatment of the least developed countries, without, however, reaching a final conclusion of the Doha negotiations. On the United Nations Summit for Sustainable Development In 2015, the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted, which comprises a catalog of development goals that are valid for all countries in the world and should form the framework for poverty reduction and sustainability.

At the same time, the north-south contrast remains virulent. The global distribution conflict confronts world politics not only with a moral problem, for J. Galtung 1969 coined the term “structural violence”, but rather it forms the structural cause of a multitude of global problems, one of the most important of which is poverty-related environmental degradation. Other problems arise from the massive migration and refugee movements as well as countless social conflicts in which increasingly radical religious movements contribute to the political instability of individual countries and thus the world as a whole. This brings the task of conflict prevention and peacekeeping back to the fore in the development policy program. This also includes concepts for containing international terrorism. Ideally, it must be the task of the United Nations to achieve an effective world organization in the sense of “good global governance”.

Recent Developments and Perspectives of North-South Conflict