Dubai Summit - Redesigning the global system

Dubai Summit - Redesigning the global system

30th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

The world's economists, academics and government's put their heads together to come up with new plans for global cooperation.

The World Economic Forum’s second Summit on the Global Agenda held this November included over 700 experts and thought leaders from business, academia, civil society and government putting forward their ideas.

“This is really the blueprint of the future direction of the global well-being,” said Summit Co-Chair Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, United Arab Emirates, in the closing plenary.

The proposals debated by the Members of the 76 Global Agenda Councils on the most pressing issues facing the world – from systemic risks in the financial system to the future of China -- will be considered at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January next year. They will then be further developed for presentation to political leaders, policy-makers and the Forum's wider communities at a meeting in Doha, Qatar, in April 2010.

This brainstorming process is the backbone of the Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative (GRI) launched at this year’s Annual Meeting to explore ways to better support the system of international cooperation. The initiative is under the patronage of the governments of Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland and Tanzania.

“This is about developing and testing ideas that will help us improve global cooperation,” said André Schneider, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Economic Forum. Added Richard Samans, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum: “There is a growing market for out-of-the-box ideas. Our concept of what constitutes a better international system has to be thought about in a more expanded nature.”

The intensive discussions among the Global Agenda Council Members produced a variety of proposals ranging from the expansion of the use of the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights to provide additional liquidity and contingency funds during periods of financial stress to the creation of a social competitiveness report to rank the readiness of countries to foster social entrepreneurship and investment.

In the closing session, rapporteurs summarized the three days of Global Agenda Council deliberations. “There was an agreement that the risks, vulnerabilities and failures [that the credit crunch revealed] are not a one-off phenomenon, but a wake-up call,” said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). “Risk is the new normal.”

Participants worried that, as risks multiply, “statecraft has never before been more in need yet been in such short supply,” Ashraf Ghani, the Chairman of the Institute of State Effectiveness, added.

To address the most challenging global problems will require a sober examination of current institutions and mechanisms of governance and innovative approaches to reshape them for the twenty-first century. The decision by the international community to designate the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation could signal that, in light of the global recession, the world may now be ready to tackle politically thorny challenges such as climate change and migration.

“The G20 as a new broader authority might provide an opportunity to make genuine moves forward on issues which so far have been difficult to handle,” noted Sir John Gieve, Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The crisis also highlighted the need to rebuild confidence and trust and ground the global economy on the principles of sustainability and social responsibility. “In the context of the global redesign, we should make explicit the deepest values that animate our institutions and societies,” explained John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University. Steve Howard, Chief Executive Officer of the Climate Group said, “We need a vision for the future – where we have a population that stabilizes at 8 billion, where fish stocks are in recovery, where there is food security. There is a compelling future here.”

But the current global system is fraught with tensions between the forces of globalization and the demands of national politics, warned David Kennedy, Director of the Institute on Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. “The global financial crisis impressed on us the distance between how our economy is organized and how our political and public policy culture is organized.” He added, “Whatever our global governance system will look like, it won’t be a unified one.”

Indeed, said Mark Malloch Brown, Senior Adviser for the Global Redesign Initiative at the World Economic Forum, “there is obviously tension between our analysis of how complex the modern world is and our desire to find things we can do.” But, he reckoned, the will to act is strong. “There is a growing sense of global responsibility for each other, that we share problems in this small neighbourhood of ours, planet Earth.”

Ahmed Gamal/ Expatica

Reprinted with permission from Global Arab Network
Copyright © 2009,
Global Arab Network  - London 

Image from GAN and catsper

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