Davos and the case for global cooperation
Aktualisiert: 17. Jan.
The World Economic Forum’s 53rd annual meeting gathers this year under the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” As the WEF website states:
“Multiple crises are deepening divisions and fragmenting the geopolitical landscape. Leaders must address people’s immediate, critical needs while also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world by the end of the decade.”
Multiple crises would be putting it lightly. The looming threat of a global recession, climate breakdown, a possible resurgence of COVID-19 with the variant ominously called the Kraken, populism and a breakdown of global consensus and social cohesion come together to create a series of seemingly insurmountable hurdles for us to overcome. As over 2,700 participants from different countries, fields of interest and areas of expertise come together for the five-day gathering, it is worth exploring the benefits of global cooperation in a time of crisis.
Davos 2023 is not the first global convening focused on global cooperation and complex global issues. The 2022 edition of the Paris Peace Forum focused on “Riding out the Multicrisis.” COP27’s theme was “Together for Implementation.” These gatherings all point to a simple yet overlooked reality: global problems require global cooperation, global systems and global solutions. As Juha Jokela wrote for the European Union Institute for Security Studies:
“All major powers are exposed to the unprecedented conjunction of the economic, energy and environmental crises, and none of them can successfully confront these challenges on their own.”
Peace is a moral, social and economic right. Read more about the economics of peace here.
Despite the present global situation, the system of global multilateralism has produced several successes over the decades in health, technology and environmental action. Global efforts led to the eradication of smallpox, the COVAX vaccine alliance, and the healing of the ozone layer. In his 2021 report ‘Our Common Approach’, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres identifies four global commons – the high seas, Antarctica, the atmosphere and outer space – and highlights that whilst there has been consensus on managing them, it is perhaps time to create a new social contract and redefine global governance. It’s a position echoed by Rob de Wijk, Jack Thompson and Esther Chavannes in their report for the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies: “Multilateralism’s biggest challenge is to come to terms with global power shifts, zero-sum nationalism, new interstate rivalries, and crises such as the COVID-19 outbreak.”
"It is perhaps time to create a new social contract and redefine global governance."
Take the Sustainable Development Goals as an example. As part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the 17 goals are a result of years of research, dialogue and consultations and so-called summit diplomacy. They are an example of what can happen when different stakeholders come together and agree on a set of principles, actionable items and timelines. Such a process encourages trust and cooperation between big players and small actors.
As people descend on Davos, the larger question of how we come together and identify common issues is just as significant as the issues themselves. Ghazan Global will continue to support innovation and solutions for global cooperation.
Buchan, N. R., Brewer, M. B., Grimalda, G., Wilson, R. K., Fatas, E., & Foddy, M. (2011). Global Social Identity and Global Cooperation. Psychological Science, 22(6), 821–828. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25835457
de Wijk, R., Thompson, J., & Chavannes, E. (2020). The future of multilateralism. In Adjusting the Multilateral System to Safeguard Dutch Interests (pp. 54–62). Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep26672.8
Jokela, J. (2011). Global governance and effective multilateralism. In THE G-20: A PATHWAY TO EFFECTIVE MULTILATERALISM? (pp. 51–60). European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep07003.7
United Nations. (2021). Secretary-general's report on "Our common agenda". Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://www.un.org/en/content/common-agenda-report/