Online communications could unleash co-operation and solve the big problems, if world institutions can be set up, Gordon Brown tells event
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for global bodies to handle international issues such as the environment and the financial crisis, telling a conference that the Internet has changed foreign policy for ever.
A surprise speaker at TEDglobal, an elite (and expensive) international conference for entrepreneurs, academics and preforming artists, the Prime Minister said that international communications made it essential that global institutions should emerge.
“The power of our moral sense, allied to the power of modern communications and our ability to organise, gives us the first opportunity to fundamentally change the world,” he said – in a speech that is, of course, on YouTube. “Foreign policy can never be the same again.”
Brown showed iconic images including news photos from the Vietnam War, Tiananmen Square and Iran, saying that their power proves humanity believes in “something bigger than ourselves” and feels a “duty to act” when there is a wrong that needs righting.
“What’s new is we now have the capacity to communicate instantaneously, right across frontiers,” said Brown. Through the Internet, people can work together and create a “truly global society,” he said. This ability had prevented Robert Mugabe from fixing an election, and drawn attention to repression in Burma, he said.
Global issues such as climate change and financial crises cannot be solved within the boundaries of one nation, he said calling it “scandalous” that there is no global institution to handle climate change issues.
“One of the things that has to come out of Copenhagen in the next few months,” he said, “is an agreement that there will be a global environmental institution that is able to deal with the problems of persuading the whole of the world to move along a climate change agenda.”
Away from the TED event, Brown’s government is involved in efforts to put more public services online, provide faster broadband and get the poorer citizens of Britain on the Internet.