Category: Global Governance

OpEd: Risky Business: The U.S. Should Rethink Business With Kazakhstan

An article written by our President, Joël Ruet about Kazakhstan’s current and growing challenge to fight corruption that undermines foreign investment and the country’s socio-economic development, was published in the media Entrepreneur.com. He warns that “despite the Kazakh government’s public campaign to attract foreign investors […] it will need to implement fundamental changes, and that starts with taking anti-corruption seriously and honoring agreements with foreign investors. Until then, U.S. investors should rethink the risk of doing business in Kazakhstan.”

The Bridge Tank at the BOAO Forum for Asia 2022: Promote Energy Integration and Build Green World

The BOAO 2022 Forum was held from April 20 to 22 in a hybrid mode, aiming to conduct an open dialogue in a post-COVID world and on the prospects of common development in the world of tomorrow.

Since 2018, The Bridge Tank has participated in the annual “Chinese Davos” event. Our President, Joel Ruet spoke at a high-level panel in the presence of Mr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China, Mr. Baodong Li, Secretary General, BOAO Forum and former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Mr. Jizhen Liu, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and Director of State Key Laboratory of Alternate Electrical Power System with Renewable Energy Sources, Mr. Hailiang Song, President of China Energy Engineering Group Co, Mr. Jianhua Hu, President of China Merchants Group and Mr. Haiping Xiang, Chief Engineer of China National Energy Administration.

In his speech, Joël Ruet spoke about the global issues related to energy integration and trajectories. He stressed the importance of “deep decarbonation technologies” in accelerating net zero emissions by 2035-2040. Until then, he added that each country or territory will have a role to play to have its own “transition trajectory”, not only adding renewable energies but also integrating them into the networks with a more rational and efficient use.

Joël Ruet addressed the issue of adaptation, which must no longer be looked separately from other issues. He illustrated his remarks through the example of carbon sinks, which have be created from optimized ecosystems everywhere, not only in forests, but also in savannahs or mangroves.

Dr. Ruet also demonstrated that energy trajectories are already low-carbon, which is particularly the case for Africa and most of the G77 countries. It is important that these trajectories are recognized as such and therefore funded by the North and that technology and know-how transfers are funded accordingly.

In response to the question of how to implement global support to energy trajectories of the global south, the President of The Bridge Tank proposed two solutions: first, allow the South to manage itself with more funding to create local champions, keep the gas trade open to them, and ensure that their carbon sinks are recognized as an incentive to develop them; and second, enable their local financial entities to play a larger role by recognizing that “risks” are over rated there in comparison to actually high profitability.

As in the 2021 edition, Joël Ruet was one of the three French speakers, representing the circle of Think Tanks, alongside Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Henry Giscard D’Estaing, who respectively represented the political and economic worlds.

Read here the agenda of the BOAO Forum 2022.

Side event “From COP 26 Glasgow Commitments to COP 27 Egypt Opportunities: The MENA perspective Confirmation”: participation of our Board Members

On the occasion of the first edition of the UNFCCC MENA Climate Week, from 28th – 31st of March, hosted by the Government of United Arab Emirates, Liberal International, of which The Bridge Tank is a member has organized a virtual side event on 29th of March named: From COP 26 commitments to COP 27 opportunities: The MENA perspective.

The purpose of this event is to tackle the challenges and opportunities stemming from the shared commitment that was agreed at COP 26 in Glasgow, while looking ahead at COP 27 Egypt as an opportunity to increase ambitions. Moderated by the President of the Liberal International, UN High-level climate champion and our Board Member, Hakima El Haite asked a series of questions to each of the speakers.

Among them, our Board Member, Stéphane Gompertz was present in his capacity as former French Ambassador in African countries and Special Envoy for COP 21. He was first asked to give his perspective for the COP 27.

His vision for the next Conference of the Parties reflects the difficulties of raising the climate ambition and maintaining efforts in a context of tensions (COVID-19, War between Ukraine and Russia and War in Yemen). The different crises and current wars shift the priorities of the states and public spending. Money is spent more on wars than for climate action. The political ambitions aren’t now and won’t be as high as it was during the COP 21 and the COP 22. The COP 27, will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, will have the difficult task of pushing the Parties’ effort to:

  • Help to pursuit government and public opinion to have a look in the future.
  • Push for solutions.
  • Continue to promote good practices in the field of adaptation.

Stéphane Gompertz then explained what should be done to keep the 1.5°C? He said that we have to look ahead. States act in the short and long term. Energy is a good example. In a short term basis, countries will use more fossil fuel. In a long term basis, we will see the positive effect on energy policy. For instance, France undertakes nuclear, without it, it won’t be enough effort to commit climate targets. However, the question of nuclear power is again debated in France in this electoral and the War between Ukraine and Russia context. But it is important to measure the risks over time: living with temperatures above 2-3°C or living with an energy mode low in CO2 emissions.

Mrs. Susana Rivero Baughman, who is the Foreign affairs and Cooperation Adviser at the Secretary of Climate Action, Government of Catalonia gave a short presentation of International Liberal’s action to Climate Justice Committee, which has recently adopted a policy paper “Liberal Perspectives on Climate Justice”. Mrs Baughman expressed the lack of actions between climate change and human rights and this is what the International Liberal is willing to do by developing a Policy Lab and strengthening their presence in COPs and international forums. She finally highlighted that the COP 27 will offer plenty of opportunities for Africa.

Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, who is Former Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway, developed an evaluation form the COP26’s achievements. For Mr. Rotevatn the COP 26 was a success for 3 reasons:

  • Finish the Rule Book of the Paris Agreement, which constitutes a common framework among Parties.
  • Increase ambition. Bigger emitting countries increase their ambitions, most countries raise their ambitions in NCDs, the USA are back in the Paris Agreement and we keep the 1.5°C objective alive.
  • Sufficient commitment to increase finance: developing world can have confidence from the financing mechanisms. Industrial countries promise to double their climate finance. Pledges were made and it was well received from most developing countries.

He then explained that after 2 years of global pandemic, we have not lost the long term aspect of the climate crises. He then emphasized that Norway is one of the leading financiers and that the country will double its efforts in climate finance, notably for the preservation of tropical rainforest and mitigation and adaptation. He finally said that pollution tax is a necessary tool for a fair transition and support climate transition at country level, whereas at the global level, climate finance is a necessary tool.

Mrs Rania Al-Mashat, who is the Minister for International Cooperation of Egypt explained what will be the objectives and opportunities for the COP 27 in three messages:

  • The COP 27 is going to be impartial, even though this COP is organized in Africa.
  • Adaptation & resilience will be central and was one of the main outcomes from COP26.
  • Commitment to actions.

Mrs. Al-Mashat emphasized the outcomes from Glasgow, asking open questions that will need to be answered at COP 27.The private sector’s role need to be increased: “We are going from billions to trillions”. It is also important to think about how can we operationalize what it have been pledge. How to derisk green investments? How can we create opportunities for the blended finance? There is not enough operationalize projects financed. How can we leverage from successful countries and to replicate them?

HORASIS 2022 USA – Biden’s first year, Ukraine, and EU’s leadership

During the 2022 Horasis USA Meeting, held March 4, The Bridge Tank participated in a conference on Joe Biden, the European Union and Ukraine, alongside Esko Aho, Former Prime Minister of Finland, Finland, Michael D. Brown, United States Shadow Senator, District of Columbia, USA, Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, Belgium, Jed Rakoff, Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, USA, and chaired by Jerry Hultin, Chair, New York Academy of Sciences, USA.

The discussion centered on the American president and his responsibility as the head of a leading democratic state, particularly in light of the war in Ukraine, as well as his potential future actions. How far will the Biden leadership go? What can we expect him to accomplish before the 2024 American elections?

Our President Joel RUET flagged that:

  • Beyond US energy package, there ought to be some joint US-EU effort to quick land green finance,
  • He called for joint technology programs and shared industrial platforms
  • In line with Prime Minister Aho’s view that viewing NATO as an internal lose-win game between the US and the EU, Joel Ruet emphasized this situation has brought opportunities to jointly look at joint security issues, and have NATO evolve from defense to security,
  • In reply to Jerry Hultin’s point on the view the Global South has on Russia’s assault to Ukraine and on China, Ruet mentioned that many African countries feel they have gained much of what they could from China and leveraged on this onto other countries, and that many of them now observe the new set of tools used on Russia, advising the “West” and notably the EU to engage into a conversation on these economic tools with its strategic partners in the South, not to alienate them, and, positively, to mutualise the treatment of the Russia-Ukraine crisis through real global tools,
  • Lats but not least, echoing some concern by shadow Senator Brown, Joel Ruet offered that, even though they differ from one country to another due to history, so called ‘racial issues’ ought to be discusses more globally, not intra-societies.

Watch the full discussion here on our youtube.

COP26 side event – Liberal International’s Declaration for Climate

8 November 2021, The Bridge Tank, an Observing Member to Liberal International participated to an online roundtable event on the fringes of COP26, hosted by ALDE Party and Liberal International.  Liberal policymakers and representatives from partner organizations congregated to share their views and exchange information on the ongoing United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The event was chaired by ALDE Party acting co-President Timmy Dooley and President of Liberal International Hakima El Haité.

The participants discussed the role of liberals when it comes to influencing the sustainability agenda in the next years, with a particular look at the first week of negotiations and an eye towards the second and final round of negotiations. Moreover, they also stressed the importance of the liberal voice, including younger generations, when it comes to building back better from the pandemic and generating jobs and growth as well as for the respect of rule of law across the globe.

At the end of the roundtable, the participants adopted a pledge calling on states to increase their climate ambitions. In this pledge, the participants called for stronger international cooperation to raise climate commitments and implement them, called on states to submit more ambitious NDCs, and urged for more technical and financial support to be granted to developing states to improve their capacity to take climate action. 

“Protection of global biodiversity is also essential to combat environmental degradation and climate change. Our planet is currently facing its sixth mass extinction as a consequence of human activity, and it is disrupting ecosystems around the world, threatening our food production, and increasing risks of pandemics. We must take bold and rapid action now to change this, and therefore call on states to include biodiversity protection as a central part in their climate action plans.

The time for talk is now over – the only option left is action.”

COP26 side event – Liberal International’s Declaration for Climate

8 November 2021, The Bridge Tank, an Observing Member to Liberal International participated to an online roundtable event on the fringes of COP26, hosted by ALDE Party and Liberal International.  Liberal policymakers and representatives from partner organizations congregated to share their views and exchange information on the ongoing United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The event was chaired by ALDE Party acting co-President Timmy Dooley and President of Liberal International Hakima El Haité.

The participants discussed the role of liberals when it comes to influencing the sustainability agenda in the next years, with a particular look at the first week of negotiations and an eye towards the second and final round of negotiations. Moreover, they also stressed the importance of the liberal voice, including younger generations, when it comes to building back better from the pandemic and generating jobs and growth as well as for the respect of rule of law across the globe.

At the end of the roundtable, the participants adopted a pledge calling on states to increase their climate ambitions. In this pledge, the participants called for stronger international cooperation to raise climate commitments and implement them, called on states to submit more ambitious NDCs, and urged for more technical and financial support to be granted to developing states to improve their capacity to take climate action. 

“Protection of global biodiversity is also essential to combat environmental degradation and climate change. Our planet is currently facing its sixth mass extinction as a consequence of human activity, and it is disrupting ecosystems around the world, threatening our food production, and increasing risks of pandemics. We must take bold and rapid action now to change this, and therefore call on states to include biodiversity protection as a central part in their climate action plans.

The time for talk is now over – the only option left is action.”

Read the full pledge on Liberal International’s website.

The Bridge Tank partipates to the COP26 side event hosted by ALDE Party and Liberal International

8 November 2021, The Bridge Tank participated to an online roundtable event on the fringes of COP26, hosted by ALDE Party and Liberal International.  Liberal policymakers and representatives from partner organisations gathered together to share their views and exchange information on the ongoing United Nations Conference on Climate Change to align common aims. The event was chaired by ALDE Party acting co-President Timmy Dooley and President of Liberal International Hakima El Haité.

The participants discussed the role of liberals when it comes to influencing the sustainability agenda in the next years, with a particular look at the first week of negotiations and an eye towards the second and final round of negotiations. Moreover, they also stressed the importance of the liberal voice, including younger generations, when it comes to building back better from the pandemic and generating jobs and growth as well as for the respect of rule of law across the globe.

At the end of the roundtable, the participants adopted a liberal pledge calling on states to increase their climate ambitions. In this pledge, the participants called for stronger international cooperation to raise climate commitments and implement them, called on states to submit more ambitious NDCs, and urged for more technical and financial support to be granted to developing states to improve their capacity to take climate action. 

“Protection of global biodiversity is also essential to combat environmental degradation and climate change. Our planet is currently facing its sixth mass extinction as a consequence of human activity, and it is disrupting ecosystems around the world, threatening our food production, and increasing risks of pandemics. We must take bold and rapid action now to change this, and therefore call on states to include biodiversity protection as a central part in their climate action plans.

The time for talk is now over – the only option left is action.”

Read the full pledge here on Liberal International’s website. 

The Bridge Tank contributes to the 2021 Armenian edition of the Summit of Minds

The 2021 Armenian edition of the Summit of Minds forum was held on the 23rd and 24th of October in the city of Dijilan, in the presence of Armenian President Armen Sarkissian. The Bridge Tank’s president Joël Ruet, attended this event alongside our board member Pranjal Sharma, who intervened on the panel: “A New Social Contract in the Time of AI, New Technologies & Covid-19”.

Joël Ruet notably exchanged with Andrey Kortunov, the Director General of RIAC (Russian International Affairs Council), during the panel “Global Transformations & Quantum Politics – Challenging the Unknown”.

Issue Brief: AUKUS – A storm in the Pacific

On 15 September 2021, Australia terminated a contract with France to supply conventional submarines, in favor  of a nuclear military-technology collaboration with the United States and the United Kingdom. This breach of contract highlighted the nascent AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) military alliance, which was created in response to China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific. This tripartite alliance has only served to add insult to injury in the current tense international context, as well as to exacerbate diplomatic relations between France and the United States.

In light of the visit to Paris on October 5, 2021, of the Secretary of State of the United States, Anthony Blinken, to try and appease the situation, The Bridge Tank published an analytical note, written by retired French General Eric de La Maisonneuve.

This issue brief is based on the idea that the contract denounced by Australia, a long-term contract and considerable in financial terms, had become a limited contract in technological terms and modest in relation to the strategic stakes in the Indo-Pacific zone. This Australian reversal reveals several key points:

  • The worsening situation in the region, particularly in the South China Sea, the growing antagonism between China and the United States on trade issues, the impressive rise of the Chinese navy and its associated armaments, the multiple Sino-Australian tensions, all lead both the United States and Australia to review their arrangements.
  • If, as is to be expected, events in the area precipitate, urgency will prevail and the USA will be forced to install their bases and nuclear submarines directly in Australia, even if it means renting or loaning some of them to the latter. Here again, it is likely that this future contract under the AUKUS umbrella will have difficulty seeing the light of day.
  • France for its part should draw the consequences of this diplomatic-strategic fiasco in three directions:
    • Revise its “foreign policy/defense policy” complex,
    • Re-evaluate the European security pillar and its concretization through a Franco-German alliance under the French Presidency of the EU,
    • Rethink in this context its systems of analysis of China to better anticipate its strategy and its actions.

Read the issue brief here (in French): 2021-10-04-IB La Maisonneuve

Liberal International 204th Executive Committee Meeting Elects The Bridge Tank as an Observing Member to LI

The 204th executive committee meeting of Liberal International took place online from 1 – 3 October 2021, with 132 registered delegates from 45 countries and 6 regions of the world. The Bridge Tank was one of think tanks to be officially welcomed to the LI family, demonstrating the growing appeal of liberalism outside of its traditional strongholds.

During this session, two policy papers were submitted by the LI climate justice committee and fair-trade working groups and eight urgency resolutions were adopted on urgent current global matters including the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

Read more about the 204th executive committee meeting on Liberal International’s website.

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