The Global Redesign Summit Is an Unprecedented “Marketplace of Ideas”
The World Economic Forum Global Redesign Summit began here today, as participants began discussion of nearly 60 proposals put forward by more than 1,500 global experts from business, government and civil society on how to strengthen international cooperation and governance. These proposals are published in a report entitled Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World.
Calling the Summit a “laboratory” and a “marketplace of ideas”, Mark Malloch Brown, Vice-Chair, World Economic Forum, likened the Summit to a “marriage-brokering exercise”. Chairing the first plenary session, he explained: “We have a lot of ‘brides’, bright ideas for international reform which now need ‘spouses’ who will pick them up. The report will remain just a report unless governments and policy institutions pick these ideas up and run with them.”
“We have to see what kind of reforms we really need in the international system,” said Mohammed Abdulla M. Al Rumaihi, Assistant Foreign Minister of Qatar, one of the four patron governments of the Global Redesign process. Where before a single superpower or regional power might have led the way, “now it is the responsibility of all,” argued Al Rumaihi, speaking in a press conference that preceded the plenary session.
“The hope that we have is the emergence of a global governance system that can effectively enforce rules of fairness,” added Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, another of the patron nations:
A key issue facing participants in the Global Redesign process is how to create more effective institutions and mechanisms of global governance, while ensuring that they are legitimate. “The way to overcome [questions about legitimacy] is to reach out” to “multidimensional actors for new ideas,” observed Ahn Ho-Young, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea; Ambassador at Large for G20, in the plenary session. As the current G20 Chair and host of the G20 Summit in November, his country is “in the market for new ideas”, Ahn noted. The still-unfolding global economic crisis shows that “if we do not swim together, we will sink together,” he added.
Also speaking in the plenary session, He Yafei, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, Geneva, agreed: “Because we are living in a very complicated world, we need to bring into full play not just the efforts of governments but also those of NGOs.” The challenges facing the world keep multiplying, reckoned Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, also a Global Redesign patron. “Because there is this multidimensional challenge, there is no other way than to have a multistakeholder approach,” Fasel told reporters in the press conference.
Many participants underscored that the Global Redesign proposals are not meant to replace existing institutions and mechanisms of global governance such as the United Nations. “What we have now in the global system with the UN and other bodies is still very relevant,” stressed Ong Keng-Yong, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, the fourth country to sponsor the GRI. “We need to find ways to make these work better.”
In publishing 58 proposals, “what we have laid out is a framework for how to update various aspects of global cooperation,” explained Richard Samans, Managing Director, World Economic Forum, in the plenary session. “In this much more complex, bottom-up international community, what we need is not only much stronger multilateralism but a more structural approach to tap the full range of actors in the international system. The best way forward is to have a multifaceted, multidimensional attack on the problems. It follows that every non-state actor needs to assume a much more direct and profound sense of responsibility in international cooperation. This is everybody’s business.”
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