From the Editor - October 2012

As this edition of IBA Global Insight went to press, the dust was still settling after another remarkable IBA Annual Conference – this year in Dublin. As well as appearances from Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny, former President Mary Robinson, and leading lights across an array of discrete areas of expertise, the IBA played host to several Nobel laureates. They spoke from experience, and with authority, on some of the most pressing issues facing us today.

Professor Joseph Stiglitz received his Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001. He gave the opening ceremony audience the benefit of knowledge accumulated as advisor to President Bill Clinton and the World Bank, among other positions, speaking with acute insight on the financial crisis, its aftermath, and potential ways forward. Mohammed Yunus received his Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work with Grameen Bank, tackling poverty in Bangladesh head on. He spoke in inspirational terms about the failings of traditional finance, how inequality can be addressed, and poverty eradicated. His approach? To understand how traditional financial institutions conduct their business, and do the opposite.

Renowned former French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, co-founded Médecins Sans Frontières, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. He is well-known for his hands-on humanitarianism, notably towards the Vietnamese boat people and in Somalia. Reportedly, Nelson Mandela once whispered to him, ‘Thanks for intervening in matters that don’t concern you.’ His views on the rule of law in the 21st century, the current situation in Syria, and the parlous state of the United Nations carry weight.

All three of these leading figures in international affairs were generous enough with their time to be interviewed by the IBA team in Dublin. There’ll be more on this in our December edition. In the meantime, films of these and other interviews conducted in Dublin can be viewed on the IBA’s website at tinyurl.com/Dublinfilms.

In this edition, we tackle similarly pressing issues. Cleaning up the City suggests what should be done in response to all the financial scandals. Our cover feature asks whether moves by governments to protect the health of their citizens might herald the end of the tobacco industry or be stymied by the World Trade Organization. In Environmental law gets radical we suggest that the public interest demands the agenda shifts from breaking key conventions to ensuring they’re enforced. Meanwhile, in Democratising the drug trade  we assess dangerous developments in Latin America.

James Lewis