“We need principles and values as most issues can only be solved together as a global society!” These were the strong opening words of Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dritan Abazović last month in Château d’Aïre, where he was speaking at the lecture series at the Swiss University Special Executive Program, conceived and moderated by Prof. Anis Bajrektarevic. Under the label “Future Leaders”, some 30 plus people from all over the world gathered and had the honor of welcoming Abazović in the role of a lecturer at a beautiful castle built centuries ago..
Many significant matters were discussed throughout the day, with an emphasis on environmental issues and their protection and preservation, as well as positive peace and unity on a local, continental, and global level, something PM Abazović also recently addressed at the UN General Assembly in New York. With the Balkan area having witnessed violence in the form of war not too long ago, but having found peace, they have many lessons to share on how to accomplish precisely that in other parts of the world.
“We cannot change the past; we can only change the future!” was the PM’s direct appeal to the students: to let go of the old, work on reconciliation and co-create the new. He acknowledged technology and entrepreneurship as positive driving forces for the prosperity of Montenegro and the people living there. The Balkan area in general, is continuously and relentlessly working on maintaining peace and finding further unity in the region, so as to pave the way for their EU membership.
Apart from Montenegro’s primary income source, which is tourism (miles-long beautiful sand beaches with more than 200 days of sunny weather), the country is taking preservation of its natural habitat seriously. The fact that environmental protection is written into the Constitution already highlights the country as forward-thinking, ready to integrate sustainability into its state’s agenda.
Putting protection of the environment at the center
In terms of energy policy, Montenegro is betting its future on renewable energy, especially solar and wind, so as to be as energy independent as possible. It strives to do in a non-bureaucratic manner, ways to produce and consume one’s energy, while installing the respective devices to do so. But of course, none of these environmental issues matter in the face of the outbreak of another bigger war, which was mentioned in the context of Montenegro’s membership with NATO.
It is indeed a scary thought: None of this matters if a country decides to start escalating the ‘words of war’ into the maximum detrimental level – for example, by deploying nuclear weapons or similar ones with a potential for mass destruction, in their war game; leaving others to choose to respond in a similarly devastating manner. The more mass destruction weapons are produced, the more likely they will be deployed one day in the future. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it is simple math in the form of a probability calculation.
The key question is: Who really wants the continuity of war? And why?
Instead of world peace, unfortunately, we are heading in the opposite direction. In 2021, global military spending reached $2.1 trillion, rising for the seventh year in a row.
On the contrary, according to the UN’s 2021 Annual report, the Universal Organisation operates with a budget of some $7.5 billion (per annum) to maintain the International peace and security (which is its core mandate), out of which some $30 million for disarmament – to celebrate, spread and maintain the spirit of peace on a global scale.
This imbalance of resources allocation directed to war instead of peace is highly disturbing.
Maybe this is the conversation that shall be held in the circles of diplomacy and peacekeeping: to find a better balance between defense and military budget spending of nation-states in contrast to investments in peacekeeping initiatives, which the author assumes is far more desirable by humanity at large.
If world peace is and was the noble, original goal, the status quo is quite upsetting. Now is the time to rethink and re-debate what peace means for us on a local, continental and even, first and foremost a global level. Looking at the number of countries where there is some sort of war, it is valid to ask:
Do we need a new, true Peace Treaty on a global scale?
As PM Abazović put it at the end of the day, “War is not the solution … Positive peace is!” at least the author finds that one more peace treaty would do no harm either.
Despite all difficulties we are currently facing as a global society, the day was closed on a happy note by celebrating PM Abazović academic achievements; by the way, he had the chance to study at various prestigious institutions around the world and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sarajevo for his work titled “Global Politics – Ethical Aspects of Globalization” and a master degree in political philosophy from the University of Montenegro. He also authored two books titled “Cosmopolitan Culture & Global Justice” and “Critique of Global Ethics.”
For his accomplishments and writings, especially for advancing the rule of law and promoting peace and stability, Prime Minister Abazović was awarded an doctor honoris causa. Within this Executive program, fellows participants are addressed by the current and former heads of state or government, Nobel prize laureates, and key influencers in the world of politics, economy, security, and energy.
About the author: Pia Poppenreiter is a thinker, entrepreneur, speaker, opinion maker and stereotypes killer.