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Creating a Sovereign Voice

09/25/09

Jay Wellik–Dallas, TX, USA

In the past week, we have seen leaders from many nations—at the invitation of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon—address the General Assembly about climate change.  Leaders from even more nations, who were unable to address the assembly in person, prepared and recorded their own speeches.  They have now been posted on the UN’s website for all to see.

But how does a single man/woman create a voice that can be heard at the UN?  Public mass movements, such as the recent flash mobs endorsed by Avaaz, are one option, but maybe it’s time to get a little more creative….  What if one person created his/her own sovereign state to get himself/herself heard?  And what if that nation was somehow placed off the coast of the EU?

Sounds crazy right?

But it appears that that’s what Alex Hartley plans to do.  In 2004, he discovered a new island, recently exposed by a receding glacier near Norway.  By loading chunks of the island into a barge, he has started shipping the rubble across the ocean towards the coast of England.  En route, the ‘island’ will become a ‘micronation’ by the name of Nymark, or ‘new land.’

Though Nymark won’t be a legally recognized nation by any stretch of the imagination, it is a gimmick that could have a voice.  It would be a shame, however, if the voice of movements like those of Nymark get heard louder than the voice of small but real sovereign states.  Nations like Tuvalu, whose existence seems more precarious than the floating rubble of Nymark; or the African nations who worry that their world standing won’t be enough to illuminate the great risks they face from unchanged climate.

It’s the voice of the least developed and small nations that must be heard—and listened to—if a deal is to be signed in Copenhagen.

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