Canadian Lloyd Axworthy Heads Global World Federalist Movement
Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian Foreign Minister (1996-2000), has been elected International President of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM).
Headquartered in New York, the WFM is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that has consultative status with the United Nations. Axworthy succeeds another Canadian, former Senator Lois Wilson, who had replaced the actor and humanitarian Sir Peter Ustinov upon his death in 2004.
Origins of the World Federalist Movement
The World Federalist Movement was created in 1947 by those concerned that the structure of the new United Nations was too similar to the League of Nations, which had failed to prevent World War II. Both organizations are loosely structured as associations of sovereign nation-states, with few autonomous powers.
The World Federalist takes a pragmatic approach to strengthening and democratizing global governance. For example, WFM acts as International Secretariat for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals, including political and military leaders, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.
The Coalition is a network of civil society organizations from around the world that helped establish the ICC and that now works to assure its fair, effective and independent functioning.
Lloyd Axworthy and the International Criminal Court
Lloyd Axworthy and the Canadian Government were instrumental in the establishment of the International Criminal Court. From 1995 to 98 Canada took a lead role in treaty preparations by chairing a 'friends of the court' group of like-minded countries.
In 1998 Canada set up a trust fund to help poorer countries travel to the Rome conference where the ICC treaty was negotiated. A Department of Foreign Affairs lawyer, Philippe Kirsch, helped create the legal text and went on to become the first ICC President when the treaty came into effect in 2002.
Axworthy and Land Mines Treaties
During his tenure at Foreign Affairs, Axworthy developed a reputation for high-level activism. In addition to helping establish the ICC, Axworthy was a key figure in promoting the Land Mines Treaty, and for advancing “human security,” a framework that considers the circumstances of individuals, not only states in international policy development and decision-making.
As a result of the Landmines Treaty, millions of mines have been destroyed and countless lives have been saved. Axworthy's book Navigating a New World - Canada's Global Future tells the story of his many other initiatives, including those on behalf of war-affected children.
WFM's Responsibility to Protect
Axworthy leads the World Federalist Movement at a time when the organization is promoting the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), a new norm of international law that calls upon the international community to intervene in cases where a state is unable or unwilling to protect its civilians from large-scale violence or genocide.
During Lloyd Axworthy's last year as foreign minister, Canada sponsored a group of experts, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which produced the RtoP report. The report’s recommendations led to acceptance by the international community of the Responsibility to Protect at the 2005 United Nations World Summit.
Currently Lloyd Axworthy serves as President of the University of Winnipeg, and prior to 2004 was Director and CEO of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.