IPMA International Project Management Association
27 July 2016 / 3:50

The unleashed globe – living in uncertain times

Recently, Munich suffered from a rampage of a single male who killed nine people before committing suicide. The whole city was under alert and people were scared recalling the pictures of recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris, Brussels and many other places outside of Europe. The coup in Turkey and the clean-up of the government raised concerns about human rights and increased the tensions in the region. Will the next wave of refugees knock at the doors of Europe? Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ukraine, Southern Sudan and many other regions experience a civil war and ongoing violence. In the United States racial unrests spread after police violence against African Americans. The Brexit referendum causes political turmoil in Great Britain as well as in the European Union. Economic troubles in Southern Europe, Venezuela, Brazil and many other countries all over the world demonstrate that the globe is in disarray. Climate change, global incidents like “El Nino” with flooding in some regions and drought in others seems to be the “normal” state. Military tensions between NATO and Russia in the Baltics, between China and its southern neighbors because of some islands in the South China Sea and in the Middle East between various players are sadly ending a period of perceived stability and peace. Not to talk about religious motivated attacks in Europe, Middle East, India and other countries in Asia and Africa. Will this continue and do we need to get used to it? Can we do something about it and is project management helping us out of this troubles?

IMG_7601My generation, born in the 1960s has experienced a relatively pleasant period of peace, prosperity and stability. From a European perspective, the fall of the Berlin Wall brought us many new perspectives and freedom, maybe the peaceful change in Europe caused nowadays unrest between Russia and Europe / NATO in the last couple of years? The financial crisis in 2008 caused many states to fail as their models were not sustainable and difficult to adapt to new financial rules and regulations. The religious tensions between Sunni and Shiites brought tensions into the Middle East, being finally unleashed after the intervention of the United States into Iraq and neighboring countries. Violence caused violence, spread over all borders and came with the refugees into Europe. However, the roots of those conflicts may have been set already in the early 20th Century during colonization. I could continue forever analyzing causes and effects, it would not help us to understand nor to overcome the challenges. For me it is more important to show perspectives out of the vicious circle…

We need to revitalize the United Nations as a global forum for all people based on the existing Charta. The UN should lead the change, based on Article 1 summarizing the purpose of the United Nations:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends


The United Nations should become more democratic and the “veto power” of some members should be terminated as it is one cause of the inability of the UN to cope with  the challenges. The UN should develop a Global Vision, Mission and Strategy to return to peace, overcome poverty and protect our nature. Through project management we could help the political initiatives to be implemented and successful. Project and programme management should be at the heart of the United Nations and all countries involved to get things done and cope with the many challenges. All this is change, non-technical, humanitarian and highly-political, balancing the multiple interests of many people throughout the world. Do we have another chance? Francois Mitterrand was a wise man when he once said the nationalism means war. He was born into WWI and fought in WWII. Thus, the European Union was a means to overcome nationalism in Europe and supported peace in the region for many years. The increasing nationalism in many parts of the world causes instability, violence and suffer for the people. Let´s make an advantage out of the many challenges we have and lift the world up to the next level!


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Author of this post

Dr. Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 35 years in the field of project-related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Automotive, Engineering, and Consultancy, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH, a leading PM Consultancy in Munich/Germany, he supports executives of industrial clients in transforming their companies towards a project-oriented, adaptive and sustainably successful organization. He has published more than 40 books as well as several hundred articles and blog posts in the field of project management. In more than 20 years of voluntary engagement he served the German Project Management Association (GPM) as well as the IPMA in various roles and was granted for his international commitment with the Honorary Fellowship of IPMA and several of its member associations. He received his doctorate in the field of projectification of society and continues to be active in it through his research and lectures.