Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra (FDUC)

STATEBUILDING AND RULE OF LAW IN A POST-COVID WORLD: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

by

His Excellency

KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO

Coimbra, Portugal

06 December 2021

 

Your Excellency Professor Amilcar Falcão, Dean of the Coimbra University
Your Excellency Professor João Nuno Calvão da Silva, Vice-Rector for International Relations
Your Excellency Professor José Manuel Aroso Linhares, President of the Legal Institute of FDUC
Your Excellency Professor Carlos Loureiro, Assistant Professor, Legal Institute of FDUC
Your Excellency Professor Paula Veiga
Your Excellency Professor Suzana Tavares da Silva

Departments and students of FDUC,

 

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is a great pleasure for me to return once more to this lovely city, and in particular to its ex-líbris, the University of Coimbra.

I am humbled to accept the invitation to address such an distinguished audience at this Faculty of Law. I want to thank you for this invitation in my name and on behalf of every member-State and people of the g7+, since this is another opportunity to give voice to the voiceless.

The g7+ has experience that makes this organisation unique in all the world. Its ability to make assessments and analysis must be put to the service of the common good.

However, we know that we cannot and should not do this by ourselves. We are living in a globalised and increasingly interdependent world.

As such, it was with great satisfaction and hope that the g7+ signed a Protocol with the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra, on 29 May 2017, to collaborate on research initiatives concerning peacebuilding and Statebuilding.

Thanks to this joint reflection, the commitment by the Faculty of Law and the intensification of our joint work, we have already taken action with training on “Constitutional Statebuilding” and are currently conducting research.

We are also here together again to reflect on the challenges and opportunities provided by the mightiest of ideals that is the Rule of Law – the cornerstone of our democracies.

Sadly, this takes place at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled authoritarian trends across the world. Several countries, including g7+ state-members, have moved backwards on the path to democracy.

To its credit, the g7+ has acknowledging that the path towards Statebuilding and peacebuilding increasingly requires greater accountability by its members, their authorities and civil society. And yet, this is a time when even the bulwark of democracy, the United States of America, has left so much to be desired with regard to democratic consolidation.

It seems an obvious reaction to have less to trust in democracy as we witness increasing social and economic inequality, increasing corruption and discredited agencies of democracy.

The media, which is accessible at our fingertips, conveys this discontentment to every corner of the world. It often does so out of context, or misrepresenting the facts, and through the perspective of a narrow lens.

Democracies become hollow when citizens lose faith in the ability of State agencies to respond to social demands and to solve everyday problems. It becomes a problem of trust.

Nevertheless, as Churchill famously put it, "Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried."

It is indeed a demanding system, which is why it calls upon us constantly. That is why it is absolutely essential that everyone is engaged in citizenship.

Democratisation and peacebuilding are common objectives of States seeking to abide by principles of transparency, freedom, justice, human rights and solidarity. At the same time, they represent a permanent challenge, particularly in times of crisis.

The polarisation of opinions, interests and power may bring substantial new threats to the survival of democracy and even humankind itself. That is how complex and uncertain our century is.

We must all stop in time to think that if Western societies themselves are at their wits’ end searching for solutions to the challenges of the world, what must it be like and what must be the actual situation in fragile and transitioning democracies whose agencies and democratic procedures are still emerging?   READ MORE...